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Kivimäki, Ville

Theme-group Fellow

Histories of War-Related Violence During and After World War II

Research Question

I study how the experiences of war-related violence became embedded as bodily traces, experience communities, and knowledge patterns in the society during and after World War II. The project aims to show that the history of violence had an important and lasting role in the shaping of individual lives, local communities, and the society at large.

Research Project

Historical studies on violence and trauma during and after World War II require new methods and materials to uncover the ways the war affected people’s personal lives – and how these experiences influenced social relations, cultural meanings and finally the society at large. In a global conflict, the causes for violence and trauma were manifold: from frontline experiences to witnessing genocide and from bombing raids to violent expulsions. Thus also the responses to violence and trauma were very divergent. I will be developing new ways to think about violence and trauma in the context of World War II and its aftermath, for instance by studying war-related nightmares and conceptualizing traumatic experiences in a time when “trauma” and “posttraumatic stress disorder” were not known as psychological concepts.

Selected Publications

1) Ville Kivimäki, “Nocturnal Nation: Violence and the Nation in Dreams During and After World War II,” in Ville Kivimäki, Sami Suodenjoki & Tanja Vahtikari, eds, Lived Nation as the History of Experiences and Emotions in Finland, 1800–2000. London: Palgrave, forthcoming early 2021.

2) Ville Kivimäki, “Experiencing Trauma before Trauma: Posttraumatic Memory among the Finnish Soldiers in the 1940s and 1950s,” in Ville Kivimäki & Peter Leese, eds, Trauma, Experience and Narrative in Europe During and After the Second World War. London: Palgrave, forthcoming 2021.

3) Ville Kivimäki, “Violence and Trauma: Experiencing the Two World Wars,” in Alessandro Arcangeli, Jörg Rogge & Hannu Salmi, eds, Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World. London: Routledge 2020, 521–536.


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