Document Type

Book Review


Book Review: The Struggle for Poland, 48 American Journal of International Law 525 (1954)


This short book offers a concise, readable, and carefully documented account of the struggle from 1939 to 1947 between the East and the West for the control of Poland. In this struggle the Polish Communist groups and the Soviet Union were arrayed against the Polish Government-in-Exile, Great Britain and the United States, and the future of the country was determined as much by "Big Three" agreements and by interventions as by the action of the Poles themselves.

The author's purposes are twofold: first, to present a succinct factual summary of the important events of the period; and, secondly, to appraise critically the role of the United States in this diplomatic war. Such factual study is needed, the author suggests, because most accounts are incomplete and commonly fail to separate facts from evaluation, and new appraisal is needed because most appraisals have tended to be either justifications of past actions (in memoirs) or accusations against past or present political opponents. Such appraisals have tended to fall into one of two extreme schools of thought: the first, a "betrayal" school which condemns as appeasement all the attempts to bargain with the Soviet Union, apparently assuming that the United States could unilaterally have imposed whatever solution it desired; and the second, a "nothing-would-have-made-any-difference" school which contends that once the Red Army entered Poland all hope for a settlement vanished.

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