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Polish scholars discuss anti-communism and counterintelligence at IWP

On September 24, 2014, Dr. Karol Sacewicz and Dr. Tomasz Gajownik gave a presentation entitled, “Anti-Communism and Counterintelligence: Poland, 1918-1944.” The lecturers are scholars affiliated with the Department of History and International Relations at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland.

Dr. Karol Sacewicz spoke on “The Home Army and the Soviets: Polish strategic planning from 1941-1944.” He discussed the relationship between the Polish Government and the Soviet regime during the Second World War. He stated that the aim of the Poles – both in occupied Poland and in the West – was to regain sovereignty and full independence. Dr. Sacewicz described the Polish Underground State as having two pillars: the political and administrative, and the military general command of the Home Army. The main dilemma facing the Polish underground, as the speaker emphasized, was how to extricate Poland from the clutches of the two occupiers – the Nazi Germans and the Soviet Communists – in light of the Red Army’s westward drive in 1944.

Dr. Tomasz Gajownik gave a presentation entitled “A Spy Joust: Poland and Lithuania,” about the military rivalry between the two Intermarium nations during the interwar period. The Polish-Lithuanian relationship was strained due to a conflict over the Wilno/Vilnius Region, which had a Polish majority but was nevertheless claimed by Lithuanian ethno-nationalists as the capital of their new state. The two nations did not have diplomatic relations but nevertheless wanted to know more about the other’s activities, movements, and plans. Spies and intelligence stations were thus created by both Warsaw and Kaunas. Dr. Gajownik stated that some Poles were spies for Lithuania. The two reasons for this were either monetary gains or revenge for the loss of family members during the 1918-1920 Polish-Lithuanian conflict.

Kerri Hagstrom