The Baroque is a ornate and extravagant style of architecture, painting and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. It preceded the Rococo and Neoclassical styles, it was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture and music, though Lutheran Baroque art developed in parts of Europe as well. The Baroque style used contrast, exuberant detail, deep colour and surprise to achieve a sense of awe; the style began at the start of the 17th century in Rome spread to France, northern Italy and Portugal to Austria and southern Germany. By the 1730s, it had evolved into an more flamboyant style, called rocaille or Rococo, which appeared in France and central Europe until the mid to late 18th century; the English word baroque comes directly from the French, may have been adapted from the Portuguese term barroco, a flawed pearl. Both words are related to the Spanish term berruca; the term did not describe a style of music or art.
Prior to the 18th century, the French baroque and Portuguese barroco were terms related to jewelry, An example from 1531 uses the term to describe pearls in an inventory of Charles V's treasures. The word appears in a 1694 edition of Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française, which describes baroque as "only used for pearls that are imperfectly round." A 1728 Portuguese dictionary describes barroco as relating to a "coarse and uneven pearl."The French term for the artistic style may have had roots in the medieval Latin word baroco, a philosophical term, invented in the 13th century by scholastics to describe a complicated type of syllogism, or logical argument. In the 16th century the philosopher Michel de Montaigne associated the term'baroco' with "Bizarre and uselessly complicated." In the 18th century, the term was used to describe music, was not flattering. In an anonymous satirical review of the première of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie in October 1733, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734, the critic wrote that the novelty in this opera was "du barocque", complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was unsparing with dissonances changed key and meter, speedily ran through every compositional device.
In 1762, Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française wrote that the term could be used figuratively to describe something "irregular, bizarre or unequal."Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a musician and composer as well as philosopher, wrote in 1768 in the Encyclopédie: "Baroque music is that in which the harmony is confused, loaded with modulations and dissonances. The singing is harsh and unnatural, the intonation difficult, the movement limited, it appears that term comes from the word'baroco' used by logicians."In 1788, the term was defined by Quatremère de Quincy in the Encyclopédie Méthodique as "an architectural style, adorned and tormented". The terms "style baroque" and "musique baroque" appeared in Le Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française in 1835. By the mid-19th century, art critics and historians had adopted the term as a way to ridicule post-Renaissance art; this was the sense of the word as used in 1855 by the leading art historian Jacob Burkhardt, who wrote that baroque artists "despised and abused detail" because they lacked "respect for tradition."Alternatively, a derivation from the name of the Italian painter Federico Barocci has been suggested.
In 1888, the art historian Heinrich Wölfflin published the first serious academic work on the style, Renaissance und Barock, which described the differences between the painting and architecture of the Renaissance and the Baroque. The Baroque style of architecture was a result of doctrines adopted by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in 1545–63, in response to the Protestant Reformation; the first phase of the Counter-Reformation had imposed a severe, academic style on religious architecture, which had appealed to intellectuals but not the mass of churchgoers. The Council of Trent decided instead to appeal to a more popular audience, declared that the arts should communicate religious themes with direct and emotional involvement. Lutheran Baroque art developed as a confessional marker of identity, in response to the Great Iconoclasm of Calvinists. Baroque churches were designed with a large central space, where the worshippers could be close to the altar, with a dome or cupola high overhead, allowing light to illuminate the church below.
The dome was one of the central symbolic features of baroque architecture illustrating the union between the heavens and the earth, The inside of the cupola was lavishly decorated with paintings of angels and saints, with stucco statuettes of angels, giving the impression to those below of looking up at heaven. Another feature of baroque churches are the quadratura. Quadratura paintings of Atlantes below the cornices appear to be supporting the ceiling of the church. Unlike the painted ceilings of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, which combined different scenes, each with its own perspective, to be looked at one at a time, the Baroque ceiling paintings were created so the viewer on the floor of the church would see the entire ceiling in correct perspective, as if the figures were real; the interiors of baroque churches became more and more ornate in the High Baroque, an
Stanislaus of Szczepanów
Stanislaus of Szczepanów, or Stanisław Szczepanowski, was a Bishop of Kraków known chiefly for having been martyred by the Polish king Bolesław II the Bold. Stanislaus is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Stanislaus the Martyr. According to tradition, Stanisław was born at Szczepanów, a village in Lesser Poland, the only son of the noble and pious Wielisław and Bogna, he was educated at a cathedral school in Gniezno and according to different sources, in Paris or Liège. On his return to Poland, Stanisław was ordained a priest by Bishop of Kraków. After the Bishop's death, Stanisław was elected his successor but accepted the office only at the explicit command of Pope Alexander II. Stanisław was one of the earliest native Polish bishops, he became a ducal advisor and had some influence on Polish politics. Stanisław's major accomplishments included bringing papal legates to Poland, reestablishment of a metropolitan see in Gniezno; the latter was a precondition for Duke Bolesław's coronation as king, which took place in 1076.
Stanisław encouraged King Bolesław to establish Benedictine monasteries to aid in the Christianization of Poland. Stanisław's initial conflict with King Bolesław was over a land dispute; the Bishop had purchased for the diocese a piece of land on the banks of the Vistula river near Lublin from a certain Peter, but after Piotr's death the land had been claimed by his family. The King ruled for the claimants, but – according to legend – Stanisław resurrected Piotr so that he could confirm that he had sold the land to the Bishop. According to Augustin Calmet, an 18th-century Bible scholar, Stanisław asked the King for three days to produce his witness, Piotr; the King and court were said to have laughed at the absurd request, but the King granted Stanisław the three days. Stanisław spent them in ceaseless prayer dressed in full bishop's regalia, went with a procession to the cemetery where Piotr had been buried three years earlier, he had Piotr's grave. Before a multitude of witnesses, Stanisław bade Piotr rise, Piotr did so.
Piotr was dressed in a cloak and brought before King Bolesław to testify on Stanisław's behalf. The dumbfounded court heard Piotr reprimand his three sons and testify that Stanisław had indeed paid for the land. Unable to give any other verdict, the King dismissed the suit against the Bishop. Stanisław asked Piotr whether he would remain alive but Piotr declined, so was laid to rest once more in his grave and was reburied. A more substantial conflict with King Bolesław arose after a prolonged war in Ruthenia, when weary warriors deserted and went home, alarmed at tidings that their overseers were taking over their estates and wives. According to Kadłubek, the King punished the soldiers' faithless wives cruelly and was criticized for it by Bishop Stanisław. Jan Długosz, writes that the Bishop had in fact criticized the King for his own sexual immorality. According to recent historians, Stanisław took part in a plot by nobles, who aimed to gain more powers or dethrone the king. Gallus Anonymus in his laconic account only condemned violent king.
Whatever the actual cause of the conflict between them, the result was that the Bishop excommunicated King Bolesław, which included forbidding the saying of the Divine Office by the canons of Krakow Cathedral in case Bolesław attended. The excommunication aided the King's political opponents, the King accused Bishop Stanisław of treason. King Bolesław sent his men to execute Bishop Stanisław without trial but when they didn't dare to touch the Bishop, the King decided to kill the bishop himself, he is said to have slain Stanisław while he was celebrating Mass in the Skałka outside the walls of Kraków. According to Paweł Jasienica: Polska Piastów, it was in the Wawel castle; the guards cut the Bishop's body into pieces and scattered them to be devoured by wild beasts. According to the legend, his members miraculously reintegrated while the pool was guarded by four eagles; the exact date of Stanisław's death is uncertain. According to different sources, it was either April 11 or May 8, 1079; the murder stirred outrage through the land and led to the dethronement of King Bolesław II the Bold, who had to seek refuge in Hungary and was succeeded by his brother, Władysław I Herman.
Whether Stanisław should be regarded as a traitor or a hero, remains one of the classic unresolved questions of Polish history. Stanisław's story has a parallel in the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170 by henchmen of England's King Henry II. There is little information about Stanisław's life; the only near-contemporary source was a chronicle of Gallus Anonymus, but the author evaded writing details about a conflict with the king. Sources are the chronicles of Wincenty Kadłubek, two hagiographies by Wincenty of Kielcza. All contain hagiographic matter; the cult of Saint Stanisław the martyr began upon his death. In 1245 his relics were translated to Kraków's Wawel Cathedral. In the early 13th century, Bishop Iwo Odrowąż initiated preparations for Stanisław's canonization and ordered Wincenty of Kielce to write the martyr's vita. On September 17, 1253, at Assisi, Stanisław was canonized by Pope Innocent IV. Pope Pius V did not include the Saint's feast day in the Tridentine Calendar for use throughout the Roman Catholic Church.
Subsequently Pope Clement VIII inserted it, setting it for May 7, but Kraków observes it on May 8, a supposed date of the Saint's death, having done so since May 8, 1254, when it was attended by many Polish bishops and princes. In 1969, the Church moved the feast to April
Karol Maciej Szymanowski was a Polish composer and pianist, the most celebrated Polish composer of the early 20th century. He is considered a member of the late 19th-/early 20th-century modernist movement Young Poland and viewed as one of the greatest Polish composers; the early works show the influence of the late Romantic German school as well as the early works of Alexander Scriabin, as exemplified by his Étude Op. 4 No. 3 and his first two symphonies. He developed an impressionistic and atonal style, represented by such works as the Third Symphony and his Violin Concerto No. 1. His third period was influenced by the folk music of the Polish Górale people, including the ballet Harnasie, the Fourth Symphony, his sets of Mazurkas for piano. King Roger, composed between 1918 and 1924, remains the most popular opera by Szymanowski, his other significant works include Symphony No. 2, The Love Songs of Hafiz, Stabat Mater. He was awarded the highest national honors, including the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and other distinctions, both Polish and foreign.
Szymanowski was born into the Korwin-Szymanowski family, members of the wealthy land-owning Polish gentry class, in the village of Tymoszówka in the Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire. He studied music with his father before enrolling at the Gustav Neuhaus Elisavetgrad School of Music in 1892. From 1901 he attended the State Conservatory in Warsaw, of which he was director from 1926 until retiring in 1930. Since musical opportunities in Russian-occupied Poland were quite limited, he travelled throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the United States. In Berlin he founded the Young Polish Composers’ Publishing Company whose primary aim was to publish new works by his countrymen. During his stay in Vienna he wrote the opera Hagith and composed two song cycles called The Love Songs of Hafiz, which represent a transition between the first and second periods of the composer's style. Being lame in one knee made him unsuitable for military service in World War I, between 1914 and 1917, he composed many works and devoted himself to studying Islamic culture, ancient Greek drama as well as philosophy.
During this period, his works such as Mity and Maski, are characterized by great originality and diversity of style. The dynamic extremes in Szymanowski's music became softened, the composer started employing coloristic orchestration and using polytonal and atonal material while preserving the expressive melodic style of his previous works. In 1918, Szymanowski completed the manuscript of a two-volume novel, which took homosexuality as its subject, his travels those to the Mediterranean area, provided him with new experience, both personal and artistic. Arthur Rubinstein found Szymanowski different. After his return he raved about Sicily Taormina.'There,' he said,'I saw a few young men bathing who could be models for Antinous. I couldn't take my eyes off them.' Now he was a confirmed homosexual. He told me all this with burning eyes."Of his works created or first imagined, like King Roger, during the years 1917 to 1921, both musical and literary, one critic has written: "we have a body of work representing a dazzling personal synthesis of cultural references, crossing the boundaries of nation and gender to form an affirmative belief in an international society of the future based on the artistic freedom granted by Eros."Szymanowski settled in Warsaw in 1919.
In 1926 he accepted the position of Director of the Warsaw Conservatory though he had little administrative experience. He became ill in 1928 and temporarily lost his post, he was diagnosed with an acute form of tuberculosis, in 1929 traveled to Davos, for medical treatment. Szymanowski resumed his position at the Conservatory in 1930, but the school was closed two years by a ministerial decision, he moved to Villa Atma in Zakopane. While living in Zakopane, Szymanowski developed a keen interest in the Polish folk idiom and undertook the task of creating a Polish national style, an endeavour unattempted since the times of Chopin, he immersed himself in the culture of the Polish Highlanders and embraced their tonal language, syncopated rhythms, winding melodies into the new style of his music. In 1936 Szymanowski received more treatment at a sanatorium in Grasse, but it no was longer effective, he died at a sanatorium in Lausanne on 29 March 1937. His body was brought back to Poland by his sister Stanisława and laid to rest at Skałka in Kraków, the "national Panthéon" for the most distinguished Poles.
Szymanowski's long correspondence with the pianist Jan Smeterlin, a significant champion of his piano works, was published in 1969. Szymanowski was influenced by the music of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Alexander Scriabin and the impressionism of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, he drew much influence from his countryman Frédéric Chopin and from Polish folk music. Like Chopin he wrote a number of mazurkas for piano, he was influenced by the folk music of the Polish Highlanders, which he discovered in Zakopane in the southern Tatra highlands. He wrote in an article entitled "About Goral Music": "My discovery of the essential beauty of Goral music and architecture is a personal o
Wincenty Pol was a Polish poet and geographer. Pol was born in Lublin, to Franz Pohl, a German in the Austrian service, his wife Eleonora Longchamps de Berier, from a French family living in Poland. Pol participated in the 1848 revolution. In spite of his mixed family background, he considered himself a Pole, so much so that he changed his surname to Pol, he was interned in Königsberg after the fall of the November Uprising in Russian partition of Poland. He enrolled at the University but soon became embroiled in controversy, for his anti-Tsarist agitation. While Pol was defended by German speaking professors, Peter von Bohlen and Friedrich Wilhelm Schubert, he left Prussia and continued his exile in France. While in exile Pol worked on his first poems in tribute to the heroism of the insurgents, issued in the set of "Songs of Janusz". Although he had no formal education in geography, during his travels in Polish lands he wrote several books on this subject, in 1849 was appointed professor at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow.
He wrote a fine descriptive work, Obrazy z życia i podróży, a poem Pieśń o ziemi naszej. In 1855 he published a poem relating to the times of Stanisław August Poniatowski, his earlier Songs of Janusz inspired Frédéric Chopin to write a number of Polish songs, but only one survives. Pol was first to introduce into Polish literature the term "Kresy" to describe the territories lying near the eastern frontiers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, he died in Kraków. Pol was interred in Kraków's historic Skałka Church, a mini-pantheon of Polish scientists and artists from the Kraków area. Gawęda List of Poles A selection of Wincenty Pol's poems, in English and Polish A Poet from Lublin
Jasna Góra Monastery
The Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland, is a famous Polish shrine to the Virgin Mary and one of the country's places of pilgrimage. The image of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa known as Our Lady of Częstochowa, to which miraculous powers are attributed, is one of Jasna Góra's most precious treasures. Among the monastery's other treasures and artifacts of interest is the medal from the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize received by Lech Wałęsa, the former Polish president and trade-union organizer; the site is one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments, as of 16 October 1994 and is tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland. Jasna Góra Monastery was founded in 1382 by Pauline monks who came from Hungary at the invitation of Władysław, Duke of Opole; the monastery has been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years, it contains an important icon of the Virgin Mary. The icon, depicting the Mother of God with the Christ Child, is known as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa or Our Lady of Częstochowa, venerated and credited with many miracles.
Among these, it is credited with miraculously saving the Jasna Góra monastery during the Siege of Jasna Góra that took place at the time of The Deluge, a 17th-century Swedish invasion. The event stimulated the Polish resistance; the Poles could not change the course of the war, after an alliance with the Crimean Khanate, they repulsed the Swedes. Shortly thereafter, in the cathedral of Lwów, on April 1, 1656, Jan Kazimierz, the King of Poland, solemnly pronounced his vow to consecrate the country to the protection of the Mother of God and proclaimed Her the Patron and Queen of the lands in his kingdom; every year since the Middle Ages, thousands of Poles go in pilgrim groups to visit Jasna Góra. In 2011, it was estimated that 3.2 million pilgrims from 80 countries around the world went to the shrine. Around 830,000 pilgrims took part in 228 pilgrimages organized in different places across Poland, 143, 983 of which reached the monastery on foot; the average distance for a pilgrim group to travel is about 350 kilometres, made in 11 days.
There are numerous pilgrims and tourists at Jasna Góra Monastery, the volume of excited voices can be high. However, upon entering the Monastery, it is expected etiquette for visitors to be silent or as quiet as possible out of respect. There is a long line of people who wait to approach the shrine of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa. Upon arriving at the location of the shrine where one would pass in front of the icon of Our Lady, it is expected and a sign of respect for pilgrims to drop to their knees, traverse the anterior of the shrine on their knees. Shrines to the Virgin Mary Black Madonna of Częstochowa National Shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa Czesław Ryszka. W Maryjnej Twierdzy. Jubileusz zwycięskiej Obrony Jasnej Góry. Urząd Miasta Częstochowy. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved 2013-07-24. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown Aleksander Radecki. Piesza Pielgrzymka Wrocławska 1981–1989. Mokrzeszyn. Jan Pach. Jasna Góra. Sanktuarium Matki Bożej. Przewodnik. Częstochowa: Wydawnictwo Zakonu Paulinów.
Mirosław Zwoliński. Przewodnik po Częstochowie. Częstochowa. Pp. 87–112. Jasna Góra website Jasna Góra and the Shrine of Our Lady of Częstochowa
Siege of Jasna Góra
You may be looking for Siege of Jasna Góra. The Siege of Jasna Góra took place in the winter of 1655 during the Second Northern War, or'The Deluge' — as the Swedish invasion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is known; the Swedes were attempting to capture the Jasna Góra monastery in Częstochowa. Their month-long siege, was unsuccessful, as a small force consisting of monks from the Jasna Góra monastery led by their Prior and supported by local volunteers from the szlachta, fought off the numerically superior Germans, saved their sacred icon, the Black Madonna of Częstochowa and, according to some accounts, turned the course of the war; the decade of the 1650s marked the end of the Golden Age of Poland, as it had become embroiled in a series of wars the Chmielnicki Uprising and the Russo-Polish War. In 1655 the Swedes decided to take advantage of the weakness of the Commonwealth to revive the Polish-Swedish War, simmering for the past century; the Swedish forces overran much of the Commonwealth territory.
In late 1655 the Polish king, John II Casimir, took refuge in Habsburg Silesia. Despite that, the Commonwealth forces were still not defeated, the Swedes decided to secure the fortified Jasna Góra monastery, an important fortress near the Silesian border, well known for its riches; as the Swedes approached, the monks feared that the Protestants would loot their Catholic sanctuary, seeing as the great European religious war of the 17th century, the Thirty Years' War, had ended. Thus the sacred icon was replaced with a copy and the original moved on November 7 in secret to the castle in Lubliniec, to the monastery in Głogówek; the monks bought about 60 muskets, ammunition, hired 160 soldiers to support the 70 fighting-capable monks. The defence forces were aided by about 80 volunteers, among them 20 nobles, including Stanisław Warszycki; the monastery had good artillery: 12 -- twelve 12 pounders. In the meantime the Swedes, seeing that they could not take the monastery by surprise, attempted to negotiate.
On November 8 the Swedes requested the right to garrison the monastery. The Prior of the monastery, Augustyn Kordecki, while requesting aid from the King of Poland, John II Casimir, offered to recognise Charles X Gustav of Sweden as King to prevent a military conflict, he received a document from the Swedes that promised safety to the monastery, but on November 18 he refused to let another Swedish unit in. The Swedish commander, General Burchard Müller von der Luhnen, with a 2,250-strong force with 10 cannons, after futile negotiations with Kordecki, decided to start the siege, which would continue until the night of December 26 to 27; the siege began on November 18. The Swedes had a numerical advantage, but inferior artillery compared to that mounted in the monastery. On November 28 the besieged under the leadership of Piotr Czarniecki made a surprise sortie and destroyed two Swedish cannons. Negotiations followed, which bore no fruit — the Swedes arrested two monks but released them afterwards.
As Kordecki did not agree to surrender the monastery, the fighting resumed. Near the end of November the Swedes received reinforcements — about 600 men with 3 cannons. On December 10 the Swedes brought in heavy siege artillery — two 24-pounders and 4 12-pounders, with 200 men; the Swedes had heavier caliber artillery than the defenders, although they still had fewer cannons than the monastery. At that point the Swedish besiegers were at the height of their strength, with 3,200 men and 17 cannons; the Swedish army at Jasna Góra, although referred to as'the Swedes', was in fact composed of German mercenaries. With the new artillery the Swedes damaged the northern walls, as well as the bastion of Holy Trinity. On the 14 December the Poles made another sortie, destroying one of the Swedes' redoubts as well as one of the 24-pounders; the Swedes started to shell the south side, as well as digging tunnel. On December 20, the Poles led by Stefan Zamoyski sortied again, this time during the day shortly after noon.
They killed most of the miners at the tunnel. On December 24 Kordecki refused to surrender once again, the Swedes went back to shelling the northern side. During one of their most heavy barrages the second of their 24-pounders malfunctioned and was destroyed; the Swedes demanded a ransom of 60,000 talars to lift the siege, but Kordecki replied that while he would have paid before the fighting, the monastery now needed the money for repairs. On December 27, the Swedes decided to withdraw, they made several small attempts to take the monastery by surprise in the weeks to come, as the fortress became an important center for the local anti-Swedish guerrillas. The Polish side reported a few dozen casualties, while several hundreds; the fortified Jasna Góra monastery was the only stronghold in Poland that the Swedish invaders failed to capture. Historians disagree over the importance of the defence of Jasna Góra in turning the tide of the war. In December, when the Swedes lifted their siege, the Polish forces had begun to gain the upper hand, the defence of Jasna Góra, an important symbol for the Poles, was a significant morale boost.
However, to what extent the defence of Jasna Góra motivated the defenders is still an
History of Poland
The history of Poland has its roots in the migrations of Slavs, who established permanent settlements in the Polish lands during the Early Middle Ages. The first ruling dynasty, the Piasts, emerged by the 10th century AD. Duke Mieszko I is considered the de facto creator of the Polish state and is recognized for the adoption of Western Christianity that followed his baptism in 966. Mieszko's duchy of Poland was formally reconstituted as a medieval kingdom in 1025 by his son Bolesław I the Brave, known for military expansion under his rule; the most successful of the Piast kings was the last one, Casimir III the Great, who presided over a brilliant period of economic prosperity and territorial aggrandizement before his death in 1370 without male heirs. The period of the Jagiellonian dynasty in the 14th–16th centuries brought close ties with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a cultural Renaissance in Poland and continued territorial expansion that culminated in the establishment of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569.
In its early phases, the Commonwealth was able to sustain the levels of prosperity achieved during the Jagiellonian period, while its political system matured as a unique noble democracy. From the mid-17th century, the huge state entered a period of decline caused by devastating wars and the deterioration of its political system. Significant internal reforms were introduced during the part of the 18th century in the Constitution of 3 May 1791, but neighboring powers did not allow the reform process to advance; the independent existence of the Commonwealth ended in 1795 after a series of invasions and partitions of Polish territory carried out by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy. From 1795 until 1918, no independent Polish state existed, although strong Polish resistance movements operated. After the failure of the last military uprising against the Russian Empire, the January Uprising of 1863, the nation preserved its identity through educational initiatives and a program of "organic work" intended to modernize the economy and society.
The opportunity to regain independence only materialized after World War I, when the three partitioning imperial powers were fatally weakened in the wake of war and revolution. The Second Polish Republic, established in 1918, existed as an independent state until 1939, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union destroyed it in their invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II. Millions of Polish citizens perished in the course of the Nazi occupation of Poland between 1939 and 1945 as Germany classified ethnic Poles and other Slavs and Romani as subhuman. Nazi authorities targeted the last two groups for extermination in the short term, deferring the extermination and/or enslavement of the Slavs as part of the Generalplan Ost conceived by the Nazi régime. A Polish government-in-exile nonetheless functioned throughout the war and the Poles contributed to the Allied victory through participation in military campaigns on both the eastern and western fronts; the westward advances of the Soviet Red Army in 1944 and 1945 compelled Nazi Germany's forces to retreat from Poland, which led to the establishment of a communist satellite state of the Soviet Union, known from 1952 as the Polish People's Republic.
As a result of territorial adjustments mandated by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II in 1945, Poland's geographic centre of gravity shifted towards the west and the re-defined Polish lands lost their historic multi-ethnic character through the extermination and migration of various ethnic groups during and after the war. By the late 1980s, the Polish reform movement Solidarity became crucial in bringing about a peaceful transition from a communist state to a capitalist economic system and a liberal parliamentary democracy; this process resulted in the creation of the modern Polish state: the Third Polish Republic, founded in 1989. In prehistoric and protohistoric times, over a period of at least 500,000 years, the area of present-day Poland was intermittently inhabited by members of the Homo genus, it went through the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age stages of development, along with the nearby regions. The Neolithic period ushered in the Linear Pottery culture, whose founders migrated from the Danube River area beginning about 5,500 BC.
This culture was distinguished by the establishment of the first settled agricultural communities in modern Polish territory. Between about 4,400 and 2,000 BC, the native post-Mesolithic populations would adopt and further develop the agricultural way of life. Poland's Early Bronze Age began around 2300–2400 BC, whereas its Iron Age commenced c. 700–750 BC. One of the many cultures that have been uncovered, the Lusatian culture, spanned the Bronze and Iron Ages and left notable settlement sites. Around 400 BC, Poland was settled by Celts of the La Tène culture, they were soon followed by emerging cultures with a strong Germanic component, influenced first by the Celts and by the Roman Empire. The Germanic peoples migrated out of the area by about 500 AD during the great Migration Period of the European Dark Ages. Wooded regions to the north and east were settled by Balts. According to mainstream archaeological research, Slavs have resided in modern Polish territories for over 1500 years. Recent genetic studies, determined that people who live in the current territory of Poland include the descendants of people who inhabited the area for thousands of years, beginning in the early Neolithic period.
Slavs on the territory of Poland were organized into tribal units, of which the larger ones were known as the Polish tribes.