70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising: Why the Poles Commemorate Defeat

You are cordially invited to the fourth annual

Kościuszko Chair Military Lecture

on the topic of
The 70th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising: Why the Poles Commemorate Defeat

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz
Professor of History, The Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies

Thursday, September 11
12:30-3:30 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Parking map


This lecture is sponsored by the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies.

K Chair Logo 2

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the tragic Warsaw Uprising. During this great feat of martial heroism, the Polish anti-Nazi, anti-Communist underground resistance fought the German occupiers of their homeland for sixty-three days — from 1 August to 3 October 1944. The goal was to rid the capital city of the Germans before the arrival of the Red Army. Predictably, the Soviet troops on the other side of the river Vistula stood by passively; Stalin hoped to destroy the Polish resistance with Nazi claws. The Western Allies did little more than airdrop some small arms and ammunition, most of which fell into German hands. As a result, the city of Warsaw was almost entirely destroyed, and a significant element of the Polish Home Army slaughtered. In addition, the Germans and their auxiliaries massacred approximately 200,000 civilians as they suppressed the uprising.

Yet, in spite of the toll and the defeat, the Poles generally celebrate the failed Warsaw Rising. In this year’s Kościuszko Chair Military Lecture, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz will explain this phenomenon.

The lecture will be followed by a screening of the movie The August Sky: Sixty-Three Days of Glory [Sierpniowe niebo: 63 dni chwały], with English subtitles.

Dr. Chodakiewicz completes European lecture circuit

Marek Chodakiewicz in Poland, August 2014 (1)Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz, the current holder of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies, has returned from his European lecture circuit during which he promoted his new book on post-communism in Poland, Transformacja czy niepodległość? [Transformation or Independence?].

He spoke in many cities throughout Poland, including: Warsaw (where he also lectured on the anti-Nazi, anti-Soviet Polish underground resistance), Kraków, Tarnów, Lębork, Tczew, Gdańsk, Chojnice, Miastko, Bytów, Łódź, Wyszków, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Kielce, Radom, Łeba, Szwajcaria Kaszubska, Szczecin, and Elbląg.

In addition, Dr. Chodakiewicz delivered two lectures in London: one on Poland’s post-communist “transformation,” and another on “freedom in light of the English legal tradition as compared to the legal culture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.”

The trip also included a short sojourn in Turkey, where the historian toured the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus on the Aegean Sea coast.

Last but not least, Dr. Chodakiewicz visited Ukraine, including the now war-torn east. He will discuss his observations on the situation in that Central and Eastern European nation during the first Intermarium Series Lecture of the fall semester on 10 September at 2:00 PM.

Marek Chodakiewicz in Poland, August 2014 (2)

Ukraine: Summer’s Over

You are cordially invited to a lecture on the topic of

Ukraine: Summer’s Over

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz 
Professor of History, The Kościuszko Chair in Polish Studies

Wednesday, September 10
2:00 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Parking Map


Please contact sdwyer@iwp.edu with any questions.

Kosciuszko Chair Logo

As the fall semester begins at IWP, the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies will resume its Intermarium Lecture Series with Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz’s presentation on Ukraine. Having explored the crisis-riven Central and Eastern European country in July, Dr. Chodakiewicz will share his observations on the situation in post-Maidan Ukraine, including the eastern Donetsk region plagued by a Russian-supported irredentist insurgency and the area of the MH17 crash site.

New air disaster, same old post-Soviet approach

When, on July 17, I first heard about the tragic shooting-down of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 — and the death of the 298 passengers and crew members on board, over eastern Ukraine — I thought of the heart-wrenching anguish the families of the victims must be experiencing. Simultaneously, I felt a disconcerting sense of déjà vu. After all, there is a long list of shot-down aircraft and suspicious plane crashes associated with Moscow: to name only the downing by the Soviets of the Korea Airlines Flight 007 in 1983; or the Smolensk Plane Crash of April 2010 in post-Soviet Russia.

The latter case — which saw the death of the president of Poland and his entire entourage (96 members of Poland’s political and military elite in total) in highly suspicious circumstances — shares a striking amount of similarities with the shooting-down of MH 17 over Hrabove (near the Russian border) by Moscow-supported Russian separatists. The differences between the two aerial disasters (Smolensk and MH 17) notwithstanding, the post-Soviets behaved as if they were following the same script.

Thus, in both cases the Russians contaminated the crash site, moving the scattered aircraft parts and desecrating the remains of the victims, which were unceremoniously thrown onto trucks by separatist fighters. Adding insult to injury, the post-Soviets despoiled the bodies of the passengers and utilized their credit card information. Thus, even if we accept the explanation that the Malaysian aircraft was shot down by accident, we should still note that the cynical disregard for human life and dignity — implanted in Rus’ by the Mongols, and exacerbated to an unprecedented degree by the Soviet communists — has not changed.

In any case, I am convinced that an independent international investigation of the MH 17 disaster is absolutely necessary. As suggested by a former Interior Minister of Poland, such an investigation should be coupled with an independent international investigation of the Smolensk Crash of April 2010. After all, many questions remain, in spite of the passage of four years. Since the post-Soviets have now demonstrated clearly to the entire civilized world the level of barbarism they are capable of, it is worth reexamining Smolensk to ensure that similar tragedies do not reoccur in the future.

Paweł Styrna
Researcher, The Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies

Note: The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent the views of The Institute of World Politics. They are solely the author’s, and are based on more than a decade of intensive study of Russian and Soviet history.  


Dr. Chodakiewicz continues European lecture circuit

As Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz continues his European lecture circuit and promoting his new book on post-communism, we are pleased to share the videos of some of his presentations below.

Dr. Chodakiewicz’s brief speech against the Polish inferiority complex in front of ca. 3,000 people at a Christian nationalist demonstration against government corruption:

Discussing his new book in Tczew, Poland:

In Tarnów, Poland:

In Nowa Huta, Poland:

In Warsaw, the capital of Poland (along with journalist Mr. Paweł Lisicki, historian Dr. Antoni Dudek, and political scientist Dr. Tomasz Żukowski):

In London:

New video recordings will be posted as they become available.

Independence Day and US support for Solidarity in Poland: A lecture by Prof. Marek Chodakiewicz

On July 4, 2014, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz gave a lecture on the tradition of freedom in the US and Poland, the history of Independence Day in the United States, and support given to the Solidarity movement by Ronald Reagan’s administration.  The speech was given in Gdańsk, Poland, next to a monument of Saint John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan.

A video of lecture, recorded by TV Solidarność Gdańsk, can be found below.

Strategic Value of Poland and the Intermarium

The following article by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz was published by the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research. The whole article can be found here.

The White House’s erratic, confused, and rudderless foreign policy endangers America’s Polish friend, and, indeed, other NATO members, putting Warsaw and the rest, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, also known as the Intermarium, lands between the Black and Baltic seas, on a collision course vis-à-vis Berlin and Moscow. This is plainly obvious in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.

Gdańsk - Poland’s foreign minister Radek Sikorski is the latest foreign leader to pass a vote of no confidence on President Barack Obama’s conduct of international policy. Media reports almost completely missed this salient point focusing, instead, on the Polish official’s Hollywood-style profanity, which had been secretly recorded and leaked to the press. Under the current administration, the alliance with America “is worthless,” according to the Pole.

Sikorski, a staunch Transatlanticist, a reliable friend of America, former fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and sometime roving correspondent for National Review, laments that, despite his nation’s bending over backwards, Washington has been an unreliable ally lately. The White House’s erratic, confused, and rudderless foreign policy endangers America’s Polish friend, and, indeed, other NATO members, putting Warsaw and the rest, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, also known as the Intermarium, lands between the Black and Baltic seas, on a collision course vis-à-vis Berlin and Moscow. This is plainly obvious in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.

Sikorski’s cri de coeur has triggered some angry huffing and puffing among the globalized punditry. Aside from the usual “hate the U.S.” circles, in the European Union in particular, and the “I told you so” gleeful trolls of the Kremlin, America’s neo-isolationists and anarcho-capitalists have chimed in to skewer Poland’s foreign minister. Is America’s alliance worthless for Poland? Perhaps it is Poland that is worthless for the U.S., they charge. Their arguments boil down to this: What does Poland bring to the table? Nothing but trouble. It is a beneficiary of the thoughtless expansion of NATO with its Article 5 which obligates the U.S. to render Warsaw military assistance in case of an attack by an outside force. Admitting Poland and other post-Soviet countries to the alliance needlessly provoked Russia and exacerbated tensions between Moscow and Washington. America has really no national interest meddling in the post-Soviet zone. Too bad about poor Poland’s geopolitical location but that is really none of America’s business.

Read more