presentation of the book by Antonella Salomoni “The secret protocol” Events in Ravenna

presentation of the book by Antonella Salomoni “The secret protocol” Events in Ravenna
presentation of the book by Antonella Salomoni “The secret protocol” Events in Ravenna
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On the occasion of Memorial Day, Friday 27 January, at 18 in the D’Attorre room in via Ponte Marino 2, for the XLIX cycle of literary meetings of the Cultural Relations Center, the presentation of the book by Antonella Salomoni “The secret protocol. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the falsification of history”, published by Il Mulino. To present the evening, as usual, Anna De Lutiis.

In the essay Antonella Salomoni, a profound connoisseur and scholar of both the events of the Soviet Union and those relating to the Holocaust, turns her attention to the famous pact which was signed in Moscow on 23 August 1939 between the Stalinist USSR and Germany Nazi. On August 21, 1939, a few minutes before midnight (German time), Berlin Radio interrupted a musical program to broadcast the following communiqué from the Deutsches Nachrichtenbüro: not aggression. The Foreign Minister will arrive in Moscow on Wednesday 23 August for the conclusion of the negotiations”. The announcement produced a clamor: “A bomb exploded yesterday evening, around 11.00 pm, in Berlin” – wrote the French ambassador to Germany Robert Coulondre to Minister Bonnet. On August 23, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union enter into a non-aggression pact known as Molotov-Ribbentrop, which causes an international sensation, and sign a secret “additional protocol” on the partition of Eastern Europe. Invoked during the Nuremberg trials and published in the United States on the basis of uncertified copies, the protocol sparked a controversy that took its name from the pamphlet The Falsifiers of History. From that moment the interpretations in the West and in the USSR diverged: for the Western camp the protocol was “true”; for the Soviet one it was “false”. The discovery, in 1992, of the “envelope” that contained it, instead of reuniting Russian historiography with the Western one, started a process of restoration of the theses of the Falsifiers of history that reaches, with Putin, up to the present day.

It is important to underline that the scholar, basing her analysis above all on consulting former Soviet sources, focuses precisely on the events of the protocol in question, highlighting how it has given rise to a controversy arising from the publication of a pamphlet entitled The Falsifiers of History.

Dating back to 1948, the text, largely written by Stalin himself, essentially accused “the ideologues and activists of contemporary imperialism” of having artfully selected some documents with the aim of damaging and defaming the Soviet Union. Since then, the scholar observes, a real historiographical divergence has taken place between the Western and Soviet camps: in fact, the former claimed the authenticity of the protocol, while the latter claimed its falsity. The discovery, at the end of 1992, of two envelopes containing the original of the secret agreement did not bring with it the rapprochement of the two historiographies: in that period, on the contrary, a process of restoration began in Russia aimed at contrasting the debate that had developed during the Gorbachev era and to rewrite the history of the twentieth century with regard above all to one issue – the so-called «partition complicity».

In other words, the common will – on the part of the Stalinist regime as well as Hitler’s – to define spheres of influence is openly questioned: it is asserted, in other words, that the Munich agreement had prompted the USSR to try to ally itself with Nazi Germany so as not to be forced to face the threat posed by the European powers alone.

In short, the Soviet Union had invaded Poland only when, feeling abandoned by Great Britain and France, it had seen its own security in danger. Precisely for this reason, nowadays, Vladimir Putin emphasizes one aspect: the importance, for the whole of Europe to have a future of peace and cooperation, of remembering how Nazism was defeated only thanks to the collaboration between the allies. Claiming, as he did later, the need to “denazify” Ukraine seems a claim perfectly in line with his historiographical reconstruction which, in February of this year, he unfortunately tragically implemented.

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Antonella Salomoni is full professor of Contemporary History at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Calabria, where she teaches the courses of History of Human Rights and Cultures of Peace and History of Social Services. You teach History of the Shoah and Genocides at the Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations, University of Bologna. She is a faculty member of the Global History and Governance PhD, Southern High School. In the three-year period 2019-2021, as Principal Investigator of PRIN 2017, you will conduct the research “Political cultures in the transition from Communism to” illiberal democracies “. The cases of Russia, Ukraine and Poland”. You direct “Il Mestiere di Storico”, a magazine of the SISSCo-Italian Society for the study of contemporary history.

Admission is free. For information: 0544.482227 – [email protected]

Next appointment: Friday 3 February at 6 pm, sala D’Attorre of Casa Melandri, in via Ponte Marino 2, Enrico Al Mureden presents the book written with Guido Calabresi “Driverless cars Artificial intelligence and the future of mobility” published by Il Mulino.

The article is in Italian

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