NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The National WWII Museum announces Memory Wars: World War II at 75 and Beyond conference, a first-of-its-kind educational event examining World War II’s place in public memory and how historians, filmmakers, media, memorials and museums help shape the legacy of the global conflict. The three-day virtual conference will bring together nearly 40 of the world’s leading museum directors, historians, filmmakers and WWII game producers through 12 informative sessions delivered across seven time zones—all live-streamed free of charge to registrants.
Memory Wars—hosted by the Museum’s Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and presented by the American Battle Monuments Commission, EA, Respawn Entertainment, and Oculus from Facebook—will take place Sept. 9–11. Sessions will explore a wide range of provocative questions and issues including:
- Was World War II really a “good war” for everyone?
- How do video games, films and other forms of popular culture shape our memory?
- Which memories of the Holocaust are we passing on to future generations?
- What lessons or relevance do these public memories have for people around the world today?
- Do the war crime trials and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights still have relevance among the victors and victims of World War II?
- How do public memories differ across different nations regarding the outcome and meaning of the conflict?
- How do museums portray the war, atrocities and the scale of violence differently for victors, victims, bystanders and perpetrators?
- How do we remember the legacy of World War II?
- Did Allied victory in World War II contribute to the advance of freedom and democracy around the world?
“As World War II transitions from living memory into history, it is incumbent for us as a society to discuss how the implications of the conflict still reverberate in the current political landscape as well as today’s pop culture,” said Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, President & CEO Emeritus at The National WWII Museum. “As the WWII generation passes away and we lose their firsthand accounts, it is more important than ever to place this monumental event in proper context.”
The opening conference session, featuring Playtone Executive and Producer Kirk Saduski known for Band of Brothers and The Pacific mini-series, will discuss the role that movies and TV have played in generating, shaping and altering popular memory of World War II, as well as the great lengths that some productions have gone to ensure the highest historical accuracy and sense of realism. During virtual sessions over the next two days, participants will have the opportunity to hear Tom Brokaw debate with other historians about the popular view of World War II as a “good war” for America and our Allies, and Respawn Entertainment Game Director Peter Hirschmann discuss how video games are shaping the public’s view of World War II.
Memory Wars virtual conference sessions will also feature:
“Days of Infamy: December 7 and September 11 in American History and Memory” A Conversation with Carol Gluck, PhD, Columbia University
Two events and dates stand out most in American memory for disaster and devastation, Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the attacks of 9/11 in 2001. On the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and mere months before the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, this session will discuss how society reacted to these two events, how they are remembered today and the differences and similarities between the two.
- Media interviews available by request with session interviewer Rob Citino, PhD, Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Historian, The National WWII Museum
“Never Again? The Holocaust in Public Memory and Discourse”
This session will discuss how the Holocaust is remembered today, by whom and for whom. How will its lasting relevance be maintained in public memory?
- Media interviews available by request with session panelist Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
“E Pluribus? Perspectives on Gender, Race, and Memory from World War II to the Present”
How do various communities within the United States remember World War II? This session discusses the complex legacies of the conflict for women, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans—all of whom developed their own narratives of the conflict based on their experiences.
- Media interviews available by request with session chair John Morrow Jr., PhD, Franklin Professor of History, University of Georgia
For a full conference schedule and list of speakers, visit ww2conference.com.
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