Poland - Guidelines
Authors: Biały-Ciszek Beata, Bilan Maciej, Grodzka Daria, Grochal Lucyna, Kunysz Magdalena, Pszczoła Marta, Stinia Mariusz, Wesołowska Halina, Wojtowicz-Dzień Irena, Zaufal Krystyna
We have divided our work into two parts. The first part shows what topics from the history of our close and distant neighbours are currently taught in Polish schools. The second part deals with the problems from the Polish history that are important to us - Poles and that we would like to make known to other European countries. When preparing the first part, we came across some difficulties that result from a multitude of history textbooks and syllabuses in Poland. Nevertheless, we tried to show only the primary topics and issues that appear in the history education process in Polish schools.
In the second part of our publication, we present selected issues from the history of Poland that Polish teachers consider to be important for the formation of historical identity of Poles and worth making known to Europeans. We are aware of the need to reduce factography and concentrate mainly on key problems. This is why, for the purposes of our work, we have adopted certain criteria for the selection of events: 1) what we would like to communicate about us to others, 2) what common issues we can find in the history of Europe, 3) what is important for the contemporary man, European and citizen. For these reasons, we propose a problem-oriented approach, even though the structure of our syllabuses and textbooks is chronological. We attach special importance to events and phenomena from the 20th century – we pay most attention to them, because they significantly affect the times in which we happen to live. The interpretation of historical facts is another matter. We understand that memories of the same event can be different in various countries and European regions. At the same time, we think that the incorporation of the Polish point of view would become an added value in the multi-perspective teaching of history. Therefore, we concentrate mainly on the factography that we consider useful for the common future and dialogue between European communities, following the rule that truth is the basis of dialogue rather than conflict.
We hope that we managed to balance political, economic and cultural aspects and point out universal values, such as freedom, equality, brotherhood and democracy, which are the heritage of European civilisation. Learning the history of Poland from the Polish perspective should help to broaden the knowledge of Europeans in this field and become the basis for a mutual understanding, including the understanding of human attitudes and behaviours in the past and nowadays. This may also become a cause for the elimination of historical stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings between Europeans. We hope that our work encourages readers to look at the history of Poland – the nation which has contributed to the European civilisation for more than ten centuries - also from the perspective of Polish citizens.
Part I. What history of Poland’s neighbours do we teach in Polish schools?
Neighbours of Poland over the centuries - Mariusz Stinia.
HUNGARY – appears in the context of dynastic relations: the Angevins as a Hungarian dynasty on the Polish throne; the Jagiellons as a Polish dynasty on the Hungarian throne. Modern epoch: the reign of Stephen Báthory. 19th century: the lack of sovereign political role of Hungary; the Spring of Nations; Austria-Hungary as a dual state. 20th century: the context of processes occurring in Central & Eastern Europe in the form of maps and tables. Special attention is paid to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
CZECH REPUBLIC – the origin of the Czech state and contacts of Poland with the Czech lands in the Middle Ages: the ethnogenesis of the Slavs; Great Moravia; the alliance with the state ruled by Mieszko I of Poland and the conflict concerning Silesia and Małopolska. Conflicts with Poland in the first half of the 11th century: the territorial development of Bolesław I Chrobry’s monarchy; the role of Saint Adalbert; the temporary annexation of the Czech lands and the long-term annexation of Moravia; the invasion of Poland by Bretislaus I. The last Přemyslids on the Polish throne: attempts to take over the Polish throne by the House of Luxembourg; Wenceslaus II and his reforms in Poland; the House of Luxembourg on the Czech throne and the loss of Silesia. Late period of the Middle Ages: the economic development of the Czech state, the university in Prague; Hussitism. Modern epoch: the Thirty Years’ War; the Spring of Nations in Europe and the Slavic Congress in Prague. World War I; the establishment of Czechoslovakia; the dispute with Poland concerning the Zaolzie region; the Munich conference; the Prague Spring; the peaceful disintegration of Czechoslovakia.
SLOVAKIA – a part of the Kingdom of Hungary, a part of Czechoslovakia; the Slovak State under Monsignor Jozef Tiso; the Prague Spring; the peaceful disintegration of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
GERMANY (including Austria until 1804 and monastic states) – the origin of Germany: the role of Charlemagne and his successors, the Treaty of Verdun. Selected aspects from the history of the German dynasty: Otto I, Otto III, Henry II, Henry V, Frederick Barbarossa. The investiture controversy between the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV and the Pope Gregory VII. Common events from the history of Poland and Germany: wars and conflicts with the Germans during the reign of the Piast and Jagiellon dynasties: conflicts of Mieszko I with German marches, wars of Bolesław I Chrobry, wars of Bolesław III Krzywousty with the German emperor and conflicts of the last Piast and Jagiellonian rulers with the Teutonic Order; cultural and economic influences of Germany, including the colonisation of cities and villages according to the Magdeburg law, the Hanseatic League, Reformation, the role of Martin Luther, the Renaissance north of the Alps. The dynastic policy of the Jagiellons, the Habsburgs, the Hohenzollerns and the Wettins. Partitions of Poland: Polish lands annexed by Prussia and Austria. Cultural issues: Romanticism: J.W. Goethe, F. Schiller, the social thought of Marx, Engels and Nietzsche; the development of science (Freud, Koch) and economic processes: enfranchisement, industrialisation. Nazism; World War II; the Nazi occupation of Poland and other European countries; the Holocaust. The defeat of Germany and changes of borders by the decision of the “Great Three”: compulsory expulsions of Germans after 1945. The partitioning of Germany after World War II (the Iron Curtain, the Berlin Wall) and the uniting process in years 1989-90.
RUSSIA - Irena Wojtowicz – Dzień, Maciej Bilan.
- Kievan Rus', Veliky Novgorod, Moscow: the acceptance of baptism, the Kiev expedition of Bolesław I Chrobry in 1018, the reign of Yaroslav I the Wise, the fragmentation of Rus?.
- The role of Moscow in the unification of the Russian lands in the 14th and the 15th century (release from the Tartar Yoke).
- Polish-Russian relations in the 16th century: Russia under Ivan the Terrible, Livonia wars during the reign of Stephen Bathory.
- Conflicts in the 17th century: the Dimitriad wars; the occupation of Moscow by the Polish army; the role of Russia in the formation of the Cossack issue; the war with the Commonwealth.
- Russia in the epoch of absolutism: reforms by Peter I the Great; the Northern War.
- Interference in internal affairs of the Commonwealth in the 18th century: the Treaty of the Three Black Eagles, participation in the partitioning of Poland, the war with the Commonwealth in defence of the Constitution of May 3, 1791, the Kościuszko Uprising.
- Enlightened absolutism in Russia: Catherine II, exact sciences – Lomonosov.
- Attitude towards Polish lands: Polish national liberation uprisings, Russian rule in the Kingdom of Poland; Russification.
- Period of Napoleonic wars: participation in anti-French coalitions, the French invasion of Russia in 1812, the Congress of Vienna.
- Crimea War and its consequences (1853-56).
- Russia at the beginning of the 20th century: Russian Revolution (1905), World War I (1914-1918), the February Revolution and the October Revolution (1917), the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Bolshevik Russia.
- Soviet Union in the interwar period: the establishment of the Soviet Union (1922), war communism, industrialisation and collectivisation, totalitarianism - Stalinism, the Treaty of Rapallo with Germany (1922), the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in August 1939 and the secret protocol establishing the division of Europe.
- Participation of the Soviet Union in World War II: the Soviet invasion of Poland on 17 September 1939, countries occupied by the Soviet Union, participation in the anti-Nazi coalition,
- Soviet Union after World War II: participation in decisions of the „Great Three”, deportation of Ukrainians from southeastern Poland, the establishment of the “Eastern block”, Stalinism, the Cold War and the arms race, the perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
DENMARK, FINLAND, ICELAND, NORWAY, SWEDEN - Daria Grodzka, Magdalena Kunysz.
- Normans in the Middle Ages: invasions; Normans’ role in the development of trade, intercultural contacts, the discovery of new routes, the creation of states, e.g. the Duchy of Normandy; the Varangians; Iceland – on the route of Norman’s conquests; Christianisation.
- Economy in Europe in the 13th century and at the beginning of the 14th century: participation in European trade: trade relations with Novgorod; Hanseatic League)
- Reformation: Lutheranism
- Political and economic situation in the 16th century: the union of Denmark and Norway; Iceland as a Danish colony; the Livonia wars; trade with Poland
- Thirty Years’ War
- Vasa rulers on the Polish throne in the 17th century: the dynastic policy of Vasa rulers, Polish-Swedish wars.
- Northern War 1700–1721
- Enlightenment in Europe: scientific achievements - Anders Celsius, Carl Linnaeus
- Europe in the second half of the 19th century: Poles’ emigration in search of labour
- World War I: neutral states, the independence of Finland;
- World War II: Finnish-Soviet war; Germany’s invasion of Denmark and Norway; the participation of Poles in the defence of Norway, the regime of Vidkun Quisling; Axis powers, states from the anti-Nazi coalition and neutral states; the Battle of the Atlantic.
- Period after World War II: European integration;
BELARUS - Daria Grodzka, Magdalena Kunysz.
Belarus in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; Belarus as a Soviet republic; the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the declaration of sovereignty; the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
BALTIC STATES - Lucyna Grochal and Marta Pszczoła
- Polish-Lithuanian unions: the Jagiellons on the Polish throne; wars with Teutonic Knights; the state and society; the Republic of the Two Nations
- Livonia conflict
- 19th century: Lithuania under Russian rule; Russification; secret organisations
- 20th century: World War I; the recovery of independence; the Vilnius controversy between Poland and Lithuania;
- World War II; Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as Soviet republics; the recovery of independence; European integration
Part II. What history of Poland do we want in history textbooks and syllabuses of European countries?
Defence of Europe against threats
- 1683 - the Battle of Vienna; stopping the advance of the Ottoman Empire into Europe
- 1830 - the November Uprising; stopping the Russian intervention in Belgium
- 1920 – the Polish-Bolshevik War; stopping the advance of Communism into western Europe
- 1939 - resistance against the Nazi invasion on 1 September and against the Soviet invasion on 17 September
- 15th – 18th century – the noble-class Commonwealth. Parliamentary system. Noble-class democracy.
- 1791 – Constitution of May 3 as the first European constitution
- 1918 – Granting of the right to vote to women in Poland
- Polish national symbols.
- The period of partitions of Poland. National liberation uprisings.
- Participation of Poles in fights of other nations for independence
- Resurrection of the Polish state in 1918. Democratic form of government. Józef Piłsudski.
- The Nazi and Soviet occupation of Poland. The Polish secret state during World War II. The Warsaw Uprising.
- The Yalta Conference: Central & Eastern Europe in the sphere of Soviet influence. The change of borders.
- Resistance of societies of Central & Eastern Europe countries against the supremacy of the Soviet Union.
- The establishment and role of the Solidarity movement in 1980.
- The abolishment of Communism in Poland in 1989 as an impulse for the Autumn of Nations in Europe.
On the way to united Europe
- The formation of the Polish state in the 10th century and its incorporation into Christian Europe.
- The Congress of Gniezno in 1000 as an attempt to restore the unity of Europe.
- The Republic of the Two Nations as an example of integration in Central & Eastern Europe (Polish-Lithuanian unions).
- Colonisation in the 13th century – the establishment of municipal and rural self-governments according to the Magdeburg law.
- Religious tolerance in the Commonwealth of Poland.
- The Warsaw Confederation in 1573 – peace between religions.
- The message of Polish bishops to German bishops.
- Poland in the European Union.
- The Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364
- Nicolaus Copernicus
- Polish winners of the Nobel prize:
- Maria Skłodowska-Curie (with Piotr Curie - physics) – chemistry
- Henryk Sienkiewicz – literature
- Władysław Reymont – literature
- Lech Wałęsa – Nobel Peace Prize
- Czesław Miłosz – literature
- Wisława Szymborska – literature.
- Polish contribution to the development of European culture:
- Writers: Adam Mickiewicz, Zbigniew Herbert, Witold Gombrowicz, Ryszard Kapuściński; Artists: Stanisław Wyspiański;
- Composers: Frederick Chopin, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Wojciech Kilar, Krzysztof Penderecki;
- Thinkers: John Paul II and his message to Poles and the rest of the world.
- Discoverers and conquerors: Paweł Strzelecki, Henryk Arctowski;
- Polish film school: Krzysztof Kieślowski, Andrzej Wajda
- Multiculturalism on the example of towns: Kraków, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Lvov, Vilnius.
- Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact.
- Auschwitz-Birkenau. Poles on the list of the Righteous among the Nations - Irena Sendlerowa. Jan Karski.
- The Katyń Crime. Siberia prisoners. Kolyma
- Compulsory resettlements after World War II, including Germans, Poles, Ukrainians etc.
- After 2000 – Poland’s engagement in the global war with terrorism (missions in Afghanistan and Iraq).