- Karolina Wigura, Political Editor, Kultura Liberalna; Senior Fellow, Center for Liberal Modernity; Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy
- Jean P. Froehly, Head of Division, Ukraine Recovery Conference, Federal Foreign Office
- Samuel Greene, Professor of Russian Politics, King’s College London
The resurgence of war in Europe’s consciousness has profoundly shaken the collective consciousness of its inhabitants. As images and narratives from the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine flooded media outlets, Europeans were forced to confront not just the current crisis, but echoes of their continent's tumultuous past. European citizens and politicians reacted with strong emotions. These feelings may draw on deeper layers of existential dread or Angst and are emblematic of Europe's intricate relationship with its own history.
The visuals from the war were steeped in historical context, invoking memories and sentiments from an era that seemed to belong firmly in the past. Politicians, journalists, and commentators were quick to draw parallels with past ideologies and events, particularly the Second World War. These historical references were not merely coincidental; they played a pivotal role in magnifying the emotional weight of the ongoing situation.
Each European nation, with its unique historical narrative, responded differently to these stimuli. For instance, the German discourse was characterized by introspection and reflection, given the nation's responsibility for the violence of the Second World War. Meanwhile, countries like Poland and Hungary, bearing scars of past subjugation and occupation, viewed the crisis through a lens tinted by their experiences as victims.
However, beyond just acknowledging these emotions, it's crucial to understand their broader implications. How have these feelings influenced public sentiment, media narratives, and political decision-making? Have the emotional references helped or hindered responses to the war? To what extent have historical memories shaped contemporary responses to crises? In a continent that has long championed the cause of peace and unity, how are these emotions affecting inter-country relations and discussions?
During our discussion we aim to delve deep into this nexus of war, memory, and emotions. We will explore how emotions drive political decisions, how shared and divergent histories influence national responses, and ultimately, how Europe can navigate its present while being so profoundly affected by its past.
This event is organized in cooperation with the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS).
A light meal and drinks will be served after the debate.