- Professur für Historische Geographie

Battlefields of the 19th and 20th century in Germany as landscapes of memory

Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Andreas Dix auf der European Conference of Historical Geographers in Prag

Prof. Dr. Andreas Dix wird an der Karls-Universität Prag an der internationalen Konferenz „Military and Postmilitary Landscapes“ teilnehmen. Er spricht über „Battlefields of the 19th and 20th century in Germany as landscapes of memory". Nähere Informationen zum Programm der Konferenz finden Sie unter: http://www.historickageografie.cz/cechg2018/program


Beside cemeteries, memorials and distinct places (e.g. houses where peace treaties were signed), battlefields always played and are still playing a major role in the memorialization of war. This process often started shortly after hostile actions finished. First visitors tried to describe the atmosphere of an important political moment or tried to find relics. Battlefields then were commonly signed on topographic maps, described in an endless number of military literature and a popular topic for painters. Until today, battlefields are popular touristic places where sometimes reenactment groups are reconstructing the historic event. The paper tries to give an overview of the memorialization processes on and with battlefields in Germany since the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the 19th century. Due to the World Wars I and II, battlefields are today not as popular as in other countries like in the US where the battlefields of the Civil War (1861-1865) are often meticulously preserved and became important parts of the National Historical Landmarks Program. Visiting these battlefields is integrated into political education. Based on a reconstruction of the history of the battlefields in Germany after the battle, the history and the mechanism of memorialization will be analysed. In a second step, the question of the current status of battlefields in the collective memory in contemporary Germany will be discussed.