I get this question a lot. After all, I’m not a historian, I’m not Catholic. I’m just a regular college professor, cognitive psychologist, who ended up living in Poland for almost a year.
There are so many answers to this question, and they emerge more or less strongly each day. But one theme is consistent; when I think of Why Poland? I think of this picture, of the White March in Krakow in 1981, after the attempted assassination of the Pope, and the events which led up to this point.
The Polish Pope first came to Poland in 1979, and the power of his visit, his words, on stimulating the Polish people to action cannot be underestimated. The extent of the crowds who came to see him, despite publicity blackouts, is incredible. Here is a great accounting of the visit:
To quote from his final 1979 speech:
“The human being is free…There is therefore no need to fear. . . . So . . . I beg you: Never lose your trust, do not be defeated, do not be discouraged.”
And so began the ten-year long journey that ended with the Poles being the first country in Eastern Europe to reject communism, with great sacrifice. The Poles have always sacrificed. They love freedom and liberty as few people ever will, ever could.
And so this to me is the answer to Why Poland?