A Post- or Super-Nationality in the European Union
The Poles: Myths and Reality
Polish history, feelings, and struggles are millennia-long. Although mostly contained within the borders of a Polish state, it had a quasi-nationality shared only by the nobility and wealthy citizens until the beginning of the twentieth century. The vast peasant majority viewed the nobles as their enemy, sometimes even siding with foreign overlords rather than support a Polish “national” resistance that they did not feel.
When, at the end of 1918, Poland’s independence was achieved, an internal change occurred and the majority of Poles embraced politics. That notwithstanding, they could not be considered to constitute a nationality, for they had, utterly passively obeyed a man who took over the Polish political system, and, in 1926, became a dictator. That dictator, Józef Klemens Piłsudski, had previously led, as a military leader, an impressive victory over the Soviet Red Army. However his takeover of the political system was a different affair altogether. Poles were not really politically active between 1918 and 1926, and that was also the case after Pilsudski’s death in 1935 and until the German and Soviet occupation, when an active Polish national movement arose at last in the form of a resistance organization called Armia Krajowa (National Army). On 29 July 1944, around 400,000 members of that body began a military struggle – a conflict that ended in its surrender to the Germans on October 2nd of that year, following the utter destraction of Warsaw.
After World War II, the Communist regime exhibited a dignified national stance, supported by a majority of Poles, and its political acts depicted the existence of real Polish nationality. Thus, only after the German occupation of 1939 did the Polish exhibit a true national identity – a nationality – adopting the nobility’s thousand-year history that included the historical event in which the Poles saved Europe from the invading Turkish army at the gates of Vienna in 1683. However, in the 1990s, Poland accepted a European identity, thus taking the same attitude as King John III Sobieski in the 1600s. The Polish were keen to be accepted into the EU, and have joined regardless of the fact that the Germans, who had treated them so savagely, were and are the dominant power in there.
The Polish, lacking any real political strength, waived their sovereignty in favor of the European Community and are unlikely to renounce their membership in Europe; their European identity is truly stronger than their imaginary Polish national feeling.