Polish Chicago and the Struggle for a Free and Independent Poland

Poland disappeared from the political map of Europe in the eighteenth century, and after 123 years of foreign domination, the country regained its independence in 1918. This article will look at the migrations from all three partitions and their impact on the United States with an emphasis on the city of Chicago. Chicago quickly emerged as the capital of the diaspora and played a crucial part in the struggle to regain independence in the 20th century. In 1939, the Polish Republic was once again under attack and the Chicago Polonia lead the response of the diaspora to yet another partition, as Nazi Germany and the U.S.S.R. divided the Second Republic. Finally, during the long Cold War, Poland fell under Soviet domination and again Chicago’s Polonia reacted and played a role in the nation’s continuing struggle for freedom. The article outlines Chicago’s response to these events and discuss the role of peasant emancipation and immigration in the long struggle for a free and independent Polish Republic.