In spite of the obvious incommensurability of the Holocaust and the dropping of the first atomic bombs, the juxtaposition of Auschwitz and Hiroshima has long been a topic of serious debate. For a number of thinkers who themselves escaped the Holocaust, like Hannah Arendt, Gunther Anders, and Theodor Adorno, the comparison of Auschwitz and Hiroshima has provoked general reflection on the future genocidal potential opened up by these unprecedented instances of wholesale annihilation. While in public memory on both sides of the Iron Curtain Auschwitz and Hiroshima have become icons of industrialized mass murder, comparative research on this iconization has been dominated by decidedly Western perspectives. Moreover, the fact that in communist Eastern Europe the interpretation of these two events has differed considerably from their treatment in the West has been largely neglected. Thus, in Western thinking, both Auschwitz and Hiroshima have often been seen as fundamental ruptures that shook the foundations of civilization, whereas in communist Eastern Europe, with its ideology based on historical optimism, the concept of rupture has been either ignored or dismissed as Western defeatism. In their contributions to this volume, historians, art historians, film scholars, and literary scholars from Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Japan, Poland, and the United States investigate the perception of Auschwitz and Hiroshima in Eastern Europe from a wide range of disciplines and from cultural as well as medial perspectives. By juxtaposing these approaches, the volume presents a complex picture of the divides and intersections between different, Eastern and Western European as well as official and individual cultures of commemoration. A number of articles additionally focus on both American and Japanese responses to Auschwitz and Hiroshima. The Eastern European perspective on the Holocaust and the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is thus presented in a global context. All articles are in English.
Taal / Language : English
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