When we are talking about "for freedom ours and yours" it is tempting to also mention Haiti


and Poles being called "the White Negroes of Europe" and officialy declared "black" by Haitian constitution.

But I don't really see how your post fits the "proxy war" myth westerners talk about today.

Yeah, our nations were fighting this kind of "proxy war" = fighting for someone else, because it helps your cause, but today this would be situation of Georgian Legion, Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion, Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment or Freedom of Russia Legion.

They are fighting "slavic type proxy war for ours and yours freedom"

I'm not sure how this applies to tankie myth of USA orchestrating and prolonging the war to damage russia using Ukrainians. The "evil imperialist kind of proxy war".

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Apr 4, 2023·edited Apr 4, 2023

The current fight of the Ukrainians is also a "proxy war" in the sense of a war for both their (Ukraine's) and ours (the part of Europe's living under the threat of Russian imperialist aggression) freedom and maybe even very existence. This means we owe every support for this fight to the ones that are fighting it.

As for tankie myths, welp, [----] them and [----] their propagators. Not worth giving the time of day.

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In some respects, yes, of course it is. But I would be wary of putting an equal sign in this way, because it takes away from the meaning of the very people over whose lives and land the war is being fought.

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Apr 4, 2023·edited Apr 4, 2023

That's wrong take.

September 1939 was not proxy war for Poland, even though it was defending rest of Europe at the moment, it was the direct war. Proxy war started later, when polish soldiers took part in other peoples direct war hoping to help polish case along the way.

There is nothing of a proxy war for Ukrainians today, they are fighting their war - that also helps others, but that doesn't change it to proxy war. Every war helps someone else, so that would make every war a proxy war and the term would be useless.

As for tankies myths - this entire substack is devoted to explaining to westerners why tankie myths are wrong. Not because anyone believes to explain anything to tankies, but to disarm their propaganda aimed at regular westerners.

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I think the Poles overestimate the number of Polish soldiers who switched sides in Haiti. This is a more balanced account: https://culture.pl/en/article/pirates-freedom-and-a-voodoo-goddess-the-story-of-polish-haitians

"In total Napoleon sent over 5 thousand Polish legionaries to Hispaniola to fight against the rebels. The irony of this fact is that the Poles, who were essentially seeking an occasion to fight for the freedom of their own country, were involved in preventing others from obtaining their liberty. The Polish soldiers weren’t happy with this situation. They also felt unfairly treated by the French, who didn’t pay the Poles on time and sent the Polish legionaries only to the worst fights. The rebels learned about the Poles’ uneasiness from deserters from the French army. This is what one of the insurgent generals told a group of Polish prisoners of war caught by the rebels: “Poor Poles, the French seduced you and told you to look for your homeland beneath a sweltering sky, for your services they pay you with ungratefulness”. In general, the rebels treated the Poles better than the French because the Polish troops were less cruel towards the rebels than the French soldiers. Some of the Polish troops even switched sides and joined the insurgents."

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I was once surprised by the history of the Polish-Czechoslovak union. After the collapse of both Poland and Czechoslovakia, politicians in both countries opted for such a solution as enabling them to stand up to their larger neighbours. This was put to an end by Katyn, or rather by Czech calculations that Poland was too much of a burden in arranging relations with Stalin. Be that as it may, it is also a story about the quest for independence and about easteuropean brotherhood.


But as for proxy-war -- I was very annoyed by a friend who postulated that it was up to the US to get along with Russia. Again, I would go back to the Czech Republic -- the "betrayal at Munich" was all the more painful for the Czechs because they felt that they were not treated as a subject who had a right to have an opinion (and, for example, to want independence), but only as an object of bargaining by the powers. Whenever someone says that the great have the right to get along with the weak without asking for their opinion, this makes me think: isn't it a form of racism that certain peoples are deprived of their humanity and human rights and made into mere playthings of superhuman nations, or superhuman presidents?

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Apr 4, 2023·edited Apr 4, 2023Author

It wasn't that bad, really. The Polish-Czechoslovakian negotiations about the hypothetical future union of both countries were indeed suspended for a while, but they evolved into broader vision of Pan-European Federalism. The spiritus movens were the "small countries", in the West - Benelux. In 1948 the federalists organized the European Congress in Hague, which led into the creation of Council of Europe (not UE per se). Poland and Czechoslovakia were represented by empty seats. I would argue that our membership in UE - and everything that happens now regarding Ukraine - is the fulfilment of that dream. They never wanted to stop with just Polish and Czechoslovakia, they were aiming for a broader goal of a "hexagon of Gdańsk, Wiedeń, Triest, Ateny, Konstanca" (forgive me using Polish names, I'm quoting this from a book "Polityka rządu polskiego na uchodźstwie w latach 1939-1942"). This hexagon ACTUALLY EXISTS TODAY, it's just the bottom-right corner of UE and NATO.

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One of the most fascinating examples of proxy war hero from the ww2 is Witold Urbanowicz. As commander of 303, he became ace (17 kills over UK), but due to unpopularity with Polish govt on exile in London, was sent to Washington as military attache. There he volunteered to fight for free China, and joined famous Flying Tigers in Chongqing. He shot around 6 Japanese planes, and wrote very good book about whole adventure (Fire over China).

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Apr 4, 2023Liked by Eastsplaining

There is an anecdote that during one of the battles of the First World War, soldiers of the First Brigade of the Polish Legions took a Tsarist officer prisoner.

The Polish officer interrogating him, Bolesław Wieniawa-Dlugoszowski, was asked by the Russian what the Polish legionnaires were actually fighting for.

Wieniawa replied: - We are fighting for freedom, what are you fighting for?

To which the Russian replied: - And we for honour!

- Apparently, everyone fights for what he lacks - Wieniawa-Dlugoszowski commented.

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There's one more reason why calling it a "proxy war" is absurd: the strong support for Ukrainian cause in the two countries which shared in the past the same state with them: Poland and Lithuania. I don't particularly like the nostalgia for the P-L Commonwealth, and especially us Poles should avoid it, but I've recently watched this video by a Ukrainian historian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXPdAGenN2Q (it's in Ukrainian, but the sound quality is very good so most Poles should be able to follow it without much difficulty) and it blew my socks off: it's not just our nationalistic myth, (some) Ukrainian intellectuals also feel that they share a legacy of a political partnership with Poland. Therefore, the question isn't "why should Poland and Lithuania provide help to Ukraine, and rally their NATO allies to do the same?", the question is "how could we NOT do that??". It's not a proxy war, it's family business.

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