AntiFascism and Memory in East Germany: Remembering the International Brigades 1945-1989

Hardcover | October 7, 2004

byJosie McLellan

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AntiFascism and Memory in East Germany is a book about remembering and about forgetting, about war, and about the peace which eventually followed. In the unlikely setting of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the Spanish Civil War became the subject of a debate which both predated andoutlasted the Cold War, involving historians, veterans, politicains, censors, artists, writers, and Church activists. Examining these multiple memories and interpretations of Spain casts new and unexpected light on the legacy of the Spanish Civil War, and the relationship between history and memoryunder state socialism.The ruling Socialist Unity Party made full use of the antifascist legacy as legitimation for a non-democratic state. But despite dogged attempts at control and censorship, the state was unable to silence competing voices. All over East Germany, International Brigade veterans preserved their versionof events - in letters to each other, in communications with the party, in discussions with friends and family around the kitchen table, and in memoirs written for the 'desk drawer'. For younger East Germans, the war retained an undeniably romantic aura. From their perspective, Spain was a far-awayland to which they were forbidden to travel, the stuff of camp-fire singalongs and fantasies of adventure. This book dissects the relationship between state-sponsored history, the lobbying of veterans, cultural interpretations of war, and the memory traces left behind by marginalised or politically oppositional groups and individuals. It is a cultural history of memory under state socialism, a socialhistory of veteran groups and their relationship with the state, and a political history of communist culture. Above all, it is the story of how post-war Europeans came to terms with the heavy burden of their pre-war past.

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From the Publisher

AntiFascism and Memory in East Germany is a book about remembering and about forgetting, about war, and about the peace which eventually followed. In the unlikely setting of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the Spanish Civil War became the subject of a debate which both predated andoutlasted the Cold War, involving historians, vet...

Josie McLellan is a Lecturer in Modern European History, University of Bristol.

other books by Josie McLellan

Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.72 inPublished:October 7, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199276269

ISBN - 13:9780199276264

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Odyssey of the German Volunteers2. Strangers in a Strange Land: The Spanienkampfer in Esat Germany3. The Uses of History: The Party Appropriates Spain4. Reluctant Heroes: Veterans and the State Contest the Meaning of War5. Heroes Like Us? The Second Generation Rediscover the Volunteers6. Undiplomatic Statements: Censoring Spain7. Stalinism and SilenceConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`McLellan is to be praised for her slim volume based on an enormous amount of archival research, oral history interviews and printed sources, which comes complete with good footnotes, a bibliography and list of abbreviations.'The English Historical Review