Konferenz: The Stalingrad Myth. Russian-German Comparative Perspectives

07.11.2019 - 09.11.2019

Ort: Deutsch-Russisches Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, Zwieseler Str. 4, 10318 Berlin

Organized by Claude Haas and Matthias Schwartz in cooperation with the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst and the German War Graves Commission

With the capitulation of the 6th Army in Stalingrad in February 1943, the German war of aggression and annihilation in Eastern Europe took a decisive turn. While in German cultural memory the defeat at Stalingrad is thought of to this day as »synonym for apocalypse« (Jens Ebert), in post-soviet Russia their victory in this »battle of the century« (Vassili Chuikov) is still seen as a prime example of heroic fortitude in the ›Great Patriotic War‹. No other battle, no other locus for collective memory, has been charged with such contrasting meaning throughout subsequent decades as ‹Stalingrad›. In West Germany, ‹Stalingrad› served as the epitome of German victimhood in the collective imagination of the 1950s and 60s, excluding as far as possible the guilt of war crimes and genocide. In the USSR, by contrast, the cultural commemoration of the victims and heroes of World War II gradually became more important and even partially replaced the October Revolution as the founding myth of the socialist state, especially from the 1960s onwards.

Against this backdrop, the conference will pursue two goals. Firstly, we will examine how the Stalingrad myth itself has evolved in both countries and how it has shaped competing views of World War II, and possibly of war as a whole. Secondly, we will look at the social politics that initiated and benefitted from such a culture of remembrance. The conference, thus, seeks to erode the borders between the national interpretations of the Stalingrad myth by systematically confronting different literary, cinematic, and cultural representations of the battle with one another.

The keynote will be delivered by Nina Tumarkin (Wellesley College).

The conference language will be English.

eine Konferenz des Projekts des ZfL: Historisieren heute (2019/2020)

Zur Website des Peter Szondi-Institut für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
Zur Mediothek des Osteuropainstituts