Beating Nazis and Exporting Socialism: Representing East German War Memory to Foreign Tourists
The importance of memorials in helping form national identity is well established.1 Constructed and reconstructed according to prevailing socio-cultural trends (themselves a combination of memory, identity, and politics), these commemorative sites provide a sense of shared history by preserving past events for future generations. They serve an internal purpose, coalescing a given population around public displays of specifically constructed collective memories, but also an external one, providing public symbols for export. Consider, for instance, the international recognizability of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, symbolizing both divided and reunited Germany. In short, memorials help a population define both who they are and how they want others to see them.
KeywordsNational Identity Historical Narrative Eastern Bloc Foreign Tourist Mass Tourism
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