Written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn Sunday, 10 November 2013 11:33
Praised and vilified both at home and abroad, Władysław Gomułka had a tumultuous political career that twice saw him rise to the pinnacle of power in Communist Poland.
Born in 1905 in Krosno, Poland to working class parents, he embraced socialism during his teens. His personal textbooks were the writings of Marx and Lenin. Working as a locksmith from age fourteen, young Władysław was soon organizing communist labor groups. He joined the Polish Socialist Party at sixteen, soon after the Communist Party, and studied at the Lenin Institute in Moscow in 1934. Gomułka was jailed for his communist activities in Poland in 1926, 1932 and 1936. Upon the outbreak of World War II in 1939, he was released to help in the defense of Poland. As his country was overwhelmed by the German invasion, Gomułka fled east to the USSR. There, he met with Soviet dictator Stalin and made part of the nascent Polish communist government, set to take over Poland as Soviet forces pushed the Germans out.
Written by Martin S. Nowak Sunday, 22 September 2013 18:47
The Age of the Vikings lasted from about 800 to 1100 A.D. During this time their influence extended from their origins in Scandinavia throughout most of Europe, Byzantium in Asia Minor, and westward to North America.
There is proof of a Viking settlement on the island of Labrador off the Canadian coast, and the existence of Vinland, a Norse settlement farther south, is believed to have been in present day Nova Scotia, Rhode Island or Cape Cod. The discovery of a runestone in Minnesota with Nordic characters engraved on it, along with other purported Viking relics, seems to point to a Viking foray into interior North America.
The Viking impact on Europe was much more profound.
Written by Martin S. Nowak Tuesday, 07 July 2009 22:57
The territory of today's Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - played an important role in the history of Poland. In the fourteenth century Poland and Lithuania united in a commonwealth, with Poland the dominant partner. Eventually, this extended Polish territory to the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. North of Lithuania along the Baltic lay a collection of principalities and duchies with names such as Esthonia, Livonia, Semigallia, Samogitia and Kurlandia.
The Balts who originally settled these lands were caught in the middle of rivalries among strong area powers: Prussia, Sweden, Russia, Poland and to a lesser extent Denmark. The German Prussians settled in cities along the coast and in manors inland, subjugating the native peasants. Russia pushed from the east, eager for a window on the Baltic. Sweden wanted to expand southward and Poland northward. The prizes were excellent ports and harbors, great natural resources, and control of the Baltic Sea.
Livonia, ruled by ethnic Germans of the Livonian Order of Knights and comprising what is now Latvia and southern Estonia, was constantly threatened by invading barbarous Muscovites. Grand Master Gothard Kettler secured the protection of Poland against the Russians by agreeing to become a vassal under the Polish crown in 1561. King Zygmunt promised Kettler autonomous control of the southern third of Livonia, creating the Duchy of Courland (Polish: Kurlandia). It was to remain a part of the Kingdom of Poland until the latter's final partition in 1795. At one point, it would count among its military guards a young Kazimierz Pułaski.
While nominally a part of Poland, the Duchy's ties to the Kingdom were very loose. The Poles wrote and imposed a constitution and a set of statutes on Courland. But the Duchy retained the right of neutrality. It was not forced to supply soldiers for Polish wars. It did not pay taxes to the crown. And the Duke was not personally subordinated to the Polish King.
Written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:48
In the previous article we talked about the scientific breakthrough - discovery of polonium and radium. Marie and Pierre had still a long way to go to prove that they really discovered new elements. The amount of radium and polonium which they were able to extract were minute, they needed much more in order to establish their physical and chemical properties.
The ore from which they extracted polonium and radium came from the pitchblende deposits used to extract uranium salts for glass manufacture in St Joachimsthal mine in Bohemia. The price of pitchblende was high but the value of the residue left after extracting uranium salt was low since the ore was considered useless. In that time St Joachimsthal was a part of Austrian empire. There were many problems to deal with: to arrange a permission to transfer massive amounts of ore from Austria to France, to pay for the ore and to for its transportation. Besides, Marie and Pierre did not even have a good quality laboratory at the Sorbonne University, only a small shack with no floor which was used for animal dissection in the past.
Marie and Pierre in the laboratory
Written by Martin S. Nowak Wednesday, 07 August 2013 19:01
The vast majority of Polish Americans are descended from the immigrants who came here during the mass migration of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries "za chlebem," for bread, or economic opportunities. But when they arrived in the United States they did not find a country devoid of Polish nationals. Decades before these poor peasants arrived, a different class of Poles had settled in America. See the article about Polish Emigration: Historical Review & Polish Immigration to America: The Early History
These were political exiles who had taken part in patriotic actions against the foreign occupiers in partitioned Poland, mainly in 1830-31, 1846-48 and 1863-64. Their lives and liberty being in danger, they escaped abroad and many made their way to the U.S. These emigres were well educated and not of the agrarian or working class as were the later migrants.
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