"Dzieje Najnowsze", ISSN 0419-8824, nr 4/1998

Waldemar Potkański,
Zawiązanie, działalność oraz wystąpienie Związku Młodzieży Polskiej z Narodowej Demokracji w 1909 r. i utworzenie "niezależnego Zetu", s. 3-20

Modern Polish political trends appeared during the second half of the nineteenth century. The Union of Polish Youth (universally known as "Zet"), created in Cracow in 1887, initiated work among academic youth. Its original self-education work was soon expanded by the inclusion of planned instruction and orientation upon the basis of national goals. After the "stage of political haziness", the leaders of this formation rejected socialist slogans, at the same time preserving the conceptions of democratism and national solidarity, and defined themselves as national youth. After 1893, the so-called second Zet became a distinctly nationalistic group, which propagated among its members the idea of the supremacy of the national interests, and acted as a school for the future cadres of the National League. The three-level, excellently concealed and well functioning organisation comprised a sui generis forge of characters and practical political activity for the young generations of Poles. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the most active and, at the same time, the leading role was played by Zet in the Austrian partition area. Initially, the local activists emulated the leaders of the national movement, and relegated the slogan of "total independence" to the background, on the assumption that the time for a successive rising had not yet arrived. Contrary to their superiors, they became inclined to support the so-called pro-Austrian orientation and to enjoy the current profits offered by Galician autonomy. A subsequent serious breakthrough in the, at first glance, permanent alliance of the organisations, representing the same national thought, was their attitude to the 1905 revolution and the continuation of the secondary school strike in the Kingdom of Poland. The final turning point was the decision made by the League, concerning participation in the neo-Slavonic movement. Due to increasingly profound differences disclosed during consecutive Union conventions, it was resolved (in accordance with the rules of the organisation) to suspend contacts with the National League; in 1910, they were ultimately severed. "Independent Zet" and national groups in Lvov were set up in March of that year. Commencing preparations for a national uprising, the young adherents of the national movement, commonly known as "zarzewiacy" from the title of the press organ of this formation, were to play a significant role in the emergence of a wider national-independence movement in Galicia prior to 1914.

Maria Krisań,
Listy do gazety "Zaranie" z lat 1909-1915, s. 21-28

The article discusses a collection of letters written to the peasant weekly "Zaranie", their contents, main themes, and state of research; the author also indicates further study possibilities. The collection in question is to be found the State Archive of the Russian Federation in Moscow, in a file entitled "Material evidence". It is composed of material confiscated by Russian gendarmes during a search conducted in the office of "Zaranie" in May 1915, and consists of articles, letters, postcards, poems and additional information concerning the activity of the editorial board. The discovered collection of letters is extremely valuable for investigations on assorted aspects of the history of the Polish village and peasant movement at the turn of the nineteenth century. The correspondence can be of great use both for historical and ethnographic research and studies into the Polish languages: style, form of letters, peasant dialect. Finally, it provides an opportunity for assessing the value of the letters as an historical source, by comparing the original style and form of the authors' statement and the version arranged by the editor.

Jan Lewandowski,
Okupacja austriacka w Królestwie Polskim (1914-1918), s. 29-42

The Austrian occupation of the Kingdom of Poland was a period of an economic devastation of this territory, in the wake of ruinous wartime exploitation. The entirely different situation in the domain of politics and widely comprehended culture was due to the fact that the occupation authorities created considerably broader opportunities for activity than was the case under Russian rule. The development of political life was expressed both in the lively and, as a rule, legal activity of political parties and blocs (both prewar and those which originated during the war) as well as (from the end of 1916) a gradual erection of the structures of Polish statehood, from the central level down to the commune. The Polonised self-government now included a municipal and county level, while the Polish school system, similarly to cultural life as a whole, experienced swift progress. This situation, particularly during the last two wartime years (1916-1918), facilitated a rapid reconstruction of the Polish state in the autumn of 1918.

Marek Przeniosło,
Stosunek chłopów Królestwa Polskiego do wojsk i władz rosyjskich, niemieckich i austriackich
w latach 1914-1918, s. 43-61

The attitude of the Polish peasants to Russian, German and Austrian armies and authorities during the first world war underwent constant transformations. The initially cordial reception of the Russian troops was, to a considerable degree, the outcome of solidarity with an army which included relatives of the residents of the Kingdom of Poland. An important factor was a sui generis attachment of the peasants to prewar conditions and relative economic stability, which were undermined by armed hostilities and, subsequently, by the agrarian policy pursued by the occupants. The gradual weakening of the pro-Russian stands was undoubtedly affected by the tactics of the Russian troops during their withdrawal from the Kingdom in 1915, as well as the activity of assorted social and military-independence organisations and political parties, aiming at raising the awareness of the Polish peasantry. The conduct of the Germans and Austrians during front-line combat and brutal policy on the occupied terrains influenced the attitude of the Polish peasants. With all certainty, only a part of the latter were capable of perceiving and appreciating positive changes which took place in the Kingdom of Poland after 1915. This holds true particularly for the concessions made by the occupants as regards the activity of political parties and social organisations, as well as certain freedoms in the development of the Polish school system, self-government and courts of law. In the majority of cases, the peasants remained passive towards the occupants and attempted to adapt themselves to the existing situation. Nonetheless, there occurred instances of a more open expression of discontent, as a rule caused by the deteriorating economic situation.

Michał Śliwa,
Pierwsze ośrodki władzy polskiej w Galicji w 1918 r., s. 63-73

During the last year of the war, the political forces of Galician society prepared themselves to pay a suitable role in the encroaching events. The majority of Polish groups, composed of socialists, representatives of the peasant movement, national democrats and liberal democrats placed increasingly bold emphasis on the need for severing ties with Austria and the reconstruction of Polish independence upon the basis of the three partition areas. Consequently, immediately after a decision about the secession of Galicia from the Habsburg monarchy, made by the politicians of those groups at a Cracow convention held on 10 October 1918, assorted regions of the Austrian partition area embarked upon the creation of local Polish administration and the seizure of power. The National Council of the Duchy of Cieszyn was established on 19 October, and the Polish Liquidation Commission, set up in Cracow on 28 October, initiated Polish governance in this particular partition area. The beginning of November witnessed the establishment of the National Council in Przemyśl and the Committee for Security and the Protection of Public Welfare in Lvov. Soon afterwards, authorities in Galicia were unified thanks to the creation of a Governing Commission for Galicia, Cieszyn Silesia, Upper Orawa and Spisz, with a seat in Lvov, performed on 19 December 1918 owing to a decision of the national government of Jędrzej Moraczewski. Those structures of Polish state authority made a distinct contribution to the rebuilding of independence, and testified about the state-creative stand of the Polish community in Galicia as well as the ability to seek compromise on the part of its prime political forces.

Czesław Bakunowicz,
Kolejnictwo II Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (przygotowania do wojny 1918-1939), s. 75-83

At the end of the first world war Polish territories occupied by Germany and Austro-Hungary witnessed the emergence of a state railway administration, together with organs of Polish state authorities. The delineation of the frontiers of the Second Republic in 1918-1921 was achieved by military means; the same holds true for the process of taking over of the railway network from the occupants. Postwar international treaties, signed in 1919 in Versailles and St. Germain, as well as the peace treaty signed by Poland and Soviet Russia in 1921 in Riga, regulated the most important problems concerning the railways. Poland took part in two most significant communication conventions, i. e. the International Berne Convention and the Barcelona Convention. The task of the reconstruction, modernisation, expansion and linkage of the former partition-era railways into a single state communication organism succeeded to a considerable degree, as evidenced by the initiation of the electrification of the railways. Prior to the outbreak of the second world war, Polish State Railways managed more than 20 000 kms. of railway lines and employed over 100 000 workers. The readiness of the Polish railways for wartime tasks was entrusted to the Ministry of Communication, which co-worked with the Communication Chiefs in the Staff of the Polish Army. Preparation plans included "Zygmunt", which dealt with the war against Germany, and "Wacław" - for the war against the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, in 1939, the Polish railways were insufficiently prepared for effective and simultaneous activity at the threshold of hostilities against Germany and the Soviet Union.

Dariusz Jeziorny,
Stanowisko rządu Wielkiej Brytanii w kwestii ustalania granicy austriacko-czechosłowackiej (1918-1919), s. 85-105

The small national states which appeared on the ruins of Austro-Hungary embarked upon a battle for their boundaries. One of the question which formed the topic of lively discussions after the end of the first world war was the delineation of a frontier between newly emergent Czechoslovakia and German Austria. In this case, the heart of the matter concerned the seizure of the most prosperous and economically best developed parts of the Habsburg monarchy. Great Britain did not pursue any particular interests in Central Europe. Its diplomacy was merely concerned with guaranteeing that the accepted solutions would serve the stability of the region and the development of British foreign trade. Albeit not directly interested in details concerning the postwar shape of this part of Europe, at the Paris Peace Conference Great Britain involved itself in the delineation of the Austrian-Czechoslovak frontier. During preparations for the Conference experts of the Foreign Office and the General Staff shared the view that the economically best terrains of German Bohemia and the Sudeten region should be handed over to Czechoslovakia. This conception, realised consistently during the debates held in Paris, entailed the subjugation of 3,5 mln Germans to the government in Prague, contrary to their wishes, and thus against the principle of the self-definition of nations, proclaimed by W. Wilson, President of the United States. This is the reason why British diplomacy attempted to justify the ensuing inconsistency by resorting to the same historical, geographic, economic and strategic arguments as those applied by the Czechoslovak government. At the time of making pertinent decisions the British delegation disclosed a lack of inner cohesion; particularly marked was the absence of cooperation between Prime Minister Lloyd George and Foreign Office specialists. Ultimately, the Peace Conference granted Czechoslovakia all the lands which the latter's authorities demanded.

Antoni Czubiński,
Stan badań nad historią Powstania Wielkopolskiego, s. 107-124

Roman Wapiński,
Problemy historyka dziejów najnowszych, s. 125-132

Henryk Słabek,
Inteligencja - postawy - zachowania, s. 133-138

Robert Potocki,
Współpraca II Rzeczypospolitej z Ukraińskim Centrum Państwowym na wychodźstwie w latach 1920-1939, s. 139-144

Marek Kazimierz Kamiński, Ewa Orlof,
Odpowiedź Kazimierza Papéego na ankietę rządu polskiego na uchodźstwie dotyczącą polskiej polityki zagranicznej wobec Czechosłowacji w 1938 r., s. 145-158

Anna Siwik,
List Kazimierza Pużaka do Tomasza Arciszewskiego i Jana Kwapińskiego z 30 IX 1946 r., s. 159-163

Zygmunt Woźniczka,
Starania socjalistów na uchodźstwie na rzecz swoich uwięzionych towarzyszy w kraju w czasie procesu działaczy WRN jesienią 1948 r., s. 165-179