1939 After Sixty Years

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Historians view major anniversaries with a measure of ambivalence. We know that they are artificial, that it is merely a convenient fiction to think that the passage of a round number of years provides a privileged vantage point from which to review the significance of a given event. Yet we cannot resist the powerful traditions within our culture which impel us to commemorate anniversaries by taking stock of what we know of past events and, often less explicitly, by meditating on what they mean to us today. For historians of twentieth-century Europe such occasions have been rife in recent years. The looming end of the century (and, indeed, the millennium) has imparted added piquancy to reflections upon history in the long-run, and for us this means attempting to contextualise and comprehend the enduring import of the three titanic conflicts —the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War— which have scarred and shaped modern times.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationHistorian
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 1999


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