Grand Duchy of Posen
Congress Poland, 1890-1914

The Polish National Movement, 1890-1914

A.) The situation in the Three Parts of Poland

While the situation in Austrian Galicia was relatively liberal - the Polish population was not exposed to any attempt to Germanify them and only had to live with a stratified society in which the nobility held on to power, in Prussian Poland (Poznan) the administration pursued a policy of GERMANIFICATION, thus alienating all strata of Polish society. In Russian Poland, the administration pursued a similar policy until the REVOLUTION OF 1905 brought political liberalization, to some degree.

B.) International Developments

The RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR of 1904-1905 again was seen as an opportunity by Polish patriots; ROMAN DMOWSKI even suggested to the Japanese the establishment of a Polish volunteer corps which was to fight on Japan's side, a plan that was not realized. The RUSSIAN REVOLUTION OF 1905 resulted in Polish political parties becoming legitimate.

C.) Political Organizations

The Galician Social Democratic Party (founded 1892) split in 1897; the Ukrainians formed their own party, while the Polish section merged with the Social Democratic Party of Congress Poland (PPS, founded in Paris in 1892).
In 1894 the Liga Polska was rechristened PEOPLE'S LEAGUE (National Democrats); ROMAN DMOWSKI became a leading figure. In 1904 a Galician branch was founded. Poland's major political parties thus extended their activities to both sides of the border separating Russian and Austrian Poland.

D.) The Dream of Poland

Many eminent Polish cultural and political figures continued to choose the exile, scientist and Nobel laureate MARIE SKLODOWSKA-CURIE, conductor IGNACY PADEREWSKI and writer HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ being among the most prominent.
A discussion was going on among the Polish patriots, which were to be borders a future reestablished independent Poland; two concepts crystallized - a JAGIELLONIAN POLAND, supported by men such as Sienkiewicz, or a PIAST POLAND which was favoured by Dmowski after he, in a 1908 book titled The Germans, Russia and the Polish Question seized to criticize Russia and turned on Germany instead. While the Jagiellonian Poland would include Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine - regions which had been united with Poland 1569-1793, where a Polish minority was still living, the concept of a Piast Poland would include regions which had formed part of the Holy Roman Empire since the high middle ages, where neither Polish nor a Slav language was spoken and where reminiscences to the Polish (Slav) history of the area was limited to place and family names.

A Brief History of Poland during the last 200 years, from genpoland , encyclopedic, many maps
The Awakening of the Polish Nation, 1870-1914, ch.11 from Henry Bogdan, From Warsaw to Sofia
REFERENCE Enno Meyer, Grundzüge der Geschichte Polens (Main Features of Polish History), Darmstadt : Wissenschaftliche Buchgemeinschaft 1977
Manfred Hellmann, Daten der Polnischen Geschichte (Dates in Polish History), München : dtv 1985

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 17th 2002, last revised on November 11th 2004

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