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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 3, 2012

Communism, Nationalism, and State Building in Post-War Europe

Paul McNamara
Pages 21-42
DOI: 10.7761/HCE.3.21

Competing National and Regional Identities in Poland’s Baltic “Recovered Territories”, 1945-1956

The article analyzes the manner in which Poland’s Baltic “Recovered Territories”, the three provinces of Szczecin, Gdańsk and Olsztyn, were incorporated into a re-constituted Polish state following the Second World War. It shows how the organic formation of a regional identity in the three Baltic provinces faced continuous interference from a regime with little or no understanding of the effects its state-building policies had upon their specific ‘transnational’ social, cultural, and demographic particularities. Despite the internal divisions in what was a fledgling pioneer society, the communist state never allowed for settler and indigenous groups to iron out their differences at their own pace and in their own way. Between 1945 and 1956, Polish settlers and indigenous groups in the Baltic Recovered Territories managed to form only a weak common identity not due to the policies of Poland’s Communist regime but in spite of them.

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