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Examine the impact of the failure of the 1863 Uprising upon Polish Society.

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Introduction

Examine the impact of the failure of the 1863 Uprising upon Polish Society. Poland, like many other Eastern European countries, is one, which has enjoyed a neither liberal nor peaceful past. She has, at numerous points in her every murky and troubled history, been under the rule of a number of foreign powers and has, consequently been in an almost constant state of turmoil. During the time period I intend to focus on, the later half of the 19th century, this was certainly the case. Poland had once again become a divided state, after the defeat of Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars in 1815. She was split between Austria, Prussia and Russian with the majority of her, known as the "Kingdom of Poland" or "Congress Kingdom", on which I intend to focus, being put under Russia's power. Although they were once again under foreign rule, the Polish people enjoyed a somewhat peaceful and liberal life with their own self-government and army for many years. Until that is, the advent of Tsar Nicolas I to the Russian throne, whose heavy-handed rule sparked a succession of unsuccessful uprisings amongst the Polish people. ...read more.

Middle

Positive thinkers proposed a more realistic set of goals and ideals for the Polish people to follow, which concentrated more on the country as a whole and the shape of the economy, rather than on the individual. They tried to introduce the idea of working with the foreign power, in order to make a better Poland, than fighting against it in a hopeless struggle. It was from this way of thinking that the idea of organic work was introduced. The poles stopped thinking of the nation as a collection of individuals and started to think of her as an organism, in which all the limbs must be healthy and performing properly for the body to work. They realised that "The culture and economic resources of the Polish nation were as yet too underdeveloped to sustain an independent state"2 and thus that they had to improve the trade and industry of the polish provinces before they could take her back as their own. They decided that they had to "bring the nation out of the backwardness of the Russian Empire into the modern world"3, but the only way to do this was by putting their grievances aside for the time being, and accept the conditions they were in. ...read more.

Conclusion

This has much to do, I feel, with the 1863 Uprising. After this event, completely changed the lives of most Polish people under the Russian rule forever. It impacted on everything; from their belief structure, to the political position, to their Art, nothing was left sacred. They no longer looked at life with the desire for revolution, but instead excepted their position in the world and tried to understand how they could make it better. They no longer enjoyed the little freedom they once had, but this did not make them give up hope, it merely made them think about things in a different more realistic way. Without the failure of the 1863 uprising Poland may never have reached this level of maturity. I believe that it was of a direct result of this failure that we have to mature, culture rich Poland that we have today. 1 Positivsim : www.arts.gla.ac.uk/Slavonic/Positivism 2 'Heart of Europe', page 170 3 'When Nationalism began to hate', page 46 4 'Literature and Nationalism in Partitioned Poland', page 133 5 'When Nationalism began to hate', page 44 6 'Heart of Europe', page 172 7 www.sydneyarttheater.com 8 'A Short History of Poland', page 163 9 www.sydneyarttheather.com Heather Watson Slavonic Studies Level 2 1 ...read more.

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