Magdalena Abel


Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Psychology, Regensburg University

Magdalena Abel Webpage

ABSTRACT | Collective Memories of World War II: Similarities and Differences in Recall of the Most Important Events Across 11 Countries

World War II as a global war affected almost all nations. The events that took place during the war and the consequences of these events are still being debated today, decades after the war ended in 1945. In this study, we examined how 1,332 people from different nations remembered the war. We asked over 100 people from each of 11 countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, the UK, and the US) to recall the 10 most important events of World War II. The results demonstrate great cross-national overlap in which events are considered to be the most important ones, but also some striking differences. In particular, Russia’s narrative seems quite different from that of its former allies and enemies. We discuss potential ways in which national memories may come to adapt to a certain perspective over time, but also how persistent idiosyncratic memories of a nation’s past may serve national identity.