Organic Work

section: History
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Wielkopolska was assigned to the Prussian state in 1793 as a result of the determinations of the second partition agreement. The November Uprising and the Polish-Russian war of 1830-1831 was especially significant for the Prussian partition. A completely new concept of fighting for national survival and preparing for the next, successful, armed struggle emerged at this time. This idea was founded on the conviction that Poland could only win independence in the event of armed conflict between the partitioning powers and would even then need outside assistance. It was conceded that the methods used so far had only played into the hands of the partitioning powers and had led to massive destruction and irreparable losses among the most patriotic portion of the population. It was acknowledged that a new society, bolstered by national awareness, would have to be nurtured at the economic and cultural levels if Germanisation and/or Russification were to be avoided. The nation so moulded would, over time, compete with the invader’s own institutions, and when the time was finally right, deliver the coup de grâce.

This was referred to as organic work, a term coined by Jan Koźmian in 1848. This was not an organisation, union or association, but rather an idea or conception that would be continued and extended by the next generation between 1832 and 1918. It would take four generations to change the way Wielkopolska’s Polish community reasoned and acted. As a result, when the Wielkopolska Uprising broke out in 1918, it did not merely end in victory, but the region was able to function as if it were an independent state for the next six months – until the Versailles Peace Treaty was signed. Latter-day regional activists from Wielkopolska are now striving to restore those timeless operational goals and the methods that worked so well almost 100 years ago.
 

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