Originally published 02/27/2013
Alex Joffe: Review of Halik Kochanski’s "The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War"
Alex Joffe received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona in 1991.The adage “history is written by the winners” is no more than a half-truth. Losers, too, have always written history and, more important, enshrined their losses in memory. A new history of Poland in World War II thus has particular significance. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth gradually vanished from the map of Europe at the end of the 18th century, when Russia, Prussia, and Austria divided it up among themselves; and the Poles regained their independence only in 1918. In their new republic, ethnic Poles were a majority, but Ukrainians, Belorussians, Germans and, of course, Jews constituted a large minority. The Jews alone made up more than 10 per cent of the country’s population. Mustn’t any history of Poland in the Second World War therefore put the Jews and the Holocaust at the center? If it does not, is that originality or revisionism? Halik Kochanski’s The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War offers important insights into the Polish experience of the war, but her treatment of the Jewish Question is less satisfying.
- King Tutankhamun did not die in chariot crash, virtual autopsy reveals
- Easter Island’s ancient inhabitants weren’t so isolated after all
- Turin shroud was made for medieval Easter ritual, historian says
- Japanese Village Grappling With Wartime Sins Comes Under Attack
- Gestapo Imposter Tricked Nazi Sympathizers in WWII
- Turning West, Historians Take a Wider View of Early America
- History to Launch Online Course for College Credit
- 33.3 million viewers tuned in for 'The Roosevelts' documentary series
- Eric Foner debunks Underground Railroad myth
- Juan Cole claims the Arab Spring is still promising. Doubters say he’s naive.