The Gdańsk Agreement as a political experiment

The nature of the August 1980 strikes was not unlike that of a social contract. Tens of thousands of individuals who took industrial action had agreed between themselves that society must be restored after years of enduring erosion and decay at the hands of the Communist regime. A political community could thus be re-established. According…


The Polish-Bolshevik War

The Battle on the Vistula was the biggest  in the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1919–1920. The battle between the Vistula, Niemen and Bug Rivers still surprises with its dramatic action and unexpected reversals. After a series of Polish strategic failures in the war in 1919, in March 1920 the Bolsheviks developed a plan for destroying Poland….


The Union of Lublin

The nature of mutual relations – what each of the sides share and what will remain separate – must be defined and stated in a legal act of union combining two states. It would be a mistake, however, to see such a union of two political organisms simply in the light of treaties and negotiated…


Different than all others - part II

As Urszula Augustyniak pointed out, a series of misunderstandings arose about the political system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.1 As a rule, it was a variant of state monarchy, hence researchers (e.g. the aforementioned Juliusz Bardach) used to refer to the legal form of the Commonwealth as noblemen’s democracy or the noblemen’s republic. Both terms —…


Different than all others - part I

The political system of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1791) stood out against the background of other European countries. While other Western countries gravitated towards absolutism, the Polish political form developed an elaborate self-government, the principle of the election of a king, the dominant role of the parliament and the relatively weak position of the monarch. Social…