Mark Kramer: Let me first of all introduce a long time friend of mine, Slawomir Lukasiewicz, who is this year or at least over the next several months, a visiting scholar here at the Davis Center. He is a professor of history at the Catholic University in Lublin and is very well known in the historiographic community in Poland.
He has been one of the leading figures in trying to devise a suitable way of studying history in Poland after the demise of communism because during the communist period, it was very, very difficult to write in a scholarly way about ... It was really a much more propagandistic. So in the last 30 years there has been a cohort of scholars, mostly younger scholars who have sought to, although some older ones like Andrzej Paczkowski who have sought to develop a suitable way of studying history.
Sławek has been among the leading figures in that. He is going to be talking today about a project that he is or it's based on a project that he is working on here at the Davis Center during his time as a visiting scholar, which looks at Polish émigré scholars who were experts on the Soviet Union. I happen to know all of the people that he's going to be talking about today, so I will have some comments myself afterward, but please, Sławek.
Slawomir L: Okay, so Mark, thank you very much first of all for such warm words and for invitation to this center and to the presentation. I will try to make this presentation not a lecture too much, so if you want to interrupt in certain moments, you have some doubts about the issue, I can try to react to this anytime you need.
I should start, Mark, with thank you also for the date because the date is a special one. We have 38th anniversary of imposition of martial law today. This is the day exactly. So we have an opportunity to commemorate the victims of communism in certain sense. György [Péteri, who is in the room] has also a great story if you ask him if he can tell this after this presentation about reaction of the world to others because imposition of the martial law was a real event. Many people here in the West reacted to this spontaneously.
This is also the year 1989, so 30 years ago, communism collapsed. We are celebrating this for let's say the whole year. We had certain panels in San Francisco and in many other places. I have to add also the 13 and Friday. It is not a good sign in Polish tradition, but okay, I hope it will be not be the whole failure of after this, the assessment is up to you.
What is the issue for today lecture? First of all, I would like to start with a certain picture of interwar Polish Sovietology. With such names, I think totally unknown for you like Wiktor Sukiennicki, first of all and Stanisław Swianiewicz. They're experts who dealt with Soviet Union before the war because Sukiennicki was a lawyer, Swianiewicz was economist, and they started to analyze what is going on in real in this country.
How to analyze documents, what Sukiennicki did in regards to legal system in the Soviet Union and Swianiewicz did in regards to economic system in the Soviet Union writing a book, for example Lenin as the economist, in Poland it is very important achievement, but today, it is not too well known.
My thesis is that the potential they built before the war, it was totally dispersed because of the war. So they were not able to continue their work in such manner like before the war. Moreover because of the Cold War which out broke after the second world war, a new group of scholars emerged. I will try to show you how connections I see between the two groups, between the two pictures, taking into account, following thesis and the guide questions. I will wait for your reactions also for this because the project is a little bit new and it should be interpreted.
I think that Poland before the war was in similar situation like the United States after the war. So Russia became one of the main enemy. It was even defined in a Polish strategy, geopolitical strategy papers that Poland is between Germany and Russia. Yeah, so two big enemies around Poland. So it was necessary to work out certain attitudes, certain solutions in regard to every of these enemy at the moment, especially in 30s.
If you know the book by David Engerman about let's say American Sovietology, it is called simply, Know Your Enemy. So the idea is how to know your enemy, how to tell some lies about the country, which cannot be treated as a friend unfortunately, because of the system, because of many different events going in this country.
I think that we can compare certain institutional solutions adopted in Poland, in prewar Poland and surely the United States of course taking into account the scale because the scale was completely different. Poland was not so big country, so rich country. The spectrum of attitudes was also different.
But we can try to show how Poles thought about institutionalization of this thinking before the war. We can try to compare this with what happened in America after the war in this institutional dimension. The question for me, it's what can we say about this? So how important was the role played by central Europeans, Poles but also some experts from other countries of the region?
In this American Sovietology after the war, did it play certain role? Yes, so this is the question which I asked at the beginning is the intuition was that yes, they played the role. But how to measure this, it is another question. I would try to show you what methods I'm trying to use and how I'm dealing with the problem.
First of all, we can start through with illustration of this thesis. I told you that Poland was between Germany and Soviet Russia, yes, so it was before the war. So it is from Wikipedia, so you can find the maps in open access, and situation when we had Cold War. Yes. So the United States, NATO, and you see this red color, it is when Poland was subjugated, and the whole Europe by Soviet Russia was in that sphere of influence, yes. Was not able to make some independent decisions. Yes. It is another story, but let's say for imagination, you'll see the difference. So all the Poles from this Poland moved to here or to the other countries where they are able to conduct the research still.
So second type of imagination from this region moved to the West. This is one picture, the first one. Then we can talk a little bit about chronology. Poland before nineteenth century was not an existing country. Yes. It was partitioned between Russia, Prussia, and Austro-Hungary state. But there were certain, I'll say birth of thinking about Russia. There was the thinking how to split Russia into parts. Yes. I can tell you more later. In the United States, I'm sorry, we observed beginning of Russian studies because Russia became more and more important state but not an enemy of course.
Interwar period, we have this Soviet studies in Poland here, we still have Russian studies. Then let's say we have very complicated situation of the Cold War of the Second World War. When Russia became first of all aggressor because of the 1989, 39, I'm sorry. Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, and then it became also an ally.
Yes. It was ally for Poland and for the United States of America. So let's say diplomatically and in expertise, it was really difficult a situation for Poland. Though if we're talking in regards, such events like Katyn Massacre, investigation of this. Poland was in very unpleasant situation trying to balance between let's say allies like the United States and ally like the Soviet Union was until 1943 when the diplomatic relations ceased.
After the war, of course the whole, see this potential was exiled. What stayed in Poland, it is a totally new system in regards to academia, to expertise and the attitude to the Soviet Union in Poland was an official one. There was not place for discussion later in underground. Yes, we had some thinkers, some attempts to be more independent. But official stance was very pro-Soviet Union, but some of experts went in exile as I said.
it is a moment when, let's say, Sovietology in the West was born. I hope you see also in this picture that we have a little bit of coordination. It is a whole story of creation of the National committee for a Free Europe, certain early phase of Cold War American strategy, politics. Poles and several Europeans participated in this very, very strongly and also in Sovietology, I'll try to show.
What other instruments I'm trying to use, so tools. This is a tool of comparison, I hope you know the face. Yes, everyone in this room? This is Zbigniew Brzezinski, he's one of the greatest strategist of American foreign policy in late 70s, adviser to Jimmy Carter. Of course, Pole who was born in Poland and traveled to his father through Canada, then to the United States. A few words more I would say about him too.
We can compare him with let's say Wiktor Sukiennicki who was the representative of this former, let's say, Polish School of Sovietology into war. I'm trying to show you pictures that it is possible to do this. Another possible comparison is Daniel Pipes and Jan Kucharzewski. They had a quite similar view on Russia.
Speaker 3: Richard, Richard Pipes.
Slawomir L: Richard Pipes, of course. Richard Pipes, similar view on Russia but they never met. Moreover Pipes never read the book by Kucharzewski. What is very striking about the conclusions they had were very similar. He has a very simple continuation between tsarist regime and Soviet Russia, in a few words of course.
So eventually, after deepening topic, I found the list for now more than 70 names, here is a shortened list which I should examine where they played certain role as the Sovietologists. And I should say that I verified almost 30 names from this list, and I can say yes. So more than 30, maybe 40, 50. I will have this picture later of such names played certain role as different types of experts in Soviet studies here in the United States because of different reasons.
So I think that first of all we have such persons like Brzezinski from the other side, we have certain whole group of people who came here. It is another thing. What about Hungarians or experts from Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia? Then yes, this is my dream to compare such lists or to get the whole list of Central Europeans, but it is maybe the step toward another project.
A few words about inspirations, methodological framework I'm using for this. Maybe it can be the most boring, not for everyone but I have to refer to this tool. So I think that we can think about people as certain minds, minds traveling through the space and time. Thanks to this, we are able to use certain framework for migration studies from one side and from intellectual history from the other side.
When they are moving trans territorial, trans different territories is through different territories. Yes. From Poland through really Western Europe to the America. Then taking with them also certain baggage of their thoughts. This is what I'm trying to show in the methods are borrowed from such concepts, especially circulation, where we have intellectual history. We can say more about this later. So the idea, yes. If we are talking about intellectual history, I've mentioned the idea expertise in Soviet Russia and its neighborhood as the challenge for the state.
I mentioned this, this geopolitical, its position and and birth of Polish Sovietology. So I hope you see this in this new methodological framework, what I mentioned at the beginning. This is where we can start and different achievements of this type of thinking. It can be mentioned to.
Now, let's get into this connection between Polish Sovietology and the American Sovietology. First of all, we have said that America is the country created by migrants from one side. So it was a huge magnet also for thinkers is to come here to think about different ideas, to circulate them, to share them between them and with American decision makers and in academia and many things. So it is one picture. What they brought with them, what I want to show. So the exceptionality of personal experience, I think very extraordinary for some of them were simply exiles. Yes. People who escaped because of the Nazi system or communist system or Soviet system generally like Sukiennicki, Pipes, Ulam.
Sukiennicki was the person who conducted first investigation on the Katyn Massacre. So he was very, very important person at the moment. But also we can tell something about experience as the members of family exile. Yes. Maybe not only personal about the family who lost everything in Poland and was forced to escape from the system or escape later. There is also such a case from the communist system itself.
It's in the 50s or 60s, Seweryn Bialer he is very good example, a later professor at Columbia University or even let's say we can say something about intelligence officers who escaped and who dealt before the war with Soviet Russia like Wraga Niezbrzycki and some other names I can mention. So this is the one feature of this community.
Another if dealing only with Sovietologists, it is universality certain professional approach for such persons like Sukiennicki or Swianiewicz, it was very, very important. So the potential encounters they saw in America especially it is interesting if we are dealing with discussion here in America, why Americans Sovietology failed?
Did it play certain important role or that the immigrants were the part of the Sovietology or no? It is another question. Also the spectrum of positions. I think that we can even propose certain typology of this, as I mentioned president advisers, but some of them were chiefs of influential study centers even here in Havard here. I'll say a few more words a little bit later, but also professors of American universities in different positions.
Marian Kamil Dziewanowski, Seweryn Bialer, they're authors of the books about Soviet Russia, region experts in many things in legal issues, in agriculture. Now I'm at the beginning of the road, I should say, but I'm discovering very exotic, sometimes expertise in different dimension of Soviet Union in this whole group or simply librarians.
If you're a librarian of Library of Congress, or if you're a librarian at Hoover Institution, yes, you're a person who can be asked how does it work, what books should be bought, yes, or what materials should be gathered in our institution to know something better about Soviet Russia. So I hope you see how let say the methodological framework helped me to go into this topic. A few words about the place we are, about Harvard, because I think it is very important. I think that Mark will comment on this in a few minutes.
Starting with Adam Ulam who received his PhD in 1947 and then was the director of Russian Research Center with his classical studies on Soviet state and the foreign policy of the Soviet state and many, many, other dimensions of the state. You see this picture of him or you can find this on the website, dedicated to him especially.
We have also Richard Pipes with PhD three years later, history of Soviet Union with classical works about history of Soviet Union. Also the director of the Russian Research Center, adviser to Reagan. He was a director before Ulam and probably the name. You cannot recognize, it is Marian Kamil Dziewanowski also a PhD here in 1951, then Boston University, Boston College, Boston University and the University of Milwaukee. the author of communist party of ... History of Community Party of Poland and History of Soviet Russia too. So this is his picture and Zbigniew Brzeziński of course PhD in 1953. So you see the big between let's say six years, you'll have at least let's say three very important persons educated here and graduated from Harvard university thanks to mostly ...
Yes, so this is Zbigniew Brzezinski and this is Zbigniew Brzezinński and Marian Kamil Dziewanowski in their late years in Milwaukee in the house of Dziewanowski. So thanks to such great scholars and professors like Merle Fainsod, Michał Karpowicz or Michael Karpovich depending on how you are spelling this. So a group of real experts emerged here in in this place.
I cannot go too much inside. Let's say this picture if we are talking about the intellectual achievements, but one thing I would like to emphasize taking into account the example of Richard Pipes and his early discovery. I think they are striking and it allows me to compare this pre-war Polish Sovietology with what we had in the United States.
So, I think after his PhD, he had a trip to Europe and Middle East. He met a lot of persons, but what was the key of the meetings? the persons derived from different republics of the Soviet Union, that's from Georgia, from Kazakhstan, from other parts of Ukraine, from other parts of the Soviet Union.
His conclusion after this trip was, why we are not dealing with this nationality problem in the Soviet Union? This is the weakest part of the Soviet Union. If we are thinking about long lasting strategy against our enemy, against Soviet Union, we should focus on this issue and we have to, let's say, try to split this from inside taking nationalities as the main force of the split.
This is in his letter to the Milikin, it is 1952, so it is in the archives of this university. It was confirmed also by Engerman and some other authors that it was the context of the first book he prepared, his PhD and then his book. Also let's say his engagement in MIT-CIA project about Soviet vulnerability in this aspect.
But for me, let's say as the intellectual historian, what is interesting is that it was the real or true Polish Prometheism. What is Prometheism? In the Polish, let's say political thinking, especially of interwar period. Prometheism means the same like in this discovery of Pipes, is that the main issue is to cooperate between Poles and different nationalities or ethnic groups within the Soviet union.
This is the main method, how Soviet Union can be dismembered into no aggressive parts. So it was, let's say discovered, discussed in the interwar period with such names like Włodzimierz Bączkowski. Bączkowski was on the list of Pipes. I don't know they met or not. I don't have the evidence. It seems like that he was on the list, but probably they didn't meet then. I don't know what afterwards, but for me, it is striking let's say that this type of thinking is very resembling Polish thinking about the region. We can add some other comments to Prometheism because it was supported in the interwar period by British intelligence too. Yes, you have a question?
Speaker 4: Yeah. The Prometheism, is it defined by Bączkowski?
Slawomir L: Bączkowski. He was one of the experts.
Speaker 4: Yeah, he first defined or it already defined before?
Slawomir L: It was an milieu of intelligence officers with Tadeusz Schaetzel and many others during interwar period, and this is not the story only about thinking. It is also the story about creation of certain ties between Poles and the representatives of different nationalities from the Soviet Union during interwar period.
But this name was very important for Polish-Ukrainian ties. Yes. He was extremely important. It was on this list of Pipes. So probably for me, the question is, and I don't have the answer. Who helped to prepare this list or how Pipes prepared this list? Where he got some inspirations? Yes. How he was able then to meet the people? It is the issue.
My intuitions is probably if I will check, let's say the names later because I have this list, I would see certain connection between Prometheism and this list of Pipes. So yeah, this is the main picture of Harvard University here, but there are some smaller stories for the end. I hope we will save more time for discussion.
Thanks to this because there's some supplementary episodes, let's say like by Kazimierz Grzybowski who graduated here in 1932, and then after the war, he escaped from Poland and became the professor of Duke University, specializing in Soviet public international law. But he was also a former student of Harvard University, let's say in exile during the Cold War.
I cannot say too much about his connections during post-war period with the university, but for sure it is worth to be examined, or for example, a history of Polish, Slavic or Russian literature which was studied here at Harvard University by such persons. First of all like Wiktor Weintraub. It is a whole story. He was a great historian of literature, but also involved in a little bit in certain political activities.
He was even a former member of certain Emigre party, political party. Then you have for the name of Stanisław Barańczak and this is also the part of the story, so Weintraub and Barańczak here. I should mention also Professor Szporluk, if I may who is present, I rely on your comment. But this is let's say the photo we had recently during other conversations because this is the great thing that I can meet some persons here and I can have such discussions.
This is the creation of Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. We've said, and I'd say at least spiritual support for Poles, the people who were born in Poland. This is another thing but I think a little bit complimentary to this whole picture. If we are talking about the central European experience of all such exiles, who came here to the United States and who were dealing with the Soviet Union as the problem for the United States, as the problem as the enemy country. Of course, I find this a picture on the internet but you have it.
Professor Roman Szporluk: I have not changed since.
Slawomir L: Okay. So thank you very much for photos. So let's go into conclusion. Let's go into conclusion because I will try to propose certain conclusions though the project is not finished. I'm not sure what is the total number of the experts who came here to the United States, but a large group I think, if we're talking about 30 or 40 persons even. It was a large group came here with their expertise or building their expertise after the war.
They were located in different sectors of American Sovietology. Today I'm able to prove this things to certain evidence I am gathering. We should say that the new circumstances were more favorable for the young experts like Brzeziński, like Pipes, like Ulam, yes. I can even say that in certain says, Sukiennicki or Bączkowski, they disappeared. They were not too much important for the mainstream of decision-making process in the United States, but they played certain role. At least they were consulted by their Polish colleagues. It was because Polish colleagues knew about existence of Sukiennicki or Bączkowski. Then for sure they met and they talked about different things in Library of Congress or in Hoover Institution or somewhere else.
I think that the emigré experience of this expulsion from the country, expulsion with their ideas, with all the stuff they had, it was very important. It played a role in their understanding of the Soviet Union. Sometimes not comparable with any other type of experience. Yes. If you had no such experience, for you it was very difficult to understand why that they were thinking like this.
For me, it was one of the explanation of so-called dispute or argument between them and revisionist, yes, in American Sovietology. One of the reason, probably not the only one, but I think quite important and as I said certain concepts or solutions they proposed sometimes mostly unconsciously.
It is the case of Pipes, Pipes, I cited. It resembled similar solutions presented in interwar or wartime Poland. Like what? Like Soviet Union as a continuation of Soviet Russia. It was, let's say, discussing their interwar Prometheism I said, or distinction between the language used by Soviet authorities and political reality in this country.
It was also the discovery of Polish Sovietology before the war, that you'll have to treat this country in let's say double way. You'll have to focus on language. Okay? This is important, but you have to look for what is in real going on in there. And taking all of this on into account and the position of living figures like Pipes, Ulam at Harvard University, Brzeziński or Bialer at Columbia University two main, let's say, places for American Sovietology for many years.
A number of the others I mentioned, the experience and expertise we can say about certain significant influence at least on part of American Sovietology. I think this is, let's say, one of my conclusion. It doesn't mean they created let's say everything, and they were responsible for the whole Sovietology because they were also used I think especially as the hawk rather in this type of thinking to strengthen certain type of American strategical thinking about attitude towards Soviet Russia.
So it was a type of common reaction, from one side they put inside certain type of view from the other side, there were important for some decision makers. This is the picture which I want to propose you at the end. So thank you very much.
Mark Kramer: Okay. Thank you very much. Let me just, there were some people on your list that I noticed who weren't on there, some of them were not per se experts on the Soviet Union but did right like Andre Korboński who was at UCLA for many years. He wrote mostly about Poland but also occasionally about Soviet Union.
I'm not sure how you would deal with people like Leopold Labedz ch live mostly in Britain but also was based for a while here, and wasn't really a scholar per se, much more of a public commentator, but did certainly have a good deal of expertise on there.
So I'm not sure exactly where people like that would fit in, but it was certainly an impressive list you had compiled here. The couple of quick things, one with regard to today's date, we actually had an exhibit here in 2011 on the 30th anniversary of the imposition of martial law in Poland and a seminar that day.
You can still find all of that online. The photographs on which it was based were from a photographer of Solidarity whose daughter was a student here at that time. But really these panoramic photographs of that era. So anyone who's interested in that, please see you on the Davis Center website.
Dick Pipes wrote and published article on the interwar Polish Sovietology leading up to the second world war that was in the journal of Cold War studies maybe about 15 years ago. And he did discuss some of the people that you've mentioned here, and he did argue that there was significant continuity between that group and some of those even in Poland, but particularly those outside Poland after the war.
I'm not sure about that, but I wasn't fully convinced by his argument. But I did find it interesting that he didn't really see that the war had as much impact. I tend to agree with what you argued here. With regard to one theme that you didn't really touch on, which I would like to know more about would be between those who were Polish Jews and those who were not Jewish because this issue was highlighted in the Institute of National Remembrance Archive.
I came across which I showed you, this not article, it was a report written by a Polish foreign intelligence officer in November 1968. It was a report about the Russian Research Center here, which it was clearly based on information that he had been receiving from I presume Polish visiting scholars here or exchange scholars, exchange programs with Poland began in the late 1950s. So there were certainly quite a few who had been through here, but the report actually contained mostly accurate information. Some of it was a little bit off, but the main feature of the report that was strange which I mentioned to you, is that it came at a time when Moczar and Gomułka going along with it.
There was an official campaign of antisemitism in Poland. So this report, which was November of 1968 reflected that very much. It commented on the pernicious influence of Jews here at the, what was then called the Russian Research Center is now the Davis Center, and listed all the Jews, including several who were on here.
It most of them that it mentioned were in fact Jewish. For some reason, it cited Merle Fainsod who clearly was not. But it also expressed doubt about Dick Pipes, which struck me as odd too. But whether that influenced many of those Jewish Polish émigré did not prominently emphasize their Jewish background. Adam Ulam for example, he did particularly later in his life, but early on he really de-emphasized that.
I'm wondering whether that, was it all an issue and say between those who were not Jewish, like Brzezinski and numerous others Bialer versus those who were. Did it ever come up or did it have no influence? Another point that I would like you to say. You mentioned the failure of Sovietology. It wasn't clear to me what you were talking about.
I mean there were allegations when the Soviet Union disintegrated, there were allegations that the Sovietological community in the United States had failed to anticipate that, which I thought was a tendentious criticism. I thought that first of all, it wasn't the purpose of scholars simply to anticipate the disintegration of a country decades in advance because it's not a very useful thing really to study.
But I think if you looked at a lot of the Sovietological literature, even though there were plenty of people who fail to anticipate it, they were well aware that the Soviet Union face major problems, including all of the people that you were mentioning here.
Let me finally emphasize on a personal note too, but certainly there were differences in personality among the people you mentioned. Adam was a very warm person, not always the easiest to approach for students, but certainly among colleagues, a very warm person. Dick wasn't, he was much more standoffish. He accurately, he was well aware of that. He titled his memoir, subtitled it I should say a Memoir of a Non-Belonger or something. That I think is a good description of him.
I should add that Adam was given the lifetime achievement award of the American, what was then called the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, even though I don't think he was a member of it. But he was given that award probably in the mid 1990s. So he actually did go and had a good time there.
But the personalities also came out, Zbigniew Brzeziński could be quite warm in public. He was very well known though. So it would often affect his relations with other people in a way that wasn't really as true. I mean Adam and Dick were also well known in the field but never were including Dick even when he was in government, never had that kind of worldwide cachet that the others, that Brzeziński did.
But he could certainly be, he was much closer I think in personality to Adam than he was to Dick. I'm wondering, did you or how are you going to be taking into account about what these people were like, what these scholars were like as individuals, as people as well? Because I think that, that at times affected how they looked on the profession and how they looked on some of their fellow Polish emigre scholars.
I asked Adam by the way about whether... because it was rumored, Roman might be able to shed light on it, but it was rumored that Adam had opposed Brzeziński's tenure here at Harvard. I can't comment on it, but actually they got along quite well. So I thought that some of that reported tension between them as really overstayed, not that you did it here, but I mean it was sometimes cited as that.
But still, there was no question that there was some competitiveness, I think among them more so than with other Sovietologists who weren't of Polish background or Polish origin. I'm wondering whether you're going to look at that element as well, that kind of competitive aspect of it. I don't want to say discrimination, but certainly there tended to be a bias toward the scholars of not just Polish and Ukrainian or other, but particularly, I think Russian, who were Russian émigrés as well, who studied the Soviet Union, or at least studied aspects or issues relating to the Soviet Union. So you had people who would have sometimes open contempt for them. I don't mean to single them out, but I think Jerry Hough, Arch Getty.
Prof. Szporluk: They all loved the Soviet Union, the names you mentioned.
Mark Kramer: Yeah. I don't want to go that far, but certainly they tended to be more sympathetic. But there were other people, particularly on this issue about nationalities or ethnic tensions within the Soviet Union who didn't have, people like Paul Goble, Jeremy Azrael who had no ... Well, Jeremy, I don't remember exactly his background, but who emphasized that issue a great deal.
But we had no connection with the émigrés per se. I mean, Paul did. I think he had some ties with and still does, he still writes about these issues quite actively now and in current day Russia, but they had difficulty getting academic jobs often.
So I'm wondering, Dick was certainly very active in writing about these issues, but I would say that wasn't the dominant strength per se, despite that list that he compiled as Roman mentioned, Adam almost never discussed the issue. I would say that was true of several. I mean, Brzezinski did.
In fact, I remember in the article I wrote about his Sovietology, I mentioned that I think in the book he published in 1961 or is that a little bit later, he highlighted that issue, but he didn't go into it in any real detail. But he did talk about it as a source of real tension within the Soviet Union. This was long before the 1980s. But anyway, let me let you respond to some of what has come up please.
Slawomir L: Okay. So if I may, maybe it is a very good moment before I forget all the questions even though I noted some of them. Trying to give you certain broader picture so this context, it is a very good idea for the next step of the project. This is what I want to do generally is to say something about Western Sovietology during the Cold War because I think this is the real topic and the real scope we should take into account.
I can use this example of Leopold Labedz. It is the best one to illustrate many things. First of all, he graduated the same gymnasium in Poland like Richard Pipes, though he was a few years older than Pipes. So I don't know if, let's see, sort of proves that they met a at the moment when they were in school, but for sure, they cooperated after this here in exile.
This is the question also about Polish intelligentsia and Polish type of education during the interwar period. Yes, which was very patriotic. It doesn't matter in which school. Very focused on Polish way to independence because Poland was very young country.
Yes. Even in 30s and this education showed to young people that it was the common fall of all the poles and all the peoples who defined themselves as the Poles during the partition period to gain this or regained this independence in 1918 or the next years. So I think that Pipes as well as Ulam as well as Brzeziński for a certain landscape, for a certain moment.
For sure, Labedz, they had experience similar type of education. Of course, I would do this after coming back to Poland. So I will go to this gymnasium, I will find some papers. I did this in the case of Dziewanowski, so I can show you even his papers from this period when he published his work for the after secondary school was about Piłsudski.
Then in exile, he published a book about Piłsudski. So certain inspiration so we can find also there though maybe not so obvious. So this is about, first of all, this general context in a few words. I totally simply agree that we have to broaden this.
Then there was a question about individual or peculiar features of everyone. So I have to say that I'm trying to eliminate from the picture anyone who hasn't deal with Soviet Union or region, let's say controlled by Soviet Union during the postwar period. So of course I can, there are different experts, different let's say diplomats simply the different exiles who came to the United States or to the west, but they focus on a little bit different things.
They had probably their views on Soviet Union, but they didn't express them or it was not important for the common expertise. This is the first thing I'm trying to do focusing on the common picture because I think we have certain common picture, but we have also individual stories like you, Mark, said and you, George, emphasized.
So everyone should be treated as a certain type of career and a certain type of education. I mentioned, let's say Pipes, Labendz, it doesn't mean that the effects of education were completely the same. Yes. They were completely different types of careers. Yes, Labendz ones in the UK. So Labendz is important for understanding the whole say spectrum of Western Sovietology of the Cold War.
I totally agree but okay, this is this issue of what you've asked. I don't know how to deal with this precisely because the issue of identification of themselves as how Ulam identified himself, how Pipes identified himself. I'm using, let's say the Pole, the words Polish Sovietologists defining Polishness, something as the type of belonging.
If Pipes wrote about himself as non belonger, it doesn't mean that he was not the Pole in certain part of this broad definition of Polishness. It is very complicated, especially if you are taking into account experience with Holocaust and Jewishness in the region. I am sure that it was a part of their story. It was a part of the story of their family. It influenced for sure also, and I don't remember now in which biography it was that let's say the family was killed similarly by Germans and by Soviets.
So it was double experience of totalitarianisms at this part. So let's say trying to treat this as this old fashioned definition of Polishness as a certain belonging to common political nation. So if you are defining yourself as a Polish, yes, you are the part of the picture, and I have one more remark to this. This is after my talks with professor Feliks Gross. I cited the recently during the Simone’s seminar, he was a sociologist who escaped here to the United States. He was the great friend of Bronisław Malinowski, one of the great mind of the 20th century.
He came here and in 90s, when we had the talks. He had very simple word that he feels himself to be or to be identified as a Jew, as a Pole and as an American. Why? Because it is a part of his story as his personal biography. I think that it is a certain key for understanding of complexity of identification but of course what I have to respect it is self-identification of every person, and this is one issue.
The other one which was mentioned by Professor Szporluk. It is a experience of immigration. If you are the emigre or you are defined as the emigre, you are in certain sense extraordinary. This is why revisionists were in certain sense suspicious. Yes. If you are emigre, you cannot be unbiased. You cannot be an objective in your research. One more reference to this discussion about failure. You are right, it was let's say over criticism of Sovietology because Sovietology in Pipes' works or Ulam's works, it was a certain type of ability, the understanding of the phenomenon and then understanding which can be used for this certain strategy.
So in discussion, which emphasize the failure, they're afraid to the issue of emigration. They said, maybe we've listened to not too much to emigres. Maybe we had to listen to them more carefully. Then we'll be more wise. There was such a point, I can give you a citation after let's say the seminar from the discussion.
So this is also the part of this emigre or exile experience I think quite important for this. One more picture, I know there were a lot of questions and probably we'll continue them. I have with me the book of my colleague from my city and my university, moreover it is about American historians of Russia. The title is meaning it is Emigres and the Yankees.
Speaker 6: What is the title?
Slawomir L: “Emigranci i jankesi.” About America historians of Russia, and his main thought, he focused only on historians, historians who dealt with history of Russia from the end of 19th century till let's say 60s or 70s. His thesis is that, okay, something happened at the turn of 19th and 20th century in the field.
Yes. With Archibald Coolidge also with Harvard, yes, we have this place still in the story. So very good expertise in Russian studies emerged here. But in certain moment, it was a discovery that without language skills, without understanding of the region, quite profound understanding what is going on here, it is necessary to get involved some people from the region.
It is very revolutional idea, but this idea appeared in the interwar period. What happened then? Russian emigres explained to America Russian history. Yes. We have thanks to this classical works maybe not Karpovich, because Karpovich was more organizer but Vernadsky, Riasanovsky and some others. Yes. So it was the case.
My intuition is that if I'm moving a little bit more, when Russia's influence was more to the Central and Eastern Europe, it was necessary to get also this expertise, this proficiency in other languages and other cultures subjugated by Soviet Russia. Then Poles emerged, Hungarians, Ukrainians and so on and so on. Yes, nations from the region, not only from the Soviet Union but also from the region. They helped in certain moment to understand better the phenomenon. So I hope it is the explanation, maybe not to all the dots. If I miss something, we can continue after this.
Mark Kramer: One thing that would be interesting, not only say compared to a Hungarian émigré Sovietologists, or even Hungarian based in Hungary studying the Soviet Union, but also say with Polish émigré experts on China, of which there was a community, nowhere near as large. But certainly there were here at Harvard or certainly at Berkeley and Stanford. So it would be interesting to look at this phenomenon when they're studying a country that was much more remote, or for example, or for that matter, Polish émigré experts on the United States or North America.
Slawomir L: But we can do another thing which was done during the interwar period to compare Polish Sovietology with Japanese one, for example, Sovietology, and with the countries around the Soviet Union for whom Soviet Union was the neighbor. But I agree is that also this exile experience can be falling also here.
Mark Kramer: Okay, so let me thank everyone for coming and let me in particular, thanks, Sławek, for coming and giving this talk.
Slawomir L: Thank you.