Commemorating catastrophe: 100 years on

Jay Winter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Memory is always about the future. When political conditions change, so do narratives about the past. This essay attempts to show the present-mindedness of commemoration of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War in various parts of Europe. One case in point is the Russian rediscovery of the trilogy of a strong leader, a strong army, and a strong church in internet narratives of the Great War, in song, in poetry and in prose. Another is the stress on local rather than national narratives of commemoration, on memories rather than on memory, in a Western Europe with a troubled politics of national populism and resistance to full European integration. A third is the fracture between Western European secularized narratives of war and Eastern European and Middle Eastern sacred narratives of war. All show a profoundly divided historical landscape painting by profoundly divided contemporary commentators on the past.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-255
    Number of pages17
    JournalWar and Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017


    • Commemoration
    • First World War
    • Memory regimes

    Cite this