Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Piotr Kapuscinski.
AllenM
Member
Posts: 92
Joined: 18 Sep 2018 04:01
Location: USA

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by AllenM » 25 Jun 2020 20:59

My father told me what happened at Katyn. The Russians massacred Polish troops and at least one civilian, using captured German weapons. Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin knew what was going on. After his capture, Polish General Anders tried to locate his men. He contacted various departments of the Russian government but everyone claimed no knowledge. At the various conferences in Cairo, Tehran and Yalta, including one with China's Chiang-Kai Shek, the world was being carved up before the end of World War II.

Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in an elaborate ceremony, the flag of the Polish Air Force, which was brought back from England, was handed over to the new Polish Air Force by veterans of the Second World War Polish Air Force.

Few people read the Eastern European press. I am happy to see photos of women wearing traditional, regional clothes. The Polish Peasants' Party opposed entry into the EU. The terms for joining including accepting things they found repugnant. And it was not that long ago that I heard, "Germany for Germans."

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9903
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Jun 2020 06:08

Hi Futurist,

Your Hungarian and Rahul Gandhi points illustrate what I was saying. There is no cut off point between "Europeans" and "Asians". Eurasia is a continuum on ethnic, linguistic, geographical or ultural grounds. The other continents can at least be identified on geographical grounds. "Europe" is just the western end of Eurasia.

Cheers,

Sid.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9903
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Jun 2020 06:42

Hi Steve,

Your Wahabist, not mine.

That said, he is not necessarily detached from Europe entirely. He might (probably is) partly descended from slaves, some of them European. He is a monotheist who worships a religion that recognises Christ as a prophet. His religion is also entirely open to converts from anywhere, "Europe" included. He is probably more closely related to Christ than any "European" is. Europe used "Arabic" numerals without which modern science would probably have not developed. He lives in the same land mass as "Europeans". All "European" alphabets (and his) are descended from those developed by his close relatives 2,500 years ago. The New Testament was originally written in Aramaic. Most modern "Europeans" are descended from early farmers who migrated from the Middle East several millennia BC. Money and metalworking came from his area more recently.

Need I go on?

You cannot fully separate even your Wahabist from "Europeans" on any grounds, be they religious, linguistic, cultural, ethnic or geographic.

There are certainly some things such as red hair, some blood groups, hay fever, tolerance of drinking milk as adults, etc., that are more prevalent at the western end of Eurasia, but they neither share a cut off point with each other, nor have a cut of point with the rest of Eurasia.

Being "European" is a state of mind.

Personally I find the concept a useful construct, but a construct it remains.

Perhaps you would now care to define what you think defines all "Europeans" as distinct from all the rest of humanity?

To use your definition of identity, what are the qualities that make Europeans as a group different from all others?

Cheers,

Sid.

gebhk
Member
Posts: 2139
Joined: 25 Feb 2013 20:23

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by gebhk » 26 Jun 2020 11:12

what are the qualities that make Europeans as a group different from all others?
Errm, they live west of the Urals and North of the Bosporus?

I am not trying to be cute, honest. It's just that this discussion (which I am following with great interest) seems to be continually at cross purposes and that is because certain words are used very loosely to imply things they should not. Europe is a geographic location, an arbitrary one to be sure, but nevertheless one with reasonably well-defined parameters. Wahhabism is a religious/philosophical movement. Comparing a European to a Wahhabist seems as useful as having a debate on the differences between a Yorkeshireman to a catholic. Because catholics can be Yorkeshiremen and vice versa or neither, without further definition of our eponymous subjects, the discussion is utterly futile.
Strip outside influence away from "Europe" and we'd all be Neanderthals!
With apologies, but this is another example of what I wrote above. No we would not. We would still be hominids of the species Homo sapiens. We would not be Neanderthals who are hominids of a different species Homo neanderthalensis (or at least sub-species Homo sapiens neanderthalensis).

gebhk
Member
Posts: 2139
Joined: 25 Feb 2013 20:23

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by gebhk » 26 Jun 2020 11:55

Poland should have the right to remain Polish and definitely have the right to remain European.
Without wishing to raise violent outrage or to offend anyone, I can't help thinking that a lot of the negative feelings we all have (if we are honest with ourselves) about immigrants coming into our communities, is because they inevitably bring change. No one above the age of 14 likes change. It is a scientifically proven and indisputable fact that the world is perfect around age 14 of the beholder. After that it's just all decay and degradation.

I can't help smiling to myself here when I think about some of the conversations in our small Polish community (whose origins lay in the wartime and immediate post-war emigration) when increasingly large numbers of new economical migrants started to arrive from the late 1980's onwards. "They're not even proper Poles - they're from POLAND for God's sake!"

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9903
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Jun 2020 18:58

Hi gebhk,

Is Europe really a distinct geographical location?

I would question whether it is reasonably well defined. I would argue that geographically it is just the western end of a single continental landmass called Eurasia and there is no linguistic, cultural or ethnic cut off point in what is in all cases a continuum.

If the Urals and Bosporus are used as boundaries then this has to be justified by something other than an uncertain geography that has no natural boundary between the one and the other. There are also other divides such as the Rhine-Alps-Danube line that provide a more continuous natural line. Why not use them?

The Hungarians we know came from beyond the Urals barely a thousand years ago. Are they Asiatic or European?

Likewise the people of Takla Makan and Iranians share far more in common with people in your defined European area than they do with most of their neighbours. Are they Europeans or Asiatic?

If geography was the decisive factor, presumably Australians, having left the area, would no longer be Europeans.

Because it cannot be coherently and defintively defined, I would argue that "Europeaness" is simply a state of mind shared by many on the western end of Eurasia.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 26 Jun 2020 19:51, edited 2 times in total.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Futurist » 26 Jun 2020 19:32

Sid Guttridge wrote:
26 Jun 2020 06:08
Hi Futurist,

Your Hungarian and Rahul Gandhi points illustrate what I was saying. There is no cut off point between "Europeans" and "Asians". Eurasia is a continuum on ethnic, linguistic, geographical or ultural grounds. The other continents can at least be identified on geographical grounds. "Europe" is just the western end of Eurasia.

Cheers,

Sid.
What about the Urals and the Bosporus & Dardanelles separating Europe from Asia? Those are geographical features.

AllenM
Member
Posts: 92
Joined: 18 Sep 2018 04:01
Location: USA

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by AllenM » 26 Jun 2020 19:33

Hi Sid,

Having grown up inside a highly ethnic community, a few observations from then and now. Look at a map of Poland from the 1960s. Every region, or subdivision, had its own identity and its own ethnic dress. Being Polish has a distinct meaning as does being Serbian. The histories of these two countries goes back centuries. The Slavic people, further broken down into Poles, goes back before the year 1,000 AD. "The Jagiellonian University is a research university in Kraków, Poland. Founded in 1364 by Casimir III the Great, the Jagiellonian University is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe, and one of the oldest surviving universities in the world."

There is no evidence that being European is a state of mind. Being European often centers around the Church. And if you look at languages, why is German so distinct from Polish, though there are a few shared words? These countries began as tribes and developed further, fought for borders and kept going. So, there is a Western, Central and Eastern Europe. The Russ, Russians, represent the eastern edge. Yes, I am aware of the details.

Best,
Allen

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Futurist » 26 Jun 2020 19:34

Sid Guttridge wrote:
26 Jun 2020 18:58
Hi gebhk,

Is Europe really a distinct geographical location?

I would question whether it is reasonably well defined. I would argue that geographically it is just the western end of a single continental landmass called Eurasia and there is no linguistic, cultural or ethnic cut off point in what is in all cases a continuum.

If the Urals and Bosporus are used as boundaries then this has to be justified by something other than an uncertain geography that has no natural boundary between the one and the other.

The Hungarians we know came from beyond the Urals barely a thousand years ago. Are they Asiatic or European?

Likewise the people of Takla Makan and Iranians share far more in common with people in your defined European area than they do with most of their neighbours. Are they Europeans or Asiatic?

If geography was the decisive factor, presumably Australians, having left the area, would no longer be Europeans.

Because it cannot be coherently and didyintively defined, I would argue that "Europeaness" is simply a state of mind shared by many on the western end of Eurasia.

Cheers,

Sid.
Actually, I'd argue that Europeanness should be defined by ancestry. By DNA, if you will. So, Greek Cypriots, Americans, Canadians, Australians, Russians in Siberia and the Far East, white South Africans, white Latin Americans, et cetera would all be Europeans.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9903
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Jun 2020 20:15

Hi Futurist,

Yes, the Urals and Dardanelles are geographical features, but they are not conjoined. The Rhine/Alps/Danube line and a number of others form more continuous lines.

Presumably on DNA grounds Magyars, Estonians, Finns, Sami, Maltese and all Turkic peoples would not be Europeans? What about people like the Iranians and high caste Indians? Their DNA would make them more "European" than many of the above. Most Spanish are probably more closely related to nearby North Africans than they are to most Swedes.

And, given widespread miscegenation, how does one differentiate "white" Latin Americans and South Africans from the wide range of mixed populations with whom they live? They, too, are part of a local DNA continuum.

Cheers,

Sid.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Futurist » 26 Jun 2020 20:44

Sid Guttridge wrote:
26 Jun 2020 20:15
Hi Futurist,

Yes, the Urals and Dardanelles are geographical features, but they are not conjoined. The Rhine/Alps/Danube line and a number of others form more continuous lines.
The Urals, Caspian Sea, Caucasus, Bosporus, Dardanelles, Mediterranean Sea, and the Strait of Gibraltar would be conjoined, though.
Presumably on DNA grounds Magyars, Estonians, Finns, Sami, Maltese and all Turkic peoples would not be Europeans?
Unlikely for groups such as Magyars, Estonians, and Finns due to them presumably engaging in mass intermarriage with Europeans over the centuries. As for the Maltese, AFAIK, they speak an Arabic language but are descended from southern Italian settlers. Not sure about the Sami. As for Turks, they might be European-Middle Eastern-Central Asian hybrids.
What about people like the Iranians and high caste Indians? Their DNA would make them more "European" than many of the above.
Some high-caste Indians are dark-skinned to my knowledge, but Yes, it is possible that DNA-wise, groups such as Iranians (and maybe even Turks), Pashtuns, Tajiks, and certain South Asians (ex.: Benzair Bhutto) could be genetically similar to Europeans.
Most Spanish are probably more closely related to nearby North Africans than they are to most Swedes.
Do you know of any DNA studies done in regards to this? I will say this, though--Yes, it is very plausible for there to be significant genetic similarities among Mediterranean peoples.
And, given widespread miscegenation, how does one differentiate "white" Latin Americans and South Africans from the wide range of mixed populations with whom they live? They, too, are part of a local DNA continuum.

Cheers,

Sid.
Frankly, this might depend on the % of European DNA that one believes would actually be necessary for one to be considered white. As you say, it is a continuum.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9903
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Jun 2020 21:00

Hi AllenM,

Being Polish is not quite as distinct as you claim. The Masurians preferred to identify as German after WWI. The Germans decided that most Kadhubes were lost Germans and gave hundreds of thousands of them Volksdeutsch identity papers in WWII. The Gorals of the south have an intermediate culture between Poles and Slovaks. These are just the minorities I know about. There may be others.

Which church? All Christian Churches espouse a religion that emerged from outside any definition of Europe I have heard of. Furthermore, these churches have also fractured :Europe". The Serbs and Croats speak essentially the same language, yet are divided primarily by religion.

Besides, there are numerous other Christians churches of long standing outside "Europe" in the Middle East and Ethiopia. Thr possession of a Christian Church is not an exclusive defining point of "Europeaness".

Are the Rus really the eastsrnmost "Europeans"? What about the people of Takla Makan?

Wherever one looks, there are anomalies both within "Europe" and on its presumed fringes.

Cheers,

Sid
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 26 Jun 2020 22:08, edited 1 time in total.

gebhk
Member
Posts: 2139
Joined: 25 Feb 2013 20:23

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by gebhk » 26 Jun 2020 21:04

Hi Sid
Is Europe really a distinct geographical location?
I'm afraid it is, a quick look in an atlas should convince us of that.
I would question whether it is reasonably well defined. I would argue that geographically it is just the western end of a single continental landmass called Eurasia and there is no linguistic, cultural or ethnic cut off point in what is in all cases a continuum.
I would suggest it is very well defined by lines on a map, which is all that is required to define a geographical entity. Linguistic, cultural and ethnic considerations are irrelevant to this. There is no linguistic, cultural or ethnic cut off point between me and my neighbours across the road who happen to live in Wandsworth. Unfortunately, I doubt that Lambeth's tax collectors would be impressed by me arguing that because of this Lambeth does not exist and that therefore I do not need to pay their taxes....alas.
Last edited by gebhk on 26 Jun 2020 21:58, edited 2 times in total.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Futurist » 26 Jun 2020 21:05

Sid Guttridge wrote:
26 Jun 2020 21:00
Are the Tis really the eastsrnmost "Europeans"?
Vladivostok? Hawaii?

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9903
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Churchill - Katyn - Appeasement

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Jun 2020 22:05

Hi gebhk,

A quick glance at the map shows "Europe" to be the Western end of a larger land mass, not a distinct geographical entity in its own right like all other continents.

No, mere lines on a map are mutable human constructs that have only temporary political substance. The presumed border between Europe and Asia lacks geographical substance. It is incomplete and requires speciall pleading to justify compared with all the other continents.

Nature largely defines all the other continents. Only Europe is defined exclusively by man, not geography. Why the special pleading?

Europe is a concept without real substance. Its presumed boundaries do not now and never have conformed with any political, cultural, linguistic, DNA, religious or other boundary.

Cheers,

Sid.

Return to “Poland 1919-1945”