Line Line

Regime Change at the Museum

Print This Post Print This Post

A major regime change happened in the Soviet Union around 1990, after which there remained no Soviet Union as such, but instead Russia and a number of newly sovereign neighbors such as Ukraine. It would have been around this time that a museum/historical site such as Perm-36 became possible, even useful to Russia’s government. Revisionism, ever present in its more-deceitful forms in the USSR, was afoot in Russia on an industrial scale, quite as George Orwell envisioned in 1984.

Museums in the West are funded and operated in some cases by private entities, or even as hybrids like the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, operated by a private entity and funded by the US government. Even though Perm-36, a former GuLag camp near the city of Perm, was run by a “human-rights group,” it seems to have received not only approval but at least some funding from the local regional administration.

No more. The present more “assertive” Russian regime will not abide talk about government repression – perhaps bad news for those who fear government repression. The museum is now closed and “in the process of self-liquidation.” The many museums on – and not on – sites of Holocaust labor and transit camps can be attributed in crucial part to the utter extermination of National Socialism and its governmental apparatus following the invasion and conquest of Germany in 1945. Germany’s erstwhile foes, such as Poland, operate many of these sites, while Germany itself has hosted many such installations in the time since its occupation by the victorious Allies.

Insofar as on-site museums such as Auschwitz, Perm-36, Sachsenhausen and the like are concerned, history comes and history goes – often goes  forever. It is but fleetingly visible at such installations, and but as through a veil, darkly, as the regnant regimes permit and encourage for their own ephemeral purposes. Perhaps the most-similar installation in the US is that at Andersonville, Georgia, a former prisoner-of-war camp operated by the Confederacy, at which far more atrocities were alleged by the victorious Union than in fact occurred. The present displays and interpretations are, at this remove in time, encouragingly free of cant and condemnation.

More self-abnegating are federally sponsored sites such as that of the massacre of indians at Wounded Knee, South Dakota and of even more-recent provenance, National Historic Monuments such as that at Manzanar, California, where Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II. The narrative presented there is sympathetic enough to the captives, considering that it was written by the captors, but they (the captors) could easily afford the gesture: after all, their side not only won, but was never invaded, never occupied, nor ever had atomic bombs dropped on it.

Substantive changes at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum are not to be expected anytime soon. And certainly not “self-liquidation.”

The Perm-36 memorial museum, before “self-liquidation.”


The Precedent of the Spanish-American War

Print This Post Print This Post

By Richard A. Widmann-

Sinking of the Maine used to incite war hysteria

Sinking of the Maine used to incite war hysteria

April 25th marked the anniversary of the Spanish-American War. While barely a notice appeared in the American media, the Spanish-American War of 1898 was instrumental in transforming the United States into an empire. It also established a precedent for the subsequent conflicts of the 20th Century in that the media played a major role in disseminating propaganda intended to rouse public support for war.

In early 1898 President McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana to protect American interests during the long-standing revolt of the Cubans against the Spanish government. On the evening of 15 February, a mysterious explosion suddenly blew up the Maine. Nearly three-quarters of the battleship’s crew died as a result of the explosion. The immediate assumption was that the sinking of the Maine and the deaths of 260 sailors was the result of Spanish treachery.

(Read more…)

Written by Widmann in: Historical Revisionism,Propaganda | Tags: