The forthcoming issue of the Austrian History Yearbook features an article by CRAACE research fellow Nóra Veszprémi. Whose Landscape Is It? Remapping Memory and History in Interwar Central Europe examines the transformations of the picturesque landscape tradition and its relationship with concepts of national territory after 1918 .
After the collapse of the Habsburg Empire and the sanctioning of new national borders in 1920, the successor states faced the controversial task of reconceptualizing the idea of national territory. Images of historically significant landscapes played a crucial role in this process. Employing the concept of mental maps, this article explores how such images shaped the connections between place, memory, and landscape in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Hungarian revisionist publications demonstrate how Hungarian nationalists visualized the organic integrity of “Greater Hungary,” while also implicitly adapting historical memory to the new geopolitical situation. As a counterpoint, images of the Váh region produced in interwar Czechoslovakia reveal how an opposing political agenda gave rise to a different imagery, while drawing on shared cultural traditions from the imperial past. Finally, the case study of Dévény/Devín/Theben shows how the idea of being positioned “between East and West” lived on in overlapping but politically opposed mental maps in the interwar period. By examining the cracks and continuities in the picturesque landscape tradition after 1918, the article offers new insight into the similarities and differences of nation-building processes from the perspective of visual culture.
The article is available open access on the journal’s website: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0067237821000102