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Transnational history textbooks: can there be a common narrative on the Second World War?
The 2020 publication of the final volume of a transnational history textbook from the Polish-German series ‘Europe: Our History’ is an opportunity to reflect on many issues and ask many questions. A key one is: How have the authors and publishers presented the subject of the Second World War and its consequences? How have requirements for textbooks on contemporary history and expectations of students changed in the last 20 years? What are the preconditions for overcoming Second World War-related traumas and memory conflicts between nations through a history textbook dialogue? How can history lessons contribute to it and prevent “new” xenophobic and anti-Semitic attitudes? Similar problems and challenges also had to be faced by authors and publishers of transnational Franco-German or Japanese-South Korean-Chinese textbooks. The debate aims to reflect on how the start, course and end of the Second World War are presented in history teaching in various countries of Europe and Asia.
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