News | 30 August 2017

What happened to monuments to fallen regimes around the world


By Jennifer Hansler and Deena Zaru, CNN.

(CNN) While the United States grapples with how to deal with roughly 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, other nations have taken more decisive action on the monuments of defeated governments.

President Donald Trump this week made the argument that the removal of Confederate monuments could lead down a slippery slope to the taking down of monuments to the Founding Fathers; he also implied the removal of Confederate monuments was tantamount to changing history. However, many of those in favor of their dismantling argue that they represent a painful legacy of slavery and racism that should not be glorified.

Monuments are traditionally erected while a particular regime is in power, but in the United States, Confederate monuments were erected only after the fall of the Confederacy with the spread of a sanitized, revisionist narrative of a noble South that should have won but for the overwhelming military power of the North, said Tyler Stovall, a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. And for some, that belief still lingers today, he said.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the first spike in Confederate symbols is around the turn of the 20th century and the second spike is in the mid-1950s and 1960s during the height of the Civil Rights movement.

“If you look at it from a world perspective, is that you’ll have a regime that is overthrown, and one of the reactions to the overthrow is the destruction of symbols that represent it,” Stovall said, citing the toppling of the Soviet Union and, more recently, the tearing down of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003 and the destruction of images of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in 2011 at the height of the Arab Spring.

Here’s a look at how other countries have handled their monuments to fallen governments.

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