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Collective Memory in International Relations$
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Kathrin Bachleitner

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780192895363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192895363.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 September 2021

Memory as State Behaviour

Memory as State Behaviour

(p.87) 4 Memory as State Behaviour
Collective Memory in International Relations

Kathrin Bachleitner

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how collective memory channels a country’s international behaviour. To that end, it first lays out the nexus between memory and state behaviour put forward by the temporal security concept. It then goes on to distinguish it from international relations’ classical realist and ontological security approaches and their predictions on state behaviour. To keep their temporal security intact, countries are assumed to enter into an ‘in-between-time’ conversation with their ‘significant historical others’. Through the emotional trigger of shame, policymakers avoid potential disconnects with their country’s ‘narrated self in the past’, thus bringing their courses of action in line with collective memory. To illustrate this process, the empirical case study looks at the reaction of West Germany and Austria to two wars in the Middle East. It contrasts their support for either of the warring parties during the Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War and international oil crisis of 1973. The qualitative analysis demonstrates that West Germany and Austria’s different collective memories of the Nazi legacy channelled their behaviour along diverse reasonings to support either the Israeli or the Arab side.

Keywords:   collective memory, ontological security, state identity, state behaviour, formation of foreign policy interests, Six Day War, Yom Kippur War and oil crisis, Nazi legacy, guilt, victimhood

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