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European History

The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War

Thursday, December 20, 2012
A Detailed Broad-Based Analysis of Poles and Poland During WWII--Marred by Inaccuracies, December 18, 2012 This review is from: The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War (Hardcover) The author, Halik Kochanski, is a Briton born to Polish parents. She wanted to discover what her father had gone through. The result is this comprehensive work. It not only covers the Polish experience during WWII, but also provides a brief glossary of Polish pronunciations, a glossary of abbreviations, and a detailed index of biographies. >>more...

Studies on Polish Jewery, The Politics of Tradition: Agudat Yisrael in Poland, 1916-1939 (Studies of the Center for Research on the History and ... Jews, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Sunday, November 11, 2012
The author begins with a middle view of Polish-Jewish relations, (quote) By an over-emphasis on pervasive Polish anti-Semitism, the Jewish treatment of Polish Jewish history emerges in a manner no less unbalanced and tendentious than those Polish apologetic works which trumpet `traditional Polish tolerance' of Jews." (unquote). (p. 15) >>more...

The Chosen Few: How Education Shaped Jewish History, 70-1492 (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

Sunday, November 11, 2012
This fascinating, scholarly work begins with a large amount of Jewish demographic detail. At the time of the destruction of the Second temple (65), the Jewish population of the Middle East, North Africa, and eventual Europe was in the 2.5-8.0 million range. By 650, it had plummeted to 1.2 million. (p. 112). After a slight rise, it bottomed out at about 1 million in 1492. (p. 18, 49-50) >>more...

“Jews in Poland and Russia” Book Review

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, Anthony Polonsky is the author of a monumental three volume work entitled “Jews in Poland and Russia”. It is reviewed by Timothy Snyder in The Wall Street Journal of May 19-20, 2012. In Snyder’s review there is the following sentence: “The Polish-Lithuanian State weakened in the 18th century, as a result of the pervasion of the parliament by the wealthy aristocrats and by the incursions of the neighboring Russian, Habsburg and Prussian empires. This left Jewish communities facing two transitions at the same time into foreign rule and into modernity.” >>more...

Poland and the Western Powers, 1938-1939: A Study in the Interdependence of Eastern and Western Europe (Study in Political History)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
This work is profusely documented. It details the efforts of the Polish government to remain scrupulously neutral in the face of the increasingly belligerent Soviets and Nazi Germans. For instance, when Poland signed a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany, Communist propaganda (and even modern revisionistic Russian propaganda) twisted this pact into false Nazi-Polish alliance against the USSR. >>more...

The Revolution of 1905 and Russia's Jews (Jewish Culture and Contexts)

Friday, December 2, 2011
This review is from: The Revolution of 1905 and Russia's Jews (Jewish Culture and Contexts) (Hardcover) This is a very "meaty" book, not for the casual reader, that goes far beyond the 1905 Revolution. Owing to the wealth of information presented, I touch on only a few subjects, and sometimes relate them to other incidents in various contexts outside the immediate purview of this book. >>more...

Poland--old and new

Thursday, November 24, 2011
This book begins with a good description of Polish tales, such as the ones surrounding the Krak, Wanda, Popiel, etc. It affords a broad sweep of Polish history.

Consider the late 1700's. Although Poland's enemies were soon to erase her from the map of Europe, the Poles put belated major internal reforms into practice. Did you know, for instance, that the Poles virtually invented systematic public schooling? The author writes: "The first ministry of public education in the world was created in Poland in 1773." (p. 36) >>more...

Tło Powstania Listopadowego

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Ważnym tłem Powstania Listopadowego był plan Adama Czartoryskiego z 1815 roku zjednoczenia wszystkich ziem zaborów Polski w Królestwie Polskim stworzonym w unii personalnej Polski z Rosją. W celu umożliwienia tego projektu dzięki staraniom Adama Czartoryskiego, 3 stycznia 1815 roku, Rosja i Prusy podpisały porozumienie o zjednoczeniu wszystkich ziem polskich w unii personalnej z Rosją, włącznie z zaborem pruskim, w zamian za zdominowanie Saksonii przez Królestwo Pruskie dzięki poparciu Rosji. >>more...

Poland 1914-1931

Friday, September 30, 2011
The author begins with the situation facing the three parts of Partitioned Poland. He cites British Prime Minister Asquith (afterwards Earl of Oxford and Asquith). The Briton recounted the brutalities of the Prussians against the local Poles. Step-by-step, the Poles were not allowed to use the Polish language--eventually the children had to pray only in German. In 1902, more than half the Polish schoolchildren went on a strike that lasted nearly a whole year. Many of them were savagely beaten, and their parents faced arrest and imprisonment. (p. 69). >>more...

New Post-WWI Nations, Polish-Jewish Relations, "Polish Fatalism", Versailles "Injustices" to Germany Exposed

Friday, September 30, 2011
This review is from: Balkanized Europe: A study in political analysis and reconstruction, (Paperback) The author examines the numerous nations that had arisen after WWI, and other peoples (e.g., the Slovenes) who had not become separate nations. He does not seem to use the term "Balkanized" in a pejorative sense.

Mowrer discusses both Pan-Germanism and Pan-Slavism. He quips: "But Bautzen, Kottbus, Zerbst, Dresden, Leipzig, Chemnitz, Torgau, Glogau, Stargard--all these are old Slav names, Germanized...the ancient Slav lands, the valleys of the Elbe and the Oder..." (p. 298). >>more...
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