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John Bull and the Continent


Wojciech Jasiakiewicz and Jakub Lipski

Ever since John Arbuthnot published The History of John Bull in 1712, the figure of John Bull has stereotypically personified the best and the worst traits of the British (or English) national character. The present work takes the eponymous juxtaposition as an incentive to study the variety of multi-faceted contacts between the two sides. Given the recent attempts at a re-definition of the relationship between Britain and the Continent – best visible in the turmoil over Britain’s EU membership – the results of the research will hopefully stimulate discussion about John Bull’s ever-changing presence within or without the Continent.
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Henry VIII and the Polish question


The title of this article directly refers to some derisive comments which are deeply rooted in Polish history during the partitions, that is in the period 1795 to 1918; in particular it reminds us of the national efforts to regain independence; therefore anything was associated with the struggle for independence. The most commonly used saying is “the elephant and the Polish cause”. This way of perceiving a political situation became an obsession of Polish patriotic circles who always looked for any chance to restore their independent state. The patriots decided that in addition to the armed struggle there should be the widest possible and most effective policy to publicise the Polish cause in Europe and the world, the purpose of which was to affect both the governments and peoples of all countries.

It is enough to mention Polish efforts in the UK, France or the United States focusing on Poland, presenting the tragic history of the nation, the crimes committed by the partitioning powers whenever and wherever it was possible; in any situation, at every opportunity, directing the conversation in such a way as always to mention issues related somehow to Poland. Very often, however, those efforts would become tiring for the interlocutors, and the Poles themselves were treated as obsessive and obtrusive agitators tormenting others with their home affairs. Although initially some polite interest was shown, very few British people had any will and determination to pay attention to Polish problems. It seems that the...

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