Memory of collective wrongs and atrocities suffered in the past from another nation or ethnic group often burdens a present conflict with strong resentment and makes it appear as a historical repetition or redress. There are many examples in recent history of Eastern Europe, the Balkans included, when vivid and deliberately inflamed historical reminiscences make it virtually impossible to negotiate a compromise solution of a crisis. Only when national memory has been “cooled” and sacrosanct historical places and symbols has lost some of their mobilizing force, may human relations between the enemy communities be restored.
Historical memory as a source of conflicts in Eastern Europe1
The first version of this paper was delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Center European Alumni Association Conference on “Reconciliation Policies in Europe: How to Deal with the Past for the Sake of the Future” in Krako´w, Poland, September 24-27, 1998. I am grateful to Professor Rudolf M. Rizman (Ljubljana University) for his comments, and to Dr. Timothy Snyder for his competent criticism and editing of my text.
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Jerzy Jedlicki; Historical memory as a source of conflicts in Eastern Europe. Communist and Post-Communist Studies 1 September 1999; 32 (3): 225–232. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0967-067X(99)00010-0
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