1918 - The impact of WW1 to Swedish and European identity and cooperation history during the 20th century

The Museum of Kivik
Community engagement, Cross-frontier collaboration
Intangible, Tangible
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How can we understand a neutral country's modern history and identity through the perspectives of WW1 as the overall turningpoint in modern society? How can the formation process of modern understanding and cooperation also be understood in neutral Sweden as its origins lays in the trenches of WW1?

The project aims to discuss the common picture of Sweden's identity as a neutral country during WW1. Recent research shows that Sweden was not so innocent, and that Swedish foreign policy during the war actually put the country at the brink of riots and civil war - as well as war! Sweden was home to espionage from both war parties, and to German war correspondence by telegram throughout the war. This Swedish war time identity is not commonly known to either natives or to Europeans. The project thus aims to discuss the costs WW1 to a neutral country as Sweden, resulting in a national political crisis with two resigning governments and an international political scandal. The common picture of Sweden as the neutral conflict mender is revised, both to the native audience and to the European, through two exhibitions, two books and a series of lectures. The project has been accredited by the Swedish National Heritage Board as part of the European Year of cultural heritage 2018. The project discusses history and our understanding of identity through the perspective of the Great War as the overall turning point of the 20th Century. Through our international network of researchers, we aim to discuss history and identity breakthroughs during 1914-1919 with museums in Great Britain, France, Germany and Belgium. The project is led by professional historians from the museum board and is unique as it discusses a neutral country's identity processes alongside WW1, which has never been done.

European Dimension

All of the above mentioned definitions of the shared history of Europe are applicable to our specific story and project, as the story originates from the identity process of modern Europe, the peace process and formation of the European Union and the role of heritage to our modern way of life, as defined by the results of The Great War. This project is not a story of Sweden alone, this is the story of how the 1914-19 events formed the modern world at all, and how we all have a part and a history that originates from the War to end all wars. This is the story of becoming the modern Europe, built on cooperation and peace.

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