Aftermath: Legacies and Memories of War in Europe, by Tim Haughton, Nicholas Martin

By Tim Haughton, Nicholas Martin

Targeting 3 of the defining moments of the 20 th century - the top of the 2 global Wars and the cave in of the Iron Curtain - this quantity offers a wealthy choice of authoritative essays, overlaying quite a lot of thematic, nearby, temporal and methodological views. via re-examining the hectic legacies of the century's 3 significant conflicts, the quantity illuminates a few recurrent but differentiated principles referring to memorialisation, mythologisation, mobilisation, commemoration and disagreement, reconstruction and illustration within the aftermath of clash. The post-conflict dating among the dwelling and the lifeless, the contestation of thoughts and legacies of conflict in cultural and political discourses, and the importance of generations are key threads binding the gathering together.While no longer claiming to be the definitive learn of so monstrous a subject matter, the gathering however offers a chain of enlightening historic and cultural views from major students within the box, and it pushes again the limits of the burgeoning box of the research of legacies and stories of struggle. Bringing jointly historians, literary students, political scientists and cultural experiences specialists to debate the legacies and thoughts of struggle in Europe (1918-1945-1989), the gathering makes a massive contribution to the continuing interdisciplinary dialog concerning the interwoven legacies of twentieth-century Europe's 3 significant conflicts.

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Public memory discourses in the GDR shifted somewhat over subsequent decades. The future was always a driving force for East German political elites, even or perhaps especially in the potentially highly fraught area of dealing with the Nazi past; and Cold War considerations increasingly overrode the complexities of any open confrontation with the past, with politically ordained rhetoric and practice constraining the possibilities of debate. 19 But among younger cohorts in the GDR, who were urged to identify with the victors in the fight against fascism, there was little sense of connection with any persisting community of guilt; nor was there, however, any strong explicit identification with the narrative of antifascist resistance, which was at best taken for granted rather than experienced as a real mobilising force.

5 I shall argue, however, that this alone is insufficient to explain the striking generational implications of each historical break. Rather, in order to explain why certain cohorts appear to ‘rise’ in the historical record at the expense of others we need also to look at demographic, political, social and cultural aspects of the post-war transitions, and in particular at questions relating to what I call ‘structural and cultural availability for mobilisation’. We also need to cast our eyes well beyond the immediate post-war period and look at later constellations, in order to understand the longer, lingering reverberations of war through succeeding regimes, not only among those who actually experienced the defining events, but also among those who later felt a sense of connection or identification in the periods of aftermath.

The comforting linearity of the chronologies inherited from diplomatic and military history tends to obscure the fact that the aftermaths of war were defined by the uneasy conjunction of different temporalities. For peace between nations did not necessarily mean that the war was over for individuals and communities. It is critical to highlight the continuing presence of war in the aftermath. Jay Winter stresses in his contribution to this volume that one should not equate silence with forgetting and that conventional, binary approaches to memory and forgetting must be transcended.

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