This book explores the changing evolution of memory debates on places intimately linked to the lives and deaths of different fascist, para-fascist and communist dictators in a truly transnational and comparative way.
During the second decade of the twenty-first century, a number of parallel debates arose in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Albania, Austria and other European countries regarding the public management by democratic regimes of those sites of memory that were directly linked to the personal biographies of their former dictators. The ways in which each democracy deals with the dead bodies, mausoleums and birthplaces of the dictators vary considerably, although common questions occur, such as whether oblivion or re-signification is better, the risk of a posthumous cult of personality being established and the extent to which the shadow of the authoritarian past endures in these sites of memory. Using the concept of "sites of the dictators", the author explains why it is so difficult to deal with some sites of memory linked to dead autocrats, as those places contribute directly or indirectly to humanizing them, making their remembrance more acceptable for the present and future generations, and discusses the potential of the "Europeanization" of these "dark" memories of the past.
Exploring the imperatives of memory politics and how these are reconciled with local actors interested in exploiting the dictator’s remembrance, this book will be useful reading for students and scholars of history, politics and memory studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Sites of Memory, Sites of Dictators
2. The Sites of the Fascist Dictators
3. The Sites of the Authoritarian and Collaborationist Dictators
4. Is Spain Different? The Many Sites of the Caudillo
5. The Sites of the Communist Dictators
6. Epilogue: What Should be Done with the Sites of the Dictators?
Xosé M. Núñez Seixas (PhD, European University Institute, Florence, Italy) is professor of modern history at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. His fields of research are comparative nationalism and territorial identities, overseas migrations and the cultural history of war. His latest publications are (ed.) The First World War and the Nationality Question in Europe (Leiden/Boston, 2020) and The Spanish Blue Division (Toronto, 2022, forthcoming).