Polish Cultural Diplomacy and Historical Memory: The Case of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

David Clarke, Paweł Duber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines the mobilization of historical memory as a resource for cultural diplomacy through the medium of the museum. Noting the increasing trend for states to incorporate “dark heritage” of conflict into their cultural diplomacy strategies, the article examines the recent case of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, which has been heavily criticized by the current Polish government for its alleged failure to convey an adequately heroic account of the war to both domestic and foreign audiences. The article demonstrates that the current Polish government has placed great importance on historical memory as a means of persuading European partners of the validity of its vision of European history and of Poland’s place within the contemporary European project. However, in its approach to the Museum of the Second World War, we argue, the Polish government has not developed an effective strategy for mobilizing historical memory to influence others. This case study allows us to demonstrate the potential pitfalls of drawing on historical memory in the context of cultural diplomacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society
Early online date5 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Cultural diplomacy
  • Museums
  • Poland
  • Soft power
  • World War Two

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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