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Negotiating the memories and myths of World War II civilian suffering in the railways beneath London and Berlin
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (DIGSUM)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9572-5922
2016 (English)In: Battlefield Events: Landscape, Commemoration and Heritage / [ed] Keir Reeves, Geoffrey R. Bird, Laura James, Birger Stichelbaut and Jean Bourgeois, New York: Routledge, 2016, 200-216 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter approaches the subterranean sections of the London Underground and the Berlin Untergrundbahn and Stadtschnellbahn as former landscapes of war. It demonstrates how their landscapes witnessed and continue to play host to an array of World War Two (WWII) civilian experiences, memories and myths, which have repeatedly demanded public negotiation, been produced across and between the material, representational and experiential stratum, and influenced by the interplay of a range of mnemonic actors, processes, and structures. It charts these subterranean railways’ WWII histories and characteristics before highlighting the dominant cultural tropes and mnemonic discourses that shape the remembrance and heritagisation of subterranean civilian wartime experiences. Two cases illustrate the extent to which these experiences are commemorated and memorialised within the networks’ landscapes today. In Berlin, the absences and myths relating to the U- and S-Bahn’s deliberate flooding at the end of the WWII in Europe is considered, before attention is shifted to London and the earlier Bethnal Green Tube shelter disaster of March 1943. Reflections are drawn to suggest that each case’s public negotiation might usefully inform the other to provide unique contexts in which to address the sensitive and often controversial subject of commemorating WWII civilian suffering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Routledge, 2016. 200-216 p.
, Routledge Advances in Event Research Series, ISSN 978-1-138-90059-2 ; 17
Keyword [en]
London Underground, Berlin U-Bahn, Berlin S-Bahn, World War Two, Myth, Memory, Heritage, Commemoration, Civilian Suffering, Subterranean Landscapes
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Human Geography
Research subject
Sociology; Social and Economic Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-114315ISBN: 978-1-138-90059-2OAI: diva2:894948
Available from: 2016-01-17 Created: 2016-01-17 Last updated: 2016-01-17

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Merrill, Samuel
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