Willy Brandt falling to his knee in Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto, in 1970. His message resonated DPA/AFP

State of Atonement: What Do Leaders Apologize for and Why? A Yom Kippur Special

It’s not only regular individuals who apologize. Leaders, too, sometimes beg forgiveness for historical transgressions committed by their states. Who has asked for forgiveness from whom, when and why? Which apologies have backfired?

This past summer, a historic event occurred in New Zealand, though it was not widely covered internationally. Almost 140 years after the fact, the British Crown apologized to the Maori aborigines for the...

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