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“Dialectical Negation”: East Central European Marxist Historiography and the Problem of the Nation

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image of East Central Europe

The article compares Marxist histories of historiography in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany of the so called Stalinist period. In the postwar years, historiography contributed to the legitimization of Communist regimes, widely using nationalist narratives. In the 1950s and early 1960s this tendency was partly marginalized and accompanied by a critical reinterpretation of the previous historiographical traditions. Describing the latter process, the author points at the divergent geopolitical situation, the different patterns of the adoption of Marxist methodology, and the various strategies of defending the national tradition characterizing these three countries. While East Central European Marxists sometimes questioned the national historiographical traditions, quite often they simply inserted them into the Marxist vision of the past.


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