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Polish Americans and the 1944 U.S. Elections

Update: The results of the mid-term elections have shown that American voters have had a chance to evaluate President Obama and have strongly rejected his leadership. While economic and other domestic issues played a major role, it was also a vote of no confidence in his foreign policy. People in Poland should not make a mistake that the vision of Russia shared by President Roosevelt and President Obama is the same as the one most Americans have once they are able to understand the full implications of the policy of appeasing Moscow at the expense of America’s allies. The U.S. policy toward Poland changed shortly after Mr. Roosevelt’s death and it will change even now following the November elections because of pressures on the White House from the victorious Republicans in Congress and will most likely change even further once Barack Obama is no longer president. It would be a mistake to assume that U.S. policy toward Poland can be determined forever by one U.S. president. Ted Lipien

TedLipien.com TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, November 1, 2010 — Secret deals with Russia followed by skillful attempts to prevent Polish American voters from discovering the truth about placating aggressive Russian leaders by naive U.S. presidents at Poland’s expense eventually become known to the American public and the presidential party is punished at the polls.

Just before the 1944 U.S. presidential elections, the Polish-American Congress (PAC) president Charles Rozmarek declared his intention to vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt. “Because I am convinced of his [FDR's] sincerity,” Mr. Rozmarek remarked, “I shall vote for him on November 7 for President of the United States of America.” By then, FDR had already secretly promised Stalin at their meeting in Tehran Poland’s eastern territories and effectively assigned Poland and other nations in Central and Eastern Europe to become part of the Soviet empire.

In his scholarly study of the impact of the Yalta Conference on American politics, Robert E. Ubriaco, Jr. wrote: “Ever the artful dodger, Roosevelt placated the Polish American community and skirted the issue through his masterful manipulation of symbolic politics. By addressing Polonia’s representatives before a map of prewar Poland [in the White House] and meeting with Rozmarek during a campaign stop in Chicago, Roosevelt managed to secure an endorsement from PAC. Consequently, over 90 percent of all Polish Americans voted for him in 1944.”

In contrast, Obama and his foreign policy advisers showed a remarkable lack of public relations skills when the President chose the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland to announce his decision to remove American missiles from Polish soil. He later played golf on the day of President Lech Kaczynski’s funeral.

Arthur Bliss Lane, who as the U.S. Ambassador in Warsaw from 1945 to 1947 documented the Soviet and communist takeover of the country, also observed in his book “I Saw Poland Betrayed” Roosevelt’s clever manipulation of the Polish American public opinion. He wrote in 1947 that an interesting feature of the Polish American Congress leaders’ meeting with President Roosevelt at the White House on October 11, 1944 was the placement of a large map of Poland in the room in which the President received his visitors. The map showed the pre-war boundaries of Poland. The photos of the meeting, widely reproduced by Polish American media, were interpreted as FDR’s endorsement of Poland’s independence and territorial integrity. In fact, as Ambassador Bliss Lane wrote after he had resigned from the State Department in protest against the appeasement of Stalin, President Roosevelt “had already agreed at Tehran to the sacrifice of a great area east of the Curzon Line to the Soviet Union.”

Mr. Rozmarek said later that had the Yalta Conference been held before the presidential elections of 1944, Mr. Roosevelt would not have been reelected, because of the votes of Americans linked by blood to those nations which had been “sold down the river.”

Roosevelt’s deception of Polish American leaders was indeed short-lived. It depended entirely on keeping secret from American voters his dealings with Stalin regarding Poland and other nations of Central and Eastern Europe. Robert E. Ubriaco Jr. noted in his article that “The Yalta Conference in early February of 1945 unleashed profound frustrations within Chicago’s Polish American community. At a conference on February 18, 1945, the United Polish Language Press in America, with a circulation of 1,200,000, declared that ‘the Yalta decisions are in reality a fifth partition of Poland.’” Ubriaco described the legacy of FDR’s treatment of Poland as “a political albatross for the Democratic party,” and concluded that “Polish American speakers and writers were increasingly associating the Democratic party with the appeasement of the Soviet Union.”

President Obama’s attempts to buy Russia’s support in Iran at the cost of weakening ties with America’s staunch allies in Central and Eastern Europe will influence the Polish American vote in November 2010. Polish Americans are also likely to vote according to their economic interests. This relatively affluent, hard-working and socially conservative electorate may conclude that they and their children are more likely to be paying in taxes for President Obama’s social initiatives than benefiting from them.

The Polish American Congress reports that “Polish Americans, who numbered 9,887,799 in 2008, are slightly older, better educated, wealthier, more likely to hold professional and management positions and own homes than the general American population. Median age of Polish Americans is 38.7 years as compared to 36.9 years of the general American population. Bachelor and higher degrees are held by 36.1% of PolAms as compared to 27.7% of the general population. 41.3% of PolAms hold professional and managerial positions as compared to 34.9%. Median family income of PolAms is $79,494 versus $63,360. Only 7.1% of PolAms fall under the poverty line, compared to13.2% of Americans. 74.4% of Polish Americans own their own homes versus 66.4% of the general population.” These Polonia survey findings were presented last year by Dr. Thaddeus Radziłowski, President of the Piast Institute, at the first National Conference of the Polish American Community in the 21st Century.

The Polish American electorate, as well as voters with links to other nations in Central and Eastern Europe, will have a chance next Tuesday to express their view of President Obama’s economic policies and his “reset” of relations with Russia.

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