What's your emblem?
Short history of Poland's Coat of arms

We all know the poem by Władysław Bełza, “The Catechism of a Polish Child,” written in 1900, and we will all reply without a second thought: the white eagle. Still, it would not come amiss to wonder: why the eagle? by Beata Wolszczak   The legendary  Lech had resolved to settle in the flatlands, where...

The Establishment of the Bar Confederation
An interview with Dorota Dukwicz

Ewa Zientara: Why was the Bar Confederation formed? Dorota Dukwicz: This question is only seemingly easy. In 1767 the Radom Confederates hoped that Russia would help them depose the hated King Stanisław II Augustus and move away the spectre of the demands made by the non-Catholic nobility, that is, dissenters, or dissidents, as they were...

Manifesto for the Polish Nation by the Polish National Government 1846
178th anniversary of proclamation of the Act

The uprising of 1846, also known as the Kraków Uprising, was one of the most tragical Polish uprisings. Drawing inspiration for their acts from the Polish Democratic Society (Towarzystwo Demokratyczne Polskie, TDP), the insurgents were preparing their attacks in all three annexed territories at the same time. They wanted to rouse the Polish peasantry to...

Henryk Arctowski, polar and Antarctic explorer
The 151st anniversary of Arctowski’s birthday

A mountain and glacier in Spitsbergen is named after him, as well as a bay, peninsula, mountain range, mountain, nunatak (a hill hidden under the ice surface) and a research station in Antarctica. Despite his German origin, Arctowski was a Polish patriot who believed that, thanks to his presence in Antarctica, his homeland would find...

Cichociemni – the Silent Unseen. Elite soldiers of the Polish army during the Second World War
an interview with Mirosław Widlicki

Hieronim Dekutowski “Zapora” feared most that the communists would manage to destroy the memory of the heroic struggle of the Cichociemni – tells Mirosław Widlicki, president of the Warsaw-East District Board of the World Association of Home Army Soldiers. Have they succeeded? Who were the “Cichociemni” and why are they often called the elite of...

Zdzisław Najder (1930–2021): conclusions from reading Conrad
In memoriam of Professor Zdzisław Najder

Philologists are relatively rarely sentenced to death in absentia. Nor do they always (although somewhat more often) become Chevaliers of the Legion of Honour. This alone shows how remarkable was the fate of Zdzisław Najder, who died on 15 February 2021. by Wojciech Stanisławski   In the mid-20th century, it seemed that – comparing with...

The Long Route to Poland's Round Table Agreement
35th anniversary of the Round Table in Poland

On 6 February 1989, the Round Table discussions began. During those negotiations, representatives of the Communist authorities and the Solidarity opposition sought common ground for further action. In large part, they discussed political issues, but not only: they talked as well about the economy, administring justice, ecology, even housing policy. This agreement became possible thanks...

The Central Industrial District: the industrial heart of the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic and its path to moderinzation

“A great thing is being created right before our eyes. Thousands of people sacrifice the work of their minds and muscles for the greatness of their homeland. We must not remain indifferent. And we also have to contribute to the Central Industrial District with our heart and our generosity” – thus stated the authors of...

Kościuszko – a man before his time
an interview with Alex Storozynski

Tadeusz Kościuszko dedicated his life to tolerance and liberty for all. He was a man ahead of his time and led by setting an example that we should all try to follow – says Alex Storozynski.     Tadeusz Kościuszko is an extraordinary historical figure – a hero of two nations, Poland and the United...

Michał Sędziwój: an alchemist who discovered oxygen
(2 February 1566 – 1636)

An alchemist known all over Europe, he was diligent in his research and performed many complex physical and chemical experiments. In his writings he often described the life-giving “philosophical salt” hidden in the air, which is why he is considered one of the discoverers of oxygen and thus a pioneer of modern chemistry. by Piotr...

Operation Kutschera
Assassination of 'The executioner of Warsaw’

On 1 February 1944, the Polish resistance carried out the assassination of Franz Kutschera, known as ‘the executioner of Warsaw’. The assassination of this SS officer and police commander in the Warsaw District of the General Government was one of the most spectacular operations in the history of the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), because never...

We want Solidarity!
44th anniversary of the legalization of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union ‘Solidarity’

It was a breakthrough for the whole of Central and Eastern Europe. On 10 November 1980, Polish Supreme Court approved the legalization of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union ‘Solidarity’. It was the first truly independent labor union in a Soviet bloc country. by Tomasz Kozłowski   In the summer of 1980, the greatest wave of...

Auschwitz. A Bitter Taste of Liberation
79th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

The end of Auschwitz came on 27 January 1945. That day, soldiers of the 60th Army of the 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army took control of the vast camp area. About seven thousand prisoners, including several hundred children, lived to see liberation in Auschwitz, Birkenau and Monowitz. The majority of the nearly 60,000...

The January Uprising: the main goal was gaining independence
An interview with Professor Piotr Szlanta

“Poland’s struggle to regain its independence seemed part of a wider European struggle between the liberation movement and the Holy Covenant. The Poles hoped for support from France, and the centre of Polish political emigration was in Paris”, states professor Piotr Szlanta from the Warsaw University. polishhistory: As a result of the three partitions perpetrated...

Manifesto of the Interim National Government 1863
161st anniversary of proclamation of the Act

On January 22, 1863, the Polish ‘Central National Committee’ proclaimed the outbreak of an uprising and issued a manifesto whereby it proclaimed itself the Interim National Government. The document appealed to all the inhabitants of the former Polish-Lithuanian Rzeczpospolita (Commonwealth), within its pre-partition borders, to fight against tsarist rule for liberty. The manifesto heralded the...

The January Uprising from a revolutionary perspective, in 1863 and 1905
161st anniversary of the January Uprising

Of all the Polish insurrections in the 19th century, the January Uprising is still an emotional topic. There are many reasons for this – not only was it the largest of the Polish uprisings, but also the most significant in terms of its long-term results. On the one hand, the January Uprising is very symbolic...

Formation of the Paderewski Government (January 1919)
The 105th anniversary of the creation of the government of Ignacy Jan Paderewski

The Paderewski government included a number of politicians and experts whose reputation and skills were now crucial to continuing Józef Piłsudski’s strategy. The government was established on 16 January 1919 and quickly gained the support of the countries of the victorious Entente. by Wojciech Roszkowski   Instead of cracking down on rightist opposition, Piłsudski began...

The Polish-Saxon Union 1697–1763
A missed opportunity for Central Europe, or a union without prospects?

The question posed in the title is provocative, but it also refers to a special episode in history. Two states, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Electorate of Saxony, whose history, traditions, political systems, and social relations had been different until 1697, and which did not even share a common border, became united in a personal...

Hieronim Grala: The threat is not Putin himself, but Russia’s obsession with history
An interview with Proffesor Hieronim Grala

Russian President Vladimir Putin frequently invokes history in an attempt to justify the war in Ukraine and other aggressive moves by the Kremlin. Recently, he has been repeatedly issuing threats aimed at the Baltic states, in response to which more and more countries are calling for mobilisation against them. Should the Kremlin’s warnings be taken...

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Polishhistory is an online project of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw. It is primarily addressed to all those interested in Polish and Central European history. Our aim is to build a community consisting of those professionally involved in research and of those interested in the outcomes of research, essentially, all lovers of history. The...