Cover: Belonging to the Nation: Inclusion and Exclusion in the Polish-German Borderlands, 1939–1951, from Harvard University PressCover: Belonging to the Nation in HARDCOVER

Belonging to the Nation

Inclusion and Exclusion in the Polish-German Borderlands, 1939–1951

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$56.00 • £48.95 • €50.95

ISBN 9780674659780

Publication Date: 03/28/2016


416 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

3 maps, 9 tables


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Kulczycki has written a fine examination of the origins of the idea to purify nations and its application during and after the Second World War, a process that resulted in the resettlement of many interwar Polish citizens in Germany. Kulczycki seeks to show how the stories of those who left Poland for West Germany in the 1950s do not easily fit the narrow categories of expulsion or economic migration… Kulczycki has written an engaging and deeply informative account of nationalization policies in the German–Polish borderlands. The book presents many of the findings of German and Polish scholars of the last twenty years in English and will be helpful to advanced students and scholars alike. Judicious and fairly written, the book reminds readers that the need to respect the cultural variety of the region remains relevant to this day.—Winson Chu, H-Net Reviews

Belonging to the Nation is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the contentious re-engineering of European societies after the Second World War. Kulczycki’s magisterial account is the first systematic treatment in English of the enormously complicated and hotly contested question of how to deal with several million people with connections to Polish language and culture who had nonetheless spent the war classified as ‘ethnic Germans.’ Were they Poles who had been misidentified as Germans or rather Germans now potentially being mistaken for Poles? Kulczycki carefully tracks the fierce arguments and oscillating policies generated by this attempt to pin down national identities, demonstrating that the question of who belonged to the nation was never definitively answered.—James E. Bjork, author of Neither German nor Pole

The complicated ambiguities and ambivalences in national affiliations—their exigencies, constraints, and sometimes surprising pragmatics—have recently inspired some of the best work on the twentieth-century nationality conflicts of east-central Europe. A wise and seasoned specialist in the Polish experience of German rule, Kulczycki now brings this lens to the Polish-German borderlands under successive regimes of occupation, with characteristically revealing and important results.—Geoff Eley, author of Nazism as Fascism

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