In 1772 partition had been declared imperative as the only means of saving Poland from anarchy; twenty-one years later, she was punished with partition for having tried to set her house in order. Here was tragic mockery indeed, writes L.R. Lewitter.
Except for the decades between the First and Second World Wars, the Polish people, since the end of the eighteenth century, have always been subjected to some form of foreign domination. Thrice Poland was partitioned by aggressive neighbouring sovereigns, and her promising renaissance after 1772 came to nothing. L.R. Lewitter queries the factors that have determined Poland's tragic destiny.
Tsar Peter drew on the knowledge and experience of Western Europe to benefit a Russia 'still groping in the dark' and attempted to 'put other civilised nations to the blush'