The Role of the Christian Churches in the Reconciliation Processes in Central Europe: the Polish-German and the Czech-German Case

  • Miroslav Kunštát
Keywords: Christian churches and foreign policy, public diplomacy, transnational/non-state actors, reconciliation processes, historical settlement in Central Europe, Polish-German relations, Czech-German relations

Abstract

The author uses the concept of reconciliation processes / reconciliation issues, which is usually used in the environment of churches or in applied theological discourses respectively, in connection with the specific contribution of Christian churches to the historical settlement and reconciliation among the European states and nations after the 2nd World War, especially in Central Europe. He analyses and compares in detail the Polish-German and Czech-German issues. While thanks to the important position of the Church (or churches) in the Polish and German societies, these activities (or initiatives) met with a great response as early as the 1960s – and gained a great importance also on the official level of the (West-)German-Polish relations, in the Czechoslovak-(West-)German relations, this factor long remained absent or entirely marginal. But after the political change(s) of 1989 the churches became involved in the shaping of the newly formed bilateral relations between the unified Germany and the succesor states of former Czechoslovakia and greatly contributed to their having a deeper anchorage in Europe. The author backs up in a detailed way the relevance of this phenomenon, especially in Czech- German relations (or generally in church initiatives/activities with a German participation), but less so in the mutual relations (and initiatives) between the Central European churches. On the contrary, the previously highly visible church engagement in the Polish-German case fell off in the 1990s. The Central European churches gradually naturally realized again the advantages and difficulties of their role as a trans-national /non-state actor – and as one of the important players of the so-called public diplomacy. This role culminated in the 1990s in connection with their social and political emancipation in the post-communist states – and at the same time it started to dwindle in importance as a consequence of the secularization processes which accelerated considerably and often a surprisingly during the 1990s (and also in the subsequent years) in this part of Europe.

Author Biography

Miroslav Kunštát

 

 

Section
Research Articles