Morality and Law
Forgive but Not Forget? The Image of War in Culture and Historical Memory
Report_Forgive but Not Forget
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Historical memory and how it is understood play a major role in forming civic solidarity, creating links between generations and making citizens feel like they have a personal stake in the state affairs. At the international level, the harmonisation and convergence of historical narratives in different countries could prove instrumental in establishing a constructive dialogue between societies on contemporary issues and overcoming existing negative stereotypes of other countries and their people. In this way, historical memory is a value that drives social and political behaviour in a meaningful way. The 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War casts the infl uence of historical memory on modern politics and public opinion in stark relief.

Over the past three decades, there has been a greater focus on reinterpreting and reconstructing historical memory across the world, not least in Central and Eastern Europe. In many countries of the region, these processes were set in motion by the emergence of newly independent states and the collapse of the socialist system. Historical memory began to play a key role in shaping the ethnic identity of states and the policy of cultivating new values and attitudes in public opinion. This example clearly illustrates the direct connection between the values of historical memory and nationalism, understood both in the broader civic (positive) sense and, in some cases, in the narrow negative sense of national exceptionalism.