Tradycja grunwaldzka w Polsce po 1918 roku. Między polityczną koniecznością a społecznym oczekiwaniem

Leszek Gorycki


Among the numerous problems that arose along with the regaining of independence, the question of Poles’ national identity played an important role. Naturally, the Polish victory in the battle of Grunwald in 1410 appeared to be an almost perfect binder for the citizens of independent Poland. “Nationalists,” for whom the German threat was the major concern, were basing their ideology on building the national identity around that event. The official governmental factors, however, saw the main enemy of the new Polish nationality in the East, in the Soviet Russia. The lack of official support caused that the Grunwald tradition did not become the leading idea of the national reunion during the interwar period. The memory of “the glory of the Grunwald battlefield” was incorporated into the official government
propaganda during the months preceding the German assault on Poland in 1939. Only then it turned out how deeply this tradition is entrenched in the awareness of the Polish society.
The September defeat caused that “the second Grunwald” became a slogan of all political powers in occupied Poland and on emigration. The thought of making amends for the cruelties
of the German occupation in the form of “the second Grunwald” was also popular in wide circles of the Polish society. That is why both the powers politically representing pre-war Poland and the new player on the political stage – the Communists supported by the Soviet Union – tried to make use of this idea.
The post-war distribution of power in Europe and in the world caused that Poland got into the Soviet zone of influence. The idea of Grunwald constituted a perfect element of the
Communists’ ideology of “the Slavic unity in the fight with the German imperialism.” It led to the renaissance of the Grunwald tradition. Simultaneously, the Grunwald victory became
a subject of numerous abuses of the official propaganda. It resulted in the strengthening of the falsified image of the battle and its significance. After the fall of Communism, the Grunwald tradition which used to be extremely popular among Poles, yielded to commercialisation deepening the plastic, almost “fabulous” image of the battle which was getting further and further from the historical truth.

Słowa kluczowe

historia Polski, Zakon Krzyżacki

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