Victimizing Europeans: narrating shared history in the European Parliament’s House of European History

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Abstract

The European Parliament’s House of European History in Brussels, which opened in 2017, is the first museum in Europe devoted to telling the history of modern Europe. Based on a close reading of its permanent exhibition, non-participant observation, document analysis and interviews, this article explores and interprets the museum’s master-narrative about the First World War, the totalitarian regimes and the Second World War and post-war European integration. It demonstrates how and why the museum blames nationalism as the root cause of conflict and war in Europe. With its strong focus on the similarities between National Socialism and Stalinism as regimes of oppression, moreover, it tells a story of Europeans as victims of abstract oppressive regimes. Paradoxically, the House of European History in this way employs the narrative tools of nationalism for overcoming nationalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-78
JournalPolitique Européenne
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2021

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