by Eva Plach
The May 1926 Coup d'Etat in Poland inaugurated what has become known as the period of sanacja or "cleansing." The event has been explored in terms of the impact that it had on state structures and political styles. But for both supporters and opponents of the post-May regime, the sanacja was a catalyst for debate about Polish national identity, about citizenship and responsibility to the nation, and about postwar sexual morality and modern gender identities.
The Clash of Moral Nations is a study of the political culture of interwar Poland, as reflected in and by the coup. Eva Plach shifts the focus from strictly political contexts and examines instead the sanacja's open-ended and malleable language of purification, rebirth, and moral regeneration.
In tracking the diverse appropriations and manipulations of the sanacja concept, Plach relies on a wide variety of texts, including the press of the period, the personal and professional papers of notable interwar women activists, and the official records of pro-sanacja organizations, such as the Women's Union for Citizenship Work.
The Clash of Moral Nations introduces an important cultural and gendered dimension to understandings of national and political identity in interwar Poland.
"Dr. Plach offers a fascinating account of the intimate and inextricable bond between high politics and 'moral' issues of sexuality and gender, and her book makes important methodological and theoretical points about these matters that will resonate among scholars working on places and time-periods far from modern Poland. An insightful and creative study of the cultural politics of interwar Poland, it is sure to become required reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century East European history."
BRIAN PORTER, author of When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland
"This original and readable reassessment of the implications of the connection of politics with a powerful yearning for a far reaching purification of the national condition deserves a prominent place in the scholarly literature on the history of interwar Poland."
The Polish Review
EVA PLACH is an assistant professor of history at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.
Publishing House: Ohio University Press, Athens 2006
Hardcover book measuring 6.25" x 9.25"
272 pages, index
English Language Version
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