The Revolution That Did Not Happen Rebellion and Reaction in the Post-Imperial Borderlands 1905-1921: Poland in Asymmetrical Comparison

Research project financed by National Science Center (NCN), (OPUS nr 2017/27/B/HS6/00098), 2018-2022.

The Revolution That Did Not Happen Rebellion and Reaction in the Post-Imperial Borderlands 1905-1921: Poland in Asymmetrical Comparison

In Institute for Social Studies I investigate rebellion and reaction in the post-imperial borderlands between 1905 and 1921. Comparing Poland, Finland and other borderland regions of the Russian Empire I ask about revolutions that succeeded, failed or did not happen at all against the backdrop of nation building and state-crafting in the region. Russian Poland was among the most militant tsarist borderlands during the 1905-1907 Revolution. Harboring long-lasting strikes and breeding bellicose street fighters, Poland witnessed an unprecedented political upheaval manifest in the emergence of mass parties, labor unions and a new public culture. However, only a decade later, when revolutionary movements again loomed large and shook the whole region, Poland remained relatively calm. Forging a new statehood rivaled the earlier popular drive toward social revolution. Despite the Bolsheviks’ march on Warsaw to spread the socialist revolution westwards, the popular mood stuck with national unity. Polish popular classes stood almost unanimously on the side of the Polish nation state, even after it failed to deliver its promise to be a socialist-leaning one. What then were the processes responsible for the withering-away of social-revolutionary tendencies?

The project is an asymmetrical comparison of the Polish rebellion, nationalist re-mobilization, and eventual integration of the subaltern classes, with other revolutionary sequences ending in distinct outcomes. The analysis of ideological landscapes will explain the occurring divergences. I will analyze sources on political languages as newspapers and pamphlets against the backdrop of sources documenting social unrest. Deftly integrating historical sociology, conceptual history and historical discourse analysis, my work addresses the entanglement of structural factors and intellectual transformations in political process in highly interdependent trans-national context.

Research team:

Principal investigatorWiktor Marzec, PhD

Co-investigator: Risto Turunen, PhD

Associated researcher: Marcin Szymański, PhD – historian, assistant professor in the Chair of the Contemporary History at the University of Lodz. His interests encompass economic and social history of 20th century Poland, with a focus on industrial etatism and its transformations, and regional history. He is an author of numerous articles and books, among others “Łódzka elektrownia i gazownia do 1939 roku” (2016), “Polskie piwo. Biografia” (2018), “Łódź na wodach dziejów” (2019), and co-author of “Wielki przemysł, wielka cisza. Łódzkie zakłady przemysłowe 1945-2000” (2020). He also curates museum exhibitions and works as educator and popularizer of history.

Team members:

Anna Kadykało, PhD in Humanities (cultural studies), a graduate of Russian studies at the Jagiellonian University. Leader of the project “Childhood as a Russian cultural theme in the 20th century” (Preludium 1, NCN-National Science Centre); the author of a monograph “Childhood as a Russian cultural theme in the 20th century” and several dozen scientific publications; a laureate of the START 2015 scholarship (FNP-Foundation For Polish Science ). Sworn translator of  Russian language.

Maria Frolova. 2nd year student of the Master’s program “Global and Comparative History” (National Research University HSE, St. Petersburg). She has worked at the Center for Historical Research of her university, participated in several international conferences and summer schools. She is now studying Polish-Russian relations in the first half of the 20th century.