Humanities and Social Sciences

Historie. Jahrbuch des Zentrums für Historische Forschung Berlin der Polnischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

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Historie. Jahrbuch des Zentrums für Historische Forschung Berlin der Polnischen Akademie der Wissenschaften | 2020 | Folge 13 : Plebiszite, Selbstbestimmung, Minderheitsrechte |

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Abstract

The paper outlines the methodological issues connected to national statistics, their cartographical representations, and the methods of conducting censuses. During the Paris Peace Conference representatives of new Central- and Eastern European states vehemently criticized the ethnic statistics developed by the empires, mostly Russian and Austro-Hungarian. The censuses, conducted in these new states in early 1920s, were criticized along similar lines by the minorities. Among the most vociferous critics were German geographers. Pointing out to the results of the plebiscites in Silesia, Carinthia and other regions they argued, that national identity did not have to correspond to the mother tongue, and census authorities should have taken it into account. Paradoxically, they considered this point valid only to the Central and Eastern Europe, not Western Europe. In the final part of the paper the position of geographers and statisticians in post-war debates are confronted with information on the behaviour of respondents during the censuses in Poland and Czechoslovakia.

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Authors and Affiliations

Maciej Górny
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Abstract

The aim of this study is to analyse the geopolitical position of independent Poland after World War I and the state of her relations with neighbour states, and the policy of building alliances with France and Romania. In view of border conflicts with Lithuania and Czechoslovakia as well as the constant German and Soviet threat, the reborn Polish state was forced to seek for allies in the West. The alliances with France and Romania could not however reduce the danger for Poland emerging from Soviet-German cooperation basing on the treaty of Rapallo from 1922. Also the treaty of Locarno from 1925 in which Polish borders were left without guarantee was seen as a failure of Polish diplomacy. The inconvenient geopolitical position of Poland, and the aggressive policy of the Third Reich and the Soviet Union resulted in the Hitler-Stalin Pact from 23rd of August 1939 and the partition of Poland.

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Jacek Tebinka
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Abstract

The question of the state affiliation of Upper Silesia which arose after WWI has been treated and perceived by today’s historians, if at all, as a typical German-Polish border conflict. Really however, it was both a European and an international problem of utmost significance. In it, French hegemonic and safety efforts, accumulated in and collided with Britain‘s classic policy of continental equilibrium. Both, Poland with its territorial claim on Upper Silesia and Germany in its struggle to preserve its territorial integrity, thus were not only players of political, diplomatic and military struggles for the second most important European industrial region, but rather objects of the interests of European great powers. This applied even more to the population which was actually to vote in the referendum on Upper Silesia affiliation. However, in its effort to weaken Germany and simultaneously gain control over the Ruhr, France favoured its ally Poland, to a much greater extent than Britain could in respect of Germany.

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Guido Hitze
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Abstract

The plebiscite in Upper Silesia from the year 1921 was one of the most important moments in the history of the region. The establishment of the independent Polish state after 1918 resulted in creating a frontier which divided the region before the plebiscite itself. Therefore, various kinds of travel documents emerged and played an important role. Basing on decision of the Allies, starting from 1st of July 1920, all persons who wanted to enter the plebiscite area were obliged to have a special passport or identity card, issued by the French consulate in Breslau (Wrocław). Also the inhabitants of Upper Silesia, travelling in the area of plebiscite territory, were obliged to possess special travel cards. The author in her article analyses different types of documents as well as mechanisms of dealing with problems of people, who after the final division of Upper Silesia decided to move from one side of the border to the other.

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Maren Hachmeister
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Abstract

Compared to the new state borders of the Danube basin after World War One, the drawing of the Austro-Hungarian border was not only different but required the longest time (1918-1924). It was not a territorial dispute between a victorious and a losing state, but one between the two losers of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Austria and Hungary. During the Hungarian Soviet Republic (March to August, 1919), only the Austrian delegation was invited to the peace conference. This delegation successfully argued, through peaceful diplomatic channels, to make Western Hungary part of the new Austrian Republic. Under the Austrian peace treaty of Saint-Germainen- Laye (September 10, 1919) and the Hungarian one of Trianon (June 4, 1920), Austria received the area as well. However, the Hungarian side, using the means of political violence namely the paramilitary activity, enforced a referendum on Sopron/Ödenburg, the natural capital of the territory, which was previously judged to Austria (December 12, 1920). The participants of the referendum and the entire frontier population decided about their homelands not on ethnic grounds but on purely economic interests.

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Ibolya Murber
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Abstract

Post-Versailles Europe saw the emergence of new, quasi-state territorial corporations (enjoying a great deal of autonomy, but not sovereignty). These included the Free State of Fiume/Rijeka (1919- 1924), Free City of Danzig/Gdańsk (1920-1939), Free State of Memel/ Klaipeda (which emerged between 1920 and 1923, before being incorporated into Lithuania with partial autonomy still remaining), as well as, slightly later, the autonomous Åland Islands (1922), and the Republic of Hatay (1938-1939). In theory, those international law constructs were supposed to resolve tensions (including those erupting on the grounds of nationality) between neighbours vying for control over strategic territories (and cities). However, they proved to primarily spark new conflicts of varying length. The article constitutes an attempt at comparing the geneses and development of the first three of the abovementioned “free cities”, as well as identifying their role in the newly-formed League of Nations. In addition, the article attempts to determine the degree to which the principle of national self-determination played a role in the establishment of these entities, as well as the methods used to ensure that the national minorities which found themselves within the borders of these “free cities” were protected.

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Jan Daniluk
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Abstract

The communicative turn in historiography has extended source criticism within historical studies by examining sources as products of human action. This article presents some source critical considerations regarding travel reports as documents of their time, and reviews their narrative perspective taking point of departure in theoretical approaches from literary studies. The overriding question here is how and to what extent the supposed and simultaneously strenuous objectivity of the historical sources is provided in three selected international travel reports written by travellers, observers and intellectuals, who visited Poland during World War I.

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Izabela A. Dahl
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Abstract

The paper presents the comments of English, French, German, and Russian-language press, published in countries ranging from the USA to Soviet Russia, on the events in future Polish Second Republic between November 1918 till February 1919. The press certainly is not the ideal source to reconstruct the origins of reborn Poland. However, the press coverage reveals the stereotypes, misconceptions, impressions, and convictions of the authors, the expression of editors’ political line, sometimes even the governments of relevant countries. Alternatively, the press coverage reveals the lack of knowledge on the part of the above. “Old” Europe was wary of a new country, that was to emerge on the map of the continent. Simultaneously, some were seeing Poland as an important chain in the anti-Bolshevik cordon sanitaire. Most importantly, however, the contemporary press coverage reveals the lack of awareness of the basic political mechanisms and identity problems present in the lands of the emerging Polish Republic.

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Włodzimierz Borodziej
Bartłomiej Gajos
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The paper is a part of the war diary of Aurelia Wyleżyńska (1881-1944), in which she described the political and social life in Warsaw (and not only there) from September 1939 until June 1944. Aurelia Wyleżyńska, a scion of Polish gentry, was a writer and journalist, the author of over a dozen of novels and hundreds of articles in Polish and French-language press, concerning mainly literature, feminism, pacifism (and civilizational progress, which she identified with the latter). She investigates the mood of the civilians and the views of Polish soldiers she met. She analyses social conditions, including her Jewish friends. She shows the dreadful German invasion and the accompanying changes to life and death. She also comments on the Soviet invasion. In her diary she shows how quickly the bustling Polish capital turns into a ruined cage for individuals struggling for survival.

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Grażyna Pawlak
Marcin Urynowicz
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Abstract

The reviewed book was written basing on Piotr Szlanta’s habilitation thesis defended in 2015 at the University of Warsaw. It deals mainly with “the Polish question”, by describing the relations between Emperor Wilhelm II and his Polish subjects. The title deals with stereotypes of the Emperor and his Polish subjects, and its evolution during subsequent decades. Piotr Szlanta managed to grasp the ambiguous relation between these two sides. On the one hand, the Emperor sought for acceptance and recognition from the side of “his Poles”, on the other hand, he underlined on almost every occasion the historical role of Germans in civilising east territories and its inhabitants. The last attempt of gaining support of Poles towards his politics and himself was an attempt of creating “The Kingdom of Poland” in autumn 1916. Piotr Szlanta’s book, basing on a broad research in various archives managed to highlight this complicated chapter of Polish-German relations.

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Jens Boysen
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Abstract

The book outlines the artistic events accompanying the large sports events in 1928: the 9th Olympic Games in Amsterdam and the 1st Summer Spartakiad in Moskow and 2nd Summer Spartakiad planned in Prague, which, however, was cancelled. The organization, character, and cultural influence of these events are outlined, while selected works of art connected to these events are analysed in meticulous detail. The author points out the general differences between the Olympic Games and the Spartakiads both in the approach to sports events, and the accompanying artistic events. The Olympic Games stressed the individualistic approach to art and creative work, and encouraged international competition. The Spartakiads were aiming at collective approach to both art and sports, which were seen not as competition between nations, but a collective effort of the Proletariat.

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Helena Postawka-Lech
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Abstract

Teresa Willenborg’s book is devoted to analysis of the situation of the German population of former German territories which were granted to Poland in 1945 basing on diplomatic conferences of great powers: USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Willenborg focuses on experiences of Germans who decided to remain in their hometowns and villages. The subject of her interest is here mainly a term of becoming ‘foreign’ and ‘solitare’ in their own homeland after 1945. Thanks to usage of various Polish and German sources the author managed to stress the fact, that the history of post-war expulsions and national minorities often requires a transnational approach.

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Jonathan Voges
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Radosław Ptaszyński devoted over 700 pages of his book to Stanisław Stomma, a catholic intellectual who, during his life was confronted with two totalitarian systems, German Nazism and Soviet Communism. Stomma remains until today a symbol of „stommizm”. This name, created basing on a Stomma’s surname remains a symbol of political realism, and willingness of compromise (with direct limits), and accompanied by a strong moral integrity. Stomma, a devoted catholic played also an important role in the long process of Polish-German reconciliation. According to the Author “stommizm” itself can be recognised as a new kind of heroism, however remote from other well-known patterns of heroism.

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Robert Żurek
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Abstract

In her book Anna Ziębińska-Witek deals with a question of displaying and interpreting the experience of communism in various historical exhibitions in Central and Eastern Europe. The book enables the readers to get acquainted with analysis of historical discourses concerning contemporary history conducted neither in form of sophisticated monographies, nor in form of superficial press commentaries, but basing on such an unique media as historical exhibitions. Ziębińska-Witek stresses here the fact that museums are more often than not instruments of the politics of memory than a method of disseminating objective historical knowledge. Therefore she analyses and deconstructs various types of exhibitions: those stressing heroism, those underlining martyrdom, and, finally, those with a gadget-focused sentimental approach. Although it is hard to speak about one single interpretation of communism in historical exhibitions in Central and Eastern Europe, Ziębińska-Witek points out that in all Central and Eastern European countries the dominant role is played by large, stateowned museums.

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Rafał Stobiecki
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Abstract

The list of publications by Professor Jerzy W. Borejsza in 1958-2018, with about 350 entries, over a dozen of books among them, shows two main areas of interest. The first is the history of Polish political emigres, European emancipation movements and 19th- Century socialism. The phrase coined by Borejsza – “The Beautiful 19th Century” – which became known in Polish historiography, – illustrates his fascination with the history of this period. He was especially interested with histories of Polish left-wing movements, the insurgents, emigres and deportees, who had fought for “The Polish Cause”. He wrote extensively about them, publishing initial studies and complete biographies. In the 1970s, apart from continuing various topics from 19th Century, he started to study the Italian Fascism, in time expanding his interest to Fascist movements and authoritarian regimes of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, National Socialism in Germany and Stalinism in the Soviet Union. He became the pioneer of reflection ranging beyond the genocidal policies and moral nihilism of the Third Reich, basing on ever-perfected definitions of Fascism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism. Arguably the most original contribution of Jerzy W. Borejsza to the scholarship of the “Century of Destruction” was identifying and describing the anti-Slavic views of Adolf Hitler.

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Authors and Affiliations

Edmund Dmitrów

Editorial office

Wissenschaftlicher Beirat:

Prof. Dr. Hans Henning Hahn, Prof. Dr. Jerzy Kochanowski,

Prof. Dr. Wojciech Kriegseisen, Prof. Dr. Michael G. Müller,

Prof. Dr. Tomasz Szarota, Prof. Dr. Anna Wolff-Powęska,

Prof. Dr. Marcin Zaremba

Redaktion:

Igor Kąkolewski (Chefredakteur)

Redaktionelle Verantwortung: Małgorzata Popiołek-Roßkamp,

Łukasz Jasiński, Olga Paczyńska, Dominik Pick, Małgorzata Stolarska-Fronia,

Zofia Wóycicka

Textredaktion:

Benjamin Voelkel (deutsche Texte)

Korrektur:

Brigitte Wormer

Übersetzung der Texte ins Deutsche:

Karsten Holste, Anna Labentz, Peter Oliver Loew, Benjamin Voelkel

Redaktion der Zusammenfassungen:

Tristan Korecki

Contact

Herausgeber:

Zentrum für Historische Forschung Berlin

der Polnischen Akademie der Wissenschaft en

Majakowskiring 47

D-13156 Berlin

Tel. +49-30-486 285 40

Fax: +49-30-486 285 56

www.cbh.pan.pl

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