A Clean Sweep?

November 2006
280 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in East and Central Europe
ISBN: 9781580462389
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS037030, HIS010010, SOC008000

A Clean Sweep?

The Politics of Ethnic Cleansing in Western Poland, 1945-1960

T. David Curp

An examination of how the Polish state and its people worked together to ethnically cleanse and colonize eastern Germany after 1945.
A Clean Sweep? The Politics of Ethnic Cleansing in Western Poland, 1945-1960 examines the long-term impact of ethnic cleansing on postwar Poland, focusing on the western Polish provinces of Poznan and Zielona Góra. Employing archival materials from multiple sources, including newly available Secret Police archives, it demonstrates how ethnic cleansing solidified Communist rule in the short term while reshaping and "nationalizing" that rule.
The Poles of Poznan played a crucial role in the postwar national revolution in which Poland was ethnically cleansed by a joint effort of the people and state. A resulting national solidarity provided the Communist-dominated regime with an underlying stability, while it transformed what had been a militantly internationalist Polish Communism. This book addresses the legacy of Polish-German conflict that led to ethnic cleansing in East Central Europe, the ramifications within the context of Polish Stalinism's social and cultural revolutions, and the subsequent anti-national counterrevolutionary effort to break the bonds of national solidarity. Finally, it examines how the Poznan milieu undermined and then reversed Stalinist efforts at socioeconomic and cultural revolution. In the aftermath of the Poznan revolt of June 1956, the regime's leadership re-embraced hyper-nationalist politics and activists, and by 1960 Polish authorities had succeeded in stabilizing their rule at the cost of becoming an increasingly national socialist polity.

T. David Curp is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Ohio University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Hearts and Minds and Land: Ethnic Cleansing and the Stabilization of Postwar Poland
How the East Was Lost: Germany's Struggle for the Polish-German Borderlands, 1870-1945
Who Won the West: The Colonists and Ethnic Cleansers of Poznan and Eastern Brandenburg in 1945
Acts of Sacrifice: Poland's Ethnic Cleansing and the End of Political Pluralism, 1945-47
Counterrevolution from Above and Abroad: The Delocalization of Politics and the Beginning of Polish Stalinism's Antinational Counterrevolution, 1947-49
Waging Counterrevolution: The Party-State's Struggle for Hearts, Minds, and Land in Wielkopolska, 1953-56
Revolutions before the Revolution: National Solidarity and the Long Retreat of Stalinism in Wielkopolska, 1953-56
The Revolutions Betrayed? The Poznan Revolt and the Polish Road to Nationalist Socialism, 1956-60
Conclusion: A Near Run Thing: From National Solidarity to Solidarity


[A Clean Sweep?] is undoubtedly an original, engaging and forcefully argued monograph. It joins an ever-expanding body of first-rate studies available in English on 'national communism; in the region. . . which compel us to reassess the relationship between post-war nationalisms and Communism. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, February 2009 [Matthew Frank]

Without a doubt, ethnic cleansing is one of the foundations of many postwar European states, and especially of Poland. This is the first book in English to explore that process and its repercussions for communist rule in depth. T. David Curp deftly shows that Poznan, the site of the first major uprising in People's Poland, is excellent terrain to explore the communists' problems with nation. --Padraic Kenney, Professor of History, University of Colorado, Boulder

In this important and carefully researched book, T. David Curp provides a vital guide to the politics of a key chapter in the history of ethnic cleansing: the driving out of the vast majority of Poland's Germans at the end of the Second World War. Curp gives ample and convincing proof of powerful and broad support for ethnic cleansing. In taking this story beyond the immediate postwar years, Curp also skillfully analyzes the long-term legacy of the politics of ethnic cleansing. --Benjamin Lieberman, Professor of History, Fitchburg State College, and author of Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe

In addition to offering a new perspective on the construction of communist Poland, Curp's approach compels us to consider the legacies of postwar forced migrations. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

Author Bio

T. David Curp is assistant professor of history at Ohio University.

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