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Between the Brown and the Red

Nationalism, Catholicism, and Communism in Twentieth-Century Poland

Mikolaj Stanislaw Kunicki

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Series Page

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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Series Editor’s Preface

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pp. xi-xii

In Between the Brown and the Red: Nationalism, Catholicism, and Communism in Twentieth-Century Poland—The Politics of Bolesław Piasecki, Mikołaj Stanisław Kunicki views the tangled political history of postwar Poland through the machinations of a pivotal, if relatively minor, political figure, Bolesław Piasecki. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

The concept of this book began taking shape in the fall of 1998. At that time, I was pursuing a doctoral degree in European history at Stanford University. My advisor, Norman Naimark, suggested to me a dissertation topic. Out of my interest in the relationship of nationalism and communism in Eastern Europe ...


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pp. xvii-xviii

Guide to Pronunciation

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pp. xix-xx

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pp. 1-6

In a climactic scene from Andrzej Munk’s 1960 film Bad Luck (Zezowate szczęście), the protagonist, Jan Piszczyk—a young, shy, clumsy man studying law at Warsaw University—finds himself at the forefront of a political demonstration. The year is 1938, and proregime students are urging Poland’s strongman, Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły, ...

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1. The Early Years, 1915–35

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pp. 7-27

Reborn in 1918 after more than 120 years of foreign rule, independent Poland faced a number of challenges. The extent of its territory was not finally determined until 1921, with the signing of a peace treaty with Bolshevik Russia and a ceasefire agreement with Germany following the third Silesian uprising.1 ...

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2. The National Radical Movement, 1934–39

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pp. 28-51

On the morning of July 7, 1934, the ONR prisoners marched into the camp at Bereza Kartuska in an atmosphere of romantic adventure, singing nationalist songs. They saw themselves as another generation of revolutionaries for whom incarceration in the dungeons of Castello Sant’Angelo, Kufstein, ...

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3. The War Years, 1939–44

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pp. 52-76

War forced Piasecki to become a soldier, yet he never ceased to be a politician. At a time when the fate of nations depended on military superiority, he had the ambition to build a political army whose strength relied on ideology rather than on numbers of soldiers and the power of weapons. ...

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4. Under the Cross and the Red Flag, 1945–56

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pp. 77-110

Piasecki’s incarceration by the communists and his subsequent release were turning points in his life. The decision of Poland’s new rulers to exonerate and support a man whose credentials included chauvinistic nationalism, anti-Semitism, and anticommunism was in fact less paradoxical than it seemed. ...

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5. Years of Hope and Disappointment,1956–67

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pp. 111-139

Three years after the death of Stalin, the Polish People’s Republic experienced the gravest crisis of its sociopolitical system to that point. By the end of 1956, the country had experienced a war at the top of the party leadership, a bloody revolt among the workers of Poznań, the specter of Soviet military intervention, ...

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6. The Last Crusade, 1967–68

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pp. 140-161

Józef Piłsudski once remarked that he had alighted from the socialist streetcar at the stop called nationalism. Years later, Gomułka and his comrades decided to merge the communist and nationalist tracks, thus accelerating the metamorphosis of Polish communism. ...

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7. The Exit of the Crusader, 1970–79

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pp. 162-180

In 1972, while speaking to his collaborators, Piasecki acknowledged: “This is the best leadership of the party and the state we have ever had in the history of People’s Poland. But then the question is: if such a leadership does not esteem PAX and its role, then which one will?”1 ...

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pp. 181-188

The ability of the communists to attract nationalists and to nationalize their societies without conceding their monopoly on power is one of the most interesting aspects of Eastern Europe in the postwar period. As the Italian socialist Ignazio Silone remarked on one occasion, “The first thing that the communists nationalize is socialism.”1 ...


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pp. 189-232


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pp. 233-244


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pp. 245-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444207
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821420041

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Piasecki, Bolesław.
  • Politicians -- Poland -- Biography.
  • Communism and Christianity -- Poland.
  • Catholic Church -- Poland -- History -- 20th century.
  • Poland -- Politics and government -- 1918-1945.
  • Poland -- Politics and government -- 1945-1980.
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