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Title: Eroi e traditori. La “politica della storia” del partito polacco Diritto e Giustizia
Authors: Machcewicz, Pawel
Keywords: PolandPolitics of HistoryLaw and JusticeMuseumsHolocaustCursed SoldiersPoloniaPolitica della storiaLegge e giustiziaMusei, OlocaustoSoldati dannati
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Pawel Machcewicz, "Eroi e traditori. La “politica della storia” del partito polacco Diritto e Giustizia" in: "Qualestoria. Rivista di storia contemporanea. XLIX, 2, Dicembre 2021", EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, Trieste, 2021, pp. 35-48
Journal: Qualestoria. Rivista di storia contemporanea 
Heroes and Traitors. Politics of History of Poland`s Law and Justice Party

Since 2015 Poland has been governed by the right-wing populist Law and Justice party. So called politics of history has become one of the pillars of its ideology and politics. Its function is to define the crucial lines of contemporary conflicts, distinguish “true” Poles who support the ruling party from the opponents who are labeled as “not Polish enough” , and often as outright enemies of the nation or even traitors serving foreign interests. The key historical narrative of the Law and Justice presents the glorious image of the Poland`s past as being constantly jeopardized by manifold attempts, undertaken by its cosmopolitan and corrupt elites and by external enemies, undermining the Polish martyrdom and heroism throughout history, especially during WWII and the Holocaust. History is exploited also by other right wing nationalist and populist movements in Europe that tend to rely on nation`s historical victimhood and heroism, rejecting or silencing more controversial parts of the common past. Nevertheless, in Poland in history has been exploited as a political weapon in a more intense way than probably in any other European country. There may be at least two reasons for this. The first one is the Polish historical experience throughout the 18-20th centuries : the absence of the nation-state for an extended period of time (since 1795 when Poland was partitioned between its three neighbors until 1918 when the Polish state was resurrected), and foreign occupations or subservience to external powers (WW II and the Communist period) created conditions in which national identity was to a great extent based on history and tradition, and not on the identification with state institutions and procedures as in most countries of Western Europe. Hence the emotional power of history that can be used to shape contemporary political and ideological agendas and identities. The second fundamental reason may be a recent exposure to the supra-national structures (Poland joined the EU in 2004) with its political and cultural values which in many evoke incertitude and fears, prone to be exploited by anti-European and anti-modernist populists. In the time of rapid changes involving almost all aspects of life, the nation`s past is seen as the most solid bulwark.
Type: Article
ISSN: 0393-6082
DOI: 10.13137/0393-6082/33478
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internazionale
Appears in Collections:49/2 - Qualestoria. Rivista di storia contemporanea. XLIX, 2, Dicembre 2021

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