A Book that No One in Poland Has Heard of

Already in the first days of my internment in Birštonas, near Kaunas, on the Nemunas, I went for a walk along the river at the camp's border. Suddenly I noticed a small object shining in the sun. I picked it up and smiled. It was a silver thaler from 1580. On one side it showed the image of Stefan Batory with the Latin inscriptions «Stephanus, Rex Poloniae, Magnus Dux Lituaniae», and on the other side there was the coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth."

A replica of the royal thaler with an eagle (1580) (Source: Wikipedia)

This is how the book Józef Piłsudski, European Federalist, 1918-1922, completely unknown in Poland, published in English by Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University in 1969, begins. The author of this important geopolitical book was my mentor, Marian Kamil Dziewanowski, writer and journalist, participant in the September campaign, officer of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, twice awarded the Cross of Merit; professor at the University of Boston and the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences; Polish historian in exile, specialist in Polish and Russian history of the 19th and 20th centuries. After the end of World War II, Kamil Dziewanowski defended his doctorate at Harvard University and thanks to the encouragement of General Wicenty Kowalski, director of the Piłsudski Institute in New York, he started several years' worth of work on a coherent concept of Józef Piłsudski's ideas about the Intermarium.

To start work on collecting scattered materials on this topic, it is impossible not to mention prof. Wacław Jedrzejewicz, prof. Wiktor Sukiennicki, prof. Oskar Halecki, Jerzy Giedroyć, Józef Czapski, General Tadeusz Kasprzycki, prof. Piotr Wandycz and many others who wanted such a compendium to be created.

Of course, a whole series of contacts was initiated to help dr. Dziewanowski win numerous scholarships and grants for the implementation of this project. The book, in which the author himself emphasizes its historical importance, is in fact the first geopolitical work after World War II, which was created at the turn of 1959-1966. Prof. Dziewanowski made many trips to archives in Germany, France, London, Helsinki and American archives. Apart from professors in exile, many high-ranking military associates of Marshal Piłsudski, former diplomats, members of the government in exile in London and representatives of the Archives of Semen Petlura in Paris, the Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bonn and many others were involved in helping to write this important book.

Marian Kamil Dziewanowski

In essence, the book presents Józef Piłsudski's concept of creating a federation of Eastern European states after the Soviets have been pushed out of the area, and presents the consequences of the functioning of the countries of the Intermarium as a political and military force, and strongly emphasizes the instrumental treatment of Eastern European countries by Western democracies.

The author emphasizes that Piłsudski's concept was ahead of a certain stage in the development of the countries in this region. When Piłsudski referred to the federalist concept of a possible coalition of Central and Eastern European states, these states, in turn, were more interested in their existence being based on external countries. Interestingly, the state of mental development in these countries is still unchanged. Today's already developed concept of the Intermarium, or the Three Seas Initiative, still clashes with the same mentalities looking for support in external powers.

Poland still has an extraordinary leadership role to play, showing that, for the countries to survive as sovereign entities in Central or Eastern Europe, new federalist ideas are needed. The old democracies will always regard us as their colonial territories, treating us as cheap labor and markets for inferior goods.

In the last weekly Solidarity Weekly (Tygodnik Solidarność), my attention was drawn to a column by the editor Waldemar Biniecki, "A book that no one in Poland has heard of." The column concerns a very important political and economic problem for Poland, which is the creation of the "Intermarium".