Museum Culture of Remembrance: The Depiction of World War II in Japanese, German and Austrian Museums

Marco Sostero
2012 Vienna Journal of East Asian Studies   unpublished
As one component of cultural memory, museums have the potential to co-form the remembrance of an entire society. They try to minimise the experience deficiency of their visitors and help them further to know and understand history in an interesting and vivid way. The present paper will show how and to what extent important museums in Japan, Germany and Austria try to shape the historical consciousness of their visitors. With the Yūshūkan in Tōkyō, the Heiwa Kinen Shiryōkan in Hiroshima, the
more » ... Hiroshima, the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin and the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna, four representative institutions will be taken as indicators of the national efforts to re-appraise the history of World War II. Analyses of the different exhibitions, together with an international comparison, will document the individual position of each museum as well as its political intention. In addition, legal and cultural backgrounds that can lead to a country-specific, ideologically biased museum-based depiction of World War II will also be taken into consideration .