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Lothrop Stoddard, A. M., PH.D. (Harv)
Racial Realities In Europe Contents

Chapter 8



CONDITIONS in Eastern Europe can, be described in two words: complexity and instability. This is true not merely of the present but also of the past. Nature herself is primarily responsible. Eastern Europe is a vast plain stretching from Germany across Russia to the Ural Mountains. Furthermore, Eastern Europe is itself only part of a larger whole, because the Urals are no true barrier and beyond them lie the even vaster plains of Siberia, which go clear to the Pacific Ocean. Indeed, Eastern Europe is really a borderland between Europe an4 Asia, and partakes of both continents in its geography, its climate, and the character of its inhabitants. For ages it has been the scene of vast racial movements. These endless plains with their long, navigable rivers invite migration. There countless tribes and nomad hordes of diverse races have wandered meeting and mingling their blood. In Eastern Europe race-lines tend to become blurred, its inhabitants being mostly of mixed stocks. This has, however, not resulted in a uniform mixture. The land is so vast, the climates are so varied, and the migrations have come from such different directions, that the populations of different regions vary widely from one another in racial make-up, though with a good deal of border-crossing. This combmation of wide migration and varied local race-mixture has likewise produced a complex overlapping of languages,


religions, and cultures, while the interplay of all these factors has resulted in profound instability -- especially in political matters. States and "empires" have arisen rapidly -- and as rapidly disappeared. Here and there populations have developed a national consciousness and have therefore crystallized into "nations." But even they lack the stability of western nations: their territories are not separated from their neighbors by natural frontiers, and they often contain within their political borders elements which have not been assimilated into the national life. Eastern Europe is thus a world still in the making, where frontiers are still fluid and where great political changes may yet take place.
Over the greater part of this immense area one basic factor has long been active -- the spread of Alpine blood and Slav speech. For the past thousand years the Alpine Slavs have been expanding over Eastern 'Europe, so that they to-day form the common element in the various racial and national combinations which have taken place. This is the outstanding point to remember in Eastern Europe's complex history. In previous chapters we have observed the great outpouring of the round-headed Alpine Slavs from their Carpathian homeland westward into Germany and southward through the Danube basin to the Balkans. Let us now follow this same movement northward and eastward into what is to-day Poland, Russia, and other east-European regions.
When the Slav masses began pouring over Eastern Europe, they found a land generally level but diversified by climate into wide, treeless prairies, dense forests, deep swamps, and half-desert plains. The forests and swamps


lay to the north, with a cold climate and heavy rain or snowfall. South of the forest belt began the open country -- at first fertile prairie but gradually shading off to the southeast into less fertile plains with diminishing, rainfall until, on the borders of Asia, they became waterless deserts. These southern deserts and arid plains (known as "steppes") were already occupied by Asiatics -- Turkish or Mongol nomad hordes moving in from Asia. The rest of Eastern Europe was, then sparsely inhabited by blond Nordic tribes, mingled in the far north with Asiatic Finnish stocks which had wandered in from Siberia.
Such was the land in, to which the migrating Slavs made their way, a little over a thousand years ago. What followed was, not so much a conquest as a confused inter-penetration. The Slavs were split up into a multitude of independent groups, while the native Nordic and Finnish populations were equally unorganized. After a certain amount of obscure fighting, the newcomers and the older elements seem to have rapidly mingled, the more numerous Alpine Slavs contributing the largest share in the new racial combination. Th'e steady Alpinization of Russia and Poland, together with its gradual and mainly peaceful character, has been proved by numerous studies of ancient burial-mounds and old Russian and Polish graveyards. The prehistoric burial-mounds contain the bones of a long-skulled population unmistakably Nordic in type. Alpine round-skulls do not become frequent in Russian and Polish burial-places until about 900 A. D. Thereafter the proportion of round-skulls increases rapidly until in a few centuries it becomes the prevailing type, thus showing the steady replacement of the Nordic by the



Alpine racial element. Racial change, however varies widely with different regions. This is clear not only from historical studies but also by the appearance of the existing population. Not only in their head-forms but also in their complexions, modern Russians and Poles show the effect of varied Alpine and Nordic crossings. The original Slavs were (like all distinctly Alpine peoples) a round-skulled, thick-set, rather dark-complexioned folk. Such is to-day the prevailing type in Southern Russia and Poland, as it also is in the Slav homeland, the highlands of the Carpathians. But in Northern Poland, and even more in Northwestern Russia, a great deal of Nordic blood survives, showing itself in the blond and reddish-blond types so common among the Polish and Russian peasantry of those regions. At the same time, it should be noted that pure Nordic types are rare: so prolonged and general has been the intermingling of racial stocks that in most living individuals Nordic characteristics are found associated with Alpine traits like round skulls and thick-set bodies thus forming what scientists call "disharmonic combinations." Again, in Northern Russia, the population shows distinct signs of an admixture of Asiatic Finnish blood.
And this by no means describes the whole of Eastern Europe's complex racial make-up. Parallel to the expansion of the Alpine Slavs has gone a series of invasions by Asiatic nomads, mostly Turks and Mongols who have several times turned back the Slav advance and who have also sown much Asiatic blood among the Eastern European peoples. Asiatic types are to-day not infrequent in Poland and are much more common in Russia particularly in Southern Russia, where there is much


Asiatic blood. The Russian temperament is clearly part Asiatic in character. That old saying, "Scratch a Russian and you find a Tartar," contains a deal of truth.
Besides the Asiatic strains which have become absorbed in the general population, there exist other Asiatic elements which still remain distinct. Such are the Mohammedan Tartars of Eastern and Southern Russia, kept apart from the surrounding population by barriers of religion and culture. The same is true of the large Jewish population of Poland and Western Russia. The Russian and Polish Jews are a very mixed stock, widely different in type and temperament from the Jews of Western Europe, and the Mediterranean basin. These east-European Jews of Russia, Poland, and Rumania together form the so-called "Ashkenazim" branch of Jewry, the west-European and Mediterranean branch being known as "Sephardim." The racial make-up of the Ashkenazim is decidedly complicated. The largest element in their make-up consists of various Alpine strains, acquired not only from the Alpine populations of Europe but also from distant relatives of the European Alpines such as the Armenians and kindred round-skulled stocks of Western Asia. The Ashkenazim possess very little of the old Semitic Hebrew blood. On the other hand, they have a strong Mongolian infusion due to intermarriage with the Khazars, a Mongoloid Asiatic tribe once settled in Southern Russia which was converted to Judaism about a thousand years ago, and was thereafter absorbed by intermarriage into the Ashkenazic stock. It is from the Khazars that the dwarfish stature, flat faces, high cheekbones, and other Mongoloid traits so common among east-European Jews seem to be


mainly due. The mixed racial make-up of the east-European Jews shows plainly in the wide varieties of physical appearance and temperament which appear in the stock, this extreme variability frequently producing very unusual "disharmonic combinations."
One other feature in Eastern Europe's racial make-up should be noted: the ruling aristocracies which have appeared at various times. The inability of Alpines to erect strong states of large size is well illustrated by the Slavs. In practically every case where large, powerful, and enduring states have arisen among the Slav peoples it has been primarily due to a masterful ruling minority differing considerably in race from the Alpine masses. The best example of this is Russia, which from the very beginning of its history has been ruled by minorities chiefly of non-Alpine blood.
Such is the racial and geographical background of Eastern Europe. To describe in detail all tile human groupings which have arisen as a result of these varied racial combinations, cross-cut as they have been by political, cultural, and religious factors, would make a book in itself. Let us therefore confine ourselves to a brief survey of the three most important east-European peoplek: the Russians, the Poles, and the Czecho-Slovaks. From this survey a good general idea of east-European conditions can be obtained.

We will begin our survey with the Czecho-Slovaks because this people (divided, as its name implies, into two branches) forms a natural link between Central and Eastern Europe. A glance at the map makes this clear. The


country of the Czecho-Slovaks is a long ribbon of territory running across East-Central Europe almost due east and west. The Czechs inhabit the western portion, the regions known as Bohemia and Moravia, which thrust their mountainous bulk far to the westward, dividing the German plains to the north from the Danube valley to the south. Bohemia, the more westerly of the two regions, is likewise the larger and more important. It is a great plateau in Europe's very heart, ringed about with mountains. Bohemia's dominating position, overlooking as it does both the flatlands of Germany and the Danube valley, has given it the significant title of "The Citadel of Europe." .
Moravia, a transition land of hill and plateau, is the link connecting Bohemia with the Slovak country to the eastward -- the rugged highlands of the Carpathians, which sweep like a vast bow southeastward for hundreds of miles, dividing the Danube basin from the limitless east-European plains. We now see how geography itself has made the Czecho-Slovaks the link between Central and Eastern Europe. Bohemia seems at first sight to be geographically part of Central Europe. What binds it racially to Eastern Europe is the fact that the only easy entrance to Bohemia is from the east. On its other sides Bohemia's mountain walls rise almost unbroken, and when (as in ancient times) these mountains were clothed with primeval forest they formed an impenetrable barrier to large-scale human migration.
Bohemia's history begins with its settlement by the Czechs. This settlement was part of the great expansion of the Alpine Slavs which took place shortly after the


fall of the Roman Empire. The Czechs of Bohemia and Moravia are the Slavs who migrated due west from the Carpathian homeland. The Slovaks are their kinsmen who stayed behind. These Slovaks, backward and isolated as they have remained, have kept much of the primitive Slav physical type and temperament. However, even the Czechs are to-day racially nearer to the original Slavs than are most of the modern Slav peoples of the east-European plains such as the Poles and Russians, because the Czechs have not come in contact with so many racial elements. The only considerable mixture that the Czechs have undergone has been with Germans. When the Czechs first entered Bohemia they found the country thinly populated with Teutonic Nordics. These the more numerous Czech invaders soon overwhelmed and absorbed. To this early cross the blond traits which appear in the Czech peasantry are mainly due. The Slav strain, however, remained predominant, so that a glance at the present population is enough to show that the modern Czechs are mainly Alpine in race. The extremely round heads, thick-set bodies, and dark hair and eyes so common among the Czech peasantry unquestionably represent the primitive Slav type. The Czech riddle classes have more Nordic blood, this being due largely to the later period of German domination. For Bohemia, the western outpost of Slavdom, has been under German control during much of its history. The trend of affairs in Central Europe made this inevitable. When the Czechs invaded Bohemia they formed merely the middle of the great Slav wave which was also rolling over Germany to the northward and up the Danube valley to the south. But presently


the Germans counter-attacked in their great eastward march which rapidly reconquered the German plains and also pushed down the valley of the Danube. The Czechs thus became isolated in their mountain bastion, surrounded by Germans on three sides and connected with the Slav world to the eastward only through Moravia. And presently the Germans began to filter into Bohemia. At first, tills movement was a peaceful one. The Czech monarchs, anxious to increase their country's prosperity, welcomed German merchants and artisans who brought to Bohemia their industry and higher civilization. This process of Germanization went on much faster when the old Czech kings died out and were succeeded by a dynasty of German origin. Presently Bohemia and Moravia were connected politically with the Mediawal German Empire and seemed in a fair way to be completely Germanized.
In the later Middle Ages, however, there came a violent reaction. The Czechs awoke to national self-consciousness and began a fierce fight to preserve their national life. The terrible Hussite Wars, though religious in form, were in fact mainly a Czech nationalistic revolt against encroaching Germanism, which was checked for a century. Nevertheless, the Czechs had not gained complete independence, and they presently fell under the rule of the most powerful of the Germanic states- Habsburg Austria. Against Habsburg rule the Czechs soon revolted, their revolt marking the start of the terrible Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), which devastated the whole of CentraJ Europe. This time the Czechs lost. The Habsburgs (who here represented Germanism) took a bloody vengeance upon the rebellious Czechs. Bohemia and Moravia were


half depopulated, while the old Czech nobility was entirely rooted out, their estates being given to foreigners, mostly Austrian Germans. Thus deprived of their natural leaders, the oppressed Czech peasantry sank into a political and cultural stupor which looked like death. Outwardly the land became entirely German, the Czech language being spoken only by peasants.
However, the nineteenth century, that awakener of dormant nationalities, roused the Czechs from their long slumber. A vigorous nationalist revival began, and the increasing economic prosperity which Bohemia then enjoyed favored the rapid growth of a Czech middle and educated class which furnished able leaders to the national revival. Step by step, despite stubborn opposition, the Czechs drove the German minority from their privileged positions and won a large measure of political control. The long struggle, however, aroused increasing bitterness on both sides. The German minority, infuriated by Czech successes and alarmed for its future, openly preached secession from Austria to the German Empire, while the Czech nationalists demanded what amounted to independence: the formation of Bohemia and Moravia as a fully self-governing state wherein they, as the majority, might Slavize the Germans. When Austria refused these demands, the Czech nationalists began planning the break-up of Austria and full independence, fixing their hopes on Russia as their possible liberator.
Bohemia and Moravia were thus full of race-hatred, secessionism, and general unrest when the Great War broke out in 1914. The Czech nationalists hailed the war as their opportunity. Most of the present leaders of



Czecho-Slovakia, such as President Masaryk and Mr. Benes, were in exile, and these exiled leaders hastened to proclaim their devotion to the Allied cause against the Germanic Empires. The Czechs rendered the Allies good service. When forced by the Austrians to do military service, the Czechs surrendered wholesale, disrupting the Austrian armies. In return, the Allies recognized the Czech claims to independence, and the peace-treaties set up the present Republic of Czecho-Slovakia as a sovereign state.
Czecho-Slovakia has an area of about 54,000 square miles with a population of 13,600,000. As its name implies, it contains not only the Czechs but also their kinsmen the Slovaks. The country forms a long, narrow band stretching across East-Central Europe. This elongated form is one of Czecho-Slovakia's chief weaknesses. Its frontiers are largely artificial and would be hard to defend against attack. Internally, Czecho-Slovakia's main problem is the lack of harmony between the various elements of its population. This is a very serious matter. Of the total population only about three-fifths (8,700,000) are Czecho-Slovaks. There are over 3,000,000 Germans, 800,000 Magyars (Hungarians) 500,000 Ruthenians, or
"Little Russians," and fully 600,000 of other nationalities. None of these minorities are really reconciled to the new situation, and they are thus possible sources of trouble, singly or in combination. The powerful German minority in particular, concentrated as it is mainly in Bohemia and thereby in physical touch with the German Reich, is bitterly discontented and makes no secret of its hope to join Germany some day.


The situation is made still more serious by the disputes which have arisen between the two sections of the dominant group -- the Czechs and the Slovaks. Despite their common origin, there are many differences between them. Losing touch with one another almost at the start, their paths diverged widely and they grew asunder. Unlike the Czechs, the Slovaks have had no political or cultural development worth mentioning. Isolated in their mountains, the Slovaks have remained primitive and backward. For centuries they have been under Hungarian rule, and they have never come in contact with western civilization as the Czechs have done. Also, their territory is poor and barren compared with the Czech lands, which are not only fertile but possess much mineral wealth which has formed the basis of a prosperous industrial development.
The Slovaks are thus very much the "junior partner" in the new concern. Among other things, they are far less numerous than the Czechs, numbering only a trifle over 2,000,000 as against the Czechs' 6,500,000. Nevertheless, the Slovaks possess a distinct local consciousness and assert their claims to consideration. During the late war, when both elements were struggling for a common cause, the Czech leaders promised the Slovaks a large measure of local self-government. Independence once gained, however, the Czechs proceeded to erect a strongly uriified state, declaring this to be vital to the country's safety in view of its exposed frontiers and discontented minorities. But this angered the Slovaks, who declared that they had been tricked. The breach was further widened by the economic damage inflicted upon the Slovaks


by the new frontiers. Slovakia's natural market is Hungary. Its riyers and valleys run into the Hungarian plain, and along these natural avenues the Slovaks sent their agricultural and forest products which are Slovakia's sole wealth. The new frontier (which was also a tariff-wall), however, cut off Slovakia from Hungary, and at the same time did not open the Czech lands to Slovak products, because the Czech territories are divided from Slovakia by rugged mountains which make transportation difficult and costly.
So the quarrel between Czechs and Slovaks goes merrily on. Indeed, there are all the makings of an unusually fine family row, for both sides show their kinship by a common obstinacy and tactlessness characteristic of the stock. The chief differences between them are that the Czechs are well-educated, prosperous, and open to modern ideas, whereas the Slovaks are mostly illiterate, poor, and intensely conservative. Neither side makes it easy for the other. The Slovaks regard the Czechs as rich relatives who put on airs and bully their poor relations in intolerable fashion. The Czechs look down on the Slovaks as ignorant, dirty, narrow-minded "country cousins," who must be cleaned up and civilized before they can be given much of a say in running the country. I still smile when I recall the indignant outburst of a Czech when I re¬counted to him the grievances that a Slovak had recently told me. "Those Slovaks!" snorted the Czech disgustedly. "They make me tired. 'Liberty,' Indeed! The first thing they'd better do is to get de-loused!"
This Czech-Slovak quarrel is a most pressing problem. If it continues, the Slovaks may develop a real "nation-


alism" of their own and instead of demanding merely self-government may plot secession and independence. This is by no means an impossible contingency. For one thing, it would be in lire with a political tendency observable among all Slav peoples-the tendency to local particularism. Throughout their history the Slavs have tended to form small political units and have rarely combined in large states except under the pressure of foreign foes or the compulsion of able rulers. But, unless the Czechs and Slovaks do grow together, "Czecho-Slovakia" can hardly survive. A rebellious Slovakia would become one more "minority," playing in with the other minorities against the dominant Czechs. Indeed: statistically speaking, the Czechs themselves would become a "minority," because without the Slovaks they would form less than one-half of the total population. Czecho-Slovakia would thus become a second edition of pre-war Austria, and would in the long run almost certainly suffer the same fate.
The most hopeful aspect of the situation is the presence of some very able leaders, notably President Masaryk and Mr. Benes, who have displayed great skill in guiding the ship of state. No one can meet and talk with these men without being impressed by their intelligence and states manlike common sense. Their wisdom is shown in both domestic and foreign policy. Despite the dangerous temper of the minorities, these are more liberally dealt with in Czecho-Slovakia than in almost any other European country, the Czech leaders realizing that their minorities are too numerous to be crushed and that the only hope of reconciling them lies in moderation. In their foreign


policy the Czech rulers have been cautious and pacific, knowing that if a new explosion should occur in Europe, Czecho-Slovakia, with its exposed frontiers and domestic instability, would be one of the first to suffer.
These wise policies have given Czecho-Slovakia a calmer and more prosperous post-war life than any other country of Central or Eastern Europe. At first sight, indeed, Czecho-Slovakia's future seems already fairly secure. But when one looks below the surface the future appears less certain. Czecho-Slovakia's success has thus far been primarily due to a triumph of able leadership over great inherent difficulties. The more one sees of Czecho-Slovakia, the more one feels that its present rulers are very far above the level of their followers. The average Czech politician or official seems just about as narrow-minded, short-sighted, and intolerant as the politicians and officials of other eastern European and Balkan lands. When Benes and Masaryk go, will they be replaced by statesmen of equal calibre? On the answer to that question, the fate of Czecho-Slovakia will largely depend.

Turning from Czecho-Slovakia to Poland, we encounter typical east-European conditions: a country without natural frontiers, with a very mixed population, and with languages, religions, and cultures overlapping in extremely complicated fashion. In other words, we find in Poland those conditions of complexity and instability characteristic of Eastern Europe. Poland's past has been a troubled and a tragic one, while Poland's future is menaced by ills similar to those which have caused its previous misfortunes.


The tragedy of Poland is rooted in its geography. Save on the south it has never known the protecting and preserving advantage of natural frontiers. Consequently its political boundaries have shifted and re-shifted as its fortunes rose or declined. And every shift has meant new complications.
The Polish people centres in the inland plains which are drained by the river Vistula. This centre of Polish settlement is shaped like a huge oblong, its southern base resting upon the Carpathian Mountains, Poland's only natural frontier. Along that border the line between Poles and non-Poles is fairly clear. Elsewhere, however, the Polish nucleus shades off into regions inhabited partly by Poles and partly by peoples of other nationalities. In these debatable regions, which stretch west, north, and especially east, and which together form a vast area nearly four times as large as the nucleus of Polish settlement, Polish and non-Polish elements are intermingled in various proportions. The reasons for this complicated situation can be explained only by a glance at Polish history.
The original Poles formed part of the great Slav wave which descended from the Carpathian highlands and inundated Central and Eastern Europe. Originally almost pure Alpines in race, the Poles absorbed a certain amount of Nordic blood from the rather sparse Nordic population which then occupied the Vistula plains, though this Nordic infusion was nowhere strong enough greatly to modify the ancestral Alpine type. The primitive Poles could not be called a "people"; they were a loose mass of small tribes with very slight political cohesion. What welded the Poles into a people with a national consciousness was the


pressure of foreign foes -- especially the Germans. We have already noted the great eastward movement of conquest and colonization which the Germans undertook at the beginning of the Middle Ages. It was the Poles who checked the German "March to the East." Among the Poles there arose a dynasty of able chieftains who welded the petty tribes of the Vistula plains into a state strong enough to block the German advance. For about two centuries this early Kingdom of Poland was strong and fairly prosperous. During that period the Poles not only became a nationality but also developed a distinct culture based upon western ideals. This latter fact is a matter of great importance because the Poles were thereby clearly marked off from the Russian Slavs to the eastward Poland took its Christianity from Rome and thus entered the pale of western civilization. Russia, on the other hand, was converted from Constantinople and became part of Greek Orthodox Christianity and Byzantine Greek civilization. With different faiths and cultures, the Poles and Russians followed divergent paths and presently became bitter rivals for the leadership of Eastern Europe.
However, this rivalry was still in the future. The Russians were as yet too disunited and backward to count for much, while Poland's first national experiment ended in failure. Its ruling dynasty having lost its vigor, Poland broke up into several principalities. In this condition of mutual weakness, Poland and Russia both fell victims to a terrible invasion by the Mongol Tartars. These fierce Asiatic nomads swept like a hurricane over Eastern Europe. Russia was stamped fiat under the Mongol hoofs


and remained-for centuries under Asiatic control -- with lasting effects upon its blood and culture. In Poland the Mongol tide soon ebbed, but it left the land desolated and with Asiatic strains in its population which are visible even to-day.
So weakened had Poland now become that it not only lost ground to the Germans on the west but was also threatened by a new foe from the north -- the Lithuanians. The Lithuanians were a group of tribes of primitive Nordic stock who from time inunemorial had dwelt among the forests and marshes north of Poland along the Baltic Sea. Unlike the other peoples of Eastern Europe, these warlike barbarians clung doggedly to their ancestral paganism and had remained entirely outside the pale of civilization. Emerging from their forests, the Lithuanians now ravaged both Poland and Russia. At last the Poles agreed to make the Lithuanian leader their King if he would become a Christian and unite the two countries under his sceptre. This he did in the year 1386 -- a notable date, because under his able rule the combined state of Poland-Lithuania rapidly rose to power. The next two centuries, indeed, are Poland's golden age. Poland-Lithuania became the strongest state in Eastern Europe. The Germans were defeated and huge tracts of Russia were conquered and partially colonized, the Russian inhabitants being reduced to serfdom under Polish-Lithuanian landlords. It was during this same period that the great Jewish immigration took place. At first welcomed and encouraged by the Polish Kings, the Jews flocked in from every side, settling in the towns in such numbers that the Poles at length checked this immigration. However,


tbe Polish Jews throve and multiplied, and Poland became thenceforth the numerical centre of the Jewish race.
The Lithuanian dynasty produced a series of able rulers, but after about two centuries the dynasty died out and with its extinction Poland-Lithuania fell into rapid decline. The turbulent and factious nobility (which had always given trouble) seized control and set up a government which was little better than legalized anarchy. The Crown became a mere shadow, while the nobles, split into warring factions, plunged the land into endless confusion. The decadent state; with its vast outlying territories, inhabited by oppressed and rebellious alien elements like Russians and Germans, and with its cities full of unassimilated Jews, became a mere helpless hulk, inviting aggression by more powerful neighbors. And unfortunately for Poland, as it got weaker its neighbors grew stronger. To the westward stood Germanic Prussia, to the southward was Habsburg Austria, while to the eastward Russia at last found herself with Peter the Great, and made ready to regain those Russian lands which Poland and Lithuania had conquered during Russia's time of trouble. Having beaten Poland in several wars and thus discovered her full weakness, Russia, Prussia, and Austria decided to wipe her out altogether. There followed the famous Partitions of Poland (1772-1795) by which Poland disappeared from the map. Russia got the lion's share of the booty, Prussia and Austria receiving smaller, yet valuable, portions.
However, the political extinction of Poland did not solve the Polish problem. The anarchic Polish state died, as it deserved to die; but the Polish people lived. The


very depth of their misfortunes roused the Poles to a fresh national consciousness. Accordingly, the nineteenth century witnessed an intense national revival in all the sundered branches of the Polish stock. Despite their best efforts, Russia and Prussia failed to de-nationalize their Polish subjects. Austria never seriously attempted to denationalize her Poles, permitting them a large measure of local self-government. Thus the "Polish Question" continued to vex the politics of Eastern Europe and remained a source of chronic trouble and unrest.
Then came the Great War, which ended by re-creating a Polish state almost as large and populous as medireval Poland. This result, however, was quite unexpected and was mainly due to an unlooked-for event -- the Russian Revolution. When the war began, Polish independence was scarcely mentioned in Europe, while the Poles themselves were divided as to what attitude they should assume. To some Poles Russia was the supreme foe, to other Poles Germany was the most hated enemy. As for Russia, it had very definite ideas on the Polish question, its intention being to seize both Prussia's and Austria's Polish territories and thus bring all Poles under Russian dominion. Had Russia stood by its allies until the end of the war, this would undoubtedly have happened, France and England having agreed that Russia should receive Prussian and Austrian Poland as the spoils of victory. But Russia broke duwn in 1917, went Bolshevist, and made peace with the Germanic Empires at the most critical moment of the war. Thenceforth the western Allies considered Soviet Russia their enemy, both on account of its desertion of the common cause and on account of


its Bolshevist propaganda which sought to disrupt the Allied nations as part of the Bolshevik programme of "World- Revolution."
Under these circumstances the restoration of Polish independence naturally suggested itself to the western Powers. The Peace Conference, therefore, erected a Polish state to serve as a check on both Germany and Russia, and to keep these two countries from possibly combining to upset the peace-treaties which had been framed largely at their expense. France, in particular, pressed this policy to its logical conclusion. The French argued that since Poland was to be restored primarily to watch Germany and Russia and to keep them apart, she should be made as strong as possible in order to do her work well. That naturally appealed to the Poles. The Poles had never forgotten their old dream of supremacy in Eastern Europe. Accordingly, they demanded frontiers which went even beyond the "historic Poland of 1772." Acting on the old saying: "It's a poor rule that doesn't work both ways," the Poles advanced two utterly contradictory sets of arguments for the same end. Said the Poles: All territories which to-day contain any considerable number of Poles must be Polish, in accordance with the "principle of nationalities." But, likewise, all territories which formed part of the old Polish state, whatever their present population, must also be Polish, to square with other "principles" like "historic justice," and, failing those, "strategic necessity." Lastly, Lithuania was regarded as "Polish" as a matter of course. Such were the claims which the Poles pressed at the Peace Conference which re-made the map of Europe.


The Poles got by no means all they wanted, but they got enough to make the New Poland a very large and populous state. Poland to-day has an area of nearly 147,000 square miles (considerably larger than the British Isles) and a population of over 27,000,000. These territories are mainly fertile and contain much mineral wealth, so that Poland has the possibility of both a prosperous agricultural and industrial life.
Superficially, Poland might seem to have bright prospects. Actually, her prospects are very far from bright. Poland owes her new independence primarily to a lucky turn in European politics, and she has attained her present frontiers not only through the peace-treaties but also by a series of successful aggressions against her neighbors. Poland has "gotten away with" these aggressions through French backing, France regarding Polanct as the keystone of her system of alliances, and thus favoring Poland in every way. But Poland's successes have left a legacy of foreign and domestic problems very ominous for the future. Having not only quarrelled but fought bloodily with every one of her neighbors, Poland has not
a friend in Eastern Europe. Universally disliked and widely hated, Poland is to-day surrounded by a ring of potential enemies. Even her former partner, Lithuania, has been infuriated by Poland's seizure of Lithuania's chief city, Vilna -- about the most barefaced act of aggression that has occurred anywhere since the war. As for Russia and Germany, Poland's most powerful neighbors, they are precisely her most embittered opponents. Poland's present frontiers are a standing challenge to both nations, which they will tolerate just so long as they have to -- and not one moment longer.


Furthermore, in addition to these external dangers, Poland is afflicted with grave internal troubles ominously like those which brought Old Poland to decline and ruin. Poland's frontiers are far-flung, but they contain many large and rebellious minorities, while the Poles have already begun to quarrel among themselves as of yore. Of Poland's 27,000,000 inhabitants only a trifle more than half are of Polish blood. The balance of the population consists of over 2,500,000 Germans, nearly 4,000,000 Jews, 4,000,000 Ruthenians, or "Little Russians," and more than 1,500,000 of other nationalities -- principally White Russians, Great Russians, and Lithuanians, with a few Czechs and Slovaks thrown in for good measure. None of these minorities likes Polish rule, and the Poles are doing their best to make them like it still less by oppressing them as harshly as the Poles themselves were oppressed by their former Russian and German ruIers. Meanwhile the Poles are quarrelling fiercely among themselves, Polish politics being enlivened by riots, assassinations, and kindred disturbances. Furthermore, Poland's big army and other governmental expenditures have plunged her into debt and debased her currency, which is now practically worthless. In fine: although the New Poland has been running less than ten years, conditions begin more and more strongly to resemble those of the "historic Poland of 1772," when Old Poland was partitioned among her neighbors. Unless the New Poland mends her ways, her neighbors may well partition her again. But will Poland mend her ways? Events thus far strongly suggest that the Poles are the Bourbons of Eastern Europe -- "learning nothing and forgetting nothing."


All things considered, New Poland seems to be a pretty poor life-insurance risk.

Beyond Poland lies Russia -- vast and incalculable. This immense region of huge forests, boundless prairies, and illimitable plains is the borderland of Europe and Asia. Here diverse races have wandered, fought, and mingled, producing strange blends and equally strange contrasts of blood, temperament, and ideals. Despite all the thought and .investigation devoted to it, Russia remains essentially unknown, not merely to foreigners but even to Russians themselves. Many Russians frankly admit that the soul of Russia is still an enigma -- a mystery. Bolshevism is merely the last of a long series of strange Russian developments which have surprised the world -- and Russia probably has other startling surprises yet in store.
The constant factors in Russian history are Alpine blood and Slav speech, which have been spreading eastward and northward for more than a thousand years. Yet these factors are merely the binding strands in a tangled skein. We commonly speak of Russia as a unit; yet true unity Russia has never known. Leaving aside the various non-Russian tribes and peoples which dwell within Russia's borders, the Russian stock is divided into three main branches differing distinctly from one another in blood, temperament, culture, and speech. These three branches are usually called the" Great," "Little," and "White" Russians respectively. Although probably much reduced in numbers by the frightful disasters of the last ten years, the total Russian stock must to-day


number well over 100,000,000. Of these fully 60,000,000 are Great Russians, while over 30,000,000 are Little Russians -- this figure including the "Ruthenian" populations under Polish and Czecho-Slovak rule. The White Russians, numbering somewhere between. 5,000,000 and 10,000,000, are to-day politically divided between Russia and Poland. It was this diversity of the Russian stock (as well as the idea of their eventual unity) which prompted the title assumed by the former Russian monarchs: "Czar of all the Russias."
The Great Russians are not merely the most numerous but also the dominant branch of the Russian stock. It is they who form the core of modern Russia and who have colonized its outlying dependencies like Siberia. They inhabit the forest zone of modern Russia and extend well into the rich prairie belt to the southward until they merge with the Little Russians. Racially the Great Russians are a cross between Alpine Slavs and the earlier Nordic population, mixed in varying proportions with Asiatic elements. The Nordic strain is strongest to the northwest near the Baltic Sea, fading out gradually inland. However, Nordic traits are widespread, as is shown by the blond and reddish-blond types that are so frequent among the Great Russian population. These Nordic characteristics are usually found in "disharmonic combination" with Alpine and Asiatic traits, thus proving the racially mixed character of the stock. Pure Nordic types are rare save among the upper classes, which are composed largely of Scandinavian and German elements that have entered Russia in comparatively recent times.


The Little Russians centre in the southwest and, as already stated, are not all included within Russia's political frontiers, a large section of the Little Russians living under Polish rule while a small fraction is found in Czecho-Slovakia. The Little Russians have much less Nordic blood than their Great Russian kinsmen but contain more Asiatic strains in their racial make-up, this being due to their prolonged contact with Mongol Tartar and Turkish nomads who often overran their territories. The Little Russians' political disunion and other misfortunes have kept them relatively backward and have given their Great Russian cousins the leadership in Russian affairs. Even more backward, however, are the White-Russians, who -- inhabit the swamp and forest regions or Western Russia. Racially the White Russians have kept closest to the primitive Alpine Slav type. They have never developed a true national consciousness or even a distinctive culture. During the Middle Ages they fell under Polish rule and any of them are to-day included within Poland's new political frontiers.
These three branches of the Russian stock represent distinct crystallizations of invading Alpine Slavs with diverse racial elements in different regions. Russia's early history is an obscure welter of petty tribes over an immense area. Significantly enough, the beginnings of political cohesion were due, not to the Russians themselves but to a foreign ruling element -- the Scandinavians. Back somewhere in the dim past adventurous Scandinavian Nordics discovered a trade-route across Western Russia and established commercial contact between their Baltic homeland and Constantinople, then the capital of


the Byzantine Greek Empire and a centre of civilization. Despite their small numbers, these masterful Norse Vikings easily kept in order the petty tribes along the rivers which formed their trade-highway, and. as time passed the natives came to regard the strangers as arbiters in their endless intertribal quarrels. Becoming more and more influential, the Norsemen established themselves firmly at several points and at length founded a real state at Kiev, a natural centre in Southwestern Russia situated on the great river Dnieper- -- the water-route to the Black Sea and Constantinople. The legend of the founding of Kiev is quaintly significant. The story goes that the local tribes were so affiicted by domestic feuds and raids by their neighbors that they invited a famous Viking chief to be their ruler. Their invitation is said to have run as follows; "Our land is great and has everything in abundance, but it lacks order and justice. Come and take possession and rule over us."
Whether or not the legend states the exact facts of the case, certain it is that about a thousand years ago a Norse chief named Rurik did become ruler of Kiev and built up a state which soon became powerful and which laid the foundations of Russian nationality and civilization. It is also noteworthy that the early political centres in northern Russia, like Novgorod and Pskov, lay likewise on the Scandinavian trade-route and seem to have been mainly due to Scandinavian influence.
Kiev long remained the heart of Russia and, owing to its contact with Constantinople, Kiev took its Christianity and civilization from the Byzantine Empire. This is a fact of great importance. We have already seen how


Poland's conversion from Rome brought the Poles with-in the pale of west-European civilization. Russia, on the other hand, became Greek Orthodox in faith and Byzantine in culture. The breach between the two halves of Christendom went deep, friendly intercourse between them being impossible. Therefore, when Russia became Orthodox she cut herself off from the West and looked eastward for her ideals.
And presently this first link which bound Russia to the East was followed by other links of a very unfortunate character. From their earliest days the Russians had been harassed by Asiatic nomads raiding up from the arid plains that stretched southeastward into Asia. These raids grew steadily more violent until they culminated in the terrible Mongol invasion which marks a sinister epoch in Russian history. The Mongols were hideously cruel, destructive barbarians whose sole ideas were bloodshed and plunder. Sweeping across_ Russia like a cyclone, they reduced it to ruin and impotence. The budding civilization of Russia was stamped flat under the terrible Mongol hoofs. Kiev was destroyed and all southern Russia depopulated. Orily in the forests of the north, beyond the sweep of the Mongol horse, did Russia survive. But it was a barbarized Russia, entirely cut off from the civilized world and subject to Mongol domination. Instead of advancing, Russia retrograded, turning away from Europe toward Asia. Both Mongol blood and Mongol ideas penetrated Russia. And this penetration was degrading, because the Mongol Tartars were bloodthirsty barbarians with nothing to offer except savage ideals of violence and despotism. The Mongol influence upon Rus-


sia has been profound and lasting; to it many, if not most, of the unlovely traits of the modern Russian character seem to be due. "Scratch a Russian and you find a Tartar!" is no idle phrase.
Slowly Russia regained strength and at length a new political centre arose in north-central Russia at Moscow, where a dynasty of able rulers conquered the other Russian principalities, shook off the Mongol yoke, and became the powerful "Czardom of Muscovy." This increase of'political strength, however, was not accompanied by any corresponding increase in culture. Down to about two centuries ago Russia remained barbarous and backward, cut off from Western civilization, and more Asiatic than European in its manners and ideals. Russia's political life, in particular, was thoroughly Asiatic in character. The Czars of Moscow had the outlook of Tartar Khans; they were arbitrary despots who were often ferocious tyrants. Thus Russia lived on, a hermit nation; ignorant, fanatically devoted to a degraded Orthodoxy, and steeped in a barbarous mixture of half-forgotten Byzantine culture and Asiatic ideas borrowed trom the Tartars.
Suddenly, dramatically, the situation changed. Peter the Great became Czar and determined to "open a window to the West" and let in the light of civilization. Peter was a man of tremendous energy and iron will. He hated half-measures and insisted that he be instantly obeyeg. Accordingly, he tried to jump several centuries and ordered Russia to become westernized overnight. But his subjects hung back. Ignorant and fanatical, they clung doggedly to their old ways and refused to embrace a civi-


lization which they did not in the least comprehend. This resistance, however, merely infuriated Peter and hardened his resolution. As much a tyrant as any of his predecessors, opposition seemed to him criminal and intolerable. Accordingly, he not only opened a window but dragged Russia by the hair of the head clear out of its dark house into the Western sunshine, and since he could get little aid from his subjects he imported multitudes of Westerners to act as drill-masters and carry out his orders.
This policy, begun by Peter and continued by his successors, westernized Russia -- on the surface. Within a sho)rt time Russia looked pretty much like a Western nation. The newcomers from Western Europe (most1y Germans and Scandinavians) together with many Russians converted to the government's policy gave Russia a veneer of Western civilization and formed a ruling class which was almost a caste apart. Beneath this veneer, however, Old Russia lived on, the bulk of the Russian people, especially the peasants, remaining almost untouched by Western influences. Henceforth Russia became more than ever a land of strange contrasts and conflicting ideas, where new and old, east and west, Europe and Asia, jostled, fought, and illogically combined.
These contrasts and conflicts were nowhere better revealed than in Russian political life. Despite its westernizing policy, the Russian Government remained at heart un-westernized. Its spirit was still that of the Tartar Khans, even though it wore European clothes and built railroads. The Russian Government, in fact, tried to borrow the material equipment of Western civilization and fit it to half-Oriental ideals. This experiment, however,


created difficulties which led ultimately to disaster. Though outwardly Russia became a great World Power, inwardly she was torn by mental and spiritual conflicts which grew sharper as time went on. Imperial Russia was thus a giant with feet of clay. Not only did the Russian masses remain instinctively hostile to westernization, but the. upper classes quarrelled among themselves. Those Russians who became truly westernized in spirit began demanding that Russia adopt the liberal ideals as well as the material improvements of Western civilization. This, however, the despotic government refused, and the liberal protesters were sent to Siberia. That embittered the liberals and made them revolutionists while revolutionary agitation in turn further infuriated the government and increased its persecuting activity. More and more Russia became a house divided against itself, and consequently broke down whenever faced by a real test. The preliminary break down took place under the strain of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, when Russia fell into revolutionary turmoil. The old regime just managed to save itself and restore order, but below the surface Russia went on seething and the social foundations were badly shaken. Then, came the far heavier strain of the Great War -- and Imperial Russia collapsed. The old order being. hopelessly shattered, the extreme revolutionary elements took advantage of the chaotic confusion, established their Bolshevist dictatorship, and plunged Russia into a hell of class war, terrorism, poverty, cold, disease, and famine .
Into the horrors and failures of Bolshevism I do not propose to enter. They are well known and need no de-


tailed discussion here. What is not so well known is the important fact that the present Bolshevik government, though differing widely in its economic aims, is in its spirit and political methods strikingly like the old imperial government which it replaced. The outstanding characteristics of the Bolshevik regime are violence and despotism. But those were precisely the outstanding characteristics of the old. imperial regime. Russia has thus merely changed tyrants, one despotism having been followed by another. The main outcome of the revolution has been a cracking of the Western veneer which had been imposed upon Russia by Peter the Great. Much of the material equipment borrowed by Russia from the West has been destroyed, while the former upper classes (largely of Western origin) have been killed or driven into exile. The real losers by the revolution are the truly westernized elements who had worked for a Russia westernized in spirit but who now see their illusions shattered. In fact, the revolution was largely a revolt against westernism. In many ways Russia is to-day farther from Europe and nearer to Asia than she has been since Peter opened his "window to the West." .
What will emerge from the obscure and troubled transition period through which Russia is passing no one can say. Yet one word of caution is distinctly needed. Many persons imagine that because Russia is a land of huge size, vast natural resources, and immense population, something "great" and "constructive" must necessarily arise. Such persons are thinking in terms of quantity rather than quality. The more we look at Russia's past and Russia's racial make-up, the more we are led to suspect that Russia may not be really great, but merely


big -- which is something very different from true greatness. To-day, as in former days, Russia appears as a complex, unstable mass of diverse bloods, tendencies, and ideas. This of course makes possible startling and interesting developments, but it also works against creative, constructive progress. Russia has given birth to many brilliant individuals, but as a people, what has Russia done? This distinction should be clearly kept in mind. Because a stock produces talented writers and artists is no necessary proof that it possesses high political and social capacities. Russian history has been the story of mixed populations dominated by a succession of masterful ruling minorities mainly of foreign origin. Now, no people of high political initiative and creative capacity would be likely to leave the direction of their political and economic life so continuously and so generally in the hands of foreign masters. It is therefore only fair to judge the Russians, not so much by what they have said as by what they have done -- or rather, by what they have failed to do.
Brilliancy of thought combined with failure in action is characteristic of the Russians -- as it is of many mixed stocks. This is instinctively recognized by Russians themselves. Russian novels are full of attractive young heroes full of ideas who start out to do great things but soon slack off and end in futile melancholy. Russian life seems to be typified in those stimulating yet inconclusive conversations so beloved by Russians, which go on all night long over innumerable cigarettes and cups of tea, and which end at dawn with everybody tired, everything discussed and nothing settled!


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