Aneta Mihaylova, World War II Revisited: New Approaches and Interpretations in the National Historiographies of Bulgaria and Romania after 1989

Aneta Mihaylova - Institute of Balkan Studies & Centre of Thracology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia
TOME IV 1966 1-2
pp. 317-330
Online publication date: 
historiography; Second World War; Bulgaria; Romania; Holocaust

Among all other things, the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe gave rise to significant changes in the historiography and the memory of the past in general. Topics that have long been carefully covered by ideological silence were brought up to public attention, historical events and whole historical periods became subject of revision and reassessment. The spirit of the “miraculous” 1989 unleashed passionate public interest in the national history of the recent past, as if vocalizing the “silenced” issues and correcting the distorted picture of the past would clear the path for a new future. In this new situation of openness and ideological freedom, the historians were also to face many challenges. Unveiling the dark past implied the difficult task of handling with nationally sensitive issues. The history of the Second World War, which is a turning point in the history of Europe, is full of such delicate and controversial issues. And if in Western Europe the process of talking about the difficult issues related to that period had started in the 1970s and especially in the 1980s, in Eastern Europe that would take place only after the fall of communism. This paper attempts to make a comparative study of the post-communist historiography on the Second World War in Bulgaria and Romania, two countries that shared the common fate of German satellites during the war and then of Soviet satellites in its aftermath, which determined the historical interpretation of the period.