Cover Osteuropa 12/2019

In Osteuropa 12/2019

We have to fight!
1939, 1989 and the lessons for today

Adam Michnik

Deutsche Fassung


The background to the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 and its consequences tell us much about the way totalitarian regimes work. They rely on lies and hatred, and they depend on the existence of an enemy, a leader and the use of force. In 1989, it looked as though the world had liberated itself from these aberrations. Today, we are witnessing a new movement that is nationalistic, populist, xenophobic and authoritarian. Its leaders are called Putin, Trump and Xi, Erdoğan und Orbán. In Poland, the most powerful advocate of these tendencies is Jarosław Kaczyński. While they may sing different songs, the melody is the same. We recognise it from the 1930s. These songs begin with lies, and are an appeal to fight against open society, freedom and human rights. It is time to take up this fight, albeit with other means. We citizens must defend freedom and democracy.

(Osteuropa 12/2019, pp. 15–22)