THE COLLABORATION THAT WAS NOT... THE ATTITUDES OF POLISH SOCIETY DURING THE GERMAN OCCUPATION, 1939-1945
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Co-operation with the occupant is described by resorting to the concepts of: treason, collaboration and Quislingites in an attempt at adapting the precision of the conception to the complex nature of a given situation. However, societies living in an extreme situation are unable to preserve en bloc a negative attitude towards the occupant. This fact has been emphasised already in reports prepared in conspiracy conditions. Czeslaw Madajczyk estimated the number of voluntary collaborators of the occupation apparatus in the General Government at about 5%, while the number of persons ready to put up resistance totalled 25%. Demoralisation was characteristic for all social groups. Traditional authorities went through a crisis, and the continuum of Polish statehood gave rise to assorted doubts. Ambiguous attitudes were generated by the necessity of daily official contacts with the Germans. Contrary to the ethical and legal standards sanctioned by the Underground administration of justice, groups of contradicting such standards emerged in numerous environments . An assessment of their conduct necessitates, however, an individual analysis of motifs. Collaboration continues to remain an open question in Polish historiography. The author maintains that in certain circumstances it could have served the raison d'etat of a vanquished nation. The German occupation system left little place for collaborators, and thus, to a certain degree, for potential partners. It became a prevailing regularity that willing collaborators, or those forced by circumstances, were to be found in those spheres where the occupant permitted 'co-operation'.
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