This article investigates the continuing influence of the past on contemporary politics in Poland and Ukraine by examining the impact of the vocal 'informed' segment of public opinion on mutual relations between the two countries. The section 'What history?' examines the question of exactly what understanding of history matters so much in Polish-Ukrainian relations. The following sections examine how history influences the present, what are the contours of public opinion on Polish-Ukrainian relations within each state, and what is the impact of shared history on the contemporary politics of Polish-Ukrainian relations. Finally, the article suggests a potentially generaliseable hypothesis for future research.