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Synopsis

How has memory - collective and individual - influenced European politics after the Second World War and after 1989 in particular? How has the past been used in domestic struggles for power, and how have 'historical lessons' been applied in foreign policy? While there is now a burgeoning field of social and cultural memory studies, mostly focused on commemorations and monuments, this volume is the first to examine the connection between memory and politics directly. It investigates how memory is officially recast, personally reworked and often violently re-instilled after wars, and, above all, the ways memory shapes present power constellations. The chapters combine theoretical innovation in their approach to the study of memory with deeply historical, empirically based case studies of major European countries. The volume concludes with reflections on the ethics of memory, and the politics of truth, justice and forgetting after 1945 and 1989.

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