Soci e partner

Provincia di Ravenna

Comune di Ravenna

Fondazione del Monte

Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna

Regione Emilia-Romagna

Ministero della Cultura

Memoria e Ricerca


di Giorgios Antoniou
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 21 (2006), p. 5

Commemoration is about remembering and honoring. Thus, it is no surprise that a privileged domain of commemoration is that of national wars and their victims and heroes.The main purposes of remembrance and monuments is to familiarise the public with a single form of official history presented through the ceremony/monuments and to impose or propose, a specific form of reconciliation and national point of view; to seal the gaps and unify, to connect the past with the present, in favour of the construction of an acceptable past for a common future[1]. The commemoration ceremonies, as “repetitive ritualized activities construct ideological notions of collective identity, unity and solidarity[2] As cultural events, they transmit, reflect and connect the official state culture to the individual ones, politicizing them negatively (by denouncing the lingual, racial, ideological ‘otherness’) or positively (by transforming the private/family memories of the winners to a political message of wider significance).
On the contrary, a disputed domain of such commemoration activities occurs when some historical events include the element of the civil conflict and turn to civil wars. In general, within national context Civil Wars are considered to be events of negative nature. They represent the worse possible moment of a nation and almost never are perceived or examined as neutral, necessary or even positive events. Civil wars are anti-heroic and anti-national: they question the coherence and the very basic meaning of the existence of the nation-state. This internal, dichotomist nature of civil wars makes them par excellence an ambiguous event to be commemorated and remembered and their memories the privileged ground for the surviving of conflicting recollections and experiences. 
The present volume deals with the interlocking themes of history, memory, remembrance and commemoration. It attempts to approach the above mentioned questions through a series of case-studies in the European context. It touches upon the complicated issue of individual memories and their relation to public ones. It aims at exemplifying aspects of the evolution of memory and commemorative practices of past events (specifically civil wars) and their importance on the shaping of current identities. The volume explores the diverse ways the civil wars are perceived, presented, narrated and remembered in different aspects of contemporary nation-states, and post-nation-states societies. It focuses on the politics of memory, the individual and collective memories of civil wars, the political, social, cultural connotations their remembrance produces in contemporary societies. The issue examines the role of memory/oblivion, the role of commemoration/silence and the role of agents as the historians, politicians, and other groups in the reshaping of the meaning of events in a fruitful way for the nation. It examines how the memory of the civil wars was exploited by the state and was perceived by the subjects-citizens through time. 
As expected the volume did not cover all cases of European civil wars neither it addressed the present case-studies in full detail or complexity. These tasks would require much more space and effort than a single journal issue allows. For instance, this would require a more careful examination of what the term civil war includes. The treatment of cases as the Russian civil war (which is dealt by research mainly as a ‘revolution’) or the civil war that followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 90s are samples of this perplexed cases of definition. The main criteria by which the present essays were selected involved the persistence of Memoria e Ricerca Journal on publishing works of young scholars, the representation of current research priorities on the memory studies field (as the examination of internet, historiography and the issue of mourning and death), and the underlining of the shifting meaning of the civil war in post second world war Europe.  
An all inclusive approach to commemoration practices in current societies should focus not only to issues as public commemoration and monuments. The issue of social memory and remembrance is linked to a number of social, cultural, political elements that interrelate and influence each other. Beyond monuments and public celebrations, representations of the past in genres as cinema, internet, oral tradition, theatrical plays, textbooks, art, comics, memoirs, literature, historiography, photography show the fragmentation and ‘democratization’ of the flow of memories in current societies; a fragmentation that is reflected in the emergence of new categorizations of memory makers, mediators, agents and consumers.
The incorporation of new theoretical and methodological social sciences tools during the last twenty years (the ‘identities’ obsession, the oral history methodology, the psychoanalytic approaches, etc) rearranged research hierarchies and resulted in a decentralized research agenda, although it seemed to favor social memory studies as a privileged field of interpretation. However, the excessive use of the term collective memory has produced a number of side effects despite the warnings of scholars that the abuse of term tends to obscure aspects of the complicated procedure the shaping of ‘collective’ memory followed in order to become ‘collective’-even in cases this procedure succeeded[3]. As a result, the memory of ‘sections’ of society, be it ethnic groups, gender oriented categorizations or other -groups generally excluded or marginalized from official or public manifestations of their experiences- remained a target and not an outcome of these approaches[4]. The notion of subjectivity then provides a privileged ground for the exploration of such social and cultural complicacies. The implementation of subjectivity, widely construed, is able not only to trace more sensitively variations from the individual to the collective and focus on marginalized groups or communities with shared experiences; it leaves the necessary space for the exploration of the relation of the individual with the collective, the private with the public[5]; thus it highlights the politics, media and agencies that contributed to the shaping of narratives, memories, experiences of individuals or groups, without depriving their cultural autonomy in favor of social power interpretations[6].
The papers presented here do not cover all civil war cases in 20th century Europe, neither, of course, all social, cultural, political consequences of them upon societies. Roughly described, there are two such sets of civil wars in European context that provoked powerful and ambiguous feelings and commemoration practices. The first set is the ‘classic’ civil wars cases as was the Russian, Finish, Spanish and Greek case. Three papers of this volume deal with ‘traditional’ cases of civil wars of Finland, Spain and the American Civil War and its current commemoration in the internet (Alapuro, Ledesma-Rodrigo and Paschaloudi).
The second set consists of cases where the commemoration of the ‘resistance’ in countries such as Ireland or many occupied countries in the Second World War (Yugoslavia, Italy, France, Greece, Belarus and others) reflected a case of ‘hidden’ civil wars. The co existence of resistance activities with the interior conflict between political, ethnic, or social groups within the same nation-state made acute the problem of remembering and celebrating such events in the present, and their incorporation in the nation’s official history. Thus, another three articles of this volume (Van Boeschoten, Karge, Button) deal with case-studies of Second World War experiences in Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia and France, where the internal conflicts of occupied societies turned to open or hidden civil wars; nevertheless, their characterization as such remains problematic and disputed, even among scholarly research.
The first paper deals with an underestimated case of a European civil war, that in Finland in 1918 between the ‘white’ bourgeois nationalists and the ‘red’ pro-Bolshevik working class socialists. "Europe's most clear-cut class war in the twentieth century", according to some scholars, was a shock to Finnish society, taking into account the lack of actual national or class divisions in the country. The violence it produced during and after the war resulted in deep social and cultural divisions in Finland, divisions that maintained their leftovers for over fifty years. The heritage of the war in current Finnish society also extends from political to cultural life and of course collective memory. Alapuro’s paper (Remembering the Finnish Civil War in 1918) deals with these aspects and comments on how Finnish society gradually moved toward reconciliation and the incorporation in a single national narrative of all ambivalent issues the civil war took place for. It also comments on the emergence of unofficial memories that survived within (although on the margins) the official narrative and the non static evolution of class identities that allowed the emergence of new elites to move cross-cutting classes and provided the means necessary for the emergence and legitimating of these unofficial memories. The demand for alternate memories and their shift from the private space to the public one rarely occurs without political or other legitimacy, a point that Alapuro mostly insinuates.
The civil war in Yugoslavia during the Second World War took place within interrelated contexts. The ethnic conflict (Serbs vs. Croats, Croats vs. Bosnians), the national (Resistance vs. Axis forces), the ideological (communists vs. anti-communists), religious (Muslims vs. Catholics and Orthodox). Its remembrance, thus, was unavoidably respectively ambivalent and fragmented. This specific case study reflects the problems in applying concepts as national identity, collective memory, reconciliation in such a multiple environment; the critical approach to such issues was made even more complex with the launch of the recent Civil War during the nineties, a term that all involved parties would definitely reject today. Karge’s paper illuminates this ambiguity in clarity; it shows how the Titoic state attempted to control the public and individual memories of the World War II events and transform their meaning on benefit of the state. It also underlines that some times individual, unofficial memories find their place within society and manage to suggest or impose an alternate or parallel interpretation of events. This struggle for the preservation of individual memories and their public manifestation is a usual element of social and cultural contemporary identity making of nation states in transition. 
The Spanish Civil War is perhaps the most influential civil war in Europe. Its representations in films, literature, memoirs, historiography, and art offered, in retrospective, a unique paradigm of the battle between good and evil. The mythology developed around the war made acute the problem of memory and commemoration of the war per se since the road to democracy and reconciliation illuminated a vicious antithesis with the heroic representations of the war. Thus, the Spanish case study is indicative of the complexity and ambivalence such an event produces in current societies. Numerous works treat this complicated Spanish paradigm of the interrelation of private and public views of the past[7] and comment on the importance of oblivion in the transition to reconciliation versions of the past. The article of José Ledesma and Javier Rodrigo mainly contributes to this debate by focusing in important but neglected aspects of problematic commemoration as was the commemoration of the victims of “franquismo” and by revealing the importance of alternate actors of commemoration beyond church and the state. 
Vichy’s France is another fascinating case of the perplexed relation of memory, history and politics. Until recently, it was mainly genres as literature or cinema, with movies as Louis Malle’s Lacombe Lucien that took over the duty of remembrance in an alternate way the Gaullist interpretation of the past proposed. Historiography followed hesitantly much later, when the mass resistance myth was replaced by the Vichy Syndrome theory, as Henry Rousso named the imposed silence on all crucial events the occupation and collaboration of French people, the Jewish extermination of the country included and the public obsession after the 70s for all aspects of the French experience during the forties[8].
The complicacies of the period were revealed in the following years, when a series of ‘scandals’, all related one way or another to the occupation years, broke: incidents as the famous court trials of distinctive collaborators as Papon, a public debate on the resistance past of the president Mitterrand himself, the negationnisme of famous French scholars about the Jewish Holocaust, and similar incidents revived the interest in the forties in a unique way. As a result, French scholars seemed unable to distinct themselves from this flourish of remembrance and remained bewildered in a series of issues as whether and to what extend the Vichy assisted the Nazis in the holocaust of the French Jewish population; what was the actual role of resistance in contrast to a heroic image built in the previous decades; what was the importance and impact of the internal conflict between nationalist and communist resistance and the Vichy forces; whether there was a civil war during the last stages of axis occupation and after the liberation, etc. It is with these last issues that the article of Philippe Button deals thoroughly, mainly by examining the views and assumptions made in the scholarly literature on the issue. Button’s work reveals vividly the role of historiography and scholars as cultural products of their time, connecting history with collective memory and politics. After all, this was the main characteristic of the French experience in the forties.
Other, less known, cases of ambivalent memories occurred in Greece during the occupation. The subsequent civil war after the liberation and the delayed normalization of Greek politics, among other reasons, obscured many aspects of the Greek experience during the occupation and favored retrospective, cold war, categorizations. Yet, the occupation years in Greece, as it was in Italy, where characterized by a strong fragmentation and flexibility in terms of ideological, political, social developments. Large parts of populations were mobilized against and in favor of the divided resistance movement, while others chose to collaborate with axis forces. The remembrance of these events remained highly controversial in the following years. The article by Van Boeschoten reflects accurately the complicacy of these ambivalent memories even in cases beyond any doubt, as was the violent Nazi reprisals in local level. Van Boeschoten examines comparatively two villages, one in Greece and the other in Italy and reveals the complex layers of different versions of the past infiltrated in individual and group memories and opposed to official stories about the events. Van Boeschoten seems to agree with Allesantro Portelli and Giovanni Contini that a divided memory among the members of a community comes to terms with official versions of their past.
The last paper is an extended review essay on the very important issue of commemoration and the internet. It examines the case of the American civil war, perhaps the most famous, popularized, and commemorated civil war ever took place. The American civil war had also been extensively used as a basic pillar of construction the American national identity and collective memory in a unique way, transforming its meaning through time and space. The local meaning it acquired is equally important to the global one. Neo-confederate views of nostalgia and the emergence of southern ‘way of living’ as a paradigm for the original American way of life are significant steps in the re-evaluation of the civil war experience through ‘private’, local memories that extend to public sphere through internet. Paschaloudi offers an indicative collection of relevant sites while commenting on the various types of online memories and their connection to various stages of the remembrance the American civil war acquired in American society.
Commemoration and civil wars- an impasse?
As already mentioned, a series of conflicting elements make difficult, if not impossible, the acknowledgment and commemoration of a civil war as such by the post civil war society. A first reason is that civil wars break out, or contribute, to a moment of weakness of nation-state, in actual power or symbolic terms. Then, how would it be possible to commemorate the moment of weakness?
A second subversive dimension is the divisive nature of civil war per se. This division in public (the contest of state) and in private (family) sphere contributes to the collapse of both. Not surprisingly, this kind of memories and commemoration are very hard to articulate, despite being deeply inscribed in the individual/family experiences. Thus, quite often, civil war memories remain unspoken for many decades, in spite of being deeply impressed in individual and family memories. This anti-representational[9] nature of civil wars explains the discrepancies and similarities between some forms of testimonies to other forms (for instance the tensions between oral interviews to the written memoirs) and the discrepancies between historical narrative and the subject’s experience. In this case silence plays perhaps the most crucial role in the memory and the representation of the events[10]
The picture is getting more blurred by the impact of elements as the individual and family memories that contest official ones, the perplexed role of professional history makers, i.e. scholarly research, the emergence of ‘countermemories’ in public and private sphere, the use of nation-state as an all-inclusive interpretative umbrella of social and political phenomena, etc. Even after the accomplishment of – either ample or superficial- reconciliation within society, some structural elements of the established memorial codes, through which public commemoration of past takes place, seem to remain uncontested.
The fellow travellers: Clio and Mnemosyne
The papers of Button and Alapuro raise another important issue in the understanding of commemorative practices in civil war societies: the role of professional scholars which have the duty of transferring the representation of the civil war in the following generations. The question raised is who has the right to make history; who has the right to shape and preserve public narratives of historical events?
Even Nora in his classic Places of Memory seemed to believe that what schematically has been called the ‘community of knowledge’ was somehow radically divided from the ‘community of memory’. Still, most historians rarely admit the complex relationship between their personal background, memories, experiences, hierarchies, and the production of historiographical knowledge. However, critical theory has commented extensively on the role of historiography as a national(ist) enterprise, within nation-state. As Peter Novick has showed, scholarship in the United States has always been sensitive about contemporary political agenda and priorities[11].
This complex relationship raises important questions of deontology and the limits of academic role[12]. What is the connection between the subjectivity of individual memories and the scholarly production of history, and vice versa? What is the impact of the political and social juncture, as well as the institutional context, in shaping the individual experiences and preferences of historians, both as individuals and as a professional class? How can we explain the fact that as Alapuro mentions ‘by World War II the academic culture was significantly incapable of analyzing the conflict’ or the fact that the scholarship on the Greek Civil War (1946-49) produced more than half of its works only after the nineties?
As Bourke rightly notes ‘Private memory not only contributes to history, but also takes some of its knowledge from history. It not only assails history, but history also assails memory. History and memory are not detached narrative structures; at no time in the past was memory ‘spontaneous’ or ‘organic’[13]. Especially in cases as post-civil war societies, the role of scholarly production is crucial in the constructing of political consensus that leads to reconciliation, i.e. contributing to the transmission and construction of ‘social’ or ‘collective’ memory, perplexing the moral with the cognitive categories. Still, the mediation of knowledge rarely flows exclusively through scholarly channels, a reality most scholars fail to admit[14].
Civil wars and commemoration within nation states
Numerous studies have shown the importance of wars and their remembrance on the shaping and negotiation of national identities[15].
Civil wars mainly raise one major issue: they test the coherence and the actual meaning of national identity[16]each side perceived the “nation” as something that only they could identify with; the “other” was excluded from this procedure. What is interesting is that usually rival sides deny the civil character of conflict. For the nation-state to consider the conflict as civil war would mean to recognize the other side as equal part of the same nation, something absolutely opposite to the main argument. As the civil wars escalate, the anti-national sentiments of the enemy had to be proved in order to de-legalize the aim of the fighting. Therefore, the revolutionary action is identified with alien or separatist propaganda, identifying the national with the political enemy. . Typically,
Thus, a privileged field of interpretation of civil wars, especially by the winners of the war is that of terminology. The contemporaneous and retrospective use of specific terms classifies the nature of the war within politically oriented interpretational limits, leaving no term politically neutral. Consequently, the civil wars have no commonly shared names, even many decades after the conflict. In Greece, it was a ‘bandit war’ for the right wing side, a ‘second occupation’ and ‘resistance’ for the left wing and a ‘civil war’ only after the 70s and for a specific part of the Greek population. In Finland, it was a ‘war of Freedom’ for the bourgeois state and a ‘civil war’ for the ‘insurgents’, and so on. In general the term civil war contains the word “war” which refers to violence and “civil” which refers to killing a fellow-citizen, thus is difficult to be perceived in a positive way. As Ledesma and Rodrigo note in Spain, Francoist public discourses talked until the 60’s in terms of “Crusade” and “Liberation War”, and what is commemorated is not peace but the “Victory” against the “red”. Only then, “Civil War” as category is accepted.
This renegotiation and redefinition of national identity and citizenship owners does not take place in social and cultural vacuum. The pillars of nation state as the church, education, army, militias, juridical system, etc also redefine hierarchies and class divisions within society. For instance, the existence of numerous veteran and victims and their relatives organizations and their demands for recognition reflect the existence of pressure groups and clientelistic networks. The moral and financial recognition of their sacrifices and the non-recognition of the actions of their rivals shaped new elites of ‘professional’ memory guardians who built their political, social and economic elevation on the preservation of memories of the events commemorated. 
The usual response of the official rhetoric of the defeated is that of victimization. Instead of the social and political struggles, the losers of the war tend to project in the private and semi-public sphere of remembrance the exiles, executions, imprisonments as a medium of individual and public remembrance. The image for next generations had to be the one of an insane tragedy. Unavoidably, this ‘elliptic’ set of values produced silences regarding the remembrance elements of the conflict that did not fit the specific version of the past.
As a result, the commemoration of civil conflicts usually takes place through a totally different set of categories. In other words, the contextualization of civil wars commemoration and remembrance usually shifts the interpretation from internal divisions to external intervention. Despite the presence of social stakes, the latter remain in the background of remembrance, as a supplement and not a major issue. This brings us back to a central ambivalence: after all, are civil wars actually civil? Is the civil element present in their commemoration?[17]  
Violence, kinship and commemorative practices
The amount of violence exercised in the above mentioned civil wars was immense. The same stands for the post-war political arrangements and political violence against the side that lost the war. As commemorative practices show, civil wars have long terms impacts on societies, possibly more than other forms of internal conflict or state wars. The traumatic experience of exercising or suffering violence by the fellow citizens was a key issue in the remembrance of the events in the following years. The mixture of nationalism, military values and religion bypasses the public and invades the private sphere[18]. Civil wars create new set of interpretation codes of cultural, political, national identities, codes that follow an autonomous path, being re-evaluated according to political and cultural junctures. It is often the breaking of these codes that provokes new set of divisions and ambiguous events of commemoration, as the paper of Karge and Alapuro show. 
Thus, it seems that when violence is perceived as individual (as it happens in civil wars) and is connected to actual losses in the extended family or other imaginary kinship community, the remembrance of that fact is very vivid and extends to the following generations, even if it fails to expand to public sphere[19]; despite the public dominance of reconciliation rhetoric[21]. .  Passerini noted that “if such public and extending to private, ‘amnesia’ is imposed by the authorities, this cannot take place without some sort of complicity on the part of those who accept and prolong an imposed silence”. The “silence intended to impose oblivion” often imposes solely silence in the public sphere. This “contradictory mixture of memory and oblivion” allows memory to exist “within silence and through silence”. The examples of Jasenovac, Finland and Greece, examined in this volume, are characteristic on this aspect. Thus, official versions of the past might be “essential in political life to forget the rancours from the past in order to reach a consolidation of democracy” as was the Spanish case, but quite often failed to become dominant in private sphere[20]; As Nikos Marantzidis has showed the ethnic community of Turk-speaking refugees in Greece voted for the right wing parties for many decades after the end of the war, identifying elections with memorial services of their deceased members of the community by the communist rivals
Indeed, nothing is more personal and political at the same time than the duty to remember the members of the family, or community that died in a shared experience. The case of current public Shoah representations verifies this point. As many scholars noted, Shoah memories have developed an autonomous path of public expression, described schematically by scholars as ‘postmemory’. As Marianne Hirsch notes ‘postmemory’ resurfaces as a revenant in the post-Holocaust generation, ‘a powerful and very particular form of memory precisely because its connection to its object or source is mediated not through recollection but through an imaginative investment and creation’[22]. As Sicher points out “what shapes the memory when it has become a cultural artifact with tenuous relevance to the historical events…Yet the growing legitimacy of fiction that claims to represent the Holocaust and its aftermath must make us examine the consequences of hypermediated cultural constructions of the past for identity and historical truth”[23].
Passerini finds the role of the individual in reestablishing a collective sense of the past very significant for the complicate relations between silence, memory and oblivion. In this case there is a twofold relationship: individual and family memories expressed though grief or/ and memorial services influence the public remembrance through alternate version of the past; on the opposite, the official memories of the professional memory makers’, as Nora named them, influenced and transformed the individual memories towards different social and political priorities.
The emergence of alternate memories in public
The tension between official views and ‘counterhistories’, i.e. alternate histories, reflects the cultural and social position of each side in public sphere. The moments of contestation or the persistence of specific versions of the past partly depend on how these versions are constituted, beyond issues of power and conjunction. As Olick and Robbins claim, “National past is based on prohibition and requirements...it changes with refutation and argumentation[24].  In Britain, despite British government’s disapproval, the victims of executions of World War I and their descendants, managed to add their names in local war memorials and gradually received some commemorative recognition, only in 2001[25].
Indeed, as Passerini has showed in her classic study of Turin working class, a parallel network of cultural values and memories contested and survived the official one. Oral and written traditions, cultural and social values within the family and community preserved the alternate memories, until the moment of public expression, which usually comes along with a source of external legitimacy in public sphere. As Olick and Robbins note, social groups use images of the past as vehicles for establishing their power, or perversely, lack of power.[26]Finland, despite the existence of this alternate network, this version of the past was turned to public only after the Second World War and the legitimacy Soviet Union acquired during the war. As a result, in this post-war era the commemoration of the defeated of the war found a way of expression through public sculpture and memoir writing.  For
As Van Boeschoten’s, Karge’s and Ledesma’s-Rodrigo’s articles show, a privileged field for contestation is that of the preservation of the memory of the deceased. The duty to recognise sacrifices and the purification of the acts of the deceased are patterns met in most civil war remembrance public disputes. The safeguarding of victims' graves and their memory provided an internal group legitimacy of public commemoration duty, despite official denunciation. In Florina, a Greek city where civil war battles took place, local society is still divided about the fact that there is still no graveyard for the losses communists suffered during the civil war. In Finland, the graveyards of executed Reds were for a long time a very sensitive subject[27]shows the incapacity of releasing the living members of the community from the shared past with the deceased[28]. The sacred, thus religious, element of these memorial patterns reshapes identities and reformulates the relation of individuals with the nation-state, even by reaffirming its power[29].   .  Thus, even in periods where the reconciliation and unity motif is dominant, the issue of death still provokes powerful and ambivalent feelings ‘from below’ that challenge the official rhetoric. In official ceremonies of the Greek Civil War, the roll of honour of dead soldiers
Remembrance in the years of reconciliation
The usual founding elements of reconciliation in societies that faced civil conflicts in the past were based on the incorporation of elements of the defeated culture, rhetoric, and version of the past. As Karge, Button and Alapuro made clear in their papers, the collapse of the soviet block in 1989 was a decisive moment in the process of public remembrance and revaluation of these events. However, the reorientation of dominant public discourses -or even the complete reverse of them- usually has an internal, autonomous logic that does not necessarily comply with external turning points of global, or even national, importance[30].
For instance, the alternate memories of the Greek Civil War were facilitated by a) the far right Junta in the 60s that de-legitimised the dominant official version of the civil war events and remembrance, b) the socialist government of 1981 that allowed the flow of memories on the occupation period and c) the rise of communists in power, in common government with conservatives (ironically in the year the Berlin wall fell) that revived the flow of memories on the open civil war strive of 1946-49. Accordingly, in France it was not politics or historiography but cinema that was catalytic in the reinterpretation of the 40s in an alternate way, by the success of the “Sorrow and the Pity” documentary and the shocking “Lacombe Lucien” film by Louis Malle in 1974; works that were attacked severely in public by the politically and culturally correct intelligentsia of the period[31]. In Finland, it was literature that contributed mostly to the equal representation of the civil war actors and victims. In Finland, Italy and elsewhere it was the 60s student movements and general cultural and social freshness that created the necessary space for the reassessment of the civil conflicts experiences in public sphere.
This reassessment of the meaning of the past in current societies was not necessarily less simplistic, inaccurate or manichean than the version it replaced; Again, an all-inclusive myth prevailed; a myth that excluded versions of the past that could produce ambivalence or political and ideological irrationality. Neither was it less problematically accepted, since the reactions to these developments included strong feelings and counter efforts to preserve the current status quo. The old codes seized to produce the same symbolic messages and the message transmitted did not have recipients anymore. The inability of formerly significant rituals and memory places to provoke social recognition and political connotations created new ruptures and wounds. It was, however, aiming at the restitution of the hypostasis of the neglected and marginalised groups of the society; thus, it had reconciliatory logic, aimed at the healing of collective wounds and traumas the internal conflict and its aftermath produced. 
Typically, the new rhetoric aimed at the social consensus: thus, again, the central role of nation state did not diminish. Previously marginalised groups were considered as equal and important parts of the nation. They received social, cultural and financial legitimacy and recognition. The new agenda claimed that both rival sides fought against each other for the sake of nation. The moral equality acknowledged in conflicting actions secured the reunification of the nation’s past in one single memorial tradition and transformed political and social struggles into neutral events of apolitical stakes. The message was that the disputed events were nothing more than a ‘national tragedy’. As a result, once more, the civil nature and essence of the conflict was abolished and the remembrance of the social and cultural subjectivities, ambiguities, perplexities of a complex past was pushed aside, in favour of national and social unity; a process that created a whole new set of subaltern categories and groups that remained on the margins of memory and history. The incorporation of these ‘shades’ of history into the nation’s collective memory and history remained the duty of the post-national and post-modern scholarly research and society.

[1] A classic study on war commemoration is that of Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, Cambridge University Press, 1995.
[2]  Anastasia Karakasidou, “Protocol and Pageantry: Celebrating the Nation in Northern Greece”, in M. Mazower (ed) After the War was Over: reconstructing the Family, Nation and State in Greece, 1943-1960, Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 225
[3] For instance, see Wulf Kansteiner, ‘Finding Meaning in Memory: A Methodological Critique of Collective Memory Studies’, History and Theory, 41 (May 2002), 179-197 and Joanna Bourke, “Introduction ‘Remembering’ War”, Journal of Contemporary History, 39 (4), Oct. 2004, 473–485. Also, Jeffrey Olick, ‘Collective Memory: the two Cultures’, Sociological Theory, 17 (3), Nov. 1999, pp. 333-348.
[4] See the critique to Shoah memory studies in the special issue (‘Grounds for remembering”) made by Thomas Laquer, Representations Journal, vol. 69, winter 2000, pp.1-8
[5] Susan Crane, ‘Writing the Individual back into Collective Memory’, The American Historical Review, 102 (5), 1997, pp. 1372-1385.
[6] For an interesting approach, resisting the subordination of memory studies to politics see Alon Confino, ‘Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method’, The American Historical Review, 102 (5), 1997, pp.1386-1403. For a more ‘technical’, still interesting, critique and review of memory studies see Jeffrey Olick-Joyce Robbins, ‘Social Memory studies: From collective memory to the historical sociology of mnemonic practices’, Annual Review of Sociology, 24 (1998), pp.105-140
[7] Starting from the monograph of Paloma Aguilar, Memory and Amnesia, The Role of the Spanish Civil War in the Transition to Democracy, N.York, Berghahn, 2002. See also the special issue of History & Memory Journal that contained articles as Angela Cenarro, ‘Memory beyond the Public Sphere, The Francoist repression remembered in Aragon’, pp.165-188. Michael Richards, ‘From war culture to civil society, Francoism, Social Change and Memories of the Spanish Civil War’, 93-120, Susana Narotzky and Gavin Smith, ‘“Being Politico” in Spain, An ethnographic account of Memories, Silences and Public Politics’, pp. 189-228: History & Memory 14.1/2 (2002) 
[8] Henry Rousso, Vichy Syndrome, History and Memory in France since 1944. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1991.
[9] The term is used in Young, ‘Toward a received history of the Holocaust’, History and Theory, 36 (4), Dec. 1997, p.32
[10] Among other suggestions and comments I owe this remark to Luisa Passerini.
[11] Peter Novick, Holocaust in American Life, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999
[12] There is also a reversed issue raised: what are the ethics and deontology of a scholar when he/she acknowledges the role of ‘memorialist’ or ‘activist’?
[13] J. Bourke, “Introduction”, p. 485
[14] Hanna Diamond and Claire Gorrara, ‘Occupation Memories: French History and the Aubrac affair in the 1990s’, in Kidd, Memory and Memorials, pp.241-243. See also Richard Golsan, Vichy’s afterlife, History and counterhistory in postwar France, University of Nebraska Press, 2000, p.13, where he refers to the role of historians in collaborators’ trials in France, where historians played the role of witnesses of the past “along with all the other witnesses” of all kinds.
[15] A well studied case is, again, Spain. See Eduardo M. Moreno and Juan P. Garzon, ‘A Difficult Nation? History and Nationalism in Contemporary Spain’, History & Memory 14.1/2 (2002), pp. 259-284. For post-war Germany and the construction of Germany’s collective memory of the country’s military past, the article of Douglas Peifer, ‘Commemoration of Mutiny, Rebellion and Resistance in Post-war Germany: Public Memory, History and the formation of ‘Memory Beacons’, The Journal of Military History, 65(4) , 1013-1052. Also, Robert Moeller, ‘War Stories: the search for a usable past in the Federal Republic of Germany’, The American Historical Review, 101 (4), pp. 1008-1048.
[16] Paloma Aguilar and Carsten Humlebaeck, ‘Collective Memory and National Identity in the Spanish Democracy. The legacies of Francoism and the Civil War’ History & Memory 14.1/2 (2002), pp. 121-164.
[17] For the connection of national identity with the past and the role of civil war representation in post-war Greece see Yannis Hamilakis, ‘The other Parthenon: Antiquity and National Memory at Makronissos’, Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 20, Number 2, October 2002, pp. 307-338.
[18] Raanan Rein, “A Political Funeral”, History & Memory 14.1/2 (2002), pp. 5-12
[19] A typical case of this kindis that of European Roma populations and their extermination from Nazis. See Michael Stewart, ‘Remembering without commemoration: the mnemonics and politics of Holocaust memories among European Roma’, Royal Anthropoligal Institute Journal, 10, 561-582.
[20] Passerini, ????
[21] Nikos Marantzidis, Yasasin Millet, Panepistimiakes Ekdoseis Kritis, 2001.
[22] Quoted inEfraim Sicher, ‘The future of the Past. Countermemory and Postmemory in contemporary American post-Holocaust Narratives, History & Memory 12.2 (2001) 56-91, p. 57
[23] ibid, p. 57
[24] Olick-Robbins, p. 130
[25] W.Kidd, B. Murdoch (eds), ‘Introduction’, in Memory and Memorials, the commemorative century, Ashgate, 2004, p.3
[26] Olick-Robbins, p. 127
[27] See also Stefan Goebel, ‘Remembered and Re-mobilized: The “Sleeping Dead” in Interwar Germany and Britain’ in Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Contemporary History, Oct 2004; 39: 487 - 501.
[28] See Alastair Duncan, ‘The problematic commemoration of war in the early films of Alain Resnais’, in Kidd, Memory and Memorials, p.218 for a similar description.
[29] See James M. Mayo, ‘War Memorial as Political Memory’, Geographical Review, 78 (1), pp.62-75
[30] As Stathis Kalyvas claims, however, the post-cold war era marks a turning point in the reassessment of the nature of civil wars in general: “At the same time, it is often overlooked that the end of the cold war has decisively affected how civil wars are interpreted, coded [and remembered] by both participants and observers. Nonetheless, the demise of the conceptual categories engendered by the cold war allows us to probe the core of civil wars unhindered by the constraints of externally imposed lenses”. “Old and New Civil Wars: A valid distinction?World Politics 54.1 (2001) 99-118
[31] Golsan, Vichy’s afterlife, pp. 57-87