Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

A Sunken War: The Baltic during the Second World War

Ämne: Arkeologi
Projektledare: Anna McWilliams
Startår: 2017
Projekttyp: Projekt

Atlantic, allies against German forces – portrayed as good against evil. But when you turn your gaze to the Baltic the situation is a lot more complex and it becomes more difficult to polarise and categorise as the roles here were less established. In addition, previous studies of the Baltic region during the Second World War has generally been carried out by focusing on different categories: economic, political, military or civil. Traffic across the Baltic included military and trade ships, as well as passenger boats but often the distinction between civil and military is far from clear. This study will therefore take a holistic view and instead of categorising in advance and study what is considered to belong to a particular category it will investigate all types of traffic in order to create a broader picture of the Baltic region during this conflict.

The purpose of this project is to increase our understanding of the Baltic Sea during the Second World War and how it was used by different actors during this period. The project aims to effectively ’re-map’ the wartime Baltic based on coherent use, synthesis and modelling of its archaeological evidence. Physical remains still present under the surface, in particular wreck sites, offer concrete evidence of the activities and presence of those actors who used and controlled the Baltic during the Second World War. A coordinated analysis of this evidence has not yet been undertaken. Such analysis will compliment current knowledge and will allow us to achieve a new perspective based on evidence of the varying roles and aims of the different actors in the Baltic region during the Second World War.

It then becomes possible to ask if these roles correspond with those produced in historical accounts of the Baltic during the period. The proposed research will enable us to test these historic accounts, as well as to contribute to them, enabling a re-telling of the story of this pivotal and important region founded in its archaeological remains and its physical presence. This project provides a unique opportunity to study World War II in the Baltic region through a new material that has never been studied before.

Final report_AnnaMcWilliams_A sunken War: the Baltic Sea during Second world war