Was communism a reasonable price to pay?

Jamie told me my titles need to be more in tune with the subject of the post, less esoteric, punchier, but in this case I’m going slightly off piste as the subject of the post is really about those discussions you can have face to face that you simply cannot have in text on a place like this.

It’s driven by a lunchtime conversation with two Poles where at the end of a lengthy debate about racism I was being somewhat provocative and definitely way beyond the boundaries of text based communication. The different reactions were quite noticeable with one engaging in what is a very theoretical debate with gusto and the other closing up like a barnacle clinging to rock on a stormy day.

The gist of the discussion, troll – call it what you like, was to wonder whether the relatively few years (historically speaking) that Poland suffered under communism were actually a reasonable price to pay for the removal of extreme Jewish influence in the country and the expansion of Poland’s borders to include more prime, well developed (albeit with German taste) real estate to the West and North. If Poland were a person and if that person had been asked in 1939 –

“Look, we can promise you the following – ethnically cleanse the country leaving everything owned and managed by 99.9% white Polish Catholics, give you stability and security for the foreseeable future thereafter, membership of the EU, NATO and all that good stuff, inward investment you never dreamt of, borders like this [shows map of present day Poland] and all of this with zero blame apportioned to you whatsoever, in fact most people will sympathise with you. The only price you pay (beyond the usual ravages of war) is 45 years or so of communism, although I might add that communism itself might well bring opportunities to many, although definitely not all. Dirt cheap apartments and businesses when it all ends, for example.”

What would that person have said – if in private, behind closed doors, with nobody listening and no way for the answer to be brought up as evidence later on? Is the angel or the devil going to win that one?

Like I said, these are things that can only be discussed face to face because then the other people can see how this is an intellectual exercise, a little brain-jogging and not the rantings of a crazed bigot, racist, unfeeling swine. To have the same discussion in here one would need an list of footnotes as long as your arm: the author does not condone war or ethnic cleansing of any kind, the author does not think communism was a good thing, the author etc etc blah bloody blah….because nobody really KNOWS the author so they’ll all jump straight into the basket of wrong conclusions.

I wonder if there will come a time when you can have deeper discussions online without the need to spend inordinate amounts of time positioning yourself?

Bring on the flames!

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62 thoughts on “Was communism a reasonable price to pay?

  1. M says:

    OK, I get the idea, but it seems you see just the icing – you forget about society corruption, secret agencies involved in big business, politics driving the “economy”, enormous bureaucracy, etc. No, I do not think it was worth it.

  2. Pawel says:

    When I started reading your post I thought your post was going to be about what you more or less have said before, that war and communism wasn’t such a bad thing for Poland after all. Which is a thing to discuss. But you gave this subject a makeover this time putting stability of today with ethic cleansing.

    I’m not going to throw flames at you.

    But I think this post is very cynical.

    I don’t think it is fair to put things this way. People are not pawns in a game.

    And does the lack of diversity work for the benefit of Poland? To the contrary – in my opinion. Look at the most succesful countries.

    Mental note: talk about this face-to-face

  3. Jakub says:

    I don’t think it’s worth it. Those 45 years or so have changed the minds of at least two generations. They have changed the whole country. Additional lands and lack of Jews is not worth if you have no people to manage those lands effectively, only “9 to 5” slackers all over the place – and this is what communism has taught people the most. Sit down and keep quiet and you’ll make it somehow – just don’t try to be better.

  4. Pawel says:

    Communism also brought rainy springs and bad breath!

  5. anon says:

    “… removal of extreme Jewish influence in the country … ”

    Look again.

    “… 99.9% white Polish Catholics …”

    SLD are hardly Catholic.

    “… membership of the EU, NATO …”

    Would this not have been possible without communism?

    You’re right. A topic like this needs to be discussed in person.

  6. Polguest says:

    It’s too cynical a question that I’m not going to answer. Sorry.

    You wrote: “(…) the removal of extreme Jewish influence in the country (…)”.
    I think You have been misinformed on that one. It was the pre-war Polish Jews and Soviet Jews (PC version, history taught in school – Polish Communists) who built the PRL, hundreds of thousands of them ran it from day one and then smoothly transformed it into what it is now! I doubt that their influence has ever been stronger than nowadays! Be it politics, bussiness, education or culture.

  7. guest says:

    Scatts, this is the most stupid post ever. I am really shocked. I do not even know where to start. :(

    You should look at the 1945 post war photos of the so called “well developed german real estate” and compare Danzig and Breslau to Lemberg and Vilnius. An then you should read something about the Polish-Jewish history and learn how many great Polish Jews Pland lost between 1939-68…Architects, artists, politicians, film makers, business men, scientists, nobel price winners…and so on.

    Without the holocaust and without the communist enslavement Poland would be a country with 60+ million people 389.720 km², beautyful UNESCO cities like Lemberg and Vilnius and our best people would live and work in a “free market post Marshall plan” Poland and not in Manhattan, LA or Tel Aviv….

    You seem to have really no idea how important Jews were for Poland and how much ( land, industry, architecture, brain-power, art-pieces,…) this country has lost between 39-89. And this is pretty sad for someone who lives here since the 90s…

  8. guest says:

    ps:

    “Marshall plan money, stability and security for the foreseeable future thereafter, membership of the EU, NATO and all that good stuff, inward investment you never dreamt of,…”

    What you say is exactly what western europe got after 1945…but WITHOUT losing 20% of their population and 90% of the elite of their countries. And without losing ~80.000 km2 land…+2 UNESCO cities tons of art pieces and FREEDOM for the next 45 years.

  9. Peter says:

    I think if you would poll Poles (funny, I know) most would rather have kept Wilno, Lwow over Wroclaw and Szczeczin (Gdansk was an issue on its own) despite the fact that the Western Lands were far more valuable than the Eastern Lands (wasnt called Polska B for nothing).

    Secondly, the homogeneous state Poles live in now is completly artificial and contrary to most of Polish history. I think it is a shame that Poles have to be differentiated by their ethnicity and/or religion. Hopefully that is changing nowadays. Ethnic diversity is part of Poland’s rich history that is really quite unique and its not only the Jews but Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Germans Belarusians. Granted it was certainly not Kumbaya like but it was what it was. The last 60 years just erased it all.

    Thirdly I think it would be interesting to do a Sociological analysis of some sort of the state of anti-semitism in Poland. Probably different in urban areas vs. rural but I would suspect that a lot hold Polish Jewry accountable for much of the hardships in the last century.

  10. Sylwia says:

    To be sure, I never met a Kresowiak who’d be happy to be moved to Wrocław or Szczecin. People lived in the country, on their own land cultivated by their ancestors, and were expelled to small apartments in dirty cities. Poland lost 20% of its population, but even more land and buildings, and suddenly there was not enough place for people to live.

    You cannot judge the cities by what they are now. You should have seen Wrocław some years ago, or Lviv before the war.

    As for those who weren’t transferred – my grandparents lived with their 4 children in a 16 m2 (52 feet) room for ten years (bathroom and kitchen shared with others). Welcome to Warsaw!

    Nazis and communists together contributed to the shortages of the intelligentsia. Poland lost the majority of its engineers, professors etc. The idea was that only the uneducated should remain, as seemingly easier to rule over. Poland was to become a country of workers. And of course private business was totally ruined.

    I’m not glad that Poland is a homogeneous country now, and I don’t think there are so many people happy about it. You cannot judge the entire nation upon some football hooligans. Bringing the communist Jews to the outcome is not fair, because they were a kind of phenomenon created by the circumstances. They simply were the only ones who cared to remain in a communist post-war country, while all others emigrated, but before the war there were many non-communist Jews here and they would contribute to Poland’s prosperity, while the others would be in minority, just like there are some communists all over the world.

    I also agree that it’s not just the Jews. The percentage of non-Poles in Poland before the war was about 40%. Jews made only for 8%.

    Why not turn the tables? If Brits were now offered 6 years of war and 45 years of communism in exchange for ethnic cleansing and some economical help would they go for it?

    And finally, finally, you seem to assume that Poland would go into a slumber for 45 years, while in fact we’d be doing the same things we’re doing now only 45 years earlier. Now we’re simply very very late. Note that our economy back then had only 20 years for development before it was halted by the war and communism. Now we had to make the 20 years again, with a worse start than before. How is it beneficial? Perhaps we’d be now a second Switzerland without needing to be in the EU at all?

    Don’t forget that Germany never paid to Poland for the war because they paid to Russia! And as a communist country we had to send stuff to the USSR all the time. It hardly helps one’s finances to be constantly giving money away.

    Additionally, why should we pay with blood and suffering for the honour of being admitted to the EU or NATO, while countries like the UK or Germany get in for nothing? Are we still considered as lesser humans?

    Oh, and NATO? LOL You know, we had alliances before the war. Whether, for a change, this one with NATO is worth anything yet remains to be seen.

  11. Lon says:

    Scatts
    I have had the pleasure of meeting you. You sure stirred up the comments. I think that was your intent posing a thoughtful question to still the mind juices and fingers a typing.

    I will think on you topic as I go about my Saturday. But I think it is good to pounder what would we trade for certain gains if we new the outcome in advance.

    later

  12. MaterialGirl says:

    I think Scatts haven’t got new good idea to write an really interesting post and is going daft.

  13. island1 says:

    This is an argument I’ve heard and taken part in a few times. I think it’s a natural reaction to the overwhelming prevalence of the ‘war was a tragedy for Poland’ stance. It’s always interesting to question these monolithic ‘truths’ and, in this case, wonder if Poland didn’t actually benefit in some ways. Determining the truth of such a proposition is, however, probably impossible – there are just too many variables and the very obvious negatives are just too extreme to forget about.

  14. guest says:

    “It’s always interesting to question these monolithic ‘truths’ and, in this case, wonder if Poland didn’t actually benefit in some ways.”
    ——————-
    yeah, lets question the “monotithic HOLOCAUST truth” . Maybe the Jews should be lucky that the Germans made soap and carpets of their mothers and children. ?

    Without the holocaust the USA would not protect Israeal, it would be a much less important state and blah blah blah…

    David John Cawdell Irving, Richard Williamson would be really proud of us…

  15. isabella says:

    Obviously, your did not lose your father during the war…

  16. siuniab says:

    wow, scatts. Your post caused me to take a sharp intake of breath. To gasp actually. Frankly, I’m surprised at how restrained and measured the comments have been so far. This is probably a reflection of the enormous respect people have for you. Most, probably think you have temporarily lost your mind.
    Do you really propose to simplify the suffering, deaths, destruction and horror of the War, and the ensuing 45 years of lost freedom into a simple cost/benefit analysis? Your little “intellectual exercise” is simply offensive, nothing more.

  17. island1 says:

    guest: I didn’t, and have no intention of, questioning the truth of the holocaust and I’m sure Scatts has the same opinion.

  18. guest says:

    OK, at least you respect the Jews and do not make such “intellectual exercises” with Israel. I’m relieved to hear that.

  19. Scatts says:

    If there ever comes a week when I have nothing to do I’d love to study reactions to posts like this. Not many picked up on the face to face versus text aspect, which I think was clearly stated. Judging by the reactions so far (and I agree with siuniab that they are restrained = respect to our readers and commenters) this sort of question is just taboo in text with reactions ranging from insulted to thinking I’ve lost my marbles. Is this sort of question more palatable face to face and if so, why?

    Thanks to those who know me for sticking up for me! It’s my age you know, that and the pills. Roughly every 6 months I go on a post bender!

    No, I’m not joining the Pope’s mate Bishop Richard Williamson in denying the Holocaust.

    There was (obviously for me but perhaps not for others) no intention of looking at this at a personal level – dead fathers, displaced people, etc. At that level everything in the period concerned was bad Ju-Ju. It’s more of a macro economic/historical thing, quite impersonal, which I appreciate for many is difficult to do. I need to come back in 200 years time and read the history books.

    Glad to see the old defence-tactic of “What about the UK then!!” getting an airing. :-)

    I claim a bonus prize for using the words “taboo” and “Ju-Ju” in the same comment!!

  20. dev says:

    Would You trade lives of Your grandfather and uncle for opportunity to move from Kowno to Szczecin? Would You trade a house on the main street of Kowno for apartment at blokowisko on the Dąbie? Even if I got some palace it wouldn’t be enough for single life!
    Imagine Poland in old borders developing from ’39 to ’09 in the same rate as in last 20 years.
    Think.

  21. Scatts says:

    dev, we overlapped comments. No I wouldn’t trade anyone’s life, nor would I want to move cities, or kill Jews, or anything like this but its not about me, or you, or any single person or group of people. It – the hypothetical question- is about where a country was then and where it is now and what price was paid by that country for that change. Also about whether that change was good, bad or neutral. And stuff like that.

    But any kind of debate along those lines quickly deteriorates into something completely different because people died or had to move or had nasty commie neighbours or whatever. Which is sort of what I was getting at in the first place…..and wondering if it will ever change.

  22. guest says:

    OK let’s make it simple

    Without communism Poland would be in 2009 on the same level like Italy and Spain.

    And without the communism+WWII Poland would be on a Level between Italy/Spain and France/UK/Germany.

  23. Polguest says:

    “Secondly, the homogeneous state Poles live in now is completly artificial and contrary to most of Polish history. I think it is a shame that Poles have to be differentiated by their ethnicity and/or religion. Hopefully that is changing nowadays. Ethnic diversity is part of Poland’s rich history that is really quite unique and its not only the Jews but Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Germans Belarusians. Granted it was certainly not Kumbaya like but it was what it was. The last 60 years just erased it all.”

    What’s with all this prejudice against one-nation countries nowadays? Is it evil? Is it dangerous? Does it exclude being co-operative towards other countries? Does it determine hostility towards other countries? Does it determine some backwardness? I think not.
    Why is it that homogeneous Poland is „COMPLETELY artificial and contrary to most of Polish history”, that I don’t understand. I seem to remember that Poland in its beginning and for some next centuries consisted of Polish (Lechitic) tribes only; seems like history circled and here we are in the same place back again – what’s artificial and contrary to history now? See, everyone wants to live on his own and strives for that opportunity, so do nations. I find it absolutely inevitable and natural.

    As history has shown economical or political ties are weak – usually they are fine as long as weather is fine, but when the weather gets bad…they won’t make it through sooner or later, it’s just a matter of time. Only blood ties will, they last forever, that’s natural. They are the fundamental and primordial ties, the strongest ones when it comes to identity, always will be. They are the most sound and solid ties there are – therefore it’s easy and safe to build and capitalize on them. Because of this I think a homogeneous country is a blessing. I hope it stays that way. Why change it?
    Unfortunately and oddly enough, the Western World doesn’t want to recognise that, thinks of it passé and tries to substitute blood ties (national ties) with economical ties or by setting common goal and ways – well, it can, but it will fail for the above reasons in the end, plus it will be dominated by people who understand that rule (I think you know well who I mean in first place) – wake up and smell the danger. Yeah, that’s what you do out there and what you got used to now – you rather built your identity upon common goals/environment or selfish reasons than your nationality. No wonder, you even do it on a basic level – „friends/so called best friends”, „bussiness partners”, „people you hang out with”, „people you share a passion/a flat with” very often mean more to you than your family, yet still, don’t mean much in many cases– that’s a generalisation of me (very sorry; I needed to use it here) which is based on what I’ve seen and encountered in Western Europe (especially Britanistan and Hollandistan, ekhm, sorry, Great Britain and the Netherlands that is) and the US. I don’t believe it has always been like that.

  24. Peter says:

    I would imagine the different Lechitic tribes had more differences than similarities. Just look at the different polish dialects and magnify the differences ten fold. So it really never was all the homogeneous.

    Why is it artificial? I think thats relatively self explanatory but for starters the Nazis killed most of our Jews, the borders crossed over the Ukrainian/Belarussian-Polish citizens and the Germans were expelled (obviously from the so called “recovered territories” but also from prewar Poland).

    Is it necessarily bad? No of course not. But IT IS contrary to polish history.

    Where we really disagree, which makes arguing quite senselessm is that you claim national ties are synonymous with blood ties. I have the opposite view. I am an American though so my views are probably quite different from most Europeans in terms of nationality and self-identity.

  25. Lon says:

    Ian
    I think many of the folks above are blinded by the debate and as you say missed the point. This is wine bar topic… to highbrow for the pub. As your post states in person vs text was the question and plus this was not even a question you made up put heard being talked on by Poles.

    So I think your point is proven.

  26. Sylwia says:

    What blood ties, Poleguest?

    Poles are the most ethnically mixed nation in Europe. I wonder how one could extract Polishness out of oneself nowadays. Is there some kind of sieve?

    How am I tied by blood to Lech Wałęsa whose genes are typical for the British Isles, while mine are a mixture of Prussian, French and who knows what else? I truly hope I’m not tied to Lepper in any way. And now that you made me think of my extended family I’d willingly waver ties to some of its members as well.

    Poles were one of the first, if not first, nations that created their national identity over common goals. That’s what Sarmatism was. I’d say it’s a huge part of our history that influenced our blood. Poland profited most when it was the most tolerant. That’s the part of our history we’re proud of, not the shadowy bit about the Lechitic tribes being conquered by Polans.

  27. adthelad says:

    “Roughly every 6 months I go on a post bender!” – surely West Ham lose more often than that?

    There is no way that Poland is in any way better off for any of the rapes either physical or psychological in nature.

  28. Polguest says:

    @Peter
    „I would imagine the different Lechitic tribes had more differences than similarities. Just look at the different polish dialects and magnify the differences ten fold. So it really never was all the homogeneous.”

    Why would they have more differencies than similarities? Why would science (history, antropology, linguistics) “bother” to have them all named as Lechites? It’s not happened without a reason. They were all of same origin, spoke the same language, shared same belief, managed same social development („opole” and such) and material culture – you can say Polabian tribes differed a bit from the others, yes.
    The language – well, I’m no language expert nor historian, but I doubt it’s a valid point. At Mieszko’s death there were about million people living in his duchy (funny he managed to unite Lechitic lands only – not all though, pity, I mean the Polabians’ lands): again, with same roots, life that did not demand vast vocabulary, little or no exterior contacts, same cultural development and society structure I can’t see how it could be so different that it would be worth of note. I’ve never come across such statement in any publication, nor heard anybody come up with some prooves, but again, I’m not an expert, I don’t know it all.
    As for the dialect comparison – please, it’s not like Plattdüütsch and Boarisch in German even these days. Let me speak for myself: I’ve no difficulty in understanding Polish dialects at all, be it vocabulary or grammar. Only problems occur when there’s vocabulary of foreign provenance that doesn’t exist in Standard Polish (especially words borrowed from German, for example „obzorgliwy” – „zaradny”, „umiejący dbać o siebie” – in „wielkopolski” dialect, word which I believe derived from German „sorgen”) or there’s old Polish vocabulary, long forgotten and not used in SP (for example “chudoba” – “bieda”, “biedne gospodarstwo”, word used in some parts of southern Poland).

    „Why is it artificial? I think thats relatively self explanatory but for starters the Nazis killed most of our Jews, the borders crossed over the Ukrainian/Belarussian-Polish citizens and the Germans were expelled (obviously from the so called “recovered territories” but also from prewar Poland).”
    „Is it necessarily bad? No of course not. But IT IS contrary to polish history.”

    I stand by my earlier point. By the way, I do recognise I and II Rzeczpospolita.

    „Where we really disagree, which makes arguing quite senselessm is that you claim national ties are synonymous with blood ties. I have the opposite view. I am an American though so my views are probably quite different from most Europeans in terms of nationality and self-identity.”

    Good point about Your American background. Let’s not argue then.

  29. adthelad says:

    This link has nothing to do wth the subect matter but it might provide a light interlude.

  30. siuniab says:

    Hi Scatts:

    Still thinking about your comments:

    “There was no intention of looking at this at a personal level. At that level everything in the period concerned was bad Ju-Ju. It’s more of a macro economic/historical thing, quite impersonal, which I appreciate for many is difficult to do. I need to come back in 200 years time and read the history books.”

    “macro economic/historical thing, quite impersonal” – naive of you to think like this. I think a perfect example that fits your above criteria, and which has experienced the passage of time (almost 150 years) is the collective experiences of African Americans. You can point to all sorts of macro economic data indicating that African Americans are MUCH BETTER OFF than their African contemporaries due to their forcible removal from Africa and subsequent enslavement in the Americas. I would encourage you to have this “impersonal” discussion, preferably in a wine bar of course, and see where the discussion leads. Hahahaha that would be fun to watch. Do you really believe the phrase “nothing personal”, provides you with some kind of immunity from the offensive nature of your hypothesis? The human factor can never be dismissed.

    And whether we were sitting in said wine bar (rozmawiajac w cztery oczy) or typing across the miles, how would that possibly change my point of view/opinion (unless directly impacted by wine consumption). How is geography important in this discussion?

  31. Scatts says:

    siuniab, I don’t think geography is important but I do think cztery oczy is a very different situation to reading my post.

    Actually, that African American idea is a good one. Are subsequent generations better off for being American citizens? Obviously at a heavy price paid by earlier generations. When I get to meet Obama I’ll bring it up. Obviously the correct response is that slavery was a terrible thing and they should have all stayed where they were as free & happy people (dictators, Aids, famine not withstanding) and then got rich enough (dictators and tribal wars permitting) to fly to the USA (if they wished to do so) and apply for citizenship.

    I apologise if my hypothesis has offended you, that obviously wasn’t my intention and I think that would be more than clear if we were talking in that wine bar. As it is, you can choose to be offended and there’s little I can do about it.

    Surely it’s time for Polandian on Sunday #7? Just to get back to normal service.

  32. siuniab says:

    scatts, you haven’t offended me, your question/hypothesis disturbed me. Big difference. I enjoy reading your views very much.

    I’m planning a visit to Warsaw at the end of the summer. A trip to a wine bar might work for me if you’re inclined (we’re of similar “vintage” and also a parent of young children: 6 & 9).

    Please don’t be overly concerned about my feelings (though kind of you to worry). All’s well.

    Cheers,

  33. Pawel says:

    I think the lack of political correctness in Poland means that the replies you would get face-to-face aren’t any different than those you get here.

  34. guest says:

    That African American idea is a stupid one. Poland is/was not “Africa”.

  35. Scatts says:

    Poland is not Africa! Holy geography, Batman!

    siuniab, as long as you promise not to bring any weapons with you I’d be happy to share a beer/wine with you in late summer. We’re planning to be away most of August but anytime after that is good. Easiest is to use the “Contact Polandian” tab to pass on some details of how we can communicate nearer the time.

  36. siuniab says:

    Scatts:
    If you need a personal reference (meaning I’m not some crazy stalker woman with concealed weapons), reach out to Anna at Transparent. She will likely spend a little bit of her layover via Japan with me and my family.

  37. guest says:

    Scatts “Africa” is not about geography.

    For Poland the alternative was not “civilisation” or “living in a desert/jungle and die of starvation” or whatever.

    For Poland the alternative in 1939 was

    -6 yrs of war
    -losing 20% of its population (and not peasants like in Russia or China, but the elite of our country)
    -80.000m2 of its land (thats more than Ireland)
    -and an enormous part of the cultural heritage (art, books, buildings)

    or just living in peace in a civilized 389.720 km² and 34.849.000mil country (Spain had 25mil and France 41mil). With beautyful cities like Lviv, Vilnius, Krakow, Lublin, Lodz or Warsaw.

    And in 1945 the alternative was:

    -beaing treated like western europe (Marshall Plan, NATO, EU money, capitalism, freedom)

    or living in a communist “freezer-prison” for the next 45yrs. And losing millions of people who were forced to leave Poland (Poles and Jews) in 1968 and 1981.

  38. guest says:

    …or were killed by the communist NKWD in communist prisons. Like general Fieldorf for example…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_August_Fieldorf

  39. Nikodem says:

    I’m going to ignore the genocidal tone of the blog entry and simply state that I blame one person for the 45 years of communism and depression the country went through….. President Roosevelt and his aim at an “honorable settlement”.

    Without freedom and the Marshall Plan, Poland went into a coma.

  40. Kuba says:

    I have to agree with Nikodem, FDR did Poland in with his concessions to Stalin. And today we see the same USA changing their minds on Poland after a deal was struck. Not to mention the Visa problem.

  41. guest says:

    And Churchill.

  42. Scatts says:

    Darn! Just when I thought Churchill might get a break for once…

  43. Scatts says:

    guest, you’re right. I think if you boil the argument right down it just ends up as a question about whether you prefer Poland with or without such a powerful Jewish influence because everything else, probably more, could have been achieved without the suffering. This then becomes simply a question of your feelings about Jews, which is a whole other subject and has been covered before.

    Mind you, I might argue against your proposition that “living in peace” was a real option in 1939. If Germany had not invaded surely the Soviets would have? After all, it only took them 16 days after Hitler entered from the west to invade Eastern Poland with up a million troops. That suggests they were ready for something…revenge perhaps.

    Possibly the options were big war and then 45 yrs of communism or small war and 50 years of communism?

    What would the Soviets have done with the Jews?

  44. guest says:

    “If Germany had not invaded surely the Soviets would have?”

    Scatts, You live in Poland since 1000000000yrs and you still have no idea about our history ?! :D

    The Soviets invaded Poland before and got a bloody nose.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish%E2%80%93Soviet_War
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Warsaw_(1920)

    In 1939 Poland had no chance to defend its borders not because of a weak army. The reason was a “2 front war” against Russia AND Germany at the same time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov-Ribbentrop_Pact

    Poland did not need to fear Russia in these times. Only Russia+Germany was dangerous for Poland.

  45. guest says:

    Thats why Putin hates us so much. Because Poland was the only country/army which defeated Russia (twice) and conquered Moscow.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1612_(film)

    unlike Napoleon or Hitler…

  46. Kuba says:

    Besides Churchill there was another famous American Joe Kennedy. The father of the clan. Who was an ambassador in England at the time. He did not like the Poles. But from an Irish bootlegger………

  47. Ania says:

    OK, I got to read your post today and frankly I am not shocked… It’s my third year in the UK and I can’t even say that you are showing your true face – Brits aren’t really hiding it…

    You already got the answers that we have lost more than you can imagine. What requires an answer is the suggestion that it’s actually for the better.

    Britons in everyday conversation are very different to official canals, due to the PC slavery – but not only. They really have freedom in their own backyard and nowhere else. Scatts has now risked much to be so honest with us, which I’m sure you don’t realise. They don’t know freedom as we do – only political one.

    Another thing is how fiercely nationalistic the Brits are proving to be. They even cut out certain trees from their poor forest remains, because they are considered foreign influence, and I am not joking.

    They think that they are descendants of Vikings… with a little study they prove to have come from across the canal from Spain, but they don’t recognise this.

    Scatts is apparently more comfortable in a ‘white country’ than in the Isles with all the Commonwealth citizens of late, whose rightful place was to be slavery. This is the reason, Dears, why they were slacking and cheating in the war – they are regretting not having gone along with the nice clean Germans. (This point comes from face to face talking.)

    Now I want to reply:

    – I am less comfortable coming from a ‘white country’, than
    de Res Publicae Regni Poloniae, because that’s ‘white’ bullshit. I am embarrassed to look similar to the uncouth western masses. I’m happy that I’ve got wide set eyes and can be distinguished away with a little effort.

    – I am always bloody pissed off by the assumption of you western uneducated cretins that I am Anti-Semitic by birth. STOP FEELING COMFORTABLE TELLING US ABOUT PURGING JEWS. Jews were my citizens.

    – Like most Polans, I am half-Polish, and I’ve already told it here. We have been here since 2 centrury, and mixing with the Germans, Goths, Celts, Hungarians, Franks, Ruthens, and whoever fancied walking through the forest. Longer than the USA, the ‘melting pot’.

    – I am so very angry now, that I will try to invent a word for abusing Britons, something as handy as Yanks, because Angol is not really offensive, just an abbreviation. But don’t worry, I will not shout it after you on the street, like your underclass does after me.

    You GOD-DAMN MORON. How come you have the face to even think it.

    But – not all the arguments have been used yet, I will add one: there have been more Polans slaughtered by the Soviets on the basis of nationality than by the Nazis, and many more than the Jews. Jews are still in Poland – not just the few rabbis, but the politicians of past regime. And those many of us who come from mixed marriages.
    For many centuries Jewish converts have been knighted and given a surname from the month: Szymon Majewski is one such type.

    Tell you what – it is we who are the most persecuted nation in Europe. And we continue to be persecuted on the grounds of ‘Anti-Semitism’, ‘not-enough-leftism’, ‘being-white-anyway’, ‘Catholicism’, or as Graham at my last work was gracious enough to put it: ‘being a nation of slaves’.

    Stop blaming your religion wars, you stake burning, Jew purges, gay persecution and whatever evil you’ve done else on us.

    And Beware. Any alliance between our countries is not likely, because you are not to be trusted. There will be no free of charge soldiers any more, no pilots over Britain, no Monte Cassino, no Arnhem. I will not come to you rescue. And another war will come, because that’s human nature. Georgia has already experienced it. The Chunnel is not enough protection from missiles, even if there is not much to bomb.

  48. Scatts says:

    To guest’s comment about Putin. I noticed this in the news flash this morning:

    The Russian Foreign Ministry has lodged a protest against what it described as a “desecration” of the Russian military cemetery in Warsaw, where over a dozen wreaths were allegedly damaged by fire. The police, though, say there is no proof that the wreaths were burnt intentionally. “We are deeply indignant at the barbarian desecration of the Russian military memorial in Warsaw, where wreaths were placed a day before a ceremony in memory of Russian soldiers who gave their lives to freeing Poland and its capital from fascist occupants,” an announcement on the Russian Foreign Ministry web site reads. The announcement goes on to say that the Russian authorities will demand a thorough investigation of the matter. (Gazeta Wyborcza, p. 9) A.K.

    Ania, if the UK is really so bad, why not come back to Poland? It seems you hate Brits with such a passion that living amongst them must be torture. Or is it just me?

  49. Ania says:

    Nice fire back, Scatts. I put for your consideration that I’ve just spared you the: ‘so get the hell out’ in my post above.

    It isn’t real hate – it’s real disappointment, and the crude realisation of what happened years before and why are we poor now.

    I will come to Poland and resume my house, my flat, my job and having dry hair every day as soon as my idiot boyfriend loses his religious faith that ‘west is better’. I don’t want to be offended every week, read about ‘fucking Polish peasants’ to ‘go fix my shower’ and other exceptional outbursts of gentleman-ry in the best country in the world.

  50. Scatts says:

    You did spare me that but then I wasn’t, and never really have, complained about Poland as powerfully as you do about the UK. I really don’t want to leave Poland but it sounds like you really should leave the UK! ;)

    The things you say about “Polish peasants” and “fix my shower” do not surprise me in the least. For a supposedly cosmopolitan country, Britain can be a very unwelcoming place for anyone ‘different’. Just ask all the immigrants going back to the 50’s. The UK is absolutely NOT ‘the best country in the world’ and whilst there are a few gentlemen & ladies left, they are sadly few and far between.

    If Britain were the place everyone thinks it is – I would probably still be there, but it’s not and I’m glad I’m not there.

    Rain is something you get used to after about 20 years, especially drizzle, Britain is blessed with plenty of annoying drizzle. I prefer it here, either dry or a storm, not much between. Closer to the Baltic the weather turns more British and so does the countryside as well. Rain = green.

    This religious faith that the “west is better” is unfortunately something that many Poles, and other nationalities, need to get out of their system. It is nonsense, but nobody wants to listen and nobody believes me when I tell them, they just assume I’m a bit weird or I’m running away from something. They have to go, try to live the dream, realise it’s bullshit and then come home. Of course a few will like it, or make it big and stay.

    Perhaps you should move to Llandudno? The Poles there were more than happy with life in the UK. The politeness of the Brits being their biggest reason for staying!! Can I ask where in the UK you are living/working? Just so I know to avoid it!

    It is a topic worthy of a post.

  51. Ania says:

    Phew, you have just taken all the steam off me… Thank you.
    I’ve been to several places in Britain, my favorite being not Wales but Edale. I post both praise and bitching on polkaontheisland.wordpress.com, look there if you want to be complimented sometimes.
    I apologise for calling you names.

  52. Pawel says:

    Ania, good to have someone like you over here as well! I woken up readong your comments without coffee:)

  53. Ania says:

    I apologise for calling Łukasz names. Just got slapped.

  54. wu says:

    The WWII and communism ruined a chance of Poland being better than it’s now, I think. Before war it was a multi-cultural, multi-religious country with promising perspectives (check out the history of interwar Poland).
    I’m not sure if we would be like this today, because some turmoils started when basically the entire world became enamored to nationalistic ideas, but I guess we wouldn’t be as stripped from… well, basically from everything. I think that without war and communism, we had a chance to be become as well-developed and respected country as e.g. Germany or France is.
    With interwar period we showed that we are able to recreate and run a country in twenty years…. well, we also have some successes now, but many things are different and some are – unfortunately – unrepairable.

  55. Scatts says:

    Yeah, like the roads, apparently! :)

  56. paul lazarus says:

    It’s time Ania was deported methinks

  57. Sylwia says:

    Actually the argument with Jews just doesn’t work. What does “such a powerful influence” mean? It’s not like all of the Jews living in pre-war Poland had any influence at all. Only some did, and some still did after WWII, and some still do now. So if you want to approach the case in such a cold, calculating way it doesn’t matter how one feels about Jews, because nothing has changed. The majority of the Jews that died weren’t assimilated, so they had no influence at all. Those who were had much more chances to survive, and so they did.

    After reading all of the answers here I decided that there’s one more thing that jars. Naturally the purpose of the exercise was to forget about sufferings in order to make a cold calculation, but the problem is in the value. What makes you think that the Western civilisation is any value at all? Why people should be happier with it than without it? Why a black man freezing his arse in Bronx should be happier there than in a jungle?

    You’re looking at their choices from today’s perspective, but before Africa was colonised the people weren’t dying out of AIDS and starvation, were they? What the Western civilisation had to offer to them that should make them happier? What’s wrong with wearing a hand made grass skirt instead of a made in China t-shirt? What’s wrong with not covering one’s body instead of catching all of the complexes of the Western stigmatization of sexuality? What’s wrong with spending time on hunting, in a fresh air and with one’s family instead of living in a dirty city and spending one’s days in air-conditioned rooms without ever spotting the daylight, and then wasting the rest in front of tv anyway? Is the Western civilisation needed for happiness? Is it a value at all?

  58. ajuc says:

    It is reasonable to assume, that Poland would grow like other capitalistic countries after 45, had it chance to do that. Also – we lost over 10 000 000 people because of war, mass murders, borders changes. This is not only “some family tragedies”.

    You are free to write anything you want, but this post is just stupid in my opinion.

    If you really considered this option better for Poland, you have to really hate the Jews. More than anybody I know. No Pole I know would choose this option if he could make decision.

    As for Jews – I’d rather have those Jews back – most of them were quite intelligent, and if what we feared was their banks and moneys – these things are here now anyway :)

    And Lwów is beautyfull city, really, worth 4 Szczecins for me.
    Damn that Ukrainians :)

  59. Scatts says:

    I clearly need to visit Lwów.

    No no, I don’t hate the Jews and I wasn’t suggesting it was a better option just a “what if” alternative really.

    Now here’s one of those wordy things – every Pole I know uses “capitalistic” where I would use “capitalist”.

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