The Usage of Politics of Memory in Polish Foreign Policy: Present State and Perspectives

Patryk Wawrzyński



In the article, the author presents the present state of the usage of politics of memory as a substantiation of Polish foreign policy and its perspectives for following three years. Beginning with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the World War II, he presents how the Polish remembrance has transformed from a “conservative” vision under President Lech Kaczyński to a “conciliatory” one that is promoted by Prime Minister Donald Tusk. As a result of the intellectual clash, he recognizes the dominance of Tusk’s vision, which he describes, referring to outlooks of the prime minister and Paweł Machcewicz, a prominent Polish historian and close associate of Tusk. Then, he enumerates fifteen significant anniversaries, which may be used to present the Polish understanding of the past and to support foreign policy actions in the following years. The author also states his observations, suggestions, and remarks about the possible course of celebrations.

Full text:

Słowa kluczowe

politics of memory; Polish Foreign Policy; World War II; Tusk, Donald (1957–); Kaczyński, Lech (1949–2010)


Berman J.E., Holocaust Museums in Australia: The Impact of Holocaust Denial and the Role of the Survivors, “The Journal of Holocaust Education” 2001, No. 1, Vol. 10.

Carleton G., History Done Right: War and the Dynamics of Triumphalism in Contemporary Russian Culture, “Slavic Rewiev” 2011, No. 3, Vol. 70.

Cesarani D., Does the Singularity if the Holocaust Make It Incomparable and Inoperative for Commemorating, Studying and Preventing Genocide? Britain’s Memorial Holocaust Day as a Case Study, “The Journal of Holocaust Education” 2001, No. 2, Vol. 10.

Chodurski M., Jaruzelski zaproszony na obrady RBN [Jaruzelski Invited to Debate RBN], 23.11.2010,,Jaruzelskizaproszony-na-obrady-RBN [access: 05.07.2012].

Cooke S., Beth Shalom: Re-Thinking History and Memory, “The Journal of Holocaust Education” 1999, No. 1, Vol. 8.

Dudek A., Instytut. Osobista historia IPN [Institute. Personal History of IPN], Warszawa 2011.

Dyskusja [Discussion] [in:] Pamięć i polityka zagraniczna [Memory and Foreign Policy], P. Kosiewski (ed.), Warszawa 2006.

Garagozov R., Characteristics of Collective Memory, Ethnic Conflicts, Historiography, and the “Politics of Memory,” “Journal of Russian and East European Psychology” 2008, No. 2, Vol. 46.

Głowacki A., Ogólne założenia sowieckiej polityki okupacyjnej w Polsce [General Assumptions of Soviet Occupation Policy in Poland], “Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość” 2008, No. 1, Vol. 12.

Gregor N., Four Days in April 2000: The 55 th Anniversary of the Liberation of Ravensbrück, “The Journal of Holocaust Education” 2001, No. 2, Vol. 10.

Hodgson G., The Myth of American Exceptionalism, New Haven–London 2009.

Karpus Z., Jeńcy i internowani rosyjscy i ukraińscy na terenie Polski w latach 1918–1924 [Prisoners of War and Interned Russian and Ukrainian on Polish Territory in the Years 1918–1924], Toruń 2002.

Karwat M., W oparach polonocentryzmu [In the clouds of polonocentrism] [in:] Polacy o sobie. Współczesna autorefleksja: jednostka, społeczeństwo, historia [The Poles about Yourself. Contemporary Self-reflection: The Individual, Society, History], P. Kowalski (ed.), Łomża 2005.

Koczanowicz L., Memory of Politics and Politics of Memory. Reflections on the Construction of the Past in Post-Totalitarian Poland,“Studies in East European Thought” 1997, Vol. 49.

Kozłowska A., Zauszkiewicz M., Merkel: to wy wyciągnęliście do nas rękę [Mekrel: You Reach out to Us], 01.09.2009,,114927,6990617,Merkel__To_wy_wyciagneliscie_do_nas_reke.html [access: 03.07.2012].

Kuźniar R., Polityka zagraniczna III Rzeczypospolitej [The Foreign Policy of the Third Polish Republic], Warszawa 2012.

Langberg A., America, the Holocaust, and the Mass-Culture of Memory: Towards a Radical Politics of Empathy, “New German Critique” 1997, No. 71.

Linn R., Genocide and the Politics of Remembering: The Nameless, the Celebrated, and the Would-be Holocaust Heroes, “The Journal of Genocide Studies” 2003, No. 4, Vol. 5.

Machcewicz P., Spory o historię 2000–2011 [Disputes about the History of the 2000–2011], Kraków 2012.

McCrum R., The Second World War: Six Years that Changed This Country for Ever, “The Observer” 23.08.2009, [access: 03.07.2012].

Onken E.C., The Baltic States and Moscow’s 9 May Commemoration: Analyzing Memory Politics in Europe, “Europe-Asia Studies” 2007, No. 1, Vol. 59.

Panné J.L., Kilka uwag na temat genezy pojęcia “ludobójstwo” [A Few Notes on the Origins of the Term “Genocide”], “Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość” 2007, No. 1, Vol. 11.

President of the Republic of Poland, Freedom and Truth, 10.04.2010,,12,125,freedom-and-truth.html [access: 05.07.2012].

President of the Republic of Poland, Two Generations Have Passed but the Second World War Still Requires Reflection, 01.09.2009,,12,61,two-generations-have-passed-but-the-second-worldwar-still-requires-reflection.html [access: 03.07.2012].

Qiu J., The Politics of History and Historical Memory in China-Japan Relations, “Journal of Chinese Political Science” 2006, No. 1, Vol. 11.

RZ, Mniej pieniędzy dla IPN. “Zawsze był niechciany” [Less Money for the IPN. “It Was Always Unwanted”], 02.01.2012,,1,4986763,wiadomosc.html [access: 05.07.2012].

Schmidt U., Discussing Slave Labourers in Nazi Germany: Topography of Research and Politics of Memory, “German History” 2001, No. 3, Vol. 19.

Schultze R., The Politics of Memory: Flight and Expulsion of German Population after the Second World War and German Collective Memory, “National Identities” 2006, No. 4, Vol. 8.

Seo J., Politics of Memory in Korea and China: Remembering the Comfort Womenand the Nanjing Massacre, “New Political Science” 2008, No. 3, Vol. 30.

Sherlock T., Confronting the Stalinist Past: Politics of Memory in Russia, “The Washington Quaterly” 2011, No. 2, Vol. 34.

Stan L., The Vanishing Truth? Politics and Memory in Post-Communist Europe, “East European Quarterly” 2006, No. 4, Vol. 40.

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, Donald Tusk’s Speech in Westerplatte during the Afternoon Commemoration of the 70 th Anniversary of the Outburst of World War II, 01.09.2009,,2848 [access: 03.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, International Commemoration of the 70 th Anniversary of WWII, 01.09.2009,,2116 [access: 03.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, PM Donald Tusk’s Speech at Katyń, 07.04.2010,,443 [access: 05.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, PM: Approval, Tolerance and Remission of Sins Are Unacceptable, 13.12.2011,,8596 [access: 05.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, Poland’s 5 Years in European Union, 30.04.2009,,2142 [access: 05.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the Meeting of the International Auschwitz Council, 18.01.2012,,8872 [access: 05.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, Prime Minister Signed the Foundation Act of the Museum of the Second World War, 01.09.2009,,2120 [access: 04.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, Prime Minister Tusk Meet President of Ukraine, 07.09.2009,,2115 [access: 05.07.2012].

The Chancellery of Prime Minister, Prime Minister Tusk: One Word of Truth May Draw Two Great Nations, 07.04.2010,,4435 [access: 05.07.2012].

Wang Z., National Humiliation, History Education, and the Politics of Historical Memory: Patriotic Education Campaign in China, “International Studies Quarterly” 2008, Vol. 52.

Wawrzyński P., Prezydent Lech Kaczyński. Narracje niedokończone [President Lech Kaczynski. Unfinished Narrations], Toruń 2012.

Williams B.G. , Commemorating “The Deportation” in Post-Soviet Chechnya. The Role of Memoralization and Collective Memory in 1994–1996 and 1999–2000 Russo-Chechen Wars, “History and Memory” 2000, No. 1, Vol. 12.

Wokół Jedwabnego. Tom I: Studia [Around Jedwabne. Vol. I: Studies], P. Machcewicz, K. Persak (eds.), Warszawa 2002.

Zaborowski S., Polityka historyczna w polityce zagranicznej III RP – casus stosunków polsko-niemieckich [Historical Policy in the Foreign Policy of the Third Polish Republic – Casus of Polish-German Relations] [in:] Polityka zagraniczna III RP. 20 lat po przełomie. Tom II [The Foreign Policy of the Third Polish Republic. 20 Years after the Turn. Vol. II], L. Czechowska, M. Bierowiec (eds.), Toruń 2011.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Partnerzy platformy czasopism