Introduction to disinformation and memory conflicts

Introduction to disinformation and memory conflicts

Because of the spread of the internet, and social media in particular, many phenomena known for centuries have acquired a new dimension. This is also true for disinformation and the dissemination of fake news. It must be remembered, however, that disputes about the past are natural and need not be related to the use of such manipulation techniques.

When thinking about online fake news and conspiracy theories, we tend to focus on the content. However, the social relationships we make through information sharing are equally important. We repeat and share certain content in order to feel part of a community or, on the contrary, to assert our uniqueness. The creators of fake news know this very well and they masterfully exploit our desire to belong and to be unique.

Watch on the website

How to Win a Memory War?

What do Egyptian pyramids, triumphal arches and farms of internet trolls have in common? How can lying about the past benefit a country? Can you build a successful society on historical lies?
Watch our film, learn what memory wars are and find the unexpected solution to winning them.
‘How to Win a Memory War?’ is a part of the ENRS’s initiative ‘Hi-story Lessons’, a multilingual educational project, which aims at supporting the process of teaching and learning about 20th-century European history. It deals with the subject of memory wars and suggests ways of resisting historical disinformation – both as individuals and as societies.

Webinar - 'How to spot historical fake news? Resources and tools for history teachers'

During the webinar, we presented ready-to-use educational resources about disinformation and memory conflicts. Łukasz Kamiński explained how to verify information available online and showed that disinformation has been present in our communication for centuries. Historical disinformation is a very dangerous phenomenon. It can serve to destabilise the internal situation in individual states, provoke and intensify conflicts between them, and damage their international image. Suffice it to mention that the current war between Russia and Ukraine was preceded by a huge disinformation campaign using history as one of its pillars, the aim of which was not only to build a negative image of Ukraine, but also to weaken the role of the Central and Eastern European countries in the European Union. Fortunately, we are not helpless in the face of historical disinformation. The aim of the webinar was to highlight simple methods and resources available online to help verify information. By developing a few habits in students and teaching them the basic methods used by historians and journalists, we can increase the chances that they avoid being manipulated by the creators of disinformation. The meeting has been hosted by Urszula Bijoś (ENRS).

Łukasz Kamiński – historian, specialising in history of communism and anti-communist resistance. Assistant professor at the University of Wrocław. 2000–2016 at the Institute of National Remembrance, 2011–2016 as its President. 2017–2021 president of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience. Currently Director of the Ossolinski National Institute. Co-editor (with Grzegorz Waligóra) of the history of Solidarity (in six volumes, 2010).