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Title: Public Memory in US Transatlantic Relations from the Late Cold War through the 1990s
Author(s): Tóth, György
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Editor(s): Kozák, Kryštof
Tóth, György
Bauer, Paul
Wanger, Allison
Citation: Tóth G (2019) Public Memory in US Transatlantic Relations from the Late Cold War through the 1990s. In: Kozák K, Tóth G, Bauer P & Wanger A (eds.) Memory in Transatlantic Relations: From the Cold War to the Global War on Terror. Memory Studies: Global Constellations. London: Routledge, pp. 49-82.
Issue Date: 2019
Series/Report no.: Memory Studies: Global Constellations
Abstract: This chapter will look for traces of a policy for the use of collective memory in U.S. transatlantic relations from the late Cold War through the mid-1990s. First I will survey the existing scholarship on the topic, and critique some of its methodological models. I will continue with an analysis of the United States Information Agency’s overseas commemorative programming for the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution as a case study of the uses of collective memory in late Cold War U.S. transatlantic relations. This will be followed by an analysis of how the Clinton White House used the memory of the end of World War Two at its 50th anniversaries in 1994-1995 as commemorative diplomacy. While for much of the post-Cold War period it had in place an apparatus to use historical anniversaries and commemorations as part of its diplomacy, the post-Cold War U.S. administrations both diminished this tool kit and did not always manage to make good use of its resources in their transatlantic relations. The lack of a coherent and focused official policy in the United States government made for a rather uneven and uninspired use of memory for transatlantic diplomacy in the 1990s – and thus it reflected not only the changing global challenges for American foreign policy, but also the government’s difficulties in articulating a new role for the United States in the world.
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