The Piast Concept is a political idea of the Polish state based on its initial territories under the Piast dynasty, containing a mostly Polish population. It holds that Poland, composed of primarily Polish parts in the West during the Middle Ages, was a solid Westernized state and was equal to other Western European countries.

For its supporters, the Piast Concept is mainly identified with Westernization, attachment to Europe and its ideas, close relationship with Western countries, and pragmatism in international relations while avoiding unwise adventures in the East.[1]

Development of the Piast Concept edit

Jan Poplawski developed the Piast Concept in the 1890s. It formed the centerpiece of Polish nationalist ideology, especially as presented by the National Democracy Party, known as the Endecja, which was led by Roman Dmowski. The concept was also supported by Polish peasant parties.[2]

Jagiellon Concept edit

A rival Jagiellon Concept was endorsed by the interwar governments dominated by Józef Piłsudski. It looked to the grandeur of Poland under the Jagiellonian dynasty in the later Middle Ages, which linked Poland–Lithuania, Bohemia, and Hungary under Polish kings.[3] The Jagiellon Concept focused on the underdeveloped eastern territories inhabited chiefly by Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Belarusians.

After 1940 edit

Joseph Stalin at the 1943 Tehran Conference discussed with Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt new post-war borders in central-eastern Europe, including the shape of future Poland. He endorsed the Piast Concept to justify a massive postwar shift of Poland's frontiers to the West. After discussions over many months, Britain and the United States agreed with Stalin on the new borders, but the Polish government-in-exile remained opposed.[4]

After 1945 the Communist government adopted the Piast Concept, using it to support their claim that they were champions of Polish national interests.[5] Calling the newly acquired formerly German territory "Recovered Territories", the Communist regime made an effort to justify the acquisition in terms of the Piast Concept.[6][7]

After the Communist regime ended, Poland pursued a western-orientated foreign policy, in line with the ideas of the Piast Concept.[8]

Criticism edit

Hosking and Schöpflin argue that the Piast Concept "rested on a simple and persuasive historical myth".[9] They summarize the essence of this "myth" as follows:

A thousand years ago and more, the Polish population had supposedly lived on its ancestral land in unity and harmony, ruled by the benevolent hand of its first legendary ruler, a peasant called Piast ... however, the Poles lost their unity and lost control of their native land. All manner of aliens and intruders – Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians ... took large parts of Poland's towns and countryside for themselves ... Poland was robbed of her inheritance. So the message was clear. All patriotic Poles had a duty to unite and drive all foreigners from their native soil: "Poland for the Poles!"[10]

Historian Norman Davies says that Dmowski based his vision of Poland on the "primitive" Piast period, "uncorrupted by alien influence".[11]

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Wiadomości - Wiadomości w Onet - Najnowsze i Najważniejsze Wiadomości z Kraju i Świata". Onet Wiadomości (in Polish). Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  2. ^ "Wiadomości - Wiadomości w Onet - Najnowsze i Najważniejsze Wiadomości z Kraju i Świata". Onet Wiadomości (in Polish). Retrieved 2024-03-22.
  3. ^ Victor S. Mamatey (1978). Rise of the Habsburg Empire, 1526–1815. Krieger. p. 24.
  4. ^ Tony Sharp, "The Origins of the 'Teheran Formula' on Polish Frontiers", Journal of Contemporary History (1977) 12#2 pp. 381–393 in JSTOR
  5. ^ Davies. Heart of Europe. pp. 286–87.
  6. ^ Geneviève Zubrzycki (2009). The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland. University of Chicago Press. pp. 61–62.
  7. ^ T. David Curp, A clean sweep?: the politics of ethnic cleansing in western Poland, 1945–1960 (2006)
  8. ^ Główne kierunki polityki zagranicznej rządu Donalda Tuska w latach 2007–2011. By Paweł Musiałek, p. 14
  9. ^ Geoffrey A. Hosking and George Schöpflin (1997). Myths and Nationhood. Routledge. p. 152.
  10. ^ Geoffrey A. Hosking and George Schöpflin (1997). Myths and Nationhood. Routledge. p. 152.
  11. ^ Norman Davies (2001). Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland's Present. Oxford University Press. p. 197.

1. Ewolucja systemu politycznego w Polsce w latach 1914-1998. T. 1. Odbudowanie niepodległego państwa i jego rozwój do 1945 r. Cz. 1, Zbiór studiów 1999. Polska myśl zachodnia XIX I XX wieku Czubiński Antoni