22 Pages

Political Uses of History in Spain

Politics has always been closely bound up with history, which in turn has often been used for political purposes.1 History is currently playing an important political role in many different societies. Where the shaping of a national identity remains a problem or where old conflicts still linger, setting peoples or nations against one another, it occupies the centre of political debate and serves to justify a wide variety of actions and opinions. But even where there are no such problems, history is strengthening its ties with politics. Historians, or at least some of them, are beginning to become known for their repeated appearance in the media when it comes to matters of internal or international politics. A considerable number of history books and memoirs and publications of a popularizing nature reveal clear political motivation, not to mention the debates that they provoke. But it is undoubtedly in commemorations that the increasing politicization of history is seen most clearly. Historical commemorations sponsored by a wide range of governments follow hard on each other’s heels.