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Chauvinism, Polish Style

The Case of Roman Dmowski (Beginnings: 1886–1905)


Grzegorz Krzywiec

The book addresses the genesis of Polish integral nationalism and the role of Roman Dmowski as a co-founder of this phenomenon in the development of Polish political thought at the fin-de-siècle. Based on extensive documentary research, it attempts to show a broader picture of modern Polish political and social thinking in context of the late 19 th and early 20 th East Central Europe. The author reflects on the significance of racial thinking and Social Darwinism of the new nationalist imagination, arguing that its intellectual foundations came from anti-positivist and anti-Enlightenment tradition. He challenges the widespread assumption that Polish nationalism in its early version cherished somehow mild attitudes toward minorities, especially the Jews, claiming instead that enmity toward «Otherness» constitutes its ideological core. A major feature of the book is the contextualization of Polish nationalism against the backdrop of the fin-de-siècle European political thought.
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Chapter Two: An Idealistic Revolt


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Chapter Two An Idealistic Revolt

Well – is life so dreadful, society so rotten, trampled down, so morally muddied? The eternal signs in the sky foretell a change; if only man, puny man could realize that his strength lies not in matter, but in the power of the Spirit.

S. Posner, Stefan Żeromski w świetle wspomnień, Warsaw 1926

Neo-idealism’s task will be to come out positively, to fight for new ideals, taking into account the human family’s healthy physical and spiritual development […]. The moment that new ideals appear, pessimism loses its footing. We have someone to live and work for. Neo-idealism will joyfully point to great new slogans and goals.

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