Katynmassakren i Dansk Debat og Historiografi

Philip Preusse & Anders Moe

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The motivation for this thesis originated in the research, conducted for a history-project in 2004-2005. The subject was the diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish Government-in-exile, leading up to the diplomatic breakdown between the two allies. We discovered what a profound effect the notorious “Katyn massacre” had on the relationship, we had subjugated to our studies. Being aware of this, we searched for Danish works on this subject, but found very few. These works were often very unscholarly and biased. We started to look for further literature concerning The Katyn massacre and found the international works to be just as politically biased, often heavily influenced by the time in which they were written, predominantly during the Cold War. More research showed that the massacre was a taboo in the Soviet-bloc. The fact that nobody was convicted for the crime at the Nuremberg Trials, that the massacre caused vast implications for the independent nation of Poland, that the British government apparently tried to ignore the massacre and that the Americans made a grand investigation during the height of the Cold War, made us curious to the nature of this subject in the Danish historiography and public debate. Finally we generated this problemstatement: “What are the characteristics of the Katyn Massacre in Danish writing of history and public debate, and how has it developed between 1943 – 2005?” The study integrates history and social science, and the methods applied were chosen accordingly. First, the reader is introduced to the subject to gain the background knowledge necessary to better comprehend the political implications, often associated with works concerning the massacre. The most central works are also examined and discussed. Secondly, the reader is presented to the theory of science applied and to the according methodology. We have decided to conduct a discursive analysis, with the inspiration of Michel Foucault´s genealogy and heavily based upon the system of terminology evolved by Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau. The theories are thereafter discussed and applied to our subject. The analysis is divided into two separate forms of analysis, a discursive analysis and a historical analysis, that we believe will be able to fully answer the questions we have raised when combined in a final discussion, generating a final conclusion. We were able to conclude that the Danish writing of history and public debate concerning the Katyn massacre, were dominated by antagonistic views from the beginning. During the occupation, the discursive landscape was divided by the communist discourse that through illegal papers refused soviet guilt, or avoided the question altogether, while the German-controlled media, went to great lengths to incriminate the Soviet regime. During the Cold War, little was written about the subject. The majority of sources in the West firmly believed in soviet guilt, while a very small number of sources still refused soviet guilt. During the period, very little evidence was used by the writers; they often relied on what they perceived as natural tendencies within Nazi-Germany or the Soviet Union. The debate therefore slowly became a question of Cold War allegiance rather than a discussion of facts. The massacre gained a symbolic status with the debate participants that positioned themselves as anti-soviet. After the end of the Cold War and the soviet leak of incriminating documents, the sources lack any sign of an apologist agenda. Thereafter it seems that the subject of the Katyn massacre is used as an example or parallel within a wide range of discussions and political agitation, without any direct relevance to the original historical circumstances.

UddannelserHistorie, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) KandidatSocialvidenskab, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2006
VejledereSusanne Klausen & Claus Bundgård Christensen


  • Kold krig
  • Avis
  • Ashøj
  • Diskurs
  • debat
  • Historiografi
  • massakre
  • Bent Jensen
  • massacre
  • Anden Verdenskrig
  • Katyn
  • historie
  • erindring
  • politik