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Norwegian and Soviet/Russian World War II Memory Policy During the Cold War and the Post-Soviet Years

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World War II has played a significant role in using “memory” in all kind of “memory politics” in Europe as well as in the USA. Using examples from Norway and the Soviet Union, later the Russian Republic, this article shows how successfully, but also how contradictorily, historical events can be used as memory politics. We will also see what “memory culture” and “memory policy” is predominant in circumpolar Norway and the Soviet Union/Russia after World War II. We are introduced to the concept of “memory agents”, the producers and directors of “memory politics”. The case is first and foremost the battle of Narvik in Norway in the spring of 1940. We also take a look at the circumpolar borderland between Norway and the Soviet Union during World War II, where the German “Gebirgsjäger” from the Narvik front regrouped and continued their assault on Soviet Union in Murmansk County from the summer of 1941. In what way were the war events useful in the post war era, and how could they directly affect Soviet–Norwegian relations during the Cold War? In addition we ask how memories contributed to the justification of different approaches to the foreign policy in both countries. Besides, the article demonstrates how the memory policy of World War II was affected after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union in Norway and Russia, respectively.

Keywords: Arctic battle front; Historical memory; Memory policy; Norway; Soviet Union/Russia; World War II

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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