For our freedom and yours

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For our freedom and yours (Polish: Za naszą i waszą wolność) is one of the unofficial mottos of Poland. It is commonly associated with the times when Polish soldiers, exiled from the partitioned Poland, fought in various independence movements all over the world.[1][2] First seen during a patriotic demonstration to commemorate the Decembrists, held in Warsaw on January 25, 18311, it was most probably authored by Joachim Lelewel.[3] The initial banner has the inscription in both Polish and Russian, and was meant to underline that the victory of Decembrists would also have meant liberty for Poland. The slogan got shorter with time; the original had the form 'In the name of God, for our freedom and yours' ('W imię Boga za Naszą i Waszą Wolność'). The original banner has been preserved in the collection of Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw.

Flag of the November Uprising 1831
a version in Cyrillic alphabet, in Russian
The Memorial to Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascists 1939-1945 in Berlin.
Motto: "For our freedom and yours" from monument in Jerusalem commemorating Jewish soldiers in the Polish Army fighting against Nazi Germany 1939-1945.

The motto in revolutionary and resistance history of 19th centuryEdit

One of the first prominent examples of Poles embodying the slogan and assisting other nations freedom struggles in addition to fighting for Polish causes were Tadeusz Kościuszko and Casimir Pulaski who both fought on the American side in the American War of Independence (1775–1783). Kosciuszko later returned to Poland lead an insurrection against Russia and the partitioning of Poland among Russia, Prussia and Austria. Pulaski had already led an earlier Polish uprising against Russian influence in Poland and died in battle against British troops in Georgia in 1779. The slogan soon became very popular and became among the most commonly seen on military standards during the November Uprising (1830–1831).[4] During the war against Russia, the slogan was to signify that the Polish victory would also mean liberty for the peoples of Russia and that the uprising was aimed not at the Russian nation but at the despotic tsarist regime.[5] Following the failure of the uprising the slogan was used by a variety of Polish military units formed abroad out of refugees. Among them was the unit of Józef Bem, which featured the text in both Polish and Hungarian during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and wherever Poles fought during the Spring of Nations.[6][7][8]

After unsuccessful Uprising of 1863–1864 in Poland, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine its active participants were sent by Russian Tsar to Eastern Siberia. Several Poles had developed a conspiracy and then rebelled in June 1866. They had their own banner with the motto written on it.[citation needed]

World War II eraEdit

During the Polish-Soviet War, the motto was used by the Soviet government, which considered itself to be fighting for the rights of Polish workers and peasants against what it saw as the Polish government of landowners and capitalists.[citation needed]

The motto was also used by the Bundists among the members of the Jewish Fighting Organization who led and fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.[9]

The motto was used by Polish Armed Forces in the West during the fight against Nazi Germany (1939-1945).


In 1956 the government of the People's Republic of Poland established an award, 'Za wolność waszą i naszą', for the members of the Polish Brigade in Spain ('Dąbrowszczacy'), part of the International Brigades, supporting the Republican military units in the Spanish Civil War. The Dabrowszczacy's brigade motto was 'Za wolność waszą i naszą'.[citation needed]

Motto in the USSR and RussiaEdit

Banner of the Red Square demonstrators, 25 August 1968.
The award 'Za wolność waszą i naszą' (communist general Karol Świerczewski)

The equivalent slogan (Russian: За вашу и нашу свободу Za vashu i nashu svobodu) was very popular among the Soviet dissident movement after the historic demonstration on Red Square in support of the Prague Spring on August 25, 1968.[10][11]

The same slogan was used at the demonstration at the Red Square 24 August 2008 [12][13][14] and again on August 25, 2013,[15] both suppressed by the Russian police. [16]

United StatesEdit

It is still often invoked in official speeches, including those of then US President George W. Bush regarding Poland's help in the war against Saddam Hussein's regime.[17][18]


The slogan has also been used as a title of various books in the Polish and English languages, for example For your freedom and ours: The Polish Armed Forces in the Second World War (2003), For Your Freedom and Ours: The Kosciuszko Squadron – Forgotten Heroes of World War II (2003) or For Your Freedom and Ours: Casimir Pulaski, 1745–1779 (2004).

To this day, Polish foreign policy and diplomacy are guided by a belief that it is Poland's mission to support rights for self-determination, democratic government and a respect for human rights in other countries.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. Several sources (for example, [1], [2], [3]) state that the slogan dates from the late 18th century and was used by Tadeusz Kościuszko, presumably during the Kościuszko Uprising. This is most likely an error based on associating the 1831 motto which became popular with Polish revolutionaries with one of the earliest and most famous of them all. Karma Nabulsi offers a possible explanation: Kościuszko has used the words "For [both] our freedom and yours" ("Za naszą wolność i waszą"), Lelewel reworded them into "For your freedom and ours", a variant which became more popular and is often mixed up with its predecessor.[20]


  1. ^ Lonnie R. Johnson, Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-510071-9, Google Print, p.127-128
  2. ^ Hubert Zawadzki, Jerzy Lukowski, A Concise History of Poland, Cambridge University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-521-55917-0, Google Print, p.145
  3. ^ Brock, Peter; Stanley, John D.; Wrobel, Piotr; Wróbel, Piotr (January 2006). Nation and history: Polish ... – Peter Brock, John D. Stanley, Piotr Wróbel – Google Books. ISBN 9780802090362. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  4. ^ Auer, Stefan (22 January 2004). Liberal nationalism in Central Europe – Stefan Auer – Google Books. ISBN 9780203561294. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  5. ^ Davies, Norman (2005). God's Playground: 1795 to the present – Norman Davies – Google Books. ISBN 9780231128193. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  6. ^ Gods, Heroes, & Legends
  7. ^ Dieter Dowe, Europe in 1848: revolution and reform, Berghahn Books, 2001, ISBN 1-57181-164-8, Google Print, p.180
    While it is often and quite justifiably remarked that there was hardly a barricade or battlefield in Europe between 1830 and 1870 where no Poles were fighting, this is especially true for the revolution of 1848/1849.
  8. ^ Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire. James Wycliffe Headlam 1899.
    In those days the Poles were to be found in every country in Europe, foremost in fighting on the barricades; they helped the Germans to fight for their liberty, and the Germans were to help them to recover independence. In 1848, Mierosławski had been carried like a triumphant hero through the streets of Berlin; the Baden rebels put themselves under the leadership of a Pole, and it was a Pole who commanded the Viennese in their resistance to the Austrian army; a Pole led the Italians to disaster on the field of Novara
  9. ^ Dallas, Gregor (2005). 1945: the war that never ended – Gregor Dallas – Google Books. ISBN 0300119887. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  10. ^ Boobbyer, Philip (2005). Conscience, dissent and reform in ... – Philip Boobbyer – Google Books. ISBN 9780415331869. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  11. ^ Horvath, Robert (February 2005). The legacy of Soviet dissent ... – Robert Horvath – Google Books. ISBN 9780203412855. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  12. ^ I.Vasunin, E.Kostuchenko, A.Kondrawheva. Civil activists celebrated the jubilee of the protest against occupation of Czechozolvakia by Soviet troops. Novaya Gaseta, N63, 28 August 2008. (in Russian); "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Documentary film of the demonstration at the Red Square of 25 August 2008:
  14. ^ Youth Human Right News, 24 Aug 2008: "again they try to convince us, that we are surrounded by enemies". (in Russian),
  15. ^ "На Красной площади задержаны десять человек". 25 August 2013.
  16. ^ For your freedom and ours. (in Russian) NewTimes, 30 August 2008, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-08-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "General Pulaski Memorial Day, 2003". Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  18. ^ "President Bush Speaks to Faculty and Students of Warsaw University". 2001-06-15. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  19. ^ Marcin Zaborowski, David H Dunn, Poland: A New Power in Transatlantic Security, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-7146-5552-X, Google Print, p.25
  20. ^ Nabulsi, Karma (1999-10-28). Traditions of war: occupation ... – Karma Nabulsi – Google Books. ISBN 9780199279470. Retrieved 2011-10-05.