The History as Democracy? event series was launched on October 28, 2021 at the CEU campus in Budapest wth the roundtable titled “Memory Politics and Democracy: Remembering Civil Wars in Austria, Spain, and Greece”. Roundtable participants were Julian Casanova (University of Zaragoza, Spain; CEU, Vienna), Kostis Karpzilos (Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI), Athens) and Florian Wenniger (Institute for Historical Social Research (IHSF), Vienna), while the moderator was Elisabeth Luif (CEU).
Civil Wars have not only significantly shaped the European continent of the 20th century, their complicated legacy also follows us into the 21st century. The question of how to interpret and remember these conflicts remains contested until today. Such controversies are not confined to history in a narrow sense but are connected to present-day political conflicts and reflect different understandings of democracy. In the kick-off event of our public series, we will take a comparative look at the civil wars in Austria (1934), Spain (1936–39), and Greece (1946–49). We have invited three eminent specialists to give a short overview on ongoing public and historiographical debates for each country case. Then, we will discuss together what our role as historians is, not only for investigating the past, but in current debates, and how history as an academic discipline and public discourse may contribute to open and democratic societies.
Julián Casanova is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Zaragoza and Visiting Professor at the Central European University in Vienna/Budapest. Kostis Karpozilos is the director of the Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI) in Athens. Florian Wenninger is the Director of the Institute for Historical Social Research (IHSF), Vienna. Elisabeth Luif is a doctoral candidate at the Department of History at Central European University, Vienna/Budapest.