Chapter IV

Chiefs of State

My first personal meeting with Edward Osubka-Morawski, chairman of the Committee of National Liberation, was embarrassingly dramatic. I had come late to a congress of co-operative societies and fought my way through a couple of thousand people only to find every chair at the press table occupied. In the middle of a speech by President Bierut I was standing alone in the very front of the hall.

Morawski was not on the platform, which was reserved for the executive board of the Co-operatives. Four rather gaudy armchairs had been dug out of somebody's parlor and placed conspicuously in a small open space on the floor, directly in front of and facing the stage, so that government dignitaries might come and go in their spare moments regardless of the crowd. Three armchairs were vacant; Morawski occupied the fourth. He saw me standing and beckoned me to a seat; for half an hour the two of us occupied this unofficial government box. Nobody worried about protocol except the people at the press table who at the first intermission found a place for me.

Later Morawski addressed the gathering. It consisted of practical peasants who had come to Lublin to organize co-operative business and to see what this new Committee was about. They had not yet declared themselves politically. They draped their stage neither in Moscow red nor in Polish national colors but in the rainbow flags of the international co-operative movement. The executives on the stage included several solid farmers, a gray-haired woman of the type that runs community affairs, and a man who looked like a small-town banker.

Morawski got no great ovation at the beginning. He used few orator's tricks. He hardly capitalized the fact that the battle front was only sixty miles away. His pale face under the tangle of dark brown hair seemed tired but very friendly and sincere. He outlined the Committee's policies and its differences with the government- in-exile. His speech was long, direct and explanatory rather than emotional. As he made his points the nods of assent increased in the hall.

"General Anders took our Polish officers away to the African deserts. He took them to fight for Rome. But here we had no one to fight for us until our new Polish Army came." At the mention of the army the applause was for the first time unrestrained. It broke out loudly again when, after telling of the Committee's invitation to Mikolajczyk and the latter's insistence on referring the matter to his London colleagues, the speaker said: “Questions of Poland must be decided in Poland and not in Moscow or London.” Everyone in the audience clearly accepted this. They were tillers of Polish soil, made uneasy by all these dispositions of fate in foreign capitals.

Morawski adores congresses. The first thing he said to me later in his office was: "Don't stick around Lublin leaders. Go to peasant congresses, to trade-union congresses. See and hear the Polish people." If I missed a congress in Lublin he was sure to reprove me later: "I didn't see you at the Railway Workers’ Congress, or the War Cripples'." Was this a holdover from his habit as former organizer for the Polish Socialist Party? At any rate, he never missed a congress. He went not merely to speak but to sit in the audience watching and listening. He was hearing something that he thought of as the “Voice of the people,” in which he has an idealistic faith. I doubt whether he studies the sources of power and the technique of leadership. I judge him an honest but perhaps an unanalytical democrat.

In our first personal conversation he was so friendly and expansive that I allowed myself to ask him: "Why do you think they picked you for the job of chairman?" A bit embarrassed, he answered: "I guess they needed somebody and I was there."

"Perhaps because you're easy to get on with and pleasant to approach," I ventured. "After all the quarreling in Poland, perhaps that is what is needed now." He seemed interested in the idea rather than in the compliment. I doubt whether he gave much thought to the reasons why they chose him as vice-chairman of the first illegal Rada the previous New Year's Eve. I think he merely accepted it as something the "majority decided."

In prewar days Edward Osubka was a lawyer, an economist and a district organizer of the Polish Socialist Party. In 1939 he helped rally the workers of Warsaw for their famous heroic defense. After this he went underground, taking the name Morawski. (Today he uses both names, hyphenated.) A delegate to the first illegal Rada, he was chosen vice-chairman, partly no doubt because he represented the PPS. Later the delegation of which he was the head scored notable success in Moscow, a fact which doubtless influenced his appointment as chairman of the Committee of Liberation.

Sometimes he is very awkward, at other times his flashing answers show a touch of genius. In my first conversation in his office I told him how hard I found it to make connection with my secretary in Moscow, even to learn whether my news cables had gone through. “I’ll help you,” he said, picking up his telephone. He spoke into it. "Give me Moscow." I was stunned. Was it really so easy when one had power? Then for ten minutes I saw the chief of government in all the undignified and nervous agony of ordinary mortals who cannot get phone connections. He shouted: “Give me the Polish Embassy. No, no, not the General Staff. Moscow? What? Give me Moscow.” He failed to get Moscow in the normal human way. It was hard to imagine a chief of state thus admitting a foreigner to his technical difficulties.

I was in the office of the government newspaper one afternoon when editor Borecza seized the phone and rang up Morawski to apologize. He had neglected to print the latter's speech at the co-operative congress. He hoped Morawski wasn't annoyed. Morawski at once replied: "You're a good editor, it wasn't worth printing." This quick reaction showed almost a genius for harmonious committee work.

My friend Wende told me how Morawski got his new suit. Wende shared a room with Morawski and Minc when they first came to Lublin, "all sleeping on cots soldier style." That was how he knew about the suit.

"When Morawski came out from the underground he was rather shabby. One might almost say ragged. He was having to meet these Russian officers in snappy uniforms. So his adjutant – that chic little kid Witkowski – somehow or other unearthed some decent material and brought it to his chief. But Morawski fought shy of it. ‘Why should I wear new stuff when so many Poles go barefoot? My old suit keeps me warm against the cold.’

"Witkowski was unhappy; he wanted a well-dressed chief. He let the rest of us know that he had the material. Finally we all decided that the head of our Committee needed style. So with our blessing the adjutant got a tailor and ushered him into the sanctum of government, saying: ‘Everyone thinks you don't look proper for a chief of state. Here's the tailor.’ Morawski was too good-natured to object.

"Much of the friendly ease with which the chiefs of our 'resorts' get on together is due to Morawski," Wende added. "I was not well acquainted with him before the war, since I was in the Peasants' Party and he in the Socialist Party. I have learned to know him well in recent months. His informal friendliness makes things go easily, his sincere idealism and lack of personal demand inspire everyone. Who dares demand more for himself than the Prime Minister takes? And Morawski takes just nothing. Half the time he forgets to draw his salary."

Several days later Jan and I were wondering how to get transportation to Maidanek for the execution of the war criminals who helped organize the murders there. I suggested that we try to go in Morawski's car. "Morawski won't go," declared Wende. "He wouldn't see a fly hurt if he could help it."

Seldom have I known a political figure so disarmingly human, so modest, even so self-deprecatory. I have heard PPS officials, willing enough in public to exploit the fact that one of their party headed the government, criticize him in private as "giving too much weight to other parties." His sensitive unwillingness "to see a fly hurt" must make many necessary acts of government painful to him. There were times when he seemed to me "haunted" by all the suffering and conflicts in Poland, so that I wondered how long he could endure.

For months Morawski bore cheerfully a personal situation that would have outraged a man of different caliber, of greater selfishness or personal pride. He knew very well that in all possible combinations with the London Poles discussed in those first six months in Lublin, he was the one slated for the sacrifice. Again and again his post was offered as part of the price for agreement. Morawski himself kept journeying regularly to Moscow to help his colleagues invite Mikolajczyk to take his place. Only a man of great statesmanship or great modesty could have done this so pleasantly. In Morawski I think it is chiefly modesty, or perhaps a modesty that at times amounts to statesmanship. Somehow I never see him as a statesman but as a harassed and very friendly man who wants very much to serve the Polish people and is willing to be broken by the task.

Under his chairmanship the Committee was achieving remarkable successes. Of these he was fully aware. "We have done more in four months than that London crowd – all tied up in red tape and legalism – could do in four years," he exulted. But this was a collective victory in which many people supplied initiative and decision. He knew it as such. For the Committee and for Poland he had a very touchy sense of dignity, but he never extended this to himself. Perhaps it was his very lack of self-assertion that made Morawski, as the months went by, the one on whom they could increasingly agree.

Bierut supplied the iron in the Committee. He was the realist who knew always just where he was going, how far and why. It was he who said to me in mid-December, on his return from one of those Moscow conferences: "Having failed to reach agreement with the Poles in London, we shall ask Morawski to form our government." He spoke with authority; I could not tell whether he was using the collective, the editorial, or the royal "we"!

If Morawski accepts the voice of the majority almost uncritically, Bierut knows how majorities are made. He sees the Polish people not as his adored deity but as human beings in conflict, whose collective will must still be organized. Morawski, I think, might be easily hurt and disillusioned. Bierut, one feels, will never be disillusioned, having already checked and faced the ultimate in calamities. In him, more than in any other, one felt the grim awareness and watchful patience of the underground and its long-endured suffering.

I recall the depth with which he said to me: “Our greatest need is not money, not food, not machines, but people. Our best were killed. My two best friends, who first proposed our Rada, were murdered by the Gestapo in November a year ago.”

He was less frequently seen in public than Morawski. He was often ill, possibly from his long hazardous years of revolutionary work. He had been twice jailed in prewar Poland, his last sentence being for seven years. He was an initiator and the president of the first Rada. Even in late 1944 his work in Lublin was partly underground since he dealt with delegates that came secretly across the German lines. It was he whose analysis crystallized the final decisions in conferences and committees behind the scenes.

When Morawski first introduced us in the intermission at the co-operative congress, Bierut shook hands courteously but with a cool, appraising stare. Besides this direct gaze one remembered from a first encounter only his rather lean face with the clipped mustache above a firm, squarish chin. Otherwise he was undistinguished – the type that could evade the Gestapo as a typical Pole in a crowd of Poles. He was so reserved that I hesitated to ask him for an interview; I felt that I must wait until I had my questions well planned.

A few days later when chatting with Morawski in his office I remarked that I should like sometime to have a talk with Bierut. Morawski quickly took the telephone and after a brief query informed me that Bierut would see me in five minutes. A few moments later he opened a door in his office and showed me directly into Bierut's room. Until that moment I had not known that their offices adjoined, their outer secretaries' offices being several doors apart.

In a large bright corner room with windows on two walls, Bierut sat at his desk, with his back to all the windows and facing both doors like a man on watch. There was no sudden flash of welcoming smile such as Morawski gave instinctively. Bierut rose slightly to greet me and then sat solidly in his chair with the desk between us. He began by asking me questions; I felt that he was taking my measure before deciding what to say to me.

The telephone broke into our conversation. Somebody worried over the public execution of the six Germans just condemned for their part in Maidanek death camp, and especially doubted whether Maidanek, destined for public memorial, was a suitable place. Was it Morawski, I wondered, whose hesitance came over the telephone? Bierut was calm, reassuring: "The place has been desecrated already; this will help cleanse it." He hung up the phone and asked my opinion. Again I sensed that he wanted this, not to determine his view of the execution, but rather his view of me.

Then suddenly he was answering my questions more clearly and frankly than anyone in Poland had been able to do. I became pleasantly aware that no question would embarrass him or be refused a reply. He had faced all the questions, stated in far bitterer form than I was likely to state them. He had found answers that satisfied him and that he was willing to give. The completeness of his answer might depend on his estimate of the questioner, but it would be clear and direct even if not entirely complete. I realized that he was the chief brains of the Committee, the man who knew what it was all about. After this it was to Bierut that I went for sharp definition of the Committee's aims and methods.

Once when he was ill he received me at his home. He lived a couple of blocks away in an ordinary apartment house – he had not yet moved to the Committee's buildings – but there were armed guards in the hall. This reminded me that people came constantly to him across the battle front and that if the Committee's enemies chose anyone to assassinate, he would naturally be the first. It was on this occasion that I myself felt a warmer understanding of the Polish people than at any time before. They seemed to be struggling so hard against such handicaps in their own nature, and against such weight of past centuries. I am not sure what caused this feeling; possibly it came from seeing Bierut struggle to handle important affairs by telephone, propped up on a couch.

Something of what I felt must have come out in my words or manner; because when I left, Bierut startled me by seizing my hand and kissing it, not with the formality of a diplomat – he did not go in for the Polish hand-kissing tradition – but with the genuine warmth of a comrade. Always after this I knew that there was deep human feeling in Bierut for his Polish people and for anyone who was willing to understand them.

The clearest analysis of the Committee's aims and methods and its differences with the London government-in-exile was given me by Bierut.

"The policy of the government-in-exile was based on false premises. They first believed that the Germans and Russians would wear each other out and that Poland, while remaining passive, could play a great role. When the Red Army began to beat the Germans, the London Poles counted on conflict between the USSR and the Anglo-Saxon powers, an 'inevitable' conflict in which Poland would automatically gain. Basing their policy on this, they instructed their representatives in Poland and the officers in their Home Army not to 'wear themselves out' against the Germans but to conserve strength so that they might later take power. They were paid for waiting and for loyalty to the London Poles.

"We held this policy mistaken. We held that every Pole must fight for his land. We organized every kind of underground action from illegal teaching of students to partisans fighting in the woods. We hoped first that, as long as we were taking the risks, the London Poles would support this. Their armed bands, however, began killing our people." He paused before adding firmly: "They killed more of our underground fighters than all the Germans did. They were Poles; we could not always know them as enemies. When we saw that they would not support our struggle against the Germans, we formed our underground Rada.

"Our second difference with them lies in our policy of friendship with the USSR as well as with the Western democracies. Prewar Poland based its foreign policy on friendship with distant powers and antagonism to all its neighbors. It banked on France, Britain, and America; it was hostile to Czechs, Lithuanians, Russians, and Ukrainians, taking territory by force from all of them. At first the ruling clique was hostile also to Germany, but when Hitler gained power they began to lean towards him, admiring the autocracy of his rule.

"This brings us to our third difference. They believe in rule from above. We on the contrary think a country is strong in which every citizen has the chance to use his initiative in work and in politics. In other words, we are for a democratic Poland."

To my question whether he saw any chance of "getting together" with the London Poles, Bierut replied bluntly: "They have nothing to give us. They have no money to give, for they took the gold reserve of Poland and squandered it abroad. They have no experience to give, for they have been absent while we endured the occupation for -five years. They only hinder Poland's contacts with her Allies now. None the less we talk with them and try to reach an understanding, because our country is so ruined that it needs complete unity of all Poles. Otherwise our Allies will say: 'Poles always quarrel, whom shall we help?' Foreign powers won't trust a quarreling people."

Bierut related in some detail his discussions with Mikolajczyk in Moscow. For four months the Committee had not only been willing to accept Mikolajczyk as Prime Minister but Bierut personally urged him at that time to come – on certain conditions: the 1921 Constitution, the land reform, friendship with the USSR, and cessation of civil strife. According to Bierut, Mikolajczyk professed personal agreement on all these points but must “first consult his colleagues” in London.

"He is a legalist. He felt that his obligations to the 1935 Constitution, which he admitted was illegally passed but which none the less was passed, bound him to the decisions of the London group."

It was about this time that I felt that I could put any questions I wished to Bierut. So I raised flatly the question of Poland's independence. How far did it go? "What financial help, for instance, did you get from the USSR?"

He didn't turn a hair at the question. "Most of all," he replied, "the help in arming and equipping our army. Without the help of the USSR we could have nothing like our present army."

"Was this help a long-term loan?"

"No. I raised this question last spring with Marshal Stalin. He replied: ‘We do not trade in the blood of our Allies.’ "

Bierut added that the USSR was giving some "lesser but very important aid in restoring Polish industry." This was a short-term loan, not in money but in machines and materials, repayable in kind.

"But doesn't a government need cash? Wasn't there some general loan?"

"We didn't even ask for one," smiled Bierut. "We are modest in our demands. We expect to live from taxes and food deliveries. Before these began coming we did need a certain amount of currency but" here his smile grew quizzical "we just printed that."

Yes, Bierut knew without illusions just what you could get away with in Poland in 1944-1945.

As I came out from Bierut I paused in the outer office to make a phone call. Three Russian officers entered in very top-notch uniforms, dazzling with decorations and resplendent with gold and scarlet braid. The two young Polish officers serving as Bierut's pages snapped to attention and ushered the visitors in to the President with utmost decorum.

Almost before the door closed one of the lads gave a wild jig dance and threw out his arms in a gesture that shouted to his fellow – and to all and sundry, including me – as plainly as any American boy could say it: "Gee! What swell company we keep!"

General Michal Rola-Zymierski was commander in chief of the army. He is a rotund, affable man whose military bearing disguises his fifty-four years. He sat at ease in his well-lighted office to give me my first interview. He looked a bit surprised when I swung my portable typewriter onto his table – a habit I formed in the informal Lublin atmosphere – but he readily accepted my explanation that this would save time and insure exact quotation. He took it as the American way. For an hour or more he dictated in a friendly, businesslike manner his replies to my questions about his life, the Polish Army, and even the characteristics of different generals. He did not know that I was also taking down notes on his graying hair, starred epaulettes with zigzag bar, dark blue velvet tabs embroidered with the Polish eagle, and the double row of gold teeth that illumined his face when he smiled.

Zymierski is no new general risen from the ranks in wartime. He was a Polish officer before there was an independent Polish state. He trained officers for Polish regiments in Austria before the first World War. He was a chief organizer of the February 1918 "action" whereby Pilsudski's Polish Legions broke with the Central Powers. During the young Poland's alliance with France he served on the French General Staff after graduating from a French military academy. In 1924 he became vice-minister of war in Poland under General Sikorski.

A bright career lay ahead for the young officer. He wore by this time several decorations from his own government, as well as the Belgian Cross of Leopold and the French Legion of Honor. But Zymierski had the fortune to be a democrat. In 1926 he opposed Pilsudski's coup d’état. The new dictatorship soon found reasons for expelling him from the army and jailing him. After his release he lived in France until 1939, returning to Poland in her hour of need. For several months in 1939 he passionately urged swift modernization of the army. His suggestions were scornfully rejected. "The Polish Army is quite adequate, we won't lose a button from a soldier's uniform" was the classic claim of Rydz-Smigly, the commander in chief who lost all Poland.

Zymierski made his final appeal to the General Staff on the fourth day of the German blitz. "We have accepted battle in disadvantageous frontier areas with no natural or prepared defense. The enemy pincers are cutting our armies to pieces. I propose quick withdrawal from the German traps to a strong line based on the Vistula, gaining time to mobilize full reserves. The German war machine is not yet at full strength; we may hold the Vistula until the situation in Europe changes or until England comes to our aid." The War Office generals ordered Zymierski to stop discussing the war under penalty of court-martial as a defeatist; his "Vistula line" meant an initial retreat. Two days later this same General Staff fled in panic, leaving the Polish Army in chaos and without command.

"In 1940 General Sikorski and I tried to give the French General Staff the benefit of our Polish experience," said Zymierski to me. "We told them: Thus the Germans fight, thus one should meet them.' " The French also were deaf. France also fell.

Then General Zymierski vanished. In Poland appeared a man named Rola, an organizer of partisans. Zymierski was underground with a new name. “I did not even approach my wife and children lest the Germans identify me,” he said.

He sought contact with all underground political parties and with the delegates of the government-in exile. "I sent word to London that their tactics with the Home Army were wrong. Their watchful-waiting policy was demoralizing the Home Army, allowing it to become permeated with enemy agents. Instead of fighting Germans it turned to fighting Polish partisans. I reported this to London time and again in vain."

The general's divergence from London was sharpened when the Germans invaded Russia. "The Home Army considered the Bolsheviks enemies more than the Germans. They shot Russian war prisoners trying to escape. I considered Russians our fighting allies. We helped Russian prisoners escape, even giving our own arms to them. When I finally got to Moscow I told Stalin: ‘We gave you arms, now give to us,’ "

"Did he?" I asked. The general grinned.

"The increasing brutality of the Germans pushed the Home Army into conflict with them. They then concentrated on assassinating especially obnoxious Gestapo chiefs. They avoided on principle any attack on German communications eastward, their policy being to let Germans and Russians ‘wear each other out.’ " Zymierski's partisans, on the contrary, concentrated on destroying German communications as a direct military contribution to their “Russian allies.” Zymierski himself traveled to partisan groups all over Poland, training and inspecting them. “I was the only general who took to the woods,” he said laughing. At the end of 1943 when the newly formed Rada Narodowa decided to organize the People's Army underground, they made Zymierski their commander in chief.

"In early 1944 we sent our first delegation to Moscow. Contact with the Red Army was needed, for it was drawing near. We also knew by radio of General Berling's Polish army. I did not go with the first delegation, but when Stalin learned from Morawski of our partisans he sent a plane for me."

It was an adventurous trip the general made to Moscow. The first plane crashed in the take-off, dropping from six hundred feet. The general was the only occupant unhurt. "I held fast to the plane's structure while it broke around me. Then I helped carry the injured to the woods. We burned the plane and hid immediately; four hours later the Germans were there. It took five days to evade them and make a landing field for a second plane. When we crossed the front we dropped to ninety feet to avoid the ack-ack, but we ran into ground shooting and got fifteen holes from machine-gun bullets in our wings."

After that Moscow visit Zymierski's action was correlated with the Red Army from which he received arms and liaison officers. When the Red Army entered Polish territory, the army of General Berling – a hundred thousand Poles organized in Russia – came under Zymierski's command. Berling's army was larger and far better equipped than Zymierski's woodsmen, but Zymierski was unquestionably the senior general. Besides, it was recognized that the man who had raised an armed force in Poland under occupation was entitled to lead. Zymierski combined his partisans with Berling's army and ordered a general draft of new recruits. From these three elements came the new Polish Army of today.

General Zymierski personally escorted me in his gallant Polish manner through the outer office as far as the door. A half dozen aides sprang to attention with a snap that seemed to rock the room. This impeccably-turned-out general had secured a very martial discipline in the few months since he left the woods.

Strictly speaking, the erudite Dr. Hilary Minc did not class as a chief of state. Bierut the realist, Morawski the idealist, Zymierski the military chief formed the triumvirate. But to make that triangle into the solid square foundation for building a nation, Minc was needed, the economist and the reconstructor of Polish industry. He had all the facts on industry, finance, and even agriculture and labor more completely, accurately, and fruitfully catalogued than anyone else I met. I rate him personally as a chief of state because of his economic brains.

"Minc is our real highbrow," an irreverent Polpress reporter told me, adding that Dr. Minc had three university degrees – one taken in Poland, one in France, and one as a refugee in the USSR. “History, law, and economics are his specialties.”

Dr. Minc never delivered facts casually, but always in completed sequence. It was as if it pained him to release a fact without its before and after. He gave me information willingly and comprehensively, but never in dinner chat; I went to his office with my portable and took it down. I was amazed by the organized clarity of his knowledge, but amused by the pedantic exactness with which he timed his discourse – precisely fifty minutes – like a college professor filling a classroom period. The second time I was ten minutes late. He reproved me mildly. “We will not quite finish this subject today.”

So it is from Dr. Hilary Minc that I quote the plans for a Poland soundly based on economic geography and the necessities of life.

"Poland is among the countries that suffered the most in loss of population and in destruction of industry, farming, and housing. Its condition is much worse than that of Czechoslovakia; it compares with Jugoslavia. In parts of the USSR the destruction was greater than in Poland, but much of the USSR was uninvaded while all of Poland suffered.

"There are three possible sources for repairing our war losses: internal resources, foreign aid from allies, and reparations from the enemy.

"Without doubt we will mobilize our internal resources but it would take decades to return even to our prewar standard of living on the basis of these alone. The destruction in our country resembles that of the seventeenth century in Germany and Bohemia after the Thirty Years' War. Even one hundred years later these lands were still broken, remaining behind the rest of Europe. Such a fate we cannot accept.

"The question of foreign aid is still premature. We must however note that the type and size of foreign loans will depend on the guarantees that Poland can offer, which in turn will depend on our basic resources. This leads to our demand for increasing territory to the north and west.

"What reparations can we get from Germany to repair what the Germans destroyed? Germany cannot give enough in money or goods to make up for the destruction she has done. Our only chance to get what we need – seed, livestock, iron and steel, machines, trucks, motors, cement, glass – is to widen Poland to the west by taking industrial territory, lands once Polish which have been Germanized. These territories are of two kinds: East Prussia, the annexation of which would destroy the spearhead of German imperialism and give us access to the Baltic, and the western lands up to the Oder and Niessa, from which the Poles were pushed in the course of centuries by successive German aggressions.

"This means moving our entire country westward. It means changing Poland from an agricultural country to a land of balanced industry, farming and commerce, from a multi-national state to a national state. We have then the following picture: –

"First, strategic safety. Whatever the peace terms there is always the possibility of a new German aggression twenty or twenty-five years hence, perhaps in even worse forms than Hitlerism. The Polish people could not biologically survive such another catastrophe. This question is therefore one of life or death. By liquidating East Prussia and fixing our frontier along the Oder and Niessa, we get the shortest, strongest possible frontier and make it impossible for an enemy to converge on us from three directions as in the present war.

"Second, our economic life would change entirely. The farmlands of the east – whose big landlords were Poles, though the estates were chiefly farmed by Ukrainian and White Russian peasants – go now to the USSR. We get in return industrial areas, seventy to eighty million tons of coal, a developed steel production and machine-building industry in which a considerable part of the working class has always been Polish. Instead of a funny corridor to the sea, we gain a wide approach with some two hundred miles of seacoast, thus rounding out our economic life with commerce and fisheries.

"Third, we eliminate many internal dissensions. In losing the eastern areas we get rid of our most reactionary feudal elements and eliminate our chief national minority problem. We acquire in the west those industrial classes that will help build a progressive democracy. At the same time we destroy the feudal elements of East Prussia, Pomerania, and Silesia, those strongholds of German big landlordism. The great Prussian estates were built on the blood and bones of Slavs. It is historic justice if they go into the hands of the Polish peasants.

"Such a Poland, with safe frontiers, with our chief problem of national minorities removed, with industry well-developed and with access to the sea, can quickly recover from the war. It will not be the old, backward, semi-feudal Poland, a source of unrest and a danger to the peace of Europe, but a sound, progressive state whose people need not lag behind the other European peoples in prosperity."

Dr. Hilary Minc seemed entirely convinced of the possibility of this all but utopian future; his was the most businesslike statement I heard of Poland's claims.

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