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"National Minorities at War: Integration, Identity and Combat Motivation among Poles in German and Austro-Hungarian Society, 1914-18"


"The rise of globalisation since the Second World War has entailed not only large movements of goods and capital across European borders but also mass migration. By 2005, 8.6 per cent of the inhabitants in EU-25 countries were foreign-born. The issue of how best to integrate socially these often ethnically and religiously diverse peoples has become an important subject of debate both within individual nations and at the level of the Commission of the European Communities. Often forgotten, however, is the fact that this dilemma is not new. This project will provide original insights into minority integration through a comparative historical case study. It takes as its focus the Polish minorities living within German and Austro-Hungarian borders during the First World War. In the forty years before 1914, these two states had adopted diametrically opposed policies to win Poles’ loyalties: whereas German governments had pursued obtrusive campaigns of cultural and linguistic assimilation, Austria-Hungary had granted extensive political and cultural autonomy. By comparing Poles’ readiness to defend these states in 1914, as well as their subsequent commitment to their rulers’ war efforts, the study will assess which method of integration proved more successful. Two further outcomes, contributing to two interdisciplinary academic debates, are also expected from this research. Firstly, by examining Poles’ attitudes and conduct during the years 1914-18, the project will shed light on the growth of Polish national identity in the early twentieth century and engage with sociological and political scientific literature on the relationship between war and the rise of national consciousnesses. Secondly, by evaluating the performance of Polish troops fighting for Fatherlands which were not their own, the study will help to resolve the longstanding scholarly controversy about the importance of ideological beliefs, especially patriotism, for martial efficiency."

Call for proposal

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Krakowskie przedmiescie 26/28
00-927 Warszawa

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Makroregion województwo mazowieckie Warszawski stołeczny Miasto Warszawa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Tomasz Kizwalter (Prof.)
EU contribution
No data