Populism, historical discourse and foreign policy: the case of Poland’s Law and Justice government

David Cadier*, Kacper Szulecki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses how, in Poland, the populist political orientation of the ruling party (Law and Justice—PiS) has coloured the historical discourse of the government and has affected, in turn, its foreign policy and diplomatic relations. We argue that the historical discourse of the PiS government is a reflection of the party’s reliance on populism as a political mode of articulation in that it seeks to promote a Manichean, dichotomic and totalizing re-definition of the categories of victim, hero and perpetrator—and of Poland’s roles in this trinity. The article details the direct and indirect repercussions of PiS populist-inspired historical posture on Poland’s foreign policy by analysing its policies towards—and relations with—Ukraine and Germany. As such, the article sheds light on the under-explored links between populism and historical memory and makes a contribution to the nascent scholarship on the foreign policy of populist governments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)990-1011
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19-Dec-2020
Externally publishedYes

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