Scientific Information Agency
17 April 2023

The First World War in the historical memory of Ukraine and Poland: changing approaches and discourse

Intermarum: istoriya, polityka, kulʹtura
The First World War in the historical memory of Ukraine and Poland: changing approaches and discourse

The purpose of this study is to analyze the research on the First World War, specifically focusing on changing topics and new discourses, clarifying the place and role of the Great War in the historical memory of Ukrainian and Polish peoples over the centuries and analyzing the means of its actualization and memorialization. The research methodology is based on comparative studies aiming to shed light on convergence and divergence in the historical memory of the First World War in Ukraine and Poland over the past hundred years. The historical-analytical method is employed to characterize the Ukrainian and Polish historiography on the Great War and analyze the information space to identify current trends in representing war events, new discourses, and commemorative practices. The scientific novelty. The study highlights new approaches to the study of the First World War by historians and demonstrates the growth of its role and importance in the historical memory of Ukraine and Poland in the first decades of the XXI century. Conclusions. The First World War, though being an epoch-making event in the history of mankind for decades, was considered a «forgotten» war and received little attention in the historical research of Ukrainian and Polish scholars. In Soviet historiography, it was positioned as the war of the imperialists and did not arouse much interest. Polish historians mainly focused on studying the solution to the Polish issue during the war, the activities of Polish socialist political parties, and the revival of Polish statehood. Only in the late 90's of the twentieth century, a number of studies on the Great War appeared in Poland and Ukraine, with topics of research and discourses revealing such global phenomena as refugees, showing economic, social, and cultural aspects of the war, clarifying the personal, emotional, and psychological level of its perception by the population of warring countries. On the 100th anniversary of the beginning and end of the Great War, the popularization of knowledge about the war was intensified through the creation of special programs, documentaries and feature films, a series of interviews, TV and radio programs with famous historians discussing the main events and consequences of the war, reflecting on its lessons and prevention of future military conflicts. In Poland, the jubilee anniversaries of the war facilitated the resumption of activities to perpetuate the memory of the war participants through the installation of monuments, memorials, and the creation of museum exhibits.

Source: Bilobrovets O. (2021). The First World War in the historical memory of Ukraine and Poland: changing approaches and discourse. Intermarum: istoriya, polityka, kulʹtura. №9: 25-42

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