MIHELJ, S., 2011. Imperial myths between nationalism and communism: appropriations of imperial legacies in the north-eastern adriatic during the early cold war. European History Quarterly, 41 (4), pp. 634 - 656.
In contemporary scholarly discussions, political uses of imperial pasts are typically
associated with the rise of modern nation-states and nationalist principles of identity
formation. Although clearly important, this approach can lead us to neglect the appropriations
of imperial myths based on other types of ideological frameworks. In communist
Eastern Europe, official representations of the past followed the imperatives of a historicalmaterialist
vision of history, which, at least in its initial form, necessitated a rejection of both
imperialism and nationalism. It is therefore reasonable to expect that communist appropriations
of imperial legacies were significantly different from those found in Western
Europe at the time. This article examines these different uses of imperial pasts – informed
by either communismor nationalismor both – by focusing on the competing perceptions of
imperial history and heritage at the Italo-Yugoslav border during the early Cold War.