Scientific Information Agency
15 January 2024

Memorial studies and historical memory of the wars and military conflicts of the XX century: historiography of the issue

Intermarum: istoriya, polityka, kulʹtura
Memorial studies and historical memory of the wars and military conflicts of the XX century: historiography of the issue

The aim of the article is the analysis and systematization of the scientific literature based on the memory studies in general and historical memory of wars, in particular. Among the tasks to be solved, was the task to compare the studies by both foreign and Ukrainian authors in the context of the ratio of attention to the First and Second World Wars and local conflicts, especially the Afghan war. The article also focuses on the research of the memory instrumentalization problems. Methodology. In the process of writing this article were used general scientific research methods: description, systematic analysis of the available literature, synthesis, systematization and generalization of the information. There are also elements of comparative analysis among the methods of research. Conclusions. The issue of the collective, social and historical memory became the subject of active research in the 20th of the XX century. The first memory studies development stage was focusing on the period of antiquity and the study of the memory mechanisms, such as mnemonics. At the initial stage of the memory studies development was of particular interest to representatives of philosophical, cultural, sociological studies and psychologists. This explains the active use in the research field of the historical memory and policy  of the conceptual apparatus in the outlined areas. The professional historical environment began to show the interest to the field of memory only in the 60s of the XX century. Since that time, politicians were able to use the situation of generation change, which distanced the war events from the time reality. Historians, in their turn (as well as representatives of the other scientific fields) received material for research and reflection. World local wars and their place in the life of the societies are differently represented in the memory landscapes. The differences are related to the political sphere and the tasks were set by the politicians. From inducing or forcing the societies to oblivion or, conversely, to create the myths that exaggerated certain war events, their participants and the role of the state in the victory. Events interpretations of the Second World War are marked by the “war of memories”, in which both scientists and government institutions of different countries are actively involved. Despite the awareness of its content and nature, the Afghan war is associated with the memory and respect for its victims in Ukraine. It is represented and preserved in the symbolic events of war participants and memorial landscape complexes. The memory studies historiography and especially the study of the war memory and its mythologizing, is expanding every year due to the new research, which is gaining special importance in modern war. Regional memory landscapes research is at the initial stage in Ukraine now. There are some local studies that should be developed and compared in order to identify trends that are specific to certain regions of Ukraine. After all, due to the political development peculiarities, historical background, cultural traditions, each Ukrainian region has its own characteristics of the historical memory. We don’t have clearly agreed norms and constructional traditions and landscapes formation that naturally fit into the surrounding space. The positive side of this situation is that it allows us to start new traditions of landscaping that will preserve and illuminate the war memory as successfully as possible.   

Source: Mahaletskyi A. (2022). Memorial studies and historical memory of the wars and military conflicts of the XX century: historiography of the issue. Intermarum: istoriya, polityka, kulʹtura. 10: 136-158

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