The Politics of War Memory and Commemoration by T.G. Ashplant, Graham Dawson, Michael Roper

By T.G. Ashplant, Graham Dawson, Michael Roper

Battle reminiscence and commemoration have had more and more excessive profiles in public and educational debates in recent times. This quantity examines many of the social adjustments that have resulted in this improvement, between them the passing of the 2 global Wars from survivor into cultural reminiscence. concentrating on the politics of conflict reminiscence and commemoration, the booklet illuminates the fight to put in specific stories on the centre of a cultural international, and gives an intensive argument approximately how the politics of commemoration practices might be understood.

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Existing elites strive to re-work dominant national narratives when necessary to accommodate memories of new wars, while managing and/or repressing sectional memories which are (or threaten to become) oppositional. We may now trace the articulation of memory in the opposite direction, from the top down, observing how the promoting of official narratives and the marginalizing or repressing of alternatives may have the effect of accommodating, constraining, reshaping or silencing sectional, shared/common and even individual memories.

100 In a transitional space between the formal organizations of civil society and the informal networks of family and kin, there exist what Jay Winter has termed ‘fictive kinships’, referring to particular groups of survivors, small-scale agents who form what he calls ‘families of remembrance’. 101 Such veterans’ organizations, bringing together those whose identical or cognate experiences can be articulated in shared/common memories, have always been among the major agencies of unofficial war commemoration.

Soon, however, since full expression within the political arena risked damaging political consequences, discussion was to be repressed, the events ‘forgotten’. In the Western sector, such memories would have weakened the attempts to re-masculinize German society. 70 Norman Naimark analyses a brief official attempt by the German Communist Party in 1948–49 to discuss this still festering issue publicly under the rubric ‘About “the Russians” and about Us’. His analysis of the verbatim transcript of a large and lengthy meeting shows how rape was alluded to – by speakers from both platform and floor – constantly but only obliquely, transposed usually into complaints about thefts of bicycles or watches.

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