Category Archives: Lectures

Captain Pilecki in America, Warsaw, Journalists’ Union, August 2016

During his trip to Poland in August 2016, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz participated in a panel discussion on the ordeal of Captain Pilecki. He focused on the perception of Captain Pilecki in America.

The debate can be watched here:

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Sixth Annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium

The Sixth Annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium took place on April 9th, 2016. The links to the lectures as well as their summaries are published below:

Mrs. Maria Juczewska
Scholars or Friends? Women in John Paul II’s Life
John Paul II died eleven year ago and the memories of his pontificate are fading away. This is a convenient moment to try to re-invent the history should anybody wish to do so. This is why we have to learn and remember who the Slavic pope was and what he taught.
The main interest of John Paul II as a priest and as a scholar and theologian was the marriage and the family. His work with people, both in the youth ministry at the beginning of his career and later, with individual scholars, was focused on those interests. His friendships with Wanda Poltawska and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka were based on scholarly interests and served the purpose of furthering his theological concepts and the idea of the civilization of life.
The journalists who inquire into Pope’s life tend to be more interested in juicy gossip that the truth. This is why their revelations need to be approached with a lot of skepticism and thorough knowledge about the life of an exceptional man and a saint.’

Dr. Ewa Salkiewicz-Munnerlyn
The Vatican and Its Tradition of Diplomacy: 2,000 years
The pontifical diplomacy is different from the secular one due to the fact that it is based on custom and very long tradition rather than written codes. It differs also because the diplomats of the Holy See need to be first of all devoted priests and persons characterized by loyalty, coherence and profound humanity. The envoys of the Holy See are first of all of the servants of the Word of God and the bearers of the Pope’s words.
The Catholic Church is the only religious institution in the world that has access to diplomatic relations and interested in the international law. It is a universal and international organization. What enters into diplomatic relations is neither the Catholic Church as a community of believers nor the State of Vatican City but The Holy See (the Pontiff and the Roman Curia), a separate subject of international law of religious and moral values. The Apostolic See has the nature of a moral person by divine law itself. Apostolic nunzios, whose role corresponds to that of secular ambassadors, are invested with both ecclesial and diplomatic missions. The former relates to the contacts with the local bodies of the Church, the latter relates to contacts with the representatives of a given state.

Mr. John Czop
Peasant Politics in France and Poland, 1750 to the Present
This lecture tests how the views of Barrington Moore, Jr., on regime change, and of Eugen Weber, on the process of modernization, fit the cases of France and Poland between 1750 and now.
Barrington Moore, Jr. posited a theory on the social origins of dictatorship and democracy. First, a problem of how the relationships between landlords and peasants, that is the reaction to commercialized agriculture, shaped different paths to modernity through, among others, democratic revolutions in the Atlantic world. The examples of France, Poland and England are compared.
Eugen Weber, in turn, was preoccupied in how the people of local identity, that had not identified themselves in national terms before, gained national identity in Europe in the second half on the 18th century. Again, the situation in France and Poland in terms of relationships between the land owners and the peasants is analyzed as well as the genesis of the sense of national identity in the two countries.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Counterintelligence as Strategic Communications: Russia’s Tradition of Deception and Denial
Virtually all Russian state operations are also counterintelligence operations, including strategic messaging/communications. Counterintelligence in the Muscovite tradition means neutralizing all opposition. This tradition dates back to the pre-Muscovy times.
Russian strategic communication is characterized by a number of recurring themes. It involves disinformation techniques, such as manipulation, reciprocity, analogy, provocation, and signals (sometimes they overlap; often they are case studies in predictability).
The ideology, institutions and tools that are used to form and implement strategic communication of the Russian Federation are based on the experiences of Tsarist Russia, Bolshevik Russia and the Soviet Union. Strategic communication targets both the Russian population and the elites as well as general public of other countries through media portals, agents of influence, manipulated celebrities and mercenaries.
Even though Russian foreign propaganda is hardly successful in persuading average people (being successful mainly with opinion-making elites), Russian influence perversely implants nefarious thought patterns and reinforces malicious narratives. It also promotes individuals and groups that use Russian media as a platform to project themselves and their message.

Dr. Tomasz Sommer
Latest revelations from the Soviet secret police archives
The latest historical discoveries regarding the Polish Operation of NKVD from 1937-1938 were discussed. The problem number one was the lack of the original order 00485, which sanctioned anti-Polish operation. It was found in Kiev a year ago and presented at a press conference in Warsaw. It was made available on Wikipedia for everyone interested to see.
Another important problem was the question of how the Polska Organizacja Wwojskowa – according to Soviets the main risk factor for the Soviet system – emerged. A solution to this puzzle was found in the State Archives in Chernihiv. Skarbek was pointed as a head of the POW by the deputy minister pointed Konar-Poleszczuk who in January 1933 was tried in Moscow for causing the Great Famine. During the judicial procedure he admitted to his role in causing Great Famine and explained that he has performed his bad deeds with the help of Polish nationalists from POW whose leader was Skarbek. Why exactly the eager communist Skarbek was accused by him of such a notorious crime? The explanation is simple – he simply knew him from the 20s from Kiev.
Skarbek, of course, could not assassinate Stalin and destroy the Soviet Union alone. Therefore, OGPU created the group of co-conspirators for him co-opting the people who were on trial earlier in 1928 to “the conspiracy”. With time the number of suspected Poles was increasing dynamically, with victims singled out on the basis of as little as a Polish-sounding name in the final stages of the genocide.
There is an urgent need to create a list of the victims of the anti-Polish operations. Approx. 40 percent of victims – almost 80 thousand Poles were executed in the Ukraine. In the archives of the SBU set of those lists was found. Thanks to them the mechanism of the genocide can be accurately described. In the documents there is also detailed information about the places of burial.
What is needed now is archeography, the mining of the resources whose number amounts to 10 million pages in the archive of the SBU alone. Surely, after this enormous material has been read, the history of the Great Terror will have to be written again. Naturally, many historians should work on this task. What Dr. Sommer wants to do alone is to read through as much of material relating to the anti-Polish operation as he can before the Ukrainian archives close inevitably, which is an imminent threat related to the situation in the Ukraine.

Mr. Albert Lulushi
The Origins of CIA’s Involvement in Regime Change and Paramilitary Operations
Beginning in 1949, CIA embarked on a series of covert paramilitary operations aimed at destabilizing and overthrowing Soviet satellite governments in Europe. The planning and execution of these operations was modeled after the widely successful operations that OSS mounted during World War II.
The outcome was very different. The lecture describes CIA’s initial experience in paramilitary operations using as a case study its efforts to force a regime change in Communist Albania between 1949 and 1954. The origins of the Agency were described as well as Kim Philby’s spying activities’ contribution to the failure of certain operations.
The aspect of transferability of those experiences was discussed as well.

 

Sixth Annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium is coming!

You are cordially invited to the Sixth Annual Kosciuszko Chair Spring Symposium that is going to take place on April 9th, 2016.

The program and location of the Symposium may be found here:

http://www.iwp.edu/events/detail/kosciuszko-chair-spring-symposium-4

Dr. Chodakiewicz speaks at SAIS about “the political uses of WWII”

On the morning of Thursday, May 7, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz participated in a panel discussion at a conference on “History’s War: The Political Uses of WWII.”  The event was organized by the “realist” Center on Global Interests and co-sponsored by JHU – SAIS and Georgetown University.

The panelists were tasked with answering two broad questions about the Second World War:  “As Europe celebrates the 70th anniversary of Allied victory, the Ukrainian crisis and the broader reemergence of nationalism have increasingly politicized the war’s narrative. What role has the war historically played in Russia and Eastern Europe, and how is it currently defining modern politics?”

The video of the entire conference can be found below. To read Dr. Chodakiewicz’s remarks, which focused on collective and individual memory, continue below.

There is no collective memory in the post-Soviet zone, and that includes Poland. There are individual recollections. Individual recollections can coalesce into collective memory only when there is freedom. Under communism, the state employed terror to force upon society a rigid straitjacket in the form of the official narrative. According to this narrative, Stalin liberated and saved Central and Eastern Europe from “Hitlerism.” Those who were not pro-communist and did not agree with the official version were automatically branded as “fascists.” The Reductio at Hitlerum was the rule in this game.

Thus, in most places, a collective memory began to commence to form only after 1989. This process occurred on several levels, including: family, local, national, and regional memories.

The Poles had the easiest job because – from the beginning to the end – they knew that they had two enemies: Hitler and Stalin. After the war, however, the communists did not allow them to remember the war this way. For example, in 1943, the seventeen-year-old Marian Bobolewski (Nom de guerre “Góral” [Mountain Man]) escaped from a German forced labor camp. He joined the National Armed Forces underground resistance outfit. The teenager then fought against the Germans and the communists in the Lublin region. He was arrested by the NKVD in October 1944. His Soviet interrogator crushed his eye with a swift, well-aimed kick in the head. This is how “Góral” recounted it to me: “After the liberation, the Soviets captured me and gouged my eye out.” I replied: “Sir, how can you speak of ‘liberation’? Liberation means the bringing of freedom, and the Red Army brought enslavement. Through the sheer force of inertia, the Red Army pushed the Germans out of Poland by attacking westward. They did not come here to liberate the Poles or the Jews or anybody else, but to enslave all and subordinate them to totalitarian communist domination. Only captive minds can call that a liberation!” Mr. Bobolewski could only weep in response.

The great tragedy is that the victorious communists imposed Stalinist phrases, concepts, symbols, and images on everyone else. A collective memory can emerge only when a society frees itself from such a paradigm. In Poland, this process is the most advanced. It is far less advanced in the Third Reich’s former satellite countries or nations that treated collaboration with the Germans as a lesser evil. In all those places, collective memory is going through a series of birth pangs because individual recollections dictate either that: a) it was righteous to fight in the ranks of the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Belarusyn, Ukrainian, Croatian, Hungarian, or another SS national formation, or b) that it was more prudent to bandwagon along with Hitler – like Budapest, Bucharest, or Sofia did – than to suffer Poland’s bloody fate.

It will take some time for collective memory to emerge. Patience is the word.

Between Russia and NATO: Security Challenges in Central and Eastern Europe

IWP holds Fifth Annual Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium

On Saturday, April 25, the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies – currently held by Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz – hosted its Fifth Annual Spring Symposium: “Between Russia and NATO: Security Challenges in Central and Eastern Europe.” This year’s event was held at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, just across the river from Washington, D.C. The conference was made possible through the generosity of Mr. Jan M. Małek and the Polish-American Foundation for Economic Education and Development (Polsko-Amerykańska Fundacja Edukacji i Rozwoju Ekonomicznego, PAFERE).

The symposium consisted of six panels and was moderated by Dr. Sebastian Gorka of IWP, who also delivered two presentations and the closing remarks.

Dr. Gorka’s first talk addressed “U.S. Interests in Central/Eastern Europe.”

The panel on “Foreign and Defense Policies of Central and Eastern Europe” consisted of lectures by Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz and Mr. Žygimantas Pavilionis, the Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania. Dr. Chodakiewicz emphasized that the Intermarium has suffered from a lack of unity and called for solidarity between the nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Ambassador Pavilionis spoke about what he sees as insufficient US engagement in the region, including the woefully inadequate nature of US public diplomacy and broadcasting in the region.

Dr. Ariel Cohen and Dr. Łucja Świątkowska-Cannon addressed the “Strategic Implications of Economic and Energy Conditions in Central/Eastern Europe,” both pointing out that such impediments as onerous regulations and heavy taxation (“gas tax Sepuku,” in the words of Dr. Cohen) constitute serious obstacles delaying the ability of such countries as Poland and Ukraine to exploit fully their large shale gas deposits, thereby gaining energy independence.

The panel on “Russian Foreign Policy and Military Developments in Central and Eastern Europe” consisted of four lectures. Prof. Andrzej Nowak from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, provided a historical survey of imperialist continuities in Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet thought. Dr. Jack Dziak spoke about Spetsnaz operations, active measures, and the “new hybrid warfare,” which — as he pointed out — was by no means “new.” The real problem was that the US government closed down the means we had at our disposal to counter these threats during the Cold War right after the Soviet implosion. Mr. Chris Zawitkowski focused on post-Soviet Russia’s military doctrine, which continues to view the US and NATO as its main “enemies.” Dr. Phillip Petersen of the Potomac Foundation, in turn, explained the nature of the post-Soviet “new hybrid warfare,” which the Russians call simply “new generation warfare.”  Dr. Petersen’s PowerPoint presentation can be found here: Download file Petersen, New Generation Warfare

During the “NATO and Central and Eastern Europe” Dr. Phillip Karber (Potomac Foundation) emphasized the highly intensive nature of Moscow’s proxy war in the Donbas and offered practical policy advice on how to most effectively help the Ukrainians defend themselves. Shifting towards first things, Prof. Joseph Wood’s presentation anchored our understanding of America’s role in NATO in natural law and transcendental moral values.

The final panel, “U.S. Foreign Policy Options,” featured the speeches of Dr. John Lenczowski and Dr. Sebastian Gorka.

Dr. Chodakiewicz speaks on the Armenian Tragedy

On Saturday, March 28, The Institute of World Politics, Mastrapa Consultants and the Political Developments Research Center co-sponsored a conference on “The Armenian Genocide: A Century of Sorrow.” The event was moderated by Mr. Vilen Khlgatyan, IWP alumnus and Vice Chairman of the PDRC, and included a lecture by Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz entitled “The Armenian Portent and Paradigm: Toward Re-Conceptualizing the Armenian Tragedy.”

The text of Dr. Chodakiewicz’s paper is available here: The Armenian Tragedy

Dr. Chodakiewicz lectures about Katyn at the Polish Museum of America

Katyn Truth RemembranceOn Sunday, February 8, Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz delivered an address at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago during the opening of the exhibition “Katyn: Truth and Remembrance.” The following is a summary of Dr. Chodakiewicz’s remarks.

The Katyn Forest Massacre, during which the Soviet NKVD killed 26,000 Polish officers and other members of Poland’s elite, is a symbol. First, it is a symbol of the pathology of twentieth-century totalitarianism with all its mass murder, deception, and willful blindness. Secondly, it is a symbol of martyrology and the extermination of the flower of Poland’s elite. A people without an elite struggle to remain a conscious nation but, instead, turn into passive “ethnographic material.”

Why should we remember Katyn? It is humans – not beasts – who remember and honor their dead. The Poles were not allowed properly to bury and mourn the victims of Katyn for half a century. Officially, they were not allowed to remember them. The natural or divine law was thus violated by positive or man-made law, in this case Soviet communist “law” (show trials, executions, terror, and censorship).

To remember is to know. Knowledge is indispensable to make informed decisions, and we learn from experience. We pass on knowledge from generation to the next. That is why tyrants have always attempted to kill memory, as did king Creon of Thebes in Sophocles’ Antigone. The heroine, who buried her brother’s body, in spite of Creon’s edict banning it, was reproached by the tyrant, who asked why she dared to disobey his laws. Antigone answered:

Yes, for it was not Zeus who gave them forth,
Nor Justice, dwelling with the Gods below,
Who traced these laws for all the sons of men;
Nor did I deem thy edicts strong enough,
Coming from mortal man, to set at nought
The unwritten laws of God that know not change.
They are not of to-day nor yesterday,
But live for ever, nor can man assign
When first they sprang to being. Not through fear
Of any man’s resolve was I prepared
Before the Gods to bear the penalty
Of sinning against these. That I should die
I knew, (how should I not?) though thy decree
Had never spoken. And, before my time
If I should die, I reckon this a gain;
For whoso lives, as I, in many woes,
How can it be but death shall bring him gain?
And so for me to bear this doom of thine
Has nothing painful. But, if I had left
My mother’s son unburied on his death,
I should have given them pain. But as things are,
Pain I feel none. And should I seem to thee
To have done a foolish deed, ‘tis simply this,-
I bear the charge of folly from a fool.

What do the totalitarians want to remember? Nothing! The Maoist cannibal, Joseph Kabila of the Congo, killed old people specifically because they shaped the young. In a pre-literate society it was a winning formula. After thirty years, he was able to capture power thanks to the amnesia he thus imposed on the masses.

What do we know? Katyn is just the tip of the iceberg. The Bolshevik mass-murder machine began operating as soon as the communists seized power in Russia in 1917. First, they targeted the Polish nobility of the eastern borderlands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, followed by the intelligentsia, priests, social activists, and even boy and girl scouts. Then, during the so-called “liberal” 1920s in the USSR, the Bolshevik regime combated the Catholic Church and its lay followers. In 1929 – 1933, the Poles, and especially the petty nobility of the Minsk and Kyiv areas, was overrepresented among the victims of Stalin’s collectivization and finished-off during the “dekulakization” operation in 1935. As Dr. Tomasz Sommer has demonstrated in his book, the greatest peacetime genocide of the interwar period, the “Anti-Polish Operation” of the NKVD, was ordered by Stalin and the Politburo and lasted from August 1937 until November 1938. The Soviet chekists targeted ethnic Poles as alleged “spies” and even searched for Polish-sounding names in the phone books to fulfill the plan of extermination. As a result, up to 250,000 Soviet Poles – usually men between the ages of 16 and 65 – perished.

The deportations of Poles to Siberia and mass executions after 1939, including Katyn, were the logical continuation of this orgy of totalitarian madness. The postwar communist terror was its final chapter. Thus, for example, in August of 1945, during the Augustów Dragnet, the NKVD rounded up thousands of suspected Polish resistance fighters and killed many of them. The Poles continued to be the enemy nation. In fact, twice the number of NKVD regiments were stationed in the Soviet-occupied rump Poland after the war than were in the USSR’s occupation zone in East Germany.

The objective of all this was to destroy the Polish Nation via the extermination of the conscious broadly-understood elite! The people would become mere ethnographic material, like putty in the hands of the communist social engineers, not a nation.

Stalin and the Politburo considered Poland enemy number one long after it was warranted on the account of the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1919-1921. Why? Because the Poles were able to project a universalistic message, the power of the Commonwealth, to organize the Intermarium in a just and decent way. And this the successors of the communists, the Soviets, the successors to the empire of the Tsars, wanted to obliterate.

Yet, we did not forget. We remember. And now the whole world knows, ironically because of the Smolensk Presidential Plane Crash. All wires and dispatches in 2010 mentioned Katyn. When President Lech Kaczyński was buried at the Wawel Cathedral, the funeral was not only his own, but also (finally) a collective official one for the victims of Katyn. In the US Army, the rule is to “leave no man behind.” The same principle is honored by the Polish military and the Polish nation. To remember is not to leave behind.

Now that we know about Katyn, we can move forward. Nevertheless, historians and other concerned individuals must remain in the rear and resolve a few more issues. First, we must finally obtain the Belarussian Katyn List. Secondly, we must thoroughly research the anti-Polish operation of the NKVD (1937-1938). What we have so far is only an introduction to further research. Third, we must delve into the anti-Polish aspects of the Soviet democide of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Fourth, we must unearth the tragic fate of the Poles during the revolution and civil war in Russia (1917 – 1921). Fifth, we must zero in on Communist crimes after 1945. We owe it to the victims to remember.