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Collective Traumas

Memories of War and Conflict in 20th-Century Europe


Edited By Conny Mithander, John Sundholm and Maria Holmgren Troy

Collective Traumas is about the traumatic European history of the 20 th century – war, genocide, dictatorship, ethnic cleansing – and how individuals, communities and nations have dealt with their dark past through remembrance, historiography and legal settlements. Memories, and especially collective memories, serve as foundations for national identities and are politically charged. Regardless whether memory is used to support or to challenge established ideologies, it is inevitably subject to political tensions. Consequently, memory, history and amnesia tend to be used and abused for different political and ideological purposes. From the perspectives of historical, literary and visual studies the essays focus on how the experiences of war and profound conflict have been represented and remembered in different national cultures and communities.
This volume is a vital contribution to memory studies and trauma theory.
Collective Traumas is a result of the multidisciplinary research project on Memory Culture that was initiated in 2002 at Karlstad University, Sweden. A previous publication with Peter Lang is Memory Work: The Theory and Practice of Memory (2005).


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“Let Us Forget the Evil Memories.” Nazism and the Second World War from the Perspective of a Swedish Fascist (Conny Mithander) 179


179 “Let Us Forget the Evil Memories” Nazism and the Second World War from the Perspective of a Swedish Fascist Conny MITHANDER During the 1980s and 1990s, debates on Nazism and the Second World War were raging in many countries. According to the Norwegian historian Hans Fredrik Dahl, both the participants and the audience were struck by the polemical heat and commitment of these debates, a heat which was no less intense than that which permeated the early post-war debate. Dahl mentions as examples of what he calls “the new war on the war” the German Historikerstreit, the French debate on Les Crématoires d’Auschwitz, and the Norwegian debate on the British history revisionist David Irving and his works (Dahl 116). Also in my home country, Sweden, there was in the 1990s an occasionally heated debate on the Swedish position on the Third Reich and the Holocaust during the Second World War. Why then the heat of these new debates? There are, of course, a number of contributing background factors. Dahl observes that the temperature of the debates was, above all, due to the dissolution and fall of the Soviet system, which was completed through the unification of the two German states. The collapse of Communism in the East and the opening of previously closed archives, as well as heretofore suppressed personal memories, did not only become relevant to our view of the future of Europe, but also to our general understanding of the past. According to Dahl, these events...

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