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Myth, Memory and War Experience: German Public Mourning after Defeat, 1918 and 1945
September 15, 2013 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
James Franklin Williamson, a PhD Candidate in European History at UNC-Chapel Hill, will be speaking in conjunction with the North Carolina German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series. In the wake of both world wars, Germans faced the task of mourning enormous losses while also reordering their defeated societies and discredited governments. Scholars have long noted the relationship between these two periods of collective memorialization and the Third Reich that separated them. Yet while many historians credit a “myth of the war experience” for Weimar Germans’ eventual enthusiasm toward the Nazis, few accounts also explain West Germans’ efforts to enact memorial traditions after 1945 that were inspired by these problematic earlier precedents. The lecture will survey public mourning ceremonies in each context, arguing that beneath similarities in appearance, Germans’ discussions of war and the wartime dead were characterized by important changes over time.
Co-sponsors include: UNC-Chapel Hill: Carolina Seminars, Institute for the Arts & Humanities, Center for European Studies, Departments of History and German Languages & Literatures | Duke University: Departments of History and German Languages & Literatures, Center for European Studies | Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies