For our freedom and yours
For our freedom and yours (Polish: Za naszą i waszą wolność) is one of the unofficial mottos of Poland. It is commonly associated with the times when Polish soldiers, exiled from the partitioned Poland, fought in various independence movements all over the world. First seen during a patriotic demonstration to commemorate the Decembrists, held in Warsaw on January 25, 18311, it was most probably authored by Joachim Lelewel. The initial banner has the inscription in both Polish and Russian, and was meant to underline that the victory of Decembrists would also have meant liberty for Poland. The slogan got shorter with time; the original had the form 'In the name of God, for our freedom and yours' ('W imię Boga za Naszą i Waszą Wolność'). The original banner has been preserved in the collection of Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw.
The motto in revolutionary and resistance history of 19th century
One of the first prominent examples of Poles embodying the slogan and assisting other nations freedom struggles in addition to fighting for Polish causes were Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Kazimierz Pulaski who both fought on the American side in the American War of Independence (1775–1783). Kosciuszko later returned to Poland lead an insurrection against Russia and the partitioning of Poland among Russia, Prussia and Austria. Pulaski had already led an earlier Polish uprising against Russian influence in Poland and died in battle against British troops in Georgia in 1779. The slogan soon became very popular and became among the most commonly seen on military standards during the November Uprising (1830–1831). During the war against Russia, the slogan was to signify that the Polish victory would also mean liberty for the peoples of Russia and that the uprising was aimed not at the Russian nation but at the despotic tsarist regime. Following the failure of the uprising the slogan was used by a variety of Polish military units formed abroad out of refugees. Among them was the unit of Józef Bem, which featured the text in both Polish and Hungarian during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and wherever Poles fought during the Spring of Nations.
After unsuccessful Uprising of 1863–1864 in Poland, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine its active participants were sent by Russian Tsar to Eastern Siberia. Several Poles had developed a conspiracy and then rebelled in June 1866. They had their own banner with the motto written on it.
World War II era
During the Polish-Soviet War, the motto was used by the Soviet government, which considered itself to be fighting for the rights of Polish workers and peasants against what it saw as the Polish government of landowners and capitalists.
The motto was used by Polish Armed Forces in the West during the fight against Nazi Germany (1939-1945).
In 1956 the government of the People's Republic of Poland established an award 'Za wolność waszą i naszą' for the members of the Polish Brigade in Spain ('Dąbrowszczacy'), part of the International Brigades, supporting the Republican military units in the Spanish Civil War. The Dabrowszczacy's brigade motto was 'Za wolność waszą i naszą'.
Motto in the USSR and Russia
The equivalent slogan (Russian: За вашу и нашу свободу Za vashu i nashu svobodu) was very popular among the Soviet dissident movement after the historic demonstration on Red Square in support of the Prague Spring on August 25, 1968.
The slogan has also been used as a title of various books in the Polish and English languages, for example For your freedom and ours: The Polish Armed Forces in the Second World War (2003), For Your Freedom and Ours: The Kosciuszko Squadron – Forgotten Heroes of World War II (2003) or For Your Freedom and Ours: Casimir Pulaski, 1745–1779 (2004).
To this day, Polish foreign policy and diplomacy are guided by a belief that it is Poland's mission to support rights for self-determination, democratic government and a respect for human rights in other countries.
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- Several sources (for example, , , ) state that the slogan dates from the late 18th century and was used by Tadeusz Kościuszko, presumably during the Kościuszko Uprising. This is most likely an error based on associating the 1831 motto which became popular with Polish revolutionaries with one of the earliest and most famous of them all. Karma Nabulusi offers a possible explanation: Kościuszko has used the words "For [both] our freedom and yours" ("Za naszą wolność i waszą"), Lelewel reworded them into "For your freedom and ours", a variant which became more popular and is often mixed up with its predecessor.
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- Gods, Heroes, & Legends
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While it is often and quite justifiably remarked that there was hardly a barricade or battlefield in Europe between 1830 and 1870 where no Poles were fighting, this is especially true for the revolution of 1848/1849.
- Bismarck and the Foundation of the German Empire. James Wycliffe Headlam 1899.
In those days the Poles were to be found in every country in Europe, foremost in fighting on the barricades; they helped the Germans to fight for their liberty, and the Germans were to help them to recover independence. In 1848, Mierosławski had been carried like a triumphant hero through the streets of Berlin; the Baden rebels put themselves under the leadership of a Pole, and it was a Pole who commanded the Viennese in their resistance to the Austrian army; a Pole led the Italians to disaster on the field of Novara
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- Documentary film of the demonstration at the Red Square of 25 August 2008: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-B9ie-aFMM&NR=1
- Youth Human Right News, 24 Aug 2008: "again they try to convince us, that we are surrounded by enemies". (in Russian), http://yhrm.org/news/archives/08_2008/?vw=909
- "На Красной площади задержаны десять человек". Lenta.ru. 25 August 2013.
- For your freedom and ours. (in Russian) NewTimes, 30 August 2008, http://newtimes.ru/news/2008-08-25/2008-08-25-3/
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- Marcin Zaborowski, David H Dunn, Poland: A New Power in Transatlantic Security, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-7146-5552-X, Google Print, p.25
- Traditions of war: occupation ... – Karma Nabulsi – Google Books. Books.google.com. 1999-10-28. Retrieved 2011-10-05.