POLAND UNTIL WORLD WAR II
A foreign observer has written: "' Poland is riot lost yet,' Poles used to intone; it was a prayer, more than an anthem. She is one of the curiosities of the world--now she is there, and again she is riot. She was not there for over a century, dismembered, the wisp of a prayer, riot a reality. Then she was there again, and riot there again, . . . The prayer, in lieu of the anthem, provides us with a clue--Poland is more than a nation: Poland is a religion, even under the Communists." 1
Indeed, Poland occupies a particular position in the bloc of East- European satellites of Russia for several reasons: geographical, historical, and political. The writer cited above has grasped the essence of what has allowed this nation between Germany and Russia to survive. Why and how this attitude developed are questions to be answered by the history of the country. Therefore, perhaps even more than in the case of other eastern European countries, we have to look into Poland's past. (See map 3.)
In the tenth century, the people living on the banks of the Vistula and Warta rivers formed their own state, which, defending its independence, became engaged in a mortal struggle against the imperialist German expansion toward the East.