Video: “Don’t mention the war”: does Europe need a shared historical narrative of WWII?”
May 4, 2020
Online webinar, 6:00-7:15 p.m. (London, England)
As Europe is to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2, national narratives of those historic events hugely differ across Europe. Identity and historical memory are often hijacked by populist and nationalist agendas and history suddenly enters the political mainstream. In Brexit Britain, spurious references were made to get rid of “German” control. In Putin’s Russia, the “Great Patriotic War” has been made a centrepiece of contemporary Russian identity, justifying aggression against its neighbours as a crusade against “Ukrainian fascists.” Many countries remain confined to their respective WW2 narratives, often downplaying collaboration and overplaying their nation’s heroism. On the other hand, many people in the West are oblivious to the extent of bloodshed experienced by Eastern European countries (namely Poland, Ukraine, Belarus) in the fight against Nazism. The lack of a shared vision of lessons from WW2 hampers understanding of the Holocaust and the industrial scale that it took in the lands squeezed between Hitler and Stalin.
Serhii Plokhy, historian, author, Director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, US
Krzystof Czyżewski, writer, philosopher, President of Borderland Foundation, Poland
Brendan Simms, historian, author, Cambridge University, UK
Moderator: Adrian Karatnycky, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Ukraine in Europe Program, Atlantic Council, US