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White Eagle, Black MadonnaOne Thousand Years of the Polish Catholic Tradition$
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Robert E. Alvis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823271702

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823271702.001.0001

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From Captivity to Cataclysm (1914–1945)

From Captivity to Cataclysm (1914–1945)

(p.188) 8 From Captivity to Cataclysm (1914–1945)
White Eagle, Black Madonna

Robert E. Alvis

Fordham University Press

The First World War paved the way for Polish independence. The leaders of the Second Republic struggled to forge a stable state, which enabled Piłsudski to come to power. Catholic leaders carved out a privileged position for the church in public life, which alienated non-Catholics. Despite abundant evidence of the church’s flourishing, Poland’s Catholics generally remained captive to outsized fears of real and imagined enemies, including Freemasons, socialists, and Jews. This period came to a sudden end in September 1939 with the German and Soviet invasions of Poland. The barbarism of next six years resulted in the death of some six million Polish citizens and the decimation of its culture and institutions, including the Catholic Church.

Keywords:   antisemitism, Roman Dmowski, Holocaust, Maximilian Kolbe, Józef Piłsudski, Adam Sapieha, Second Polish Republic, World Wars

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