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World War II Re-explored

Some New Millenium Studies in the History of the Global Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples, Stephanie James and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa

This volume is a collection of thirty papers written by authors from around the world. The writers focus on topics related to their own research interests. As a result, readers obtain a worldwide perspective on World War II from academics working on nearly every continent, proving that World War II was, probably, the first ever truly global experience for humanity. Present are many and different perspectives on the war. Eighty years after the end of World War II, these academics share their knowledge and reflections about a gruesome, but still not very remote time. In the new millennium, their studies should remind readers that the ‘end of history’ has been an impossible illusion and warn that peace and stability in international relations are not a given.

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Terror Remembered, Terror Forgotten: Stalinist, Nazi, and Nationalist Atrocities in Ukrainian ‘National Memory


Abstract: In the 1930s and 1940s, Ukraine experienced political violence on an unprecedented scale. Political violence by the Soviet government and the German occupation authorities resulted in the death of millions, through starvation, deportations, and massacres, and left wounds which still have not fully healed. Independently of the Soviets and Nazis, mass political violence was carried out also by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) whose ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews left up to one hundred thousand dead, a legacy which could not be openly discussed or researched, neither in the Ukrainian SSR, nor in communist Poland. The Soviet Ukrainian historiography reduced the Ukrainian Nationalists to hangmen and collaborators with Nazi Germany, whereas émigré nationalists constructed an elaborate cult of these groups as heroes and martyrs. This instrumentalization of the recent past produced mutually exclusive narratives. Following the two Maidan revolutions in 2004 and 2013/2014, there have been ambitious attempts by the Ukrainian government to produce a new historical canon, in which the most radical wing of the OUN figures prominently. This narration requires some topics to be avoided altogether, whereas others are treated in a highly selective fashion. Official memory policy has triggered stormy discussions about the recent past, reflecting deep divisions in a post-Soviet Ukrainian society, which has only begun the process of coming to terms with a difficult past.

Keywords: Ukrainian Nationalism, political violence, memory politics

There are few topics in the recent history of Eastern Europe more divisive and...

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