How Can States Possess History via Memorials?

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Abstract: The story recounted in Budapest in the Shadow of Dictatorships (K. Ungváry, G. Tabajdi, Budapest a Diktatúrák Árnyékában: Titkos Helyszínek, Szibolikus Terek és Emlékhelyek – Budapest in the Shadow of Dictatorship: Secret Places, Symbolic Spaces and Places of Memory, Budapest: Jaffa, 2013) points out how those who constructed the memorial must have known all these details but did not consider it necessary to mention them. Consequently, the authors ask: what exactly is the intention of this memorial, and how is history instrumentalised by States? While the book does not wholly answer this question, a reply could be hypothesised by reviewing it in tandem with the Palgrave Handbook of State-Sponsored History after 1945 (B. Bevernage, N. Wouters (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of State-Sponsored History after 1945, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Due to the differing nature of the two books, this Article focuses on questions relating to the instrumentalization of memorials – the claiming of places of memory.

Keywords: historical memory – instrumentalisation of history – age of commemoration – dictatorship – Hungarian history – historical accuracy.

European Papers, Vol. 5, 2020, No 3, pp. 1225-1229
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/433

* Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Copenhagen,



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