Collective Memory in International Relations

Kathrin Bachleitner's book provides a new theoretical framework to trace the role of collective memory in International Relations. Using previously-unseen archival documents from (West) Germany and Austria, she uncovers how countries act on the global stage under the sway of a shameful legacy.


Collective memory carries the past into the present. This book traces the influence of collective memory in international relations (IR). It locates the origins of a country's memory within the international environment and inquires how memory guides states through time in world politics. Collective memory, as such, not only shapes countries and their international interactions, but the international sphere also plays an essential role in how countries approach the past.

Through in-depth examinations of both domestic and international landscapes in empirical cases, the book explores four ways in which collective memory can manifest in IR: as a country's political strategy; as its public identity; as its international state behaviour; and finally, as a source for its national values.

A comparative case study of (West) Germany and Austria illustrates how significantly differing interpretations of the Nazi legacy impacted their respective international policies over time. Taken together, this book investigates whether collective memory influences global outcomes and how and why it matters for IR.

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    Collective Memory in International Relations
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Dr Kathrin Bachleitner is IKEA Foundation Research Fellow in International Relations, Lady Margaret Hall