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Special Collection

Struggling with the Past: How states address and use history in security and defence politics

Collection launched: 13 Nov 2019

Historical narratives have for many years been side-lined along with other cultural influences and seen as less relevant to the decisions on foreign and security policy. This special issue of Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies tries to reverse this trend by focusing on how remembrance of the past affects states’ foreign and security policy.

On the ‘macro-level’ we first contrast how two great powers – Germany and the United Kingdom – remember central parts of their past, and how this affects their willingness to use military force to achieve national interests. Thus, Jørgen Staun argues that the public remembrance of Holocaust still has a marked effect on German foreign policy and especially on its use of military force. And Jan Werner Mathiasen explores how the institutional ambiguity from the formative period of British statehood still strongly influences Britain’s security policy.

On the ‘micro-level’, the study by Kaarel Piirimaëe shows how Estonian historians are actively involved in creating master narratives about the Estonian past that affect its strategic culture in the long run. The last article by Thomas Vogel focus on the difficult trajectory of the German Bundeswehr in selecting and dealing with traditions and doctrines stemming from the Nazi Wehrmacht.

Collection Editor
Dr Jørgen Staun, Institute of Strategy, Royal Danish Defence College