History UsefulNotes / Poland

21st Apr '16 12:15:26 AM Jaro7788
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In short, Polish language runs on ForTheEvulz.

...On the other hand however, Polish spelling is quite simple (almost phonetic) as compared to English (or traditional Chinese).

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In short, Polish language runs on ForTheEvulz.

...
ForTheEvulz. On the other hand however, Polish spelling is quite simple (almost phonetic) as compared to English (or traditional Chinese).
Chinese).

There are, however, a few things about Polish that make this language a tad easier (or more interesting) to study. Despite the impressive number of its speakers, due to historical reasons, Polish has all but lost all its dialects save for a few minor ones. To put it simply, if three people were to have a discussion, one from Warsaw, one from Kraków, and one from Gdańsk, chances are that none of them would realize where the other two come from unless informed directly. In other words, once you have mastered standard official and colloquial Polish, you're all set to get the message across no matter where you go (and the people you will have trouble understanding will prove a hard nut to crack to native speakers as well). Moreover, Polish ortography is remarkably different from those of other Slavic languages which tend to get mixed up by beginners at times. Even if there are no peculiar Polish characters (such as ''ą'' or ''ę'') involved, if you see the letter ''w'' popping up a few times in an apparently Slavic text, you can tell with 99% accuracy that the whole thing's written in Polish.
20th Apr '16 11:58:28 PM Jaro7788
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Generally speaking, these dimunitives bear a strong resemblance to those used in [[RussianNamingConvention Russia]] but they're not used just ''as'' extensively and most of the time they seem to share a much closer bond with their original forms. The most cryptic it can get is the rare and optional ocassions when some of the initial and middle vowels are omitted (i.e. ''Helena'' turns into "Ela'' and ''Małgorzata'' becomes ''Gosia'') and the Russian level of obtuse (such as ''Sasha'' being dimunitive to ''Alexander'' or ''Alexandra'') is largely avoided.



Important note: New given names are rarely created in Polish (they might be borrowed from other languages, often through popular foreign media, but this seems a bit awkward). If you'd rather not name your character something ridiculous, check if the name is used in Poland (eg. look it up in Polish version of The Other Wiki). Some names are less common than others, but you should be able to figure which are fine.

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Important note: New given names are rarely created in Polish (they might be borrowed from other languages, often through popular foreign media, but this seems a bit awkward). If you'd rather not name your character something ridiculous, check if the name is used in Poland (eg. look it up in Polish version of The Other Wiki). Some names are less common than others, but you should be able to figure which are fine.
fine, a slong as you bear in mind that Polish naming customs seem to evolve significantly over relatively short periods of time. And so, while seeing that two Polish presidents elected in 1990 and 2005 respectively bore the name Lech might tempt you to think it might be an awfully popular name, you'd have a pretty hard time finding anyone called Lech among anybody born in the 1970s or later. Generally speaking, Polish society seems to be moving away from the traditional Slavic naming fashion faster than her Slavic neighbors; names like these are all but extinct among women and lose their popularity with men with each passing year.

There are middle names in Poland but, unlike in the East Slavic countries, these are optional and are one hundred per cent dependant on the parents' decision rather than their own names.


Added DiffLines:


Many female celebrities, such as politicians and journalists, will choose to retain their maiden names. Unlike the West, however, they rarely opt to get rid of their husbands' names completely, instead attaching their maiden names to that of the husbands', joining the two by means of a dash. This phenomenon is virtually unheard of among more than 99% of society though. That does ''not'' mean that ''every'' woman with a two-part surname is necessarily her invention as there are plenty of rather old last names consisting of two separate words.
20th Mar '16 9:31:26 PM JulianLapostat
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The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth has sometimes been likened to UsefulNotes/AntebellumAmerica since many of its leaders and rulers proclaimed freedom while still owning large ''folwarks'' (manorial plantations) of serfs. The period of the Commonwealth coincided with the Refeudalization of Poland and Eastern Europe. At the time when Serfdom was on its way out in Western Europe, and feudalism gave way to the UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance and the Early Modern Era, serfdom ''increased'' in Poland where peasants, who were formerly allowed to own land and given rights to travel, soon had their rights taken away from them. 80% of the population in the Commonwealth consisted of serfs who were bound to their manor houses, denied permission to leave and [[http://culture.pl/en/article/slavery-vs-serfdom-or-was-poland-a-colonial-empire who could be bought and sold]] at the whim of their masters. Since the Polish szlachta (Nobility) were reluctant to break up families and sell serfs (unlike slaveowners in the American South) this often meant that whole villages of serfs could be bought and sold by various nobles. The economic reasons for renewed and heightened serfdom was that Poland, a bread-basket region, relied heavily on grain exports to other countries, which combined with the lack of devolution of the artistocratic-military elite, meant that Poland still remained a classically agriculture-based economy at a time when the rest of Europe was starting to diversify. This meant a halt in the development of cities and towns, and a firm halt on the rise of the Polish middle classes. This paved the way for...

to:

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth [[http://nonsite.org/article/forget-postcolonialism-theres-a-class-war-ahead has sometimes been likened likened]] to UsefulNotes/AntebellumAmerica since many of its leaders and rulers proclaimed freedom while still owning large ''folwarks'' (manorial plantations) of serfs. The period of the Commonwealth coincided with the Refeudalization of Poland and Eastern Europe. At the time when Serfdom was on its way out in Western Europe, and feudalism gave way to the UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance and the Early Modern Era, serfdom ''increased'' in Poland where peasants, who were formerly allowed to own land and given rights to travel, soon had their rights taken away from them. 80% of the population in the Commonwealth consisted of serfs who were bound to their manor houses, denied permission to leave and [[http://culture.pl/en/article/slavery-vs-serfdom-or-was-poland-a-colonial-empire who could be bought and sold]] at the whim of their masters. Since the Polish szlachta (Nobility) were reluctant to break up families and sell serfs (unlike slaveowners in the American South) this often meant that whole villages of serfs could be bought and sold by various nobles. The economic reasons for renewed and heightened serfdom was that Poland, a bread-basket region, relied heavily on grain exports to other countries, which combined with the lack of devolution of the artistocratic-military elite, meant that Poland still remained a classically agriculture-based economy at a time when the rest of Europe was starting to diversify. This meant a halt in the development of cities and towns, and a firm halt on the rise of the Polish middle classes. This paved the way for...
20th Mar '16 11:36:03 AM JulianLapostat
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** TheTeutonicKnights are bad. UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan is good. Poland had a historically close relationship with the UnitedStates after the fall of communism and one of her most loyal allies. Poles are, on the whole, less turned off by hawkish American politicians than the rest of Europe.
** Poland is one of the few countries outside France where UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte is adored, due to his [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchy_of_Warsaw restoration of the Polish state]]. Partial restoration, that is.
** Poles are quite insistent that Poland is [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial not in Eastern Europe, but Central.]] It's a geopolitical matter.
** Having said all that -- the history of Poland in the eyes of the Western world tends to be stereotyped in these two ways: either "ButtMonkey of Europe" or "[[IronWoobie plucky little country]]". In case the abridged story above doesn't make it clear: It's a modern stereotype. While history dealt Poland a particularly bad hand in the late 18th century, it was a master poker player before. Even then, it survived being disappeared by three superpowers for 123 years.

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** TheTeutonicKnights UsefulNotes/TheTeutonicKnights are bad. bad, UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan is good.good, Pilsudski is a hero and don't call him a dictator, even if he was one. Poland had a historically close relationship with the UnitedStates after the fall of communism and one of her most loyal allies. Poles are, on the whole, less turned off by hawkish American politicians than the rest of Europe.
Europe, and several Polish intellectuals eagerly supported the Iraq War.
** Poland is one of the few countries outside France where UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte is adored, due to his [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duchy_of_Warsaw restoration of the Polish state]]. Partial restoration, that is.
is, though that was mostly because he was working the territory he had.
** Poles are quite insistent that Poland is [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial not in Eastern Europe, but Central.]] It's a geopolitical matter.and cultural matter, driven by resentment towards Russia.
** Having said all that -- the history of Poland in the eyes of the Western world tends to be stereotyped in these two ways: either "ButtMonkey of Europe" or "[[IronWoobie plucky little country]]". In case the abridged story above doesn't make it clear: It's a modern stereotype. While history dealt Poland a particularly bad hand in the late 18th century, it was a master poker player before. Even then, it survived being disappeared by three superpowers for 123 years.years, and it can't really be blamed for getting the bottom deck of geographical borders as compared to other nations with large parts of water and mountainous borders to protect them.



** It should also be noted that, despite the Poles being generally pretty conservative and not at all supportive of gay rights when compared to Western Europe, Poland is still much more gay-friendly than most of post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav states. It may partly stem from the fact that even the most traditional of Polish people would rather be associated with the liberal, developed Europe than with the backward, reactionary Russia.

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** It should also be noted that, despite the Poles being generally pretty conservative and not at all supportive of gay rights when compared to Western Europe, Poland is still much more gay-friendly than most of post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav states. It may partly stem from the fact that even the most traditional of Polish people would rather be associated with the liberal, developed Europe West than with the backward, reactionary Russia.East.




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* TheExile -- Polish artists in exile are a common trope in literature and life. Famous expat Poles include Chopin, Joseph Conrad and Roman Polanski.
* MeetTheNewBoss -- Poles tend to be quite bitter and cynical since almost any government inevitably uses, belittles and betrays them. They do have a point. There's a lot of grudges against Russia, Germany, the Western betrayal and so on. Inevitably people are disappointed by Solidarity too.
* MindScrew -- Polish history, is genuinely confusing for many outside observers to grasp (mostly because of how the map keeps changing all the damn time and mostly people wonder "what is Poland"). Polish nationalism on the whole is equally confusing mostly because the Polish after three hundred years of instability are themselves confused about it, and their movies, especially Skolimowski's and Wajda's reflect that confusion.
* LastStand -- Whether it's Kościuszko's doomed uprising, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and the many other failed heroic attempts to resist or die trying, and they always do die trying.
20th Mar '16 9:59:18 AM JulianLapostat
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The final stage of this decline led to the legnedary uprising of Tadeusz Kościuszko. Kościuszko was a popular general and a liberal noble, who had fought in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Noting the various defections and counter-defections and failure of the szlachta to counter the invaders, Kościuszko triggered a popular uprising. He appealed to the peasants, and for the first time included them in the conception of the Polish nation. He also assured peasants civil liberties, and created the first army in Poland open to peasant conscripts. Kościuszko's uprising might perhaps have been successful had the reforms he instituted been put in place at the time of the first or even second partition. It was in the end too little too late, and worst of all, seen by Catherine the Great and neighbors as "the last straw" since Poland's relative leniency towards serfs was the reason she interfered in Poland's affairs to start with (too many Russian serfs fer fleeing to Poland [[CrapsackWorld from a brutal serfdom to a comparatively benevolent bondage]]), actual abolition of serfdom and feudalism was exactly the thing she feared. The uprising was brutally crushed, and it ended with the dissolution of the Commonwealth, the exile of King Poniatowski and Kościuszko (who was later allowed to emigrate to America) and it marked the effective cessation of Poland for more than a century, with one momentary respite.

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The final stage of this decline led to the legnedary legendary uprising of Tadeusz Kościuszko. Kościuszko was a popular general and a liberal noble, who had fought in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Noting the various defections and counter-defections and failure of the szlachta to counter the invaders, Kościuszko triggered a popular uprising. He appealed to the peasants, and for the first time included them in the conception of the Polish nation. He also assured peasants civil liberties, and created the first army in Poland open to peasant conscripts. Kościuszko's uprising might perhaps have been successful had the reforms he instituted been put in place at the time of the first or even second partition. It was in the end too little too late, and worst of all, seen by Catherine the Great and neighbors as "the last straw" since Poland's relative leniency towards serfs was the reason she interfered in Poland's affairs to start with (too many Russian serfs fer fleeing to Poland [[CrapsackWorld from a brutal serfdom to a comparatively benevolent bondage]]), actual abolition of serfdom and feudalism was exactly the thing she feared. The uprising was brutally crushed, and it ended with the dissolution of the Commonwealth, the exile of King Poniatowski and Kościuszko (who was later allowed to emigrate to America) and it marked the effective cessation of Poland for more than a century, with one momentary respite.
20th Mar '16 9:53:15 AM JulianLapostat
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Poland became independent in 1989, and this played a role in the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Post-1989, Poland joined UsefulNotes/{{NATO}} and UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion. The latter led to a large movement of Poles to the UK and caused a Polish plumber scare in France. Poland, along with Ukraine, hosted Euro football championships in 2012. The games' overwhelmingly positive reception came off as a shock to many Poles, who by then were used to thinking of their country as one big international humiliation.

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Poland became independent in 1989, and this played a role in the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union. Solidarity activists and intellectuals such as Adam Michnik and Andezj Wajda always insisted that their movement was not a revolution, since in their view all revolutions were FullCircleRevolution. Upon peacefully taking power, they began a period of lustration[[note]]The word used to refer to Decommunization[[/note]] but fell short of actively imprisoning former officials of high rank in Soviet Poland, namely General Jaruzelski. There is also a number of grudges among former Solidarity activists about the new government's shift away from the trade unions that formed the basis of the initial strike and the development of a new elite class that some liken to the old Commonwealth. Independent Poland has had more than a few issues dealing with its past and its relationship with its neighbors. United Germany that formed after the collapse of the Berlin Wall recognized Poland's borders and accepted the permanent cession of its Eastern territories to Poland. Poland and Russia still have difficult relationships, mostly over the long history of war, occupation and repression, and the various contending memories, with Russia regarding Poland's enrollment into UsefulNotes/{{NATO}} as an expansion eastwards on the part of the West. There is also the rise of religious nationalism in Poland, where the Catholic Church has always been associated with Polish identity. Polish Armed Forces are also actively involved in TheWarOnTerror, posted in Afghanistan, and bases in Poland are used for rendition by American operatives.

Post-1989, Poland joined UsefulNotes/{{NATO}} and UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion. The latter Poland's entry into UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion had led to a large movement of Poles to the UK and caused a Polish plumber scare in France. Poland, along with Ukraine, hosted Euro football championships in 2012. The games' overwhelmingly positive reception came off as a shock to many Poles, who by then were used to thinking of their country as one big international humiliation.
20th Mar '16 9:37:57 AM JulianLapostat
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[[folder:Trivia and Notes]]




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[[/folder]]
20th Mar '16 9:36:09 AM JulianLapostat
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!!History

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!!History
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[[folder: History 1000-1900]]



[[/folder]]

[[folder:Modern History 1900-Present]]




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[[/folder]]

[[folder:Polish language]]



[[folder:Polish language]]

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[[folder:Polish language]]
20th Mar '16 9:33:31 AM JulianLapostat
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Poland arose when the West Slavic tribes of the region were united by the Piast dynasty of the Polans around about 1000, cleverly alternating between placating [[UsefulNotes/HolyRomanEmpire the German emperors]] and going behind their backs. Perhaps the most globally notable event of first two or three centuries of Poland's existence happened during a period of political fragmentation, when one of Polish regional princes [[WhatAnIdiot invited]] UsefulNotes/TheTeutonicKnights to help him against the pagan Prussians. It later became quite a nuisance, so to say. Reunified Poland, in dire need for allies, became associated with Lithuania (this historical Lithuania actually consisted of modern-day ''Belarus'' and Lithuania). As the last pagan country in Europe, it also had a problem with the Knights, until Grand Duke Jogaila accepted the Polish crown, baptized himself and his realm (thus nullifying the reason of the Order's very presence) and became king Władysław of Poland. Together both countries broke the power of the Order. Over time Lithuania eventually merged with Poland, forming the [[TheFederation Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth]]. Together, Poland and Lithuania ruled over an enormous, immensely powerful and rich empire.

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Poland arose when the West Slavic tribes of the region were united by the Piast dynasty of the Polans around about 1000, cleverly alternating between placating [[UsefulNotes/HolyRomanEmpire the German emperors]] and going behind their backs. Perhaps the most globally notable event of first two or three centuries of Poland's existence happened during a period of political fragmentation, when one of Polish regional princes [[WhatAnIdiot invited]] UsefulNotes/TheTeutonicKnights to help him against the pagan Prussians. It later became quite a nuisance, so to say. Reunified Poland, in dire need for allies, became associated with Lithuania (this historical Lithuania actually consisted of modern-day ''Belarus'' and Lithuania). As the last pagan country in Europe, it also had a problem with the Knights, until Grand Duke Jogaila accepted the Polish crown, baptized himself and his realm (thus nullifying the reason of the Order's very presence) and became king Władysław of Poland. Together both countries broke the power of the Order. Over time Lithuania eventually merged with Poland, forming the [[TheFederation Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth]]. Together, Poland and Lithuania ruled over an enormous, immensely powerful and rich empire. It was an era of peace and isolation, threatened by the Mongol Invasion and schenanigans in the Holy Roman Empire, but it was for the most part left alone and this allowed it to thrive. It also became a beacon for religious tolerance, with King Casimir III ''the Great'' providing refuge to Jews and prohibited, [[GoodIsNotSoft under pain of death]], the forced conversion of Jewish children to Christianity and this increased Jewish migration to Poland. Until the third partition, Poland despite being a devoutly Catholic nation, was known for developing good relationships with Jews and being far less anti-semitic than Western Europe.



The 16th and 17th Centuries]] are known as, respectively, the Golden Age and the Silver Age of Polish history, remembered for its "Golden Liberty", when [[ElectiveMonarchy kings were elected]] and the franchise included 10% of the population, by far the most inclusive in Europe until the end of the eighteenth century. The Commonwealth's legacy is disputed since nobody knows who truly represented it, and, this is important, who really inherits it. Until the Constitution of 3rd May, it was legally a union of two countries, Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The nobility of the Grand Duchy became for the most part Polonized, but the lower classes of Lithuania, like the lower classes of Poland were left out and Poland was identified as "the Noble nation". Poles see Poland as representative to all of the Commonwealth, ignoring the views of Lithuanians who see Lithuania as the successor to Grand Duchy. Ethnic Lithuanians were actually a minority in a country mostly made of modern-day Belarus, and (due to assimilation) their upper classes were culturally Polish anyway. Ukrainians consider themselves descendants of the Ruthenian population of the region, particularly those who formed the Cossack Host, even though the Cossacks themselves were at least as much [[{{Pirates}} an occupation]] as an ethnic group. [[note]]Belarussians had all of their upper classes assimilated, or killed off by Hitler and Stalin, so nobody was left to argue it's not just a swampy small part of Russia. All of the latter three, somewhat expectedly, also tend to see Poland as a sort of BigBrotherBully, although today Lithuanians and (Western) Ukrainians tend to look to Poland for help against the bigger bully to the east--Russia.[[/note]]

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth has sometimes been likened to UsefulNotes/AntebellumAmerica since many of its leaders and rulers proclaimed freedom while still owning large folwarks (manorial plantations) of serfs. The period of the Commonwealth coincided with the Refeudalization of Poland and Eastern Europe. At the time when Serfdom was on its way out in Western Europe, and feudalism gave way to the UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance and the Early Modern Era, serfdom ''increased'' in Poland where peasants, who were formerly allowed to own land and given rights to travel, soon had their rights taken away from them. 80% of the population in the Commonwealth consisted of serfs who were bound to their manor houses, denied permission to leave and [[http://culture.pl/en/article/slavery-vs-serfdom-or-was-poland-a-colonial-empire who could be bought and sold]] at the whim of their masters. Since the Polish szlachta (Nobility) were reluctant to break up families and sell serfs (unlike slaveowners in the American South) this often meant that whole villages of serfs could be bought and sold by various nobles. The economic reasons for renewed and heightened serfdom was that Poland, a bread-basket region, relied heavily on grain exports to other countries, which combined with the lack of devolution of the artistocratic-military elite, meant that Poland still remained a classically agriculture-based economy at a time when the rest of Europe was starting to diversify. This meant a halt in the development of cities and towns, and a firm halt on the rise of the Polish middle classes. This paved the way for...

(For more see [[UsefulNotes/PolishLithuanianCommonwealth here]].)

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The 16th and 17th Centuries]] Centuries comprised the UsefulNotes/PolishLithuanianCommonwealth are known as, respectively, the Golden Age and the Silver Age of Polish history, remembered for its "Golden Liberty", when [[ElectiveMonarchy kings were elected]] and the franchise included 10% of the population, by far the most inclusive in Europe until the end of the eighteenth century. The Commonwealth's legacy is disputed since nobody knows who truly represented it, and, this is important, who really inherits it. Until the Constitution of 3rd May, it was legally a union of two countries, Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The nobility of the Grand Duchy became for the most part Polonized, but the lower classes of Lithuania, like the lower classes of Poland were left out and Poland was identified as "the Noble nation". Poles see Poland as representative to all of the Commonwealth, ignoring the views of Lithuanians who see Lithuania as the successor to Grand Duchy. Ethnic Lithuanians were actually a minority in a country mostly made of modern-day Belarus, and (due to assimilation) their upper classes were culturally Polish anyway. Ukrainians consider themselves descendants of the Ruthenian population of the region, particularly those who formed the Cossack Host, even though the Cossacks themselves were at least as much [[{{Pirates}} an occupation]] as an ethnic group. [[note]]Belarussians had all of their upper classes assimilated, or killed off by Hitler and Stalin, so nobody was left to argue it's not just a swampy small part of Russia. All of the latter three, somewhat expectedly, also tend to see Poland as a sort of BigBrotherBully, although today Lithuanians and (Western) Ukrainians tend to look to Poland for help against the bigger bully to the east--Russia.[[/note]]

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth has sometimes been likened to UsefulNotes/AntebellumAmerica since many of its leaders and rulers proclaimed freedom while still owning large folwarks ''folwarks'' (manorial plantations) of serfs. The period of the Commonwealth coincided with the Refeudalization of Poland and Eastern Europe. At the time when Serfdom was on its way out in Western Europe, and feudalism gave way to the UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance and the Early Modern Era, serfdom ''increased'' in Poland where peasants, who were formerly allowed to own land and given rights to travel, soon had their rights taken away from them. 80% of the population in the Commonwealth consisted of serfs who were bound to their manor houses, denied permission to leave and [[http://culture.pl/en/article/slavery-vs-serfdom-or-was-poland-a-colonial-empire who could be bought and sold]] at the whim of their masters. Since the Polish szlachta (Nobility) were reluctant to break up families and sell serfs (unlike slaveowners in the American South) this often meant that whole villages of serfs could be bought and sold by various nobles. The economic reasons for renewed and heightened serfdom was that Poland, a bread-basket region, relied heavily on grain exports to other countries, which combined with the lack of devolution of the artistocratic-military elite, meant that Poland still remained a classically agriculture-based economy at a time when the rest of Europe was starting to diversify. This meant a halt in the development of cities and towns, and a firm halt on the rise of the Polish middle classes. This paved the way for...

(For more see [[UsefulNotes/PolishLithuanianCommonwealth here]].)
for...



Golden Liberty was a great inspiration for the American Revolution, but it had a flaw, to which we owe the existence of a strong US Presidency: on the principle that all the nobles were equal, any decisions required unanimity. Therefore any one noble could block any government decision (the ''Liberum Veto'' with which ''EuropaUniversalis'' players may be familiar). This means only one guy needed to be bribed by UsefulNotes/{{Russia}}, UsefulNotes/{{Prussia}}, or UsefulNotes/{{Austria}} and that was it: the country was in their hands. So if a noble family decided to start developing Poland, as the Czartoryskis who formed a coalition known as [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything the Familia]], they can expect a noble revolt by their fellow free noblemen. These initial halted reforms ''did'' play a role in developing Warsaw and promoting interior development but fundamentally there was an implicit blackmail since the reform and development of one part of Poland threatened the power and influence of another part controlled by another szlachta (Gdansk in this case) who in turn might back one of their regional powers to suppress reforms. King Stanisław August Poniatowski, elected by the Sejm, was promoted and planted by UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat (he was a former lover of hers) to be her puppet, halting reforms and protecting Russia's interests. Yet Poniatowski, who became [[LastOfHisKind the last King of Poland]] was a reformer, a promoter of arts and sciences and sought to strengthen and develop Poland to catch up with its Western counterparts. These reforms angered the "three black eagles" of Russia, Prussia and Austria and it led to the first partition of Poland (1772), leading to the loss of its outer territories.

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Golden Liberty was a great inspiration for the American Revolution, but it had a flaw, to which we owe the existence of a strong US Presidency: on the Presidency. The principle that Poland was a nation of nobles meant that the nobles did not represent anybody other than themselves and so lacked any constitutency beyond their folwarks. Yes, all the nobles were equal, any decisions equal[[note]]A popular phrase goes:''Szlachcic na zagrodzie równy wojewodzie'': "The Noble on his Estate is equal to the Count" which states that each member of the aristocracy despite ranks had equality amongst themselves[[/note]] and this meant every decision required unanimity. Therefore unanimity and so any one noble could block any government decision (the ''Liberum Veto'' with which ''EuropaUniversalis'' players may be familiar). This means might recognize). So it took only one guy needed to be bribed by UsefulNotes/{{Russia}}, UsefulNotes/{{Prussia}}, or UsefulNotes/{{Austria}} and that was it: the country was in their hands. So if theirs. If a noble family decided to start developing Poland, as the Czartoryskis who formed a coalition known as [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything [[TheFamilyForTheWholeFamily the Familia]], they can expect a noble revolt by their fellow free noblemen. These initial halted reforms ''did'' play a role in developing Warsaw and promoting interior development but fundamentally there was an implicit blackmail since who resented the reform and development of one part of Poland threatened the power and influence of since it would take away trade from another part controlled by part, the rise of Warsaw, under the policies of one Nobleman meant the decline of Gdansk under another szlachta (Gdansk nobleman, which in this case) turn affected the BalanceOfPower since said nobleman had to deliver committments to their respective geopoliticial sponsor, who in turn might back one of decide to put their regional powers to suppress reforms. own candidate in the next "election". Enter King Stanisław August Poniatowski, elected by the Sejm, was promoted and planted by UsefulNotes/CatherineTheGreat (he was a former lover of hers) to be her puppet, halting reforms and protecting Russia's interests. Yet Poniatowski, who became [[LastOfHisKind the last King of Poland]] was a reformer, a promoter of arts and sciences and sought to strengthen and develop Poland to catch up with its Western counterparts. These reforms angered the "three black eagles" of Russia, Prussia and Austria and it led to the first partition of Poland (1772), leading to the loss of its outer territories.



The war experience in Poland was complicated by the Soviet Invasion of Poland, who seized the Eastern territories, the area of land known as Kresy (today part of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus with parts of Lithuania). This was part of the agreement of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the Soviets stated that these were territories it had lost in the UsefulNotes/PolishSovietWar [[MexicoCalledTheyWantTexasBack and they wanted it back]][[note]]The Kresy is a part of contentious debate in Polish-Russian relations, since historically it was part of Russian and Ukraine, which was incorporated into the Commonwealth via colonization, and the Polish nobles imposed their culture and started Polonization of the land but always remained a minority in the region. This area was annexed in the Third Partition of Poland and was claimed by Poland when they invaded the Soviet Union[[/note]]

Poland lost a fifth of its population in the war- ''seven million'' people in all, mostly civilians. Out of a pre-war Jewish population of 3.3 million, only 300,000 survived (Poland's Jewish population were Polish citizens; Israel did not exist until after the war). Most of whom were then [[HappyEndingOverride expelled by the Communists]].

'''Post-War era'''

After the war, the country was taken over by the RedsWithRockets, who shoved Poland's eastern border west a few hundred miles, expelling millions of Poles from their ancestral homes, and shoved Poland's western border a few hundred miles further west, depositing them in former Eastern Germany, where they in turn kicked millions of Germans out of ''their'' ancestral homes, thus accounting for the country's suspiciously straight borders (the western border follows the line of the Oder and Neisse rivers) and the fact that Warsaw, originally chosen as the capital for its central location, is no longer especially central. [[JosephStalin Stalin]] was [[{{Understatement}} not a nice guy]]. Poland suffered long and hard under [[CommieLand deeply incompetent Communist rule]], and eventually Polish people were instrumental in [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp its downfall]]. [[note]]The Communist rule was contested several times, until finally, almost every opposition group coalesced under the banner of Solidarity - an independent, spontaneously formed ''labour union''. This is especially notable, as it means Communism became [[DeaderThanDisco utterly discredited]] -- the system that claimed to further the interests of the working class was, essentially, defeated by what has been described as "the last workers' revolution in Europe".[[/note]]

to:

The war experience in Poland was complicated by the Soviet Invasion of Poland, who seized the Eastern territories, the area of land known as Kresy (today part of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus with parts of Lithuania). This was part of the agreement of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the Soviets stated that these were territories it had lost in the UsefulNotes/PolishSovietWar [[MexicoCalledTheyWantTexasBack and they wanted it back]][[note]]The Kresy is a part of contentious debate in Polish-Russian relations, since historically it was part of Russian and Ukraine, which was incorporated into the Commonwealth via colonization, and the Polish nobles imposed their culture and started Polonization of the land but always remained a minority in the region. This area was annexed in the Third Partition of Poland and was claimed by Poland when they invaded the Soviet Union[[/note]]

Union[[/note]]. The Polish Home Army saw this as a double occupation from two invading powers, but since the Soviet Union was still "neutral", their British allies did not want to antagonize them and the Polish Home Army was consigned to fighting the Nazis. During the Soviet Occupation, the NKVD conducted the famous "Katyn massacre" of Polish officers, intelligentsia and other figures. 22,000 were killed in the forest and buried in a mass grave. When the Soviet Union joined the war during Operation Barbarossa, the Western Allies immediately recognized Kresy as Russian territory and later suppressed the Katyn massacre for propaganda reasons. Stalin, vacillating and mercurial as always, wavered over recognition of the Polish government-in-exile before finally settling on the Polish People's Republic, formed in the Soviet Union, comprised of Communists, as the legitimate government and the Polish People's Army as alternatives to the Home Army and the government in exile. The fear of an eventual Soviet takeover led to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, the largest partisan operation during the war, which ended in failure, defeat, the destruction of Warsaw and the end of the Polish Home Army as any force to safeguard Poland's sovereignty, paving the way for its eventual Soviet Occupation.

Poland lost a fifth of its population in the war- ''seven million'' people in all, mostly civilians. Out of a pre-war Jewish population of 3.3 million, only 300,000 survived (Poland's Jewish population were Polish citizens; Israel did not exist until after the war). Most A contentious issue among Poles is the issue of collaboration with Nazism. While Poland was formerly religiously tolerant, during the 19th Century, anti-semitism had risen among parts of Poland and in the inter-war years. It is known that anti-semitic massacres such as the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedwabne_pogrom Jedwabne massacre]] was conducted by Polish peasants, many of whom were then accused Polish Jews of being collaborators with the Soviets, leading to a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BBydokomuna particularly nasty strain]] with, naturally, very little basis in reality. After the Holocaust, several Jews who returned home [[HappyEndingOverride expelled by became victims of reprisals]] from citizens who had bought their property and killed them for returning. The Communists for their part, were quite happy to publicize these incidents and associate its opponents and Home Army sympathizers with fascist collaborators, while erasing their involvement in the Communists]].

'''Post-War era'''

Katyn massacre. It must be noted that [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_Jews_by_Poles_during_the_Holocaust 6620 Poles are considered Righteous Among the Nations]], more than any other European nation. This includes author Januscz Korczak and the Catholic priest Maximilien Kolbe among others.

'''The Soviet Era'''

After the war, the country was taken over by the RedsWithRockets, who shoved Poland's UsefulNotes/RedsWithRockets. Present-day Poland is formed by absorbing the Kresy and other territories, pushing its eastern border west a few hundred miles, expelling millions of Poles from their ancestral homes, and shoved Poland's western border a few hundred miles further west, depositing miles. To compensate the Polish, however, the Soviet Union deposited them in former Eastern Germany, where they including areas like Silesia and Pomerania that had historically been German. This triggered the largest population exchange in turn kicked millions of history, with Poles and Germans kicked out of ''their'' their respective ancestral homes, thus accounting homes. This accounts for the country's suspiciously straight borders (the western border follows the line of the Oder and Neisse rivers) and the fact that Warsaw, originally chosen as the capital for its central location, is no longer especially central. [[JosephStalin Stalin]] was [[{{Understatement}} not a nice guy]]. The Soviet Union undertook the task of agrarian reform, altering Poland's class structure (which involved land seizures and collectivization), rebuilding wartorn buildings and building new ones. This includes the massive [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Culture_and_Science Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science]] (which is still the largest building in Poland suffered long and hard under [[CommieLand deeply incompetent Communist rule]], seventh in the European Union). They also improved areas such as women's employment, education, rights to abortion. But as usual, it was packaged by a heavy dose of repression, exile, execution and the heavy air of PoliceState machinery. While early attempts at reform, such as [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_October the Polish October]] in the Khruschev Thaw provided Poland greater autonomy than other satellite nations, it eventually led to a new series of purges and counter-purges in imitation of Stalin, and like Stalin in his twilight years, involved a period of nasty anti-semitism masqueraded as striking against cosmopolitans.

A culture of dissent started growing in Poland. A youth movement fascinated by the West (aided by the CIA backed Radio Free Europe) was taking root. Some of them ironically found expression in the National Film School in Łódź, which recieved Soviet support but this led to the
Polish people were instrumental in [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp its downfall]]. [[note]]The Communist rule was contested several times, until finally, almost every opposition group coalesced under the banner New Wave which included rebels, future solidarity activists and defectors (the likes of Andrezj Wajda, Andrezj Munk, Jerzy Skolimowski and Creator/RomanPolanski). By TheSeventies, a trade union movement known as Solidarity - an independent, spontaneously formed ''labour union''. took form. This is especially notable, originated in the Gdansk shipyards and was led by Lech Wałęsa, an electrician by training. Solidarity aimed to be an independent trade union unconnected to the Communist party, which was seen as it means Communism became a violation of communist doctrine, a challenge to its authority and, by the west, as a symbolic [[DeaderThanDisco utterly discredited]] -- the system that claimed to further the interests discrediting of the working class was, essentially, defeated ideals]] of Communism, since Solidarność can't be equated with fascist/trotskyist/fifth columnist traitors. This movement got the support of [[MisfitMobilizationMoment the middle-classes, the intelligentsia, dissident communists, right-wingers and the Catholic Church]] and it led to a series of non-violent protests, civil disobedience campaigns and most ironically, fittingly of all, a worker's strike over the firing of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Walentynowicz Anna Walentynowicz]] at the [[MeaningfulName Lenin Shipyard]]. Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski, who was also General of the Army, declared Martial Law in 1981 and made Poland into a literal PoliceState for the next two years. Then in the course of TheEighties, Jaruzelski released the main leaders of Solidarity and then granted an amnesty in 1986, later claiming that he declared Martial Law to prevent intervention by what has been described the Soviet Union, a point disputed by many former opponents, but supported by Jaruzelski's former enemies such as "the last workers' revolution Adam Michnik.

Poland became independent
in Europe".[[/note]]
1989, and this played a role in the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union.
20th Mar '16 8:17:26 AM JulianLapostat
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Poland ('''Polish:''' ''Polska''), officially known as the Republic of Poland ('''Polish:''' ''Rzeczpospolita Polska''). The picked-on kid with glasses of the European school playground, but it hasn't always been.

to:

Poland ('''Polish:''' ''Polska''), officially known today as the Republic of Poland ('''Polish:''' ''Rzeczpospolita Polska''). The Located in the intersection of Central and Eastern Europe, which naturally made it the the picked-on kid with glasses of the European school playground, but it hasn't always been.
playground for most of its history. It's borders have constantly shifted over the centuries, expanding and contracting and for a long time, disappearing off the map entirely. So let's launch into the history of Poland which is in turn a history of Eastern Europe, fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.



Poland arose when the West Slavic tribes of the region were united by the Piast dynasty of the Polans around about 1000, cleverly alternating between placating [[HolyRomanEmpire the German emperors]] and going behind their backs. Perhaps the most globally notable event of first two or three centuries of Poland's existence happened during a period of political fragmentation, when one of Polish regional princes [[WhatAnIdiot invited]] TheTeutonicKnights to help him against the pagan Prussians. It later became quite a nuisance, so to say. Reunified Poland, in dire need for allies, became associated with Lithuania (this historical Lithuania actually consisted of modern-day ''Belarus'' and Lithuania). As the last pagan country in Europe, it also had a problem with the Knights, until Grand Duke Jogaila accepted the Polish crown, baptized himself and his realm (thus nullifying the reason of the Order's very presence) and became king Władysław of Poland. Together both countries broke the power of the Order. Over time Lithuania eventually merged with Poland, forming the [[TheFederation Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth]]. Together, Poland and Lithuania ruled over an enormous, immensely powerful and rich empire.

to:

Poland arose when the West Slavic tribes of the region were united by the Piast dynasty of the Polans around about 1000, cleverly alternating between placating [[HolyRomanEmpire [[UsefulNotes/HolyRomanEmpire the German emperors]] and going behind their backs. Perhaps the most globally notable event of first two or three centuries of Poland's existence happened during a period of political fragmentation, when one of Polish regional princes [[WhatAnIdiot invited]] TheTeutonicKnights UsefulNotes/TheTeutonicKnights to help him against the pagan Prussians. It later became quite a nuisance, so to say. Reunified Poland, in dire need for allies, became associated with Lithuania (this historical Lithuania actually consisted of modern-day ''Belarus'' and Lithuania). As the last pagan country in Europe, it also had a problem with the Knights, until Grand Duke Jogaila accepted the Polish crown, baptized himself and his realm (thus nullifying the reason of the Order's very presence) and became king Władysław of Poland. Together both countries broke the power of the Order. Over time Lithuania eventually merged with Poland, forming the [[TheFederation Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth]]. Together, Poland and Lithuania ruled over an enormous, immensely powerful and rich empire.



[[TheCavalierYears The XVIth and XVIIth Centuries]] are known as, respectively, the Golden Age and the Silver Age of Polish history. Above all, this period is remembered for "Golden Liberty", when [[ElectiveMonarchy kings were elected]] and the franchise included 10% of the population, by far the most inclusive franchise in Europe until the end of the eighteenth century. The King had to share power with the Sejm, or the assembly (not to be confused with Senate, which was a separate upper House), which was itself controlled by the great noble houses (called magnates). The Commonwealth was also known for its religious tolerance (letting, for instance, Jews live more or less in peace when most countries reveled in senseless persecution), at a time when religious wars were consuming the rest of Europe. At its height, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the largest country by land area in Europe. The Commonwealth in this period is also known for fielding the completely [[{{Badass}} awesome]] [[http://whiskeywolf.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/husaria4zpar7.jpg winged]] [[http://www.badassoftheweek.com/hussars.html hussars]].

Just for the record -- the Commonwealth is one of those complicated cases of historical countries that stubbornly refuse to fit into modern views of state and nationality. Until the Constitution of 3rd May, it was legally a union of two countries, Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The nobility of the Grand Duchy became for the most part Polonized, but the lower classes were too busy surviving to bother with that fashion, and later nation-builders had to start from the common folk to create anything not Polish; the nobles themselves preferred to identify as "the Noble nation". Thus, Poles see Poland as the successor to all of the Commonwealth, in spite of differences between the two parts, not to mention Ukraine. Lithuanians picture Lithuania as the successor to Grand Duchy, even though ethnic Lithuanians were actually a minority in a country mostly made of modern-day Belarus, and (due to assimilation) their upper classes were culturally Polish anyway. Ukrainians consider themselves descendants of the Ruthenian population of the region, particularly those who formed the Cossack Host, even though the Cossacks themselves were at least as much [[{{Pirates}} an occupation]] as an ethnic group. Belarussians had all of their upper classes assimilated, or killed off by Hitler and Stalin, so nobody was left to argue it's not just a swampy small part of Russia. All of the latter three, somewhat expectedly, also tend to see Poland as a sort of BigBrotherBully, although today Lithuanians and (Western) Ukrainians tend to look to Poland for help against the bigger bully to the east--Russia.

to:

[[TheCavalierYears The XVIth 16th and XVIIth 17th Centuries]] are known as, respectively, the Golden Age and the Silver Age of Polish history. Above all, this period is history, remembered for its "Golden Liberty", when [[ElectiveMonarchy kings were elected]] and the franchise included 10% of the population, by far the most inclusive franchise in Europe until the end of the eighteenth century. The King had to share power with the Sejm, or the assembly (not to be confused with Senate, which was a separate upper House), which was itself controlled by the great noble houses (called magnates). The Commonwealth was also known for its religious tolerance (letting, for instance, Jews live more or less in peace when most countries reveled in senseless persecution), at a time when religious wars were consuming the rest of Europe. At its height, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was the largest country by land area in Europe. The Commonwealth in Commonwealth's legacy is disputed since nobody knows who truly represented it, and, this period is also known for fielding the completely [[{{Badass}} awesome]] [[http://whiskeywolf.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/husaria4zpar7.jpg winged]] [[http://www.badassoftheweek.com/hussars.html hussars]].

Just for the record -- the Commonwealth is one of those complicated cases of historical countries that stubbornly refuse to fit into modern views of state and nationality.
important, who really inherits it. Until the Constitution of 3rd May, it was legally a union of two countries, Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The nobility of the Grand Duchy became for the most part Polonized, but the lower classes of Lithuania, like the lower classes of Poland were too busy surviving to bother with that fashion, left out and later nation-builders had to start from the common folk to create anything not Polish; the nobles themselves preferred to identify as Poland was identified as "the Noble nation". Thus, Poles see Poland as the successor representative to all of the Commonwealth, in spite of differences between ignoring the two parts, not to mention Ukraine. views of Lithuanians picture who see Lithuania as the successor to Grand Duchy, even though ethnic Duchy. Ethnic Lithuanians were actually a minority in a country mostly made of modern-day Belarus, and (due to assimilation) their upper classes were culturally Polish anyway. Ukrainians consider themselves descendants of the Ruthenian population of the region, particularly those who formed the Cossack Host, even though the Cossacks themselves were at least as much [[{{Pirates}} an occupation]] as an ethnic group. Belarussians [[note]]Belarussians had all of their upper classes assimilated, or killed off by Hitler and Stalin, so nobody was left to argue it's not just a swampy small part of Russia. All of the latter three, somewhat expectedly, also tend to see Poland as a sort of BigBrotherBully, although today Lithuanians and (Western) Ukrainians tend to look to Poland for help against the bigger bully to the east--Russia.
east--Russia.[[/note]]
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