Communism, Nationalism and Ethnicity in Poland, 1944-50 by Michael Fleming

By Michael Fleming

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Extra resources for Communism, Nationalism and Ethnicity in Poland, 1944-50 (BASEES Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies)

Sample text

As Smith (1991: 33) puts it, there is a felt filiation, as well as a cultural affinity, with a remote past in which a community was formed, a community that, despite all the changes it has undergone, is still in some sense recognised as the ‘same’ community. The major drawback of this approach is its delinking of the cultural field from the political. As Guibernau (2004) has shown in relation to Antony Smith’s work, this leads to an obscuring of the distinction between nation and state. This is problematic, as those with a minority national or ethnic identity are faced with state power which mobilizes majoritarian national identity as a source of legitimacy.

This organization was founded during the night of 31 December 1944, without instructions from Stalin (Dziewanowski 1976: 170). It declared itself to be the supreme legislative authority and to have authority over Polish formations in Poland, Russia and in the West. Around the same time, in the USSR, the ZPP advanced a proposal for the Polish National Committee (PKN), which would form the first administration once Poland was liberated. The communists based in Poland were, in theory, willing to compromise with non-communist parties, but were hindered by practical difficulties and the suspicions of the Polish underground.

Kamiński (2005), for example, argues that the Americans, in particular, were too amenable to Stalin’s wishes, pointing to the American failure to support British efforts to link the issue of the western border with free and unfettered elections in Poland at the Potsdam Conference in July–August 1945 (Kamiński 2005: 126–8). And while Churchill canvassed support in parliament for population expulsions in late 1944 and early 1945, the USSR’s programme of population reconfiguration was well underway in eastern Poland, as was NKVD repression of the Polish Home Army.

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