We assessed the knowledge of 1,338 people from 11 countries (8 former Allied and 3 former Axis) about World War II. When asked what percentage their country contributed to the war effort, across Allied countries, estimates totaled 309%, and Axis nations’ estimates came to 140%. People in 4 nations claimed more than 50% responsibility for their country (Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States). The overclaiming of responsibility reflected in these percentages was moderated when subjects were asked to consider the contributions of other countries; however, Russians continued to claim great responsibility, the only country that remained well over 50% in its claim of responsibility for the Allied victory. If deaths in the war are considered a proxy of a nation’s contributions, the Soviet Union did carry much of the burden. This study points to sharp differences in national memory even across nations who fought on the same side in the war. Differing national perspectives shape diverse memories of the same complex event.

Competing national memories of World War II

Fairfield B.;
2019

Abstract

We assessed the knowledge of 1,338 people from 11 countries (8 former Allied and 3 former Axis) about World War II. When asked what percentage their country contributed to the war effort, across Allied countries, estimates totaled 309%, and Axis nations’ estimates came to 140%. People in 4 nations claimed more than 50% responsibility for their country (Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States). The overclaiming of responsibility reflected in these percentages was moderated when subjects were asked to consider the contributions of other countries; however, Russians continued to claim great responsibility, the only country that remained well over 50% in its claim of responsibility for the Allied victory. If deaths in the war are considered a proxy of a nation’s contributions, the Soviet Union did carry much of the burden. This study points to sharp differences in national memory even across nations who fought on the same side in the war. Differing national perspectives shape diverse memories of the same complex event.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
16678.full.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: PDF editoriale
Dimensione 730.59 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
730.59 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/722931
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 3
  • Scopus 10
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 12
social impact