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Re-visiting World War I

Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict

Edited By Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James

This book discusses various aspects of World War I. It focuses on topics proposed by contributors resulting from their own research interests. Nevertheless, as a result of common efforts, re-visiting those chosen aspects of the Great War of 1914–1918 enables the presentation of a volume that shows the multidimensional nature and consequences of this turning point in the history of particular nations, if not all mankind. This book, if treated as an intellectual journey through several continents, shows that World War I was not exclusively Europe’s war, and that it touched – in different ways – more parts of the globe than usually considered.
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Tomas Sniegon - World War I and its Meanings in Czech and Slovak Societies


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Tomas Sniegon

Centre for European Studies Lund University, Sweden

World War I and its Meanings in Czech and Slovak Societies

Abstract: The article focuses on two post-Communist Central European countries – Slovakia and the Czech Republic – and some important issues about the place of the memory of World War I in their historical cultures. The main questions are: how difficult is it to incorporate the memory of World War I into Communist, liberal-democratic and nationalist historical narratives in these two post-Communist countries at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century? And, why is it necessary for those people who ← 295 | 296 → experienced two brutal dictatorships during the last century – under the Nazis and Communists – only gaining their freedom after the end of the Cold War, to commemorate World War I at all? The author shows that, at least during the last half-century, both the Czech and Slovak historical cultures have almost completely ignored the memory of World War I. In addition, this war, described as the ‘Great War’ in a number of Western countries, was never seen as a crucial trauma in Czechoslovakia and its successor states. This fact becomes especially evident if Czech and Slovak memories of World War I are compared with memories of the same conflict in Western Europe, or with Czech and Slovak memories of World War I.

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