Memories not yet formed : commemorating the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune

Varley, Karine (2020) Memories not yet formed : commemorating the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune. Journal of War and Culture Studies, n/a. n/a. ISSN 1752-6272

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    This article seeks to challenge the suggestion that whereas the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 was widely remembered and commemorated in the years that followed, the Paris Commune of 1871 was not. The rapid shift from the Franco-Prussian War ending in January 1871 to the rise of the Paris Commune two months later meant that before memories of the former had been established, they had already been shaped by the influence of the latter. In commemorating the Franco-Prussian War, it was therefore impossible to avoid stirring up memories of the fighting against the Commune. Moreover, far from memories of the army’s violent crushing of the Paris Commune having been repressed, this article suggests that their absence was because they had not yet been formed. The example of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune therefore has wider implications for scholars dealing with lacunae in memory or the appearance of forgetting.

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