In the Aftermath of United States Presence in Nijmegen: The Oversteek Bridge as a Paradox of World War Two Commemoration

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This study examines how the dedication of the Oversteek bridge to the crossing can be explained. The memorial bridge in Nijmegen focuses on the celebration of the heroic crossing in 1944. This creates an unhealthy balance between the representation of the United States as liberator and destroyer of the city. The bridge is therefore a paradox of World War Two commemoration. By analyzing memory and trauma theories and applying those to the bridge, it is concluded that Nijmegen suffers from a cultural trauma caused by the American bombing. The Oversteek bridge functions as coping strategy to resolve the trauma and create a collective identity. It overemphasizes the liberator side of the American intervention in Nijmegen during the war, compensating for the destroyer side. The United States needs to be recognized in public life as the country responsible for the bombing in order for the trauma to be resolved. A monument uni! ting the two sides could accomplish this.
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