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Poland-Lithuania would we be better off together?


MrLombard 1 | 1
1 Oct 2012  #1
Dear Friends, I often ask myself -would we be all better off together today if we stayed one country?

I know Poles feel good about Lithuanians, however I was surpised reading some of the news stating Lithuanians do not trust/like the Poles.
Why would this be? We have been one country for centuries, we were the largest and strongest state in Europe. The Commonwealth was growing ecnomically and had an impresive military until late 1600s.

Would Lithuania be better with Poland instead of joining USSR?

Do Lithiunians retain any of the sentiment to our brotherhood as we do?
jon357 63 | 14,124
1 Oct 2012  #2
It would have been a noble ideal, but in practice it would have been like two housewives in one kitchen.
polonius 54 | 420
1 Oct 2012  #3
It would have been even better if Poland had created a federation wtih Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus as Piłsudski had wanted, effectiwely restoring the Rzplita Obojga Narodów. That would have most likely contained or even prevented the spread of Soviet power. A weak, impoversihed, hungtry, revolution-scarred Soviet Russia migth have even collapsed making it annexable by the Polish-led federation. In fact, the best solution to prevent future outbrust of Muscovite imperlaism could have been the partition the country with China in a kind of eternal Sino-Polish Alliance. Then the alarm-clock went off and..........
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
1 Oct 2012  #4
know Poles feel good about Lithuanians, however I was surpised reading some of the news stating Lithuanians do not trust/like the Poles.
Why would this be?

The answer is quite simple really. Lithuania is a small country whose politicians share a besieged mentality, they believe that the Lithuanian language and culture is under threat. Consequently they have developed a distorted nationalist view of their country's history which they have tried shoving down the throats of ordinary Lithuanians. The trouble is that when they look to their past for inspiration, more often than not they point to individuals who are Polish and proclaim them to have been Lithuanian patriots. Which from a Polish point of view is exceedingly amusing, since more often than not the individuals in question whilst quite possibly possessing some diluted Lithuanian blood in their veins couldn't even speak Lithuanian, their language and culture were essentially Polish and the only contact they would have had with Lithuanian is listening to their peasants speak. (examples include Oginski and Miczkiewicz).

A small country does not necessarily have to mean a small mentality, regrettably Lithuania's politicians have proved themselves to be very narrow minded indeed, by restricting Poles from teaching in their own language. Unforgettably its rather in vain, pointing them to the the Radziwills and the Czartoryski's and informing them that they used Polish as their mother tongue and not Lithuanian.

hague1cmaeron

Unforgettably

typo, that should read Regrettably.
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
1 Oct 2012  #5
I know Poles feel good about Lithuanians, however I was surpised reading some of the news stating Lithuanians do not trust/like the Poles.

Do Lithiunians retain any of the sentiment to our brotherhood as we do?

Poles are rather neutral on Lithuania, Lithuanians are rather unfriendly (not all of course) to Poles. They have serious inferiority complex issues and their approach to Commonwealth is totally different, they think they were under Polish boot and such.Today we have much more in common with Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and even Ukrainians then with them.

BTW The Grand Dutchy had not much in common with modern Lithuania, majority of population were Eastern Slavs.
polonius 54 | 420
1 Oct 2012  #6
The court language of Grand Duke Jagiełło (Jogaila in Lithuanian) was Ruthenian.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,505
1 Oct 2012  #7
more often than not they point to individuals who are Polish and proclaim them to have been Lithuanian patriots.

That is true only from the contemporary point of view. And this is true when one assumes that their Polish language would for them be the only criterion to feel entirely Polish as opposed to the fact of feeling entirely Lithuanian (meaning the Grand Duchy of Lithuania).

Since when saying that from the contemporary Polish point of view the fact that they are Lithuanians patriots is exceedingly amusing, it only reveals the ignorance of the contemporary Poles of the history of their country which they shared with other nations. Adam Mickiewicz or Tadeusz Kościuszko will call themselves Lithuanian patriots with no hesitation whatsoever, and every page of the book "Pan Tadeusz" by Adam Mickiewicz is proof of that. The problem for most of the contemporary Poles, but not for the Poles of the past, is that those outstanding Lithuanians could see no opposition between "Polishness" and "Lithuanianness", treating the Grand Duchy as part of a wider cultural and political entity. And if this is so, we, the Poles, have no right to claim them as only our own. Do the English have the right to claim those Scottish or Irish who use English in every day life as English, since most of them do not know Scottish or Irish? No, but they do have the right to claim them as British. In reality, the term "Polishness" as used commonly in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania until the end of the 18th century can be compared to the term "Britishness" in its modern sense. If only our ancestors could have remplaced "Polish" with a more universal term in the past, the above discussion would have no sense. But in spite of that, they would start to slowly use the term "Polish" to describe the whole entity, with the term "Lithuania" and "the Crown" evolving to describe the two separate parts which was making it up.

However, the difficulty in using the term "Polish" for the whole political entity of the Commonwealth still presented a problem for the official state nomenclature. It could not be borrowed in the forms described above since the head of state's title was "King of Poland" and "Grand Duke of Lithuania", with both states which formed the Commonwealth formally being called accordingly. In my view, if the Commonwealth had not been erased from the map of Europe in 1795, the term "Polish" in its common 18-th century meaning would have stood a great chance to develop over time into a commonly used term of "Both Nations" (Obojga Narodów). The 3rd of May Constitution of 1791 seemed to have opened the path for it; despite of the abandonment of the existing political division of the Commonwealth into the two states (or perhaps beacuase of that!), the Constitution gave birth to central ministries which were now being called "Ministries of Both Nations", for example the counterpart of the Home Office was given the name of "Komisja Policji Obojga Narodów".

Another, third part of the Union was obviously lacking, but it was introduced to the official emblem of the Commonwealth-to-be-recovered during the times of the January Uprising of 1863, where the Archangel Michael of Ruthenia (Ukraine) accompanied the Pahonia of the Grand Duchy and the White Eagle of the Kingdom of Poland.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
1 Oct 2012  #8
Since when saying that from the contemporary Polish point of view the fact that they are Lithuanians patriots is exceedingly amusing

it's amusing from the context of contemporary Lithuanians viewing the Commonwealth as somehow a Polish construct with Lithuanians as a reluctant participants (Which Miczkiewicz at al, would have found laughable). The truth is that a Lithuania without the Polish element would be simply unthinkable to most prominent "Lithuanians", it would be a Lithuania they simply wouldn't feel a part of. It's true that in what Lithuania was to the Commonwealth, Scotland was/is to Britain, and that's something most sensible Poles recognize-however a very few Lithuanians see it that way.
polonius 54 | 420
1 Oct 2012  #9
I read recently that Lithuania's ethnic Lithuanian popuilation had dropped to 3 million... No wonder they feel threatened by the Russian and Polish element. We find the restrictive anti-Polish measures (spelling, education) repressive but they see them as a bid for national survival
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
1 Oct 2012  #10
I read recently that Lithuania's ethnic Lithuanian popuilation had dropped to 3 million... No wonder they feel threatened by the Russian and Polish element.

Yea, can't really blame them. They're on the endangered species list.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,505
1 Oct 2012  #11
contemporary Lithuanians viewing the Commonwealth as somehow a Polish construct with Lithuanians as a reluctant participants

Again, the names of the past do not match the names of the present, though they have some reference one with another. The "Lithuanian" of the past seems to convey much more difference than similarity to the "Lithuanian" of the present. To support this, it is enough to say that the official language of the Grand Duchy was not even Lithuanian, but Belorussian, to be replaced later on by Polish.

I think that contemporary Lithuanians view the costruct of the Commonwealth as common, but which in the course of time had swung to the Slavic/Polish side too much. Once in Lithuania, I bought their school history book in the Lithuanian language in which they presented the kings and grand dukes exactly in the order that we do in our books in Polish, but what was more surprising, they presented them exactly like a certain Cracovian painter called Jan Matejko painted them.

So all in all, the Grand Duchy as a state was much more Slavic than Lithuanian. Contemporary Lithuania is only a tiny part of the former Grand Duchy with some pretentions to be even more than it really is.

But I agree with the modern Lithuanians in that they fear their language might have been on the path of extinction because of the expanding Polish. Not even Polish at some point of time, the linguistic border between Lithuanians and Belorussians had already moved northwards in the times of Adam Mickiewicz. Czesław Miłosz, a Lithuanian-born Pole, if I may say so, admitted that the Poles of the Vilnius region are genetically Lithuanians rather than they are Polish, but - in contrast to the Lithuanian authorities - he didn't want to see them re-lithuanized. It should be noted, however, that a certain number of the Polish-speaking gentry in Lithuania had decided at the end of the 19th century to abandon the path of Polishness and step up the language path of ethnic Lithuanians, not so for themselves, but for their children. You may read about it in the interviews of Tomasz Venclova, a Lithuanian-born (1937) Lithuanian with a native command of Polish, who himself recalls how his relatives used to turned to Polish at home each time they did not want him as little boy to follow their converations. He was extremely angry with that, so he started to learn Polish which was not at all difficult for him in the then linguistic environment of Lithuania.
Funky Samoan 2 | 181
2 Oct 2012  #12
Would Lithuania be better with Poland instead of joining USSR?

Didn't Poland and Lithuania join the European Union in 2004? Why not intensifing Polish-Lithuanian co-operation under the umbrella of the EU?
From an outside German point of view this path seems to be the most promising one.

Due to the fact that there are 38 million Polish citizens and only 3 mio Lithuanians, which is less than ten percent of Poland's population, Lithuanians would get lost in the shuffle of the ethnic mix-up a new Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
OP MrLombard 1 | 1
2 Oct 2012  #13
restoring the Rzplita Obojga Narodów. That would have most likely contained or even prevented the spread of Soviet power.

That's true, Muscovy without Lithuania, and Belarus (Ruthenia) were not too strong as we look at the history,
WWI and WWII could not be so devestating to such strong country annd definetly USSR could have been a smaller threat.

. Lithuania is a small country whose politicians share a besieged mentality,

it's amusing from the context of contemporary Lithuanians viewing the Commonwealth as somehow a Polish construct with Lithuanians as a reluctant participants

I've heard it to, and you gentlemen are correct!
Polish and Lithuanian nobility were equal under the law and king, and some of the largest and wealthies magnate clans (Radziwil, Czartoryski, etc) were Lithuanians. Also the priviledges and the laws were the same for both the Crown and Lithuania, and they both had their representatives in the Seym.

So what kind of opression would this be?
pawian 161 | 9,838
3 Oct 2012  #14
Nope. The Polish Lithuanian union cost us, Poles, our independence for many decades.
Never again.
legend 3 | 664
3 Oct 2012  #15
MiedzyMorze? I would love that.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,648
3 Oct 2012  #16
It would have been even better if Poland had created a federation wtih Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus as Piłsudski had wanted, effectiwely restoring the Rzplita Obojga Narodów.

It would have been, but alas, there were too many nationalistic elements within Poland to ever make it work.

They could've certainly started by granting Galicia the promised autonomy...


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