2 Μαϊου

Polish Martini image

It's Flag Day in Poland Today

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Polish Martini

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A country that has suffered so much loss of independence during its tumultuous history takes its flag day seriously.

Partitioned in 1772 between Prussia, Russia and Austria, then in 1793 between Russia and Prussia, and again in 1795, Poland ceased to exist as a nation-state for 123 years and only regained independence in 1918. But within months the newly established Second Republic of Poland again had to defeat a predatory Russia.

Then in September 1939 it was attacked by Germany from the west and a couple of weeks later by Russia from the east, and suffered its fourth partition. Hitler and Stalin's objective was to eradicate Polish culture - everything from playing Polish music to flying the Polish flag.

After World War II ended, Poland remained behind the Iron Curtain for over four decades. However, with the growth of the Solidarnosc movement under Lech Walesa and with the spiritual help of the Polish-born Pope John Paul II, it broke free.

Today is the start of a three-day celebration that also takes in International Workers' Day on 1 May and Constitution Day on 3 May. Today we will be drinking to Poland's freedom with a Polish Martini.

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