Gorlice

«All quiet on Eastern Front»?

From mythologisation of the battlefields to (non) remembrance of war : the case of Galicia and Polish lands.

Le 13 novembre, nous aurons l’honneur d’accueillir un collègue de l’Université Jagellone de Cracovie, la plus ancienne de la ville.

Kamil Ruszała est maître de conférences au département d’histoire contemporaine de la Pologne. Il est spécialiste d’histoire de l’Europe centrale et orientale aux XIX et XX siècles. Son dernier livre, Wielka Wojna w małym mieście. Gorlice w latach 1914–1918, (La grande guerre dans une petite ville : Gorlice entre 1914 et 1918) a été publié à Cracovie en 2015. Il a également co-dirigé Intellectuals and the First World War. A Central European Perspective, Kraków 2018 (avec Tomasz Pudłocki) et Doświadczenia żołnierskie Wielkiej Wojny, Kraków 2017, (L’expérience des soldats pendant la Première Guerre mondiale avec Michał Baczkowski). 

Voici une présentation (en anglais) de son intervention :

When the First World War began, East and Central Europe, including the area of partitioned Poland (Austrian-Galicia, Prussian region and Russian Congress-Poland) became a theatre of military warfare between two armies: Central Power and Russian. This war brought significant changes in all human’s spheres. Initially, in early Summer 1914, people had limited imagination about war, which was confronted by reality. Endurance of the war dealt with different experiences: struggling and being competitors in rationed everyday life on a frontline, living in trenches as mobilised soldiers, being in exile as refugees etc. The First World War influenced also landscapes, physical and cultural. This first connects the dynamic of war destructions, which caused that people lived among ruins. This cultural landscape was constructed by establishing military cemeteries and monuments during the war as a symbol of glory, dedicated to fallen soldiers. This was a part of creating a monumental narration of formed battlefield and war memory in Galicia, a formed Habsburg province, as a deliberate policy. After 1918 a war memory in interwar Poland stayed strictly connected with the myth of establishing an independent state, full of heroization of Polish Volunteers in the Habsburg Army – the Pilsudski’s Legions. Other fields of WW1 Polish experience stayed neglected. After 1945 one can see a significant change in WW1 memory: almost vanishing the years 1914–1918, which was consequences of WW2 experience. 

Therefore, one can ask: how a war remembrance and memory were constructed during and after the war? What was the meaning of WW1 in interwar period Poland? Why the First World War became underrepresented in literature? Which were the crucial moments for Polish WW1 narration and how they survived/vanished? Those selected questions will be the subject of this lecture.


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