"the concept of collective guilt"

At the end of World War 2, the Allied victors made a great effort to expose the German people to the real effects of Nazism.  This was partly due to the Denazification process agreed at the Potsdam Conference, but it was also driven by a deliberate desire to provoke feelings of guilt, shame and responsibility in the population.  It was common for Allied troops to force German civilians to walk around concentration camps and view the dead bodies of prisoners, and in some cases exhume or bury them. 

With the German media still under Allied control, newspapers, posters and films graphically showed the population what they were being held responsible for.  It is not difficult to see how for the ‘second generation’, born during or just after the war, this notion of collective guilt was so easily passed down.  As WW2 – with the Holocaust – was the first international conflict to be so well documented in photography, film and press, there was no way to deny or forget what had taken place.