Category Archives: Polish History

March 1968: The Soviet Way, Smolensk Commemorative Committee, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, April 2018.

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz explained the external and internal reasons of the anti-Jewish campaign organized in Poland by the Communist party in March 1968.

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The 8th Annual Lady Blanka Rosenstiel Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium

The Eighth Annual Lady Blanka Rosenstiel Kościuszko Chair Spring Symposium took place on April 7, 2018. Introduced by Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz, six lectures focused on the present situation in Central Europe followed by a more historical perspective on the region. Topics ranged from Russian public diplomacy in Belarus, through Polish public diplomacy in the interwar period, new data on the Katyń Massacre of Polish POWs, mass murder prevention in the Intermarium to March 1968 in Poland. Below, a short summary of the lectures is presented.

1. Russian Lobby in Belarus: Could Belarus be the Next after Ukraine?
Franak Viačorka, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, gave a lecture on the Russian lobby in Belarus. After the occupation of Crimea, Russia began to expand its presence in Belarus. Hundreds of Russia-backed initiatives, formally cultural or educational, or media, emerged. They are driving increasing polarization between pro-Western and pro-Russian Belarusians, which could eventually lead to an open conflict.

2. The Polish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair
Mr. Peter J. Obst provided a presentation on the contents, purpose and eventual fate of the Polish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York City in 1940. Poland invested a large sum of money into participation in the New York World’s Fair because they wanted to show a true picture of the country as a modern European state, striving for trade contacts. Most of the artwork, artifacts, documentation etc. has been distributed throughout the Western world. Mr. Obst has been working on discovering them and piecing them all together.

3. Wild Bill Donovan, the OSS and the Nuremberg Tribunal
Independent Scholar, Krystyna Piorkowska, provides a lecture on Wild Bill Donovan, the mastermind behind the OSS and modern American Espionage as well as the Nuremberg Tribunal. In 1948, the United States Counter Intelligence Corps investigated the massacre of the Polish POWs that had been captured and held in Katyń. Hundreds of pages of records and coded messages from Katyń were discovered which the Russians had tried to keep covered up. The US CIC and other intelligence agencies continue to work on finding more evidence to unravel the course of events.

4. Application of Historic WWII and Cold War Resistance Experience to Present Day Significance
Dr. Otto Fiala, Resistance Operations Concept Lead (SOCEUR), talked about the concept of resistance and its historic aspects. He provided an overview of SOCEUR and its mission and the lessons learned through the experience of resistance as a way of warfare. For instance, the necessity of pre-conflict agreements and maintaining legitimacy are useful conclusions from the Polish resistance experience during and post WWII. They remain pertinent as evidenced by NATO’s contingency plans regarding the Baltics vis-à-vis Russia.

5. Back to the Future: Genocide Prevention in the Intermarium
Matt O’Brien, chairman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, gave a lecture on genocide prevention in the Intermarium. Both Nazism and Communism used genocide to eliminate factual and potential opposition. Now, the migrant and refugee problem is strongly contested by Russia, while the UN is working to devise prevention methods to make sure the situation does not escalate. New approaches to prevention are necessary to avoid the clash of the Muslim Europe and the Orthodox Christian Europe.

6. The Soviets and March 1968: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism
Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz, the head of the Kościuszko Chair, provided his viewpoints on the events of March 1968 in Communist Poland. He discussed the difference between the anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and pointed out that, ultimately, Moscow was sovereign in Warsaw and no policy line was implemented without the Kremlin’s approval. So called “anti-Zionist campaign” occurred within the context of Israel’s drift towards the United States.

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s Centennial Commemoration, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, November 2017.

On November 8, 2017, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz moderated a panel on “The Failure of Marxism and the Collapse of the Soviet Union” at the Victims of Communism Centennial Commemoration, a three-day conference organized by the The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to mark the horror of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

Panelists included Dr. Paul R. Gregory, Hoover Fellow; Dr. Alan Charles Kors, scholar of European intellectual history; and Dr. Russell Roberts, Hoover Fellow and EconTalk podcast. The event took place at the Library of Congress.

Dr. Chodakiewicz covered the topic of the failure of Marxism in a recent piece for the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, entitled “Marxism’s Failure Tripped the USSR.”

Dr. Chodakiewicz discussed Polish strategic messaging at a debate in Krosno, in Poland

At the end of October 2016, Professor Marek Chodakiewicz visited Poland to participate in a debate on strategic communication and creation of positive image of Poland abroad. Held on October 23, the debate in Krosno was a part of larger event – Festival Siedmiu Kultur [The Festival of Seven Cultures]. The aim of the festival is to promote multicultural Polish tradition, which was born when people of various ethnicities interacted and lived together in peace for centuries, first in the lands of The Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania and, later, in Poland.

The question of Polish strategic communication was discussed by renowned historians – Professor Piotr Wilczek (Warsaw University), Professor Andrzej Nowak (Jagiellonian University), and Professor Marek Chodakiewicz (Institute of World Politics, Washington USA). Professor Chodakiewicz focused on the popular image of Poland in the West. He pointed to the importance of strategic messaging and promotion of Polish culture and noble tradition, according to the best practices of the interwar period. The debate was moderated by Professor Krzysztof Koehler of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw.

http://festiwal7kultur.pl/timeline_day/krosno-2016/

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz joined the prestigious 40th Writers’ Workshop as a speaker

Dr. Marek Chodakiewicz was invited to give a lecture at the prestigious 40th Writers’ Workshop, which took place in Washington D.C. on September 25, 2016. The Workshop’s topic this year was immigration. In his lecture, Intermarium, the Land between the Black and Baltic Seas, Dr. Chodakiewicz discussed the characteristics of the migrant crisis in various parts of Europe as well as possible American response to it.

He began his analysis from the history of the Intermarium region and its crucial role for the stability of Europe and world peace. He stressed Intermarium’s Christian identity dating back to 966 A.D. as well as its unique democratic tradition. Peoples inhabiting Intermarium have developed an original form of government – an elective monarchy, in which 1 million people had the right to participate in the political process. This level of political freedom was reached by other countries of the world only in the 19th (U.S., the UK) and 20th century. This political system, known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, is responsible for the countries of Intermarium being somehow culturally different from the countries of Western Europe. Their strong republican and individualistic tradition makes them more akin to the Unites States of America.

Historical part of the lecture provided background information allowing to understand different approaches to immigration in the Western Europe and in the Intermarium region. By virtue of its cultural identity, stronger individualism and stronger beliefs, as well as a worse economic situation, the countries of Intermarium are less interesting a location for the migrants. However, the migrant crisis still results in the destabilization of the whole continent. With Russia pushing for the reintegration of what it believes to be its sphere of influence, the situation of Europe becomes more and more unpredictable. Therefore, it would be good for the United States to monitor the situation in the region and support those European allies, which are the most similar to the United States in terms of absolute values and democratic tradition.

Europe, including the Intermarium, needs America’s leadership. This concerns not only defense issues via NATO, but also the Old Continent’s immigration crisis. If the United States solves its own immigration problems, this also can serve as a paradigm for its European NATO allies about the ways to address theirs.

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.