Abstract

The author surveys three times and places where the public history of certain events has changed radically over time. The mass killings and arrests of the Stalinist Soviet Union were deliberately ignored for decades afterwards, then drew intense attention in the Gorbachev years. The end of British Empire slavery was for a century or more ascribed to British virtue and generosity; today we pay far more attention to the role of slave revolts. And Belgium officially ignored the murderous slave labor regime King Leopold II imposed on the Congo in the late nineteenth century until the last decade or so.

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