Jubileer och monument i Gettysburg 1863–2017

  • Ulf Zander


The Civil War is often seen as the most important historical event in US history. The American past has often been divided into causes and effects, with a “before 1861” and an “after 1865”. Hardly surprising, the commemoration of the Civil War has caught a lot of attention. This article examines different approaches, mostly with Gettysburg as an example, to handle the burden of the war, from the first efforts to bury the dead soldiers in Gettysburg in the summer of 1863 to 19th, 20th and 21st century commemorations, concentrated to create a spirit of consensus and unity and to keep the question of slavery and the efforts made by African Americans during the years 1861–1865 out of sight. Another aspect is the tension between Gettysburg and other battlefields as holy places and national shrines on one hand, and commercial demands, especially requirements that mass tourism entails in modern societies, on the other.