This Saturday, 23 July, the fourth online lecture will take place as part of the 20th Summer Meetings with Science organised by the Institute of Hydroelectric Engineering PAS, the Institute of Oceanology PAS and the Faculty of History of the University of Gdańsk. The paper entitled. "Those magnificent Vikings in their armoured Volvos ... The image of Sweden and its inhabitants in the Polish media from 1945–1989" will be given by the Vice-Rector for Student Affairs and Education Quality, dr hab. Arnold Kłonczyński, Prof. UG.
The quotation comes from an article by Paweł Kwiatkowski published by the weekly magazine "Perspektywy" in May 1975. It points out the simplified and schematic image of Sweden and its people present in the Polish media, especially in the Polish press after World War II. The stereotypes that had been perpetuated in the interwar period were still in force. Poles remembered Swedish matches and the electrification of the Warsaw railway junction and Ericsson telephones. After the war, the help of Swedish charities that came to the aid of ruined Poland was appreciated.
The Polish press was interested in the Western countries, and the northern neighbour was a kind of bridge, as Sweden's neutrality and declarations of cooperation from the country's politicians meant that it inspired trust, while at the same time the model of the social democratic welfare state that was consistently introduced in Sweden meant that the country was not treated as an enemy from behind the Iron Curtain. In 1954, it was written in the press that Sweden was becoming a country open to dialogue and cooperation with socialist countries and the Swedish government supported a policy of peaceful coexistence. The contacts with Sweden became a model example of how countries with different socio-economic regimes could fruitfully cooperate.
Sweden was also a convenient country to use to criticise domestic problems - in 1947, there were reports of the first signs of a crisis affecting the Swedish economy. This was an important message to the Polish public that the rich Swedes also had problems and were also affected by various restrictions. Differences were also shown by praising Polish solutions. Jacek Frühling wrote in 'Dziennik Polski' about the multitude of goods in the shops and the idyllic nature of everyday life but noted that: 'A man from Poland /.../ cannot acclimatise here /.../ Simply our innervation is different'. Undoubtedly, the image of Sweden and Swedes was rich and varied, as evidenced by the titles of some newspaper articles in 1958 wrote 'Free love, vodka, drugs and boredom' ('Tygodnik Zachodni'), in 1961: 'The glories and shadows of a facilitated life' (Janusz Zablocki, 'Tygodnik Powszechny'), in 1975: 'Country rich, well arranged' ('Tygodnik Demokratyczny'), and in 1974: 'Sex, porn and love' ('Przemiany').
Like any stereotype, the one associated with the image of Sweden in the Polish media says more about those who created it than about the object itself.
Dr hab. Arnold Kłonczyński, prof. UG, historian, Scandinavianist, since 2001 researcher at the Institute of History, University of Gdańsk. Deals with the history of Scandinavia in the 20th century, Polish-Scandinavian relations, the history of Poles in Sweden and issues of contemporary didactics of history. Author of more than 60 scientific publications, including monographs: Polish-Swedish relations 1945–1956 (Gdańsk 2007); We in Sweden do not grow moss... Poles in Sweden in 1945–1980 (Gdańsk 2012) and editor of several collective works, including those on the history of the University of Gdańsk. Member of the Baltic Institute and the Polish-Scandinavian Institute in Copenhagen. Vice-Dean of the Faculty of History from 2012–2016, Vice-Rector of the University of Gdansk for Student Affairs from 2016 and for Student Affairs and Education Quality from 2020.
Please join us on July 23 at 20:00.
To join the event:
1. it is necessary to enter the Facebook Summer Encounters with Science Link: https://www.facebook.com/LetnieSpotkaniaZNauka
2. at 8 pm a virtual meeting will be launched and you need to click on it. In the pop-up window that opens, turn on the sound (speaker symbol in the bottom right corner).
3. during the lecture, those logged in on Facebook will be able to ask questions.
5. After the lecture, a discussion will begin during which the questions asked by the audience will be read out.
6. The lecture will be recorded. After the meeting, it will be published on the Facebook page of the Summer Science Meetings. Link: https://www.facebook.com/LetnieSpotkaniaZNauka