"Dzieje Najnowsze", ISSN 0419-8824, nr 3/1998

Piotr Szlanta,
Niemcy wobec wojny burskiej (1899-1902), s. 3-17

This article deals with the stand of the government and society of the Second Reich towards the Boer War (1899-1902). Both during the crisis preceding the outbreak of the war and in the course of its duration, the German government retained strict neutrality and resisted attempts made by France, Russia, the Netherlands and the Afrikaners to undertake diplomatic action in favour of ending the hostilities. This attitude, favourable for London, was reinforced by a number of gestures, such as the visits paid by Wilhelm II in the United Kingdom, the refusal of an audience to Paulus Krüger, the President of Transvaal, or silent consent to an export of war material to Great Britain. German decision-makers relied on the fact that a weakened but victorious London would be more yielding towards German colonial demands.
On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of German society supported the Afrikaaners for assorted reasons. This stand revealed itself, i.a. in the establishment of pro-Boer organizations, demonstrations, collections of money, campaigns conducted in the press, pressure exerted upon the government in Berlin and calling for a change in its neutral attitude, as well as the participation of several hundred German volunteers in the struggle waged by the Boer republics.

Leszek Jaśkiewicz,
Polityka narodowościowa caratu w świetle raportów generałów-gubernatorów wileńskich z początku XX w., s. 19-28

The author conducts a comparative analysis of reports by governors-general of Vilno, addressed to the tsar and dealing primarily with the national problems of the so-called North-Western Land.
General Vitaliy Trotskiy (1897-1901), supported by the chauvinistic right wing, represented a line favouring the introduction of "Russian national principles" in Lithuanian gubernias. In this way, he aimed at a denationalisation of the Lithuanian, Polish and, to a certain degree, Belorussian population. His successor, Prince Piotr Svyatopolk-Mirski (1902-1904) was an adherent of the dissemination of the so-called Russian state idea throughout the multinational region under him, and opposed a policy intent on the denationalisation of non-Russian communities. The reports discussed in the article and accompanying circumstances comprised, essentially, a confrontation of two currents in the political thought represented by the Russian ruling elite: nationalistic and imperial-state. Those different stands are illustrated by extensive factography contained in the analysed documents.

Piotr Maciej Majewski,
Mniejszość niemiecka w Czechosłowacji 1918-1938. Szkic statystyczny, s. 29-58

The Sudeten Germans comprised about 23% of the Czechoslovak population during the inter-war period; their number (about 3,1 mln in 1921) exceeded all other nationalities, with the exception of the Czechs. Concentrations of the German population were situated along the Czech, Silesian and Moravian borders, where they constituted a decisive majority (more than 90% of the population in 30 communes). A decline in the demographic dynamic of this ethnic group (falling birth rate, a lower number of children) became discernible already long before the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia, and led to a slow but constant "diminishment". The Sudeten Germans played an essential role in the economic life of the state - more than a half were employed in the industry, whose capital they also controlled to a considerable degree. Furthermore, the position of this minority was determined by its high level of education, especially technical, which was the effect of a well developed school system, including schools of higher learning, with German as the language of instruction. Up to 1938, German impact in Czechoslovakia was restricted only in the administration, state services and the army, while the land and school reform did not pose a serious threat to the status of this minority.

Stanisław Biernacki,
Władze III Rzeszy a UPA, s. 59-66

Up to this very day, contacts between the Wehrmacht and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) remain insufficiently examined and presented. Upon the basis of extant German documentation the article attempts a depiction of the history of those contacts, assorted factors, which influenced the shaping of relations between both sides, and the course of talks. German sources demonstrate that the initiative of initiating negotiations and the ensuing agreement was Ukrainian-inspired. The article is accompanied by German documents, published for the first time and found in Polish archives.

Zygmunt Woźniczka,
WiN i ruch narodowy wobec wyborów do Sejmu Ustawodawczego w 1947 r., s. 67-86

In accordance with the decisions made at the conference of the Great Powers held in Yalta in February 1945, the Provisional National Unity Government, created several months later (in June), was to conduct elections to the Legislative Sejm. In a country subjugated by the Soviet Union, the activity pursued by Polish communists, steered by Moscow, led to the ousting from the election campaign of the National Party, the Polish Socialist Party, and the "sanacja", whose members remained abroad or were relegated underground. The ensuing three extremities of political life were the communist camp headed by the Polish Workers Party, the legal opposition (the Polish Peasant Party and a fragment of the Labour Party) and the Underground, whose strongest members were WiN (Freedom and Independence) and the national camp. Leaders of the legal opposition, headed by Stanisław Mikołajczyk, and certain members of the Underground claimed that support rendered by the West would enable them to win the elections and deprive the communists of power.
With time, and in the face of growing terror, an increasing number of people became aware of the character of the new totalitarian system, which aimed at a complete elimination of the opposition and an enslavement of society. In that situation, a free parliamentary election, recognised in the West as the norms of political life, did not take place and its outcome was meaningless. The opposition, without effective Anglo-American backing, lost. Such a course of events was anticipated by a rising number of members of the Underground, emigres and even the Polish Peasant Party already from the turn of 1945, and predominantly after the referendum held in June 1946. Nonetheless, the struggle was continued. What were its participants counting on?
The last aspiration seemed to attached to growing tension on the international arena, which could lead to a war between the West and the Soviet Union. It was expected that as a result of such a confrontation, the Western powers would vanquish the Soviet Union and Poland - regain her independence. From the present-day viewpoint such prospects appear to be entirely unrealistic, but at that time it was not quite clear whether Stalin was not readying himself for a new war against the West. Much seemed to indicate that this was the case. It should be also kept in mind that this particular generation remembered the first world war when the defeat of Russia and other partitioning powers enabled Poland to recover her independence. Presumably, it was hoped that history would repeat itself.

Ewa Orlof,
Polskie badania słowacystyczne: historiografia XX w., s. 87-101

Ryszard Torzecki,
Na temat historiografii stosunków polsko-ukraińskich w latach 1918-1956, s. 103-111

Marian Leczyk,
O pojęciu "historia najnowsza", s. 113-123

The article proposes an attempted explanation of the concept of "contemporary history". The author seeks a place for contemporary history as a specific period in the historical process as a whole. He indicates the encountered obstacles consisting in the fact that contemporary history does not comprise a closed epoch and cannot be placed in concretely outlined chronological limits. There is an absence of a definite caesura separating contemporary history from the preceding epoch; the same holds true for a closing boundary, owing to the constant "increment of history". The author points to the incessant shifting of the period of contemporary history towards the present day, and proposes to connect it with the technical revolution and the formation of a new society of the civilisational "third wave". The conceptualisation of the notion of contemporary history requires a consideration of the strong relations occurring between history and politics in the nineteenth and twentieth century, the lack of a lengthier perspective for the assessment of events, and a psychological distance of the cognizing subject; it also calls for taking into account the difficulties produced by the still incomplete historical process, which constitute the object of research and comprise contemporary history. Workshop difficulties entail no access to the most valuable archival sources, as a rule unobtainable for the next several decades, and psychological problems, such as the involvement of the historian (to a greater or smaller degree) in current life and the analysed "historical matter". The author declares that despite those obstacles, the pursuit of contemporary history with the retention of scientific rigours is possible, although the opportunities are restricted. Necessary conditions include profound erudition and the high historical culture of the researcher, ethics, i. a. an earnest attitude towards historical sources, and a suitable familiarity with the principles of heuristics and research methods. The expansion of the research field of contemporary history and the "historicising" new spheres of social life are facilitated by the application of the method of variabilism (alternative history) and the employment, upon its basis, of the instruments of probabilistics. Finally, M. Leczyk writes in favour of the thesis proclaiming the possibility of "factographic historicism" within the domain of contemporary history, and thus a reconstruction of historical facts and processes as well as a resignation from the formulation of theoretical scientific theses for the sake of hypothetical judgments.

Europa powersalska - dyskusja redakcyjna z udziałem profesorów: Krzysztofa Dunin-Wąsowicza, Mariana Leczyka, Tomasza Schramma, Tomasza Witucha, s. 125-141

Włodzimierz Osadczy,
Płaszczyzna współistnienia obrządków greckiego i łacińskiego Kościoła katolickiego w Galicji Wschodniej po Concordii (1863-1914), s. 143-146

Michał Leśniewski,
Miejsce Południowej Afryki w kształtowaniu koncepcji brytyjskiej polityki imperialnej, 1899-1914, s. 147-150

Paweł Olszewski,
Polityka państw Ententy wobec Zakaukazia w latach 1918-1921, s. 151-154

Henryk Olszar,
Duchowieństwo katolickie diecezji śląskiej (katowickiej) w Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej, s. 155-159

Jolanta Kępa,
Kieleckie środowisko dziennikarskie w latach 1945-1989, s. 161-166