Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia
Jan Gross describes the terrors of the Soviet occupation of the lands that made up eastern Poland between the two world wars: the Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia. His lucid analysis of the revolution that came to Poland from abroad is based on hundreds of first-hand accounts of the hardship, suffering, and social chaos that accompanied the Sovietization of this poorest section of a poverty-stricken country. Woven into the author's exploration of events from the Soviet's German-supported aggression against Poland in September of 1939 to Germany's attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, these testimonies not only illuminate his conclusions about the nature of totalitarianism but also make a powerful statement of their own. Those who endured the imposition of Soviet rule and mass deportations to forced resettlement, labor camps, and prisons of the Soviet Union are here allowed to speak for themselves, and they do so with grim effectiveness.
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I am doing research on the history of Poland and the Soviet Union.
The first edition of this book was published in 1988. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and some Soviet archives were opened to some scholars thereafter. The second edition of this book was published in 2002.
In the Preface to the first edition, the author says that during their 21 months of initial Soviet rule in Eastern Poland (Sept. 17, 1939 - June 22, 1941) the Soviets deported “about 1.25 million Polish citizens, (roughly 9% of the local population)” to areas of the Soviet Union (xiii)
In the Introduction to the new edition the author writes:
“Finally, I would like to include a factual correction. On the basis of newly available Soviet data--which are incomplete but, researchers agree, fundamentally correct--the number of people who had been arrested in and deported from the Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia from 1939 to 1941 has been significantly scaled down from previous estimates. The best count of the total number of deportees in this period now runs between 309,000 and 327,000 rather than around a half a million or, according to some earlier Polish estimates, as many as 1 million people."
But in his book he did not say that the number of deportees was "around a half a million." He expressly wrote that it was "about 1.25 million." And incredibly, he did not change the text in the new edition, which continues to say that 1.25 million were deported.
Another fundamental issue that I have with this book is the title, and terminology used to identify the area of Poland in question. Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia were Russian and Soviet terms for the eastern half of Poland first ripped from Poland by Czarist Russia in the first and second partitions in the 18th century and later seized by the Soviets in Sept 1939. And this is not a meaningless point. These terms identify these regions of Poland are just the western regions of Soviet territory and the author's use of them just takes the life out of the Polish claims to them. They were not the Polish names for these regions. Doesn't Professor Gross know even that?
I have serious doubts about the accuracy of much of the information in this book.
Michael J. Mangan
History for dummies. Primitive analyses with no intellectual or historical value. Students of History 101 can write a much better paper. The whole Gross.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PREFACE TO THE EXPANDED EDITION
The Paradigm of Social Control