At the end of 17th and the beginning of 18th century, several renown and much discussed projects were created. Stanisław Leszczyński criticized the idea of a “Christian Republic” which laid at the base of all those projects. According to Leszczyński, a federation formed in accordance with this idea was not viable as the relations between the states forming it would be dominated by hatred. What is more, Leszczyński doubted the possibility of forming of any kind of European federation. His federal idea was based on utterly different foundations than the Western European ideas. His federation would consist of republican states, England, Holland, Poland and Switzerland and would be united under the aegis of the French monarchy. Thanks to such a structure of the federation of European republics united under the reign of France, the fate of Europe would rest in the hands of Louis XV of France. Compared with contemporary federal ideas, Leszczyński’s simple eclecticism was anachronic and inconsistent. But we must bear in mind that the Polish federal thought of the 18th century was quite poor. The grand ideas of federal Europe did not find many supporters in Poland. Perhaps the decisive reason was the knowledge of practical implementation of multi-state federalism.
In 2011, Adam Jerzy Czartoryski’s Essay on Diplomacy, first published in French in 1830, was finally translated into Polish, 150 years after the author’s death. The translation by Jan Maria Kłoczowski was published enriched with a comprehensive study by Marek Kornat – a researcher of the history of international relations. This publication is an important academic event. Czartoryski’s treatise tackles the still relevant issues of international order, collective security, the right of sovereignty and the unity of Europe. Marek Kornat analyses the ideas of Prince Adam Czartoryski in a wide perspective of a European political thought and points to those which were novel and long-lasting. He pictures the author of Essay as an outstanding theoretician of diplomacy and puts him on a par with Benjamin Constant and Alexis de Tocqueville. Kornat also draws the reader’s attention to the fact that although many of Czartoryski’s ideas were unprecedented they are not currently attributed to his name, and his theoretical legacy has not been appreciated by either Polish or foreign historiography. The political biography of Prince Adam was discussed in A Study, out of the necessity, very briefly. Should one wish to follow this discussion, they could ask the question about the factual influence of Czartoryski on Alexander I and the policy of Russia until 1815. It seems that despite the undeniable role he played in the Polish affairs, his real ability to act was rather limited. Another interesting issue is the problem of the origin of the Holy Alliance and the connections between The Act of Holy Alliance (26 September 1815) and The Concert of Europe (the Quintuple Alliance). The Act of Holy Alliance referred to the idea of the European League of 1804, which was co-authored by Adam Czartoryski. However, it was simultaneously influenced by certain ideas of German religious Awakening, especially by works of Franz von Baader, appreciated by Alexander I.
Was Piłsudski a federalist? He believed that a federalist approach would be desirable to resolve the relationship between Poland and the Lithuanian, Belorussian and possibly Ukrainian lands of the prepartition Commonwealth. But he did not treat the federalist solution as a dogma, and was willing to consider other possibilities if that approach proved impossible. Piłsudski’s overriding objective was to deprive Russia of these lands and push it farther east so that it would not endanger Poland. To that aim he subordinated all other considerations, and he tried to achieve it through faits accomplis and war with the Bolsheviks. In that he failed. Despite Polish victory at Warsaw, Piłsudski had to accept the compromise Treaty of Riga which put an end to a federalist solution.
The reference to Adam Czartoryski and Hotel Lambert was an inspiring example and an important element for the Jerzy Giedroyc’s programme in its early days. It also included the continuation of the Jagiellonian traditions. However, due to new conditions, these traditions required a thorough transformation. A text addressed not only to Poles but also to Lithuanians, Belarusians and Ukrainians could not be written in a language that would bring the recollections of national, religious and social oppression.
Integration of the Western Europe was among the most important processes which took place in the political arena of the end of the 1940’s and the 1950’s. For the Polish émigrés, it was an experience as fascinating as it was frustrating. The fascination came from the fact that many Poles had been working, already during the WWII, on various international solutions which could be implemented after the war. However, the outcome of the WWII made it impossible to realize even a semblance of such solutions in the territory of East-Central Europe. Nonetheless, the politicians in exile agreed that they could at least continue the preparations for the integration of also this part of Europe and partake, to the best of their ability, in the changes which were taking place in Western Europe. Indeed, studying émigrés political life, we can talk about the coinciding of political programmes focusing on building a Central European federation (with the exception of National Party). Both the actions and programmes of nationalists as well as those of Christian democrats and socialists revealed many signs of such a focus. But the most interesting experiment of all seems to be the legacy of the Polish Freedom Movement “Independence and Democracy” (in Polish: Polski Ruch Wolnościowy “Niepodległość i Demokracja” – PRW “NiD”) – a movement created in 1945 as a sign of discontent with the existing parties and the political system of the Polish People’s Republic. As far as European integration is concerned, the legacy of the PRW “NiD” can be divided according to two criteria. The first criterion is the place where references to the European community appear. We find them mostly in the documents of the party, starting with the “Programme Principles” or the “Principles of the Central European Policy” drawn up in 1951 as a part of the works of Polish Federalists’ Association. Another area where these matters were clearly present was the work of renown leaders of the PRW “NiD”, i.e. Zbigniew Jordan, Piotr Wandycz and Aleksander Bergman. The party’s demands would also reach the programme documents of larger bodies, such as the Political Council and the Provisional Council of National Unity. The second criterion was the very ideas of the PRW “NiD”. More precisely, the deliberations about a new international order in Europe were divided into two parts: one referred to the entire Europe and the other only to the East-Central Europe. That is why it was vital for the polish émigrés to balance their activity between the Central European emigration circles and western societies. This article present an analysis of the activity of the PRW “NiD” in terms of European integration as well as the political thought focusing on these matters.
Shared history plays an important part in the Polish-Lithuanian relations. However, the Polish and Lithuanian interpretations of that history are different. Overcoming those differences is possible only to a certain extent. The purpose of this article is to show to what extent comparative studies can contribute to a better understanding of the differences in the knowledge of and the way in which the history is remembered in Poland and Lithuania. It also attempts to build a dialogue about the past and the future.
The multisecular relations between France and Germany have been more often a history of rivalry and conflict than of a peaceful neighbourhood. The wars between them in the 19th and 20th century brought the loss of millions of human lives, unprecedented material destructions, growth of mutual distrust and antipathy. Two French statesmen – Aristide Briand and Robert Schuman – tried to put an end to this vicious circle of confrontation and revenge. Both of them attempted to gradually build up a climate of confidence and reconciliation between the two countries and link them by as many ties of cooperation and interdependence as possible, in the framework of a united Europe. The former failed, mostly because of the destructive force of the great economic crisis of 1929. The latter, who believed that “Germany was never more dangerous than when she was isolated”, succeeded in bringing about a reconciliation and rapprochement between the two countries within the first European Community created thanks to his innovative ideas and his diplomatic skills. He was able to count on the understanding and cooperation of Konrad Adenauer, who became head of government of the Federal Republic of Germany, created in 1949. The chancellor, known in the inter-war years as a convinced anti-Nazi and follower of the European idea, was longing for an organic integration of Europe, as the best guarantee of peace and a frame within which the German people could assimilate the Western political culture to replace that of nationalism and militarism. Gradually, the Franco-German duo has grown to be the leading force of the European Community/Union. However, in the last few years and months the concord and cooperation between France and Germany entered a period of crisis and continuously growing distance. The reasons of this change are manifold. First of all, there is a profound difference and incompatibility of political traditions and social cultures of the two nations: one still characterized by the Jacobin spirit and acute class conflict; the other based on a constant search of consensus and compromise for the sake of general interest. These factors largely determine the present economic situation of France and Germany. The former is lacking in competitive capacity, besieged by massive unemployment, enormous public debt and public deficit. The latter is dynamic and prosperous, particularly against the background of the present world economic crisis. The “European” policies of the two countries have also been diverging. France, theoretically committed to the idea of integration, has been in fact reluctant to cede portions of her sovereignty to the EU institutions. On the contrary, Germany has been consistently favourable to a reinforcement of the competences of EU organs and to an evolution of the EU towards a real federal system. Of course, the estrangement between the two biggest EU member countries implies serious risks for Europe. But, if skilfully managed, it may also offer a possibility to bring about an internally better balanced Union and a significant progress of European integration.