What You Must Know About Poland’s Tortured Previous

Over the Christmas vacation, I learn Poland: A Historical past by Adam Zamoyski. The e-book was printed in 2009 and predated the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

It supplies present insights into the vulnerabilities of varied teams in Poland’s historical past. It’s an space witnessing Europe’s most extreme and extended struggle situations since 1945.

Former Polish territory now a part of Ukraine

Some centuries in the past, Kyiv, Lviv, and Kherson (now Ukraine) have been all a part of the then Polish/ Lithuanian Commonwealth. Many western European international locations, similar to France, have been absolute monarchies on the time. However the Polish/Lithuanian Commonwealth was completely different. A restricted monarchy existed, wherein notable Poles or Lithuanians, or members of the royal household of one other European nation, elected the king. 

For instance, James, the Duke of York, who turned King James the Second of Britain and Eire, was thought of a candidate to be king of Poland earlier in his profession. The Commonwealth had no everlasting state equipment, and large selections required unanimous settlement within the elected Sejm. 

Breakdown in Consensus, Enlightenment Concepts and Suing Germany

This veto system labored nicely so long as there was a broad consensus among the many Polish and Lithuanian peoples. Consensus breakdown usually resulted within the exploitation of veto energy by outdoors powers and bold Poles searching for to paralyze the state. This incidence led to the carving up of Poland by Russia, Austria and Prussia.

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The Commonwealth was designed to restrict state energy, in step with concepts that have been widespread through the Enlightenment of the 18th century. These concepts of a restricted state nonetheless discover favor amongst some conservative Republicans within the US. The present Polish authorities, which has tried to restrict the independence of the Polish judiciary not too long ago, is pursuing insurance policies opposite to Polish democratic and constitutional traditions.

It’s surprising that Poland, who joined Germany as a fellow member of the EU in 2004, desires to sue Germany for damages brought on by the invasion and occupation of Poland in World Battle II. This struggle was over nicely earlier than the EU was fashioned. If Poland was critical about this declare, it ought to have made it a requirement of Polish membership within the EU.

 Now, too late, it’s exploiting historic grievances to whip up nationalistic sentiment in Poland, which is harmful. If we go down this highway, the EU will solely survive briefly. [Conner Tighe edited this article.]

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.