Lesson materials

History lessons and teaching materials on World War II and other conflicts

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The Confronting Memories programme began in 2020 with the simple observation that World War II is remembered very differently in different countries. In some parts of what is now the European Union, the picture is of one aggressor—Nazi Germany—and a coalition of allies fighting against it. In Central and Eastern Europe, the picture is more complex: for many, liberation by the Red Army meant the start of another form of totalitarian subjugation.

The result is very different memories of the war in different countries, and large differences in the way the story of the war is taught. In our project we try to build some rapprochement between these different, sometimes conflicting, memories.

In 2023, our focus shifted away from World War II to more recent conflicts in the post-Soviet states of Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. Triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine, through this work we are searching for methods that can be used to teach about recent and ongoing conflicts, which are often extremely sensitive subjects.

In 6 sets of lessons prepared by educators and experts from Belarus, Germany, Poland, Russia and Ukraine we tackle 6 topics related to World War II. We furthermore present an expansive pedagogical guide to teaching World War II history through the use of memorials, in which are 8 further lesson materials.

Finally, video materials such as a short animation about the Allport Pyramid can be used to help present complex topics in the classroom. In 2024, new materials on the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Georgian coup d’état (1991-92) and the War on the Dniester (1992) will be made available.

Together with over 80 international educators we have assembled a vast range of source materials for students to analyse, discuss, and reflect upon. Through these carefully selected sources, we hope to present a multiperspective view of history to aid mutual understanding.

At the same time, we encourage teachers to modify the lessons to suit their own practices and preferences, and in particular to look for local and personal source material to bring the past closer to their own students.

We sincerely hope that the materials created by Confronting Memories will be an important—even if modest—step towards a better understanding of our different memories of conflicts, and thereby to a better understanding of historical sensitivities.


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