Review of W Walce o Wielką Polskę. Prasa i Propaganda zaplecza politycznego Narodowych Sił Zbrojnych (1939-1945), by Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński (Biała Podlaska-Warszawa: Rekonkwista 2000).
Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
The NSZ Polish Guerrilla Organization: Its Political Philosophy and Program Through the End of WWII
This work, by historian Wojciech Muszynski, begins with a survey of Endek thinking in 1930’s Poland, and then proceeds through the end of the Nazi German occupation. It does not get into the second Soviet occupation of Poland (1944-on).
In the years before WWII, the SN (STRONNICTWO NARODOWE) became a mass movement, and had 200,000 members. Many of them were later incarcerated at Bereza Kartuska when it opened in 1934. (p. 29).
ALL FORMS OF NATIONALISM ARE NOT THE SAME!
Nowadays, liberals usually make out of nationalism a naughty word, and essentially throw all forms of nationalism into the same smelly bag. They would have us believe that nationalism is all about blood and soil (BLUT UND BODEN). The truth is the exact opposite. The Polish nationalists had soundly repudiated the Nazi notion of BLUT UND BODEN precisely because it is a cult of race and blood, because it is pagan and anti-Christian, etc. The Endeks, instead, wanted a nationalism based on the principles of the Catholic religion and on Polish national traditions. (p. 23, 213, 229).
It has also been argued that, were it not for the anti-Polish attitudes and actions of Nazi Germany, the Endeks could have warmed up to the Nazis, and even become allied with them against the Jews. This was far, far from the truth. Any initial fascination with the dynamism and the decisive actions of the Italian Fascists, and the German Nazis, had quickly faded, and been replaced with a revulsion of its materialism, irreligious outlook, cult of the leader, cult of force, deification of the state, etc. (p. 210). Moreover, this Endek position had crystalized LONG before Fascism and Nazism became enemies of Poland.
A 1940 article in the periodical WALKA, written long before the Holocaust, exemplified Endek thinking. It stated that Polish nationalist opposition to Nazism is not only because the Nazis have conquered Poland, but also because Hitlerism is pagan, and because it has created a barbaric form of satanic nationalism, which is divorced from any moral or metaphysical considerations. Pagan nationalism is pure national egoism, devoid of any regard for other peoples. (p. 213, 214). Nazism is a mixture of the old Prussian imperialist notions and the new pseudoscientific racist theories. (p. 214). Endek writer Stojanowski noted that fascistic nationalism arose to fight socialism and Communism, but that it comes from the same roots. (p. 212).
The same quoted Endek publication also stated its opposition to Communism, not only because the Soviets had conquered eastern Poland, but because Marxist doctrine is materialistic, and based on a false concept of “paradise on Earth”. Communism makes the person a slave, and a poverty-stricken slave at that. (p. 212).
The Polish youth in the SN (STRONNICTWO NARODOWE) and the ONR (OBOZ NARODOWO RADYKALNE) looked unfavorably on democracy, owing to its impracticality, weakness, and decadence. However, the Endeks were in no sense totalitarian. If anything, their harsh experiences at the hands of the Sanacja regime reinforced, to them, the dangers of even non-totalitarian but still excessive government power. (p. 209).
CLANDESTINE NSZ WARTIME PUBLICATIONS
This work features a very comprehensive table (pp. 199-204), of Underground NSZ publications, during the Nazi German occupation (1944). The reader may be amazed how many there were—all printed in an atmosphere of German terror, and near-certain death if caught.
One of the best-known Underground NSZ papers was SZANIEC (The Rampart). Its print run reached 7,000. (p. 126).
THE NSZ IN COMBAT
This work does not emphasize NSZ guerrilla action itself. However, it mentions a little-known fact--that the NSZ participated in the ill-fated Soviet-betrayed 1944 Warsaw Uprising. The estimated number of NSZ soldiers vary widely—from 800 all the way to 4,800. (p. 56). (The latter applies primarily to the NSZ-AK, that is, those NSZ units that subordinated themselves to the AK (ARMIA KRAJOWA) leadership.)
Author Wojciech Jerzy Muszynski discusses the collaboration of Jewish bandit bands with the Communist GL-AL bands. (pp. 220-221; 322-323). This became known as “revolutionary banditry”—intended to terrorize and traumatize the Polish population to submission to the soon-to-be Soviet-imposed Communist puppet state. The NSZ guerrilla action against the “revolutionary banditry” has become widely represented, in Communist propaganda and in innumerable Jewish writings, as a murderous anti-Jewish act.
THE JEWS BEFORE WWII
The Jewish economic hegemony over Poland had prevented the economic advancement of Poles. The SN considered the boycott an effective and humane method of countering Jewish business advantages and advancing Polish entrepreneurial efforts. (p. 29).
The large Jewish presence in urban areas slowed down the urbanization of Poles. The even larger Jewish presence in academia thwarted opportunities for young Poles, and it was, for this reason, that the numerus clausus and sometimes the numerus nullus were instituted. (p. 26).
The tendency of Jews to identify with the following clashed with Polish Catholic values: Communism, socialism, liberalism, and freethought. In addition, Jewish civilization was incompatible with Poland’s Latin civilization. It also tended to dull Polish idealism. (p. 27).
THE NSZ AND THE UNFOLDING GERMAN-MADE HOLOCAUST
One common Polonophobic Holocaust myth would have us believe that the Polish Underground in general, and the Polish Right in particular, treated the Nazi German mass murder of Jews as a virtual nonevent, or that it was brought up only in the general sense of German cruelties towards both Poles and Jews. Both accusations are categorically false. Muszynski quotes from many Endek and SN publications, in 1942-1944, which expound on the German mass murders of Jews in shootings and in death camps. Moreover, they make it unambiguous that Jews were being targeted on a vast and systematic scale, and that they were being targeted because they were Jews. (pp. 291-on).
Perhaps the most malicious element of the standard anti-Polish Holocaust lore is the one about Poles in general, and the Polish Right in particular, gloating over the death of the Jews. Just the opposite! For instance, a November 1942 article in WIELKA POLSKA expressed Polish helplessness in what became known as the Shoah, and repudiation of both German and Jewish forms of racism. It also expressed strong revulsion at the German criminality, and a categorical rejection of any sentiments of satisfaction over the fate of the Jews. (pp. 307-308). An October 1942 article in SZANIEC rejected so much as a hint of delight at the fact that one enemy of Poland (the Jews) was being destroyed by another enemy of Poland (the Germans).
Some Jews of today have gone as far as insinuating that Poles had secretly wanted to exterminate their Jews, but did not do so out of a lack of courage of their convictions, or a lack of organizational skills. This falsehood is particularly offensive. In fact, a November 1942 article in INFORMATOR NARODOWY unequivocally stated that the German methods are foreign to Poles and utterly contemptable to them. Moreover, the Poles would never even imagine emulating the Germans, as the German conduct is utterly incompatible with elementary civilized conduct, with Polish national traditions, and with Poland’s Catholic heritage. (p. 308).
ORIGINS OF THE ODER-NEISSE (ODRA-NYSA) AS THE POSTWAR WESTERN BORDER OF POLAND
Author Wojciech J. Muszynski mentions this eventually-realized boundary a number of times (e. g, p. 176-177, 208), and elaborates on the history of it, in SN thinking. (pp. 245-256). The idea was advanced, in the late 1930s, as the impending German aggression became more and more apparent. The Odra-Nysa boundary was intended to provide a short, strategically-sound frontier with Germany, and to correct the absurdities of the Polish Corridor and the so-called Free City of Danzig (Gdansk).
As for Poland’s future eastern boundary, some SN thinkers toyed with Poland potentially expanding further east (as to the Smolensk-Dnieper River line). However (and contrary to Ukrainian nationalist propaganda), this was not a priority—even in the thinking of the SN. Instead, the customary SN thought envisioned a postwar return to the prewar Riga frontier. (p. 256).