On Franklin PiercernMy esteemed friend Chilton Williamson,rnas is his wont, makes the mostrnconcisely brilliant characterization of thernClintons that has been set down on paperrn(“Four More Years,” February 1997).rnHowever, even though I know the referencernwas ironic, I must take issue with hisrnmentioning the honorable PresidentrnFranklin Pierce even in the same articlernwith those people.rnNo, Pierce was not a bachelor. One ofrnhis children was killed in a train wreck onrnthe way to his inaugural. He continuedrnabout his public duties with Romanrncourage. During the Mexican War, hernresigned political office to enlist in thernArmy as a private, something neariy unknownrnin American history outside thernConfederacy. Hawthorne valued him asrna personal friend. (Lots of politiciansrnhave cultivated cultural figures, but thisrnwas a real friendship; the book is yet to bernwritten.) While the battle of Cettysburgrnwas raging, and before the outcome wasrnknown, the ex-President stood on thernCapitol steps at Concord, New Hampshire,rnand denounced Lincoln and hisrnwar against the South and the Constitution.rnAmerican patriots should alwaysrnspeak of Franklin Pierce with respect.rn—Clyde WilsonrnDepartment of HistoryrnUniversity of South CarolinarnColumbia, SCrnOn PolonophobiarnI read with great interest Paul Cottfried’srnanalysis (“Polonophobia,” January 1997)rnof the anti-Polish tenor of the mainstreamrnAmerican media in the post-1989rnperiod. Cottfried is right on the markrnwhen he sees in the current wave ofrnPolonophobia “the fingerprints of thernSoviet Empire.” As the Polish historianrnAndrzej Nowak reminds us, since thernlate 18th century, the dissemination of arnskewed image of Poland’s history andrnculture has been a tenet of Russian, thenrnSoviet propaganda (“Russo-Polish HistoricalrnConfrontation,” The SarmatianrnReview, January 1997). With few exceptions,rnAmerican academics and journalistsrnhave internalized this warped Russianrnand Soviet view of things Polish.rnLike ideas, phobias have consequences.rnA case in point is the marginalizedrnstatus of Polish Studies at Americanrncolleges and universities. During thernCold War, the teaching of Polish language,rnhistory, literature, and culture wasrntied to a field labeled “Russian and EasternrnEuropean” or “Soviet and EasternrnEuropean Studies.” Nomen omen, the labelrnreminded us what comes first, whilernrelegating Poles, Lithuanians, Czechs,rnHungarians, and other “Eastern Europeans”rnto a regional sideshow. What wernsowed in the Cold War era, we now reap:rnan overabundance of academies specializingrnin Russian with a concomitantrndearth of academics trained in the languagesrnand cultures of Central and EasternrnEurope, this at a time of significantlyrnincreased student interest in the latterrnarea. One example of this state of affairsrncan be found at the University of Illinoisrnat Chicago.rnThe student/faculty ratio in Polish andrnRussian classes offered in the spring 1994rnsemester at the University of Illinois atrnChicago was: Polish 38/1; Russian 24/1.rnIn the spring 1996 semester, the ratiornwas Polish 57/1; Russian 22/1. Despiternthis discrepancy in student load, the universityrnadministration feels no need tornprovide its Polish program the leel ofrnfaculty resources supporting Russian orrnanalogous language programs. One ofrnthe merits of Cottfried’s article is that itrnhelps us understand how cultural phobiasrnenable elites to perpetuate policiesrnthat marginalize those cultures, languages,rnand histories deemed less worthy.rnI urge Chronicles to give due attentionrnto the predicament of European studiesrnin general: in the current academic climaternItalian and Irish studies fare no betterrnthan Polish. Your January issue is anrnexcellent start.rn—Alex S. KurczabarnDepartment of Slavic and BalticrnLanguages and LiteraturesrnUniversity of Illinois at ChicagornI am grateful to Paul Gottfried for articulatingrnin “Polonophobia” one of therntaboos of American public discourse.rnThere is nothing in the article withrnwhich I disagree except Cottfried’s statementrnthat Polish-American responses tornthe charges against Poles on behalf ofrnsome WSP scholars and leaders of Jewishrnorganizations have been “measured.”rnThey have been cowardly. With one exception,rnthe leaders of Polish-Americanrnorganizations have eagerly competedrnwith the WASPs Gottfried describes inrntheir obsequious servility toward theirrnaccusers, blaming their ancestors for attitudesrn—if not crimes—that would havernmade the NKVD propaganda doctorsrnproud, and accepting as fact racistrnmovies such as Shtetl (whose producerrnwas saved by Polish Catholics he so despises).rnOne spectacular provo^aisiM thernNKVD staged in Poland, the Kieleernpogrom, appears in the American holocaustrnmuseums as an example of Polishrnanti-Semitism. When the president ofrnthe Polish American Congress, EdwardrnMoskal, dared to protest, the leaders ofrnthe American Jewish Committee pulledrnout of the committee working on improvingrnPolish-Jewish relations.rnCottfried is thrice right in saying thatrnmuch of the anti-Polish hostility is due tornthe communist version of history thatrnlingers on in leftist circles in America, bernthey WSPish or Jewish. Ever since thernBolshevik Revolution in 1917, the left inrnAmerica has put Poland and what itrnstands for—Catholicism, agrarianism,rnconsciousness of national identity—onrnthe “disappearance” wish list. And everrnsince Rosa Luxemburg (a Polish JewishrnMarxist), the left’s policv has been torneliminate or minimize Poland as an independentrnnation, and thus weaken thernphilosophical and social ideas which arernassociated with its history. The left’s distrustrnof these values has outlived therncommunist empire. Poland is seen as arnretrograde bastion of Roman Catholicism,rnwhich halted the westward spreadrnof the Marxist revolution in 1920 andrnnow continues to produce troglodyternclergy who stand in the wa’ of reform inrnthe Catholic Church. In that battle, thernleftward-looking Polish intellectuals,rnboth in Poland and in Diaspora, have oftenrnbeen cooptcd as sergeants-at-arms,rnconfirming and lamenting their countrymen’srnbackwardness.rnA related problem Gottfried does notrnmention is that American Jews see theirrnEastern European history mostlyrnthrough the eyes of Russian interests,rnwhich supplied a fundamental source ofrnthat dislike of Polish culture that is partrnof the Jewish self-image in America.rnMany secularized American Jews do notrnwant to know of their Polish or Ruthenianrnroots, of the fact that the Polish staternin the 18th century was home to 75 percentrnof all Ashkenazi Jews, that Jewishrnself-rule in Poland was only destroyed byrnthe partitions, and that a good numberrnof Polish Jews before Wodd War II werernAPRIL 1997/5rnrnrn