Schools Beyond Regions and Borders
Democracy and Constitutions
Between Silence, Oblivion and Recovery: Historical Memory and Troubled Pasts in Spain and Europe
Prof. Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco

During almost forty years general Franco ruled Spain with a fearful dictatorship (1936‑1975). For that time the Spanish society could not face its troubled past of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) or the dictatorship. However, when democracy returned to Spain the policies of memory were not at the centre of the political agenda. It was not until the 2000s and the birth of the ‘Movement for the Recovery of the Historical Memory’ when some Spanish governments were impelled to develop policies of memory to deal with the country’s traumatic past.


The history of the memory of the war and the violence in Spain has some similarities with other European cases. It has moved between silence, deformation and contestation. This lecture will deal with the Spanish case, reflecting on and comparing and contrasting it with other European cases. Memory is a powerful weapon to remember the past and face the challenges of our changing world.