- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Routledge (August 26, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415343585
- ISBN-13: 978-0415343589
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,431,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Poland, 1918-1945: An Interpretive and Documentary History of the Second Republic
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About the Author
Peter D. Stachura is Professor of Modern European History and Director of The Centre for Research in Polish History at the University of Stirling. His research interests are in twentieth-century German history, with particular reference to the Weimar Republic, and Polish history, in particular the Second Republic. He has published extensively in both these areas. His books include Themes of Modern Polish History, Poland Between the Wars and Poland in the Twentieth Century.
Top customer reviews
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Anyway, the book is a good illustration how an attempt to build nation-state in such a diverse country as pre-war Poland failed. Even the author cannot not prove the contrary.
He truly blames the minorities for what happened in interwar Poland and in fact this is not so.
Poland became a nation of three dismembered parts and there was no way to make a parliament that would work with people who came trained with different view and different ways of making laws from the three partitions. Se J. jedruch's book about this aspect.
Stachura specially blames the Jews, but the Jews did not rebel like the Ukrainians in the 1930's making bombs. The Jews knew that they have lived in Poland for close to 800 years peaceful more than in other countries. There is a book called "When Poland began to Hate" and it is all tied with the nationalists and Roman Dmowski. It is the latter that slowly but surely infiltrated antisemitism into politics to a point of no return although he never held a seat in government during interwar Poland.
He has an example of the newspaper Neaz Prezlegad in which Jews are asking for their constitutional rights. Of course, they should when this was written Pilsudski was dead and they were attacking Jews in earnest. Stachura gives this as an example of an action against the state. NO so.
Stachura is supporter of Roman Dmowski, and he is entitled to his opinions, but that is not history. A very slanted view which is in accord with all his other books written about Poland.
Perhaps those who dislike this book and think that it is slanted do so because it does not fit the template of Judeocentric Pole-bashing books. Stachura does take issue with Communist-centered works that have long tried to make the Soviet puppet state Poland look good by demonizing the Second Republic (1918-1939). He finds both good and bad in the Second Republic.
While discussing Poland's culture, he mentions the poets of the Skamander group: Kazimierz Wierzynski, Antoni Slonimski, Boleslaw Lesmian, Julian Tuwim, etc. These were largely Polonized Jews. The poetry of the Skamander group tended to offend Poles by denigrating traditional Polish Catholic and patriotic attitudes and values. (pp. 103-104). Later, Gombrowiwicz, Tuwim, and Slonimski proved to be enthusiastic supporters of the Soviet-imposed Communist puppet state. (p. 104).
The author provides many direct quotations from not-easily-available primary sources, and these alone make the book worthwhile. For instance, German imperial ambitions against the resurrected Polish state had long preceded Hitler's rise to power. Stachura quotes General Hans von Seeckt on the intolerability of the existence of Poland for both Germany and Russia. (p. 36). Stachura also quotes from the HUGH GIBSON PAPERS [Hugh Gibson was the first American minister to Poland]. Gibson repeatedly inveighed against Poland's Jews for making up accusations of pogroms, and often doing so for German propaganda purposes. He also chided American Jews for readily accepting, and publicizing, these bogus pogrom accusations as fact. (pp. 91-94).
Stachura quotes Feliks Dzierzynski, who blamed the 1920 Soviet defeat on the failure of Communists to allow for a transitional period between capitalism and Communism--a time during which the existence of an independent Poland would be recognized by the USSR, as had earlier been suggested by Lenin. (p. 42). Against the mischaracterization of the post-Pilsudski regime as quasi-fascist, Stachura cites THE ECONOMIST, in which it is noted that President Moscicki and Marshal Smigly-Rydz had disavowed any ideas about totalitarianism. (p. 77).
The author quotes from England's King George VI, who, on VE Day praised Poland for standing up against Nazi Germany and never ceasing the fight against this evil. (p. 181). Stachura also quotes British Parliamentarian Sir Cuthbert M. Headlam, who chided Churchill and Eden for betraying Poland to Stalin and the Bolsheviks. (p. 178).