Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JUNE 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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Letter to the Editor

The country had become hopelessly divided along a bitter partisan divide. While all political factions recognized the urgent need for reform, no party could command a sufficient majority to pass meaningful legislation. After enjoying a brief resurgence, the economy had weakened, causing the already alarming budget deficit to swell. Those on the left demanded increased social spending to ease suffering and reflate the sagging economy, while those on the right insisted that only steep cuts and sound monetary policies could create the lasting prosperity that would benefit all. Untethered to consistent policies or a systematic approach to the glaring problems afflicting the republic, the country drifted towards disaster.

Sound familiar? The situation facing Poland in the spring of 1926 was in fact more desperate than the United States in 2012. The country's economy was more depressed, its political system more dysfunctional, and its international situation more precarious. Poland had emerged as independent state only in 1918, liberated by a combination of Allied victory in WWI and the efforts of Joseph Pilsudski, its inspirational leader.

In his youth, Pilsudski was a revolutionary socialist, determined to free Poland from the iron grip of the czar. Through a combination of perseverance, singleness of purpose, and luck, he was able to resurrect Poland as an independent republic, and through his inspirational leadership, to protect the state against its traditional enemies. Although lacking formal military training, he defeated the Red Army, which was intent on spreading the Bolshevik Revolution to Europe.

Peter Hetherington

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