Flag of Poland
Flag of Poland displayed during the state funeral of Polish president Lech Kaczyński in 2010
Warsaw's Castle Square and Royal Castle, and  Sigismund's Column commemorating Swedish-born King Sigismund III Vasa of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

Polish nationalism is a form of nationalism which asserts that the Poles are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Poles. Norman Davies, in the context of Polish nationalism, generally defined nationalism as "a doctrine ... to create a nation by arousing people's awareness of their nationality, and to mobilize their feelings into a vehicle for political action".[1]

The old Polish proto-nationalism of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth which was based on its population's Polish-Lithuanian identity was multi-ethnic and multi-religious, though ethnic Poles still constituted the majority of the population and Roman Catholicism was still the most dominant religion inside the nation. The nationalist ideology which developed soon after the Partitions was initially free of any kind of "ethnic nationalism."[2] It was a Romantic movement which sought the restoration of the Polish sovereign state.[1] Polish Romantic nationalism was described by Maurycy Mochnacki as "the essence of the nation" no longer defined by borders but by ideas, feelings, and thoughts resulting from the past.[2] The birth of modern nationalism under foreign rule was coincided with the November Uprising of 1830 and the subsequent Spring of Nations. However, the defeat suffered by the Poles also broke the Polish revolutionary spirit.[2] Many intellectuals turned to social Darwinism of Herbert Spencer, blaming the Romantic philosophy for the loss of their property, mass destruction, and ultimately the loss of the nation.[2] With the advent of Positivism between 1860 and 1890 Polish nationalism became an elitist cause.[2] Because the partitioning powers could not have identified themselves with the Polish nation,[1] the ideology became more restrictive in terms of ethnicity and religion.[3]

History

The earliest manifestations of Polish nationalism, and conscious discussions of what it means to be a citizen of the Polish nation, can be traced back to the 17th or 18th century,[4] with some scholars going as far back as the 13th century,[5] and others to the 16th century.[6] Early Polish nationalism, or protonationalism, was related to the Polish-Lithuanian identity, represented primarily by the Polish nobility (szlachta), and by their cultural values (such as the Golden Freedoms and Sarmatism).[7] It was founded on civic, republican ideas.[8] This early form of Polish nationalism began to fray and transform with the destruction of the Polish state in the partitions of Poland from 1772 to 1795.[9]

Modern Polish nationalism arose as a movement in the late-18th and early-19th centuries amongst Polish activists who promoted a Polish national consciousness while rejecting cultural assimilation into the dominant cultures of Austria, Prussia and Russia, the three empires which partitioned Poland-Lithuania and occupied the various regions of Poland.[10] This was the consequence of Polish statelessness, because the Polish nationality was suppressed by the authorities of the countries which acquired the territory of the former Commonwealth.[11] During that time Polishness begun to be identified with ethnicity, increasingly excluding groups such as the Polish Jews, who had previously been more likely to be accepted as Polish patriots.[3][12][13][14][15] This was also the period in which Polish nationalism, which was previously common to both left-wing and right-wing political platforms, became more redefined as being limited to the right-wing,[16] with the emergence of the politician Roman Dmowski (1864-1939), who renamed Liga Polska (the Polish League) as Liga Narodowa (the National League) in 1893.[17]

Polish nationalism reached its height in the second half of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century.[citation needed] Crucial waves followed the Polish defeat in the January Uprising of 1864, the restoration of an independent Polish state in 1918 and the establishment of a homogeneous ethnic Polish state in 1945.[18]

It has often been pointed out that the period of partition has a strong significance for Poles as a chapter in Polish history where the Polish nation survived and became socially and culturally stronger despite the loss of independence.

— Dr. Magdalena Kania-Lundholm, Re-Branding a Nation Online, Uppsala University, 2012 [19]

An important element of Polish nationalism has been its identification with the Roman Catholic religion, though this is a relatively recent development, with its roots in the counter-reformation of the 17th century, and one which became clearly established in the interwar period.[7][14][15][20] Although the old Commonwealth was religiously diverse and highly tolerant,[21] the Roman Catholic religious narrative with messianic undertones (the Christ of Nations) became one of the defining characteristics of the modern Polish identity.[3][8][22] Roman Dmowski, a Polish politician of that era, was vital in defining that concept, and has been called the "father of Polish nationalism".[23][24][25]

The post-World War II human migrations from 1945, with the resultant demographic and territorial changes of Poland that drastically reduced the number of ethnic minorities in Poland, also played a major role in the creation of the modern Polish state and nationality.[18][26]

In communist Poland (1945-1989), the regime adopted, modified and used for its official ideology and propaganda some of the nationalist concepts developed by Dmowski. As Dmowski's National Democrats strongly believed in a "national" (ethnically homogeneous) state, even if this criterion necessitated a reduced territory, their territorial and ethnic ideas were accepted and practically implemented by the Polish communists, acting with Joseph Stalin's permission. Stalin himself in 1944-45 conferenced with and was influenced by a leading National Democrat Stanisław Grabski, coauthor of the planned border and population shifts and an embodiment of the nationalist-communist collusion.[27]

Polish nationalism, together with pro-American liberalism, played an important part in the development of Solidarity movement in the 1980s.[28] Polish irredentism keeps alive memories of Polish presence in the Kresy - the "Eastern Borderlands" formerly under Polish governance and now part of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

In current Polish politics, Polish nationalism is most openly represented by parties linked in the Liberty and Independence Confederation coalition. As of 2020 the Confederation, composed of several smaller parties, had 11 deputies (under 7%) in the Sejm.

Parties

Current

Former

See also

Further reading

References

  1. ^ a b c Norman Davies (24 February 2005). God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present. Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-19-925340-1. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nolan Kinney (Spring 2009). "The Positive Reawakening Of Polish Nationalism" (PDF file, direct download 69.8 KB). Western Oregon University Department of History. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Thomas K. Nakayama; Rona Tamiko Halualani (21 March 2011). The Handbook of Critical Intercultural Communication. John Wiley & Sons. p. 296. ISBN 978-1-4443-9067-4. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  4. ^ Norman Davies (24 February 2005). God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present. Oxford University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-19-925340-1. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  5. ^ Stefan Auer (22 January 2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-134-37860-9. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  6. ^ Rauszer, Michał (2021). "What nation? Peasants, memory and national identity in Poland". Nations and Nationalism. doi:10.1111/nana.12680. ISSN 1469-8129.
  7. ^ a b Geneviève Zubrzycki (15 October 2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-0-226-99305-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  8. ^ a b Geneviève Zubrzycki (15 October 2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-226-99305-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  9. ^ Geneviève Zubrzycki (15 October 2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-226-99305-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  10. ^ Norman Davies (24 February 2005). God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present. Oxford University Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-19-925340-1. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  11. ^ Norman Davies (24 February 2005). God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present. Oxford University Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-19-925340-1. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  12. ^ Geneviève Zubrzycki (15 October 2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-226-99305-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  13. ^ Geneviève Zubrzycki (15 October 2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-226-99305-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  14. ^ a b Stefan Auer (22 January 2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-134-37860-9. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  15. ^ a b Stefan Auer (22 January 2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-134-37860-9. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  16. ^ Angel Smith; Stefan Berger (1999). Nationalism, Labour and Ethnicity 1870-1939. Manchester University Press. pp. 121–123. ISBN 978-0-7190-5052-7. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  17. ^ Mieczysław B. Biskupski; James S. Pula; Piotr J. Wróbel (2010). The Origins of Modern Polish Democracy. Ohio University Press. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-0-8214-4309-5. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  18. ^ a b Norman Davies (24 February 2005). God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present. Oxford University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-19-925340-1. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  19. ^ Magdalena Kania-Lundholm (2012). Re-Branding a Nation Online (PDF file, direct download 2.41 MB). Uppsala: Uppsala University. pp. 28, 83. ISBN 978-91-506-2302-4. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  20. ^ Geneviève Zubrzycki (15 October 2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. pp. 41–43. ISBN 978-0-226-99305-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  21. ^ Karin Friedrich; Barbara M. Pendzich (2009). Citizenship and Identity in a Multinational Commonwealth: Poland-Lithuania in Context, 1550-1772. BRILL. p. 150. ISBN 978-90-04-16983-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  22. ^ Geneviève Zubrzycki (15 October 2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0-226-99305-8. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  23. ^ Jóhann Páll Árnason; Natalie Doyle (2010). Domains and Divisions of European History. Liverpool University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-84631-214-4. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  24. ^ Laura Ann Crago (1993). Nationalism, religion, citizenship, and work in the development of the Polish working class and the Polish trade union movement, 1815-1929: a comparative study of Russian Poland's textile workers and upper Silesian miners and metalworkers. Yale University. p. 168. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  25. ^ Stefan Auer (22 January 2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-1-134-37860-9. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  26. ^ Stefan Auer (22 January 2004). Liberal Nationalism in Central Europe. Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-134-37860-9. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  27. ^ Timothy Snyder (2003). The Reconstruction of Nations. Yale University Press. pp. 179–231. ISBN 978-0-300-10586-5.
  28. ^ Boduszyński, Mieczysław; Carpenter, Michael (1 August 2017). "How Polish populism explains the surge of Trump and nationalism". The Hill (blog).