The power of the idea and the force of arms : the underground resistance and the secret army in Nazi-occupied Poland / by W. James Dixon
Includes bibliographical references (p. 212-218)
Modern Polish history is a story of resistance against the strong and survival of the weaker. From 1795 until 1918, Poland was occupied by its three more powerful neighbors. Many of the actions taken against the Polish nation were for the purpose of eliminating its identity and forcibly assimilating the Polish people into the more powerful, dominant cultures. Two distinct traits in the survival of the Polish nation have emerged: resistance, not only in the form of civil uprisings combined with an organized military force, but cultural resistance as well, especially in the areas of language, education, religion and against general assimilation into the larger culture; secondly, the military tradition. Poland has been the scene of countless conflicts, large and small, for most of recent history. It is not the conscription of Poles into the stronger combatants forces that has developed the specific nature of the tradition, but when Poles took to the field for Poland that the distinct trait emerges. That is, namely, the extent to which the entire population becomes involved in the direct aspect of fielding an army and providing the essential components which make an army function properly. In all components of Polish resistance forces throughout this era, one can easily find men and women of all ages and of every socio-economic group from the actual combatants to organizational and logistical roles. These two distinguishing traits have become defining elements of the modern Polish national identity based on their common historical perspective.
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