Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski EN, DE

This 19th-century book by Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski, with
its vision of European integration, is chiefly a record of its time,
containing certain ideas and concepts that were generally later
developed in the next century, becoming an element of the reality we are
witnessing today,” says professor Radosław Żurawski vel Grajewski of
the University of Łódź in a conversation with Poland.pl. An event
marking the international promotional campaign for the new Polish-French
edition of Korwin-Szymanowski’s "L’Avenir économique, social et
politique en Europe" ("Europe’s Future in Economic, Social, &
Political Contexts") was held at the College of Europe in Bruges on 25

Poland.pl: Neither the book itself - L’Avenir économique, social et politique en Europe - nor Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski, the author, are known today…

Professor Radosław Żurawski vel Grajewski:
That is true. While the author of the work in question hailed from the
gentry, his ancestors, having included knights who fought in the
Thirteen Years’ War in the 15th century, as well as delegates to
Poland’s general parliament and diplomats and senators of the First
Republic, the family’s former glory began slipping into magnificent
oblivion in the 19th century. Albeit the Szymanowskis had, since the
18th century, been related by affinity to Victor Emanuel II – that is,
to the House of Savoy, an Italian family of rulers as of 1860 – and
continued moving within the circles of the most distinguished Polish
magnate families, their material status was visibly diminishing. Teodor
Korwin-Szymanowski himself, born in 1846, spent his early years in his
birthplace of Cygów near Warsaw and then moved to the capital with his
parents. Having received basic education at home, he was sent for
further schooling to the St Clement Gymnasium in Metz, which was run by
Jesuits. This was his first contact with the France he would always
remain strongly sentimental about. Upon his father’s death, he took over
as administrator of the estate in Cygów, which the family would finally
lose by the mid-1880s. Teodor’s participation in public life was
apparently rather limited, at least in Poland, yet he remained in close
contact with political circles of the Third French Republic.
Furthermore, he had extensive social and economic interests and – it
goes without saying – a certain will to be very active in the field. In
September 1890, he attended the Paris anti-slavery congress held under
the auspices of Pope Leo XIII. The event yielded L’Esclavage africain,
a work Korwin-Szymanowski wrote and had published in Paris in 1891. In
the early 1890s, he published a number of social, economic and political
treatises, having also attempted poetry. Yet he achieved no major
success in any of these fields, with his works remaining largely
unknown: rather symbolic of the writer himself, who was facing
ever-increasing financial problems. A similar fate befell the
aforementioned treatise L’Avenir économique, social et politique en Europe.

Why did Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski write a book about Europe?

His interest in public life ran deep, extending beyond the issues of his
country of birth. He had a vivid interest in international politics and
corresponded with deputies to the French parliament, debating
contemporary political matters (in light of the newly arising
French-Russian alliance), as well as the festering social issues tied to
the circumstances of the working classes and the slowly mushrooming
socialist ideas. These problems were international in nature and
provoked deeper thought concerning the overall direction of social,
economic and political changes throughout the continent. I would also be
inclined to associate a certain measure of universalism visible in the
author’s take on the problems of the surrounding world with his profound
religious beliefs and fervent Catholicism, which led him to a broader
reflection on the moment in history that European civilisation had found
itself in. His aristocratic origins and intellectual traditions were
probably of importance as well, as they became an imperative – with
a somewhat paternalistic element – in considering the future of
societies that the ‘higher classes’ (at least those with a continued
sense of mission) felt continuously responsible for. Korwin-Szymanowski
realised that appropriate answers to the arising challenges and threats
could not be sought in the limited public space of a single country or
in several countries even – they could only be identified on the scale
of the entire continent, already then seeped through with similar social
and economic processes or ideological and political policies, which had
become a pan-European presence, albeit on a varying scale and with
varying dynamics.

The book was written at a time when Poland was
partitioned, the Kingdom of Poland formally and in practice subordinate
to the Russian Empire and ruled by Tsar Alexander III. Yet
Korwin-Szymanowski does not writing anything about Poland reclaiming its independence. Why do you think that is?

I think there are a number of reasons. Despite spending several years
studying in France and a number of episodes involving travel to Western
Europe, Korwin-Szymanowski remained the tsar’s subject, resided within
the boundaries of the Russian Empire and (he) had to conform to its
laws. He had never become a political émigré who could have – severing
all ties with the partitioning regime – openly proclaimed a programme of
Poland regaining independence and produced political treatises on
measures for reclaiming it, regardless of any consequences to his fellow
countrymen back home. Moreover, this had not been the purpose of his
deliberations. While certainly a patriot, he was primarily searching for
a solution that would have allowed the vision of danger looming over
the continent to be dispersed – the introduction of international
(chiefly economic) institutions that would have made it possible to
reorganise Europe and prepare it for extensive development projects
promising economic prosperity and material well-being, and, in
consequence, political stability and everlasting peace among nations.

In the afterword to the book, you mention other European integration projects that arose during that time. How does L’Avenir économique, social et politique en Europe compare?

I daresay we can regard it as quite original – primarily due to the
reasons linked to the fundamental economic and financial dimension
within the proposed project to universally reform the continent. That
dimension remains the sole base and point of reference in
Korwin-Szymanowski’s deliberations. He refers to the economic
foundations of operating a society, perceiving them as the lever and
mechanism of all changes suggested, as well as the vital mechanism of
their introduction. Other European integration projects I reference in
the afterword are primarily political in nature. Concepts penned by
19th-century writers – such as Adam Jerzy Czartoryski and Wojciech
Bogumił Jastrzębowski, for example – involved proposals of new political
arrangements for the European continent with ethnic and geographical
communities at their foundations. The ultimate purpose was to organise
the international community in a way that secured sound conditions for
the development of the national life of the various ethnic communities
and prevented the threat of war. This was a recipe for everlasting peace
throughout the continent, as well as a method of liberating Poland from
the oppression of foreign powers. The aforementioned continental peace
was also a leitmotif inspiring the majority of contemporary foreign
political thinkers, especially before 1850. The economic factor, on the
other hand, appeared in concepts penned by German authors as a stimulant
of processes integrating the continent. Yet, in such writings, it
formed a strict part of – and a theoretical excuse for – political and
economic expansion plans. No proof exists of Szymanowski having tapped
into the oeuvre of German integration thought.

Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski’s book assume the the form of a constitutional treatise in two parts: the Social & Economic Code and the Political & Administrative Code. How can readers interpret the record today, 130 years later?

Chiefly as a record of its times, containing certain ideas or concepts
that were generally further developed in the next century, becoming an
element of the reality we are witnessing today, albeit obviously not in
the format suggested by Korwin-Szymanowski. In all probability, the most
interesting reflection accompanying the process of reading the book
involves the extent of the social and economic issues that Europe was
facing at the time – issues the author brilliantly realised. Solutions
he offers mirror the nature of the times he lived in, the education he
received and the culture he was raised in. All these factors deeply
affected his mentality and his way of thinking. Raised in an atmosphere
of profound religiosity, Szymanowski perceived the surrounding world
through the prism of Christian ethics. He saw Christianity as the
cornerstone of a morality that should also apply to international
relations. Such a take on international reality resembles the idealised
world of the ancien régime, to a certain extent, a world that
never existed. Even more so, at the time Szymanowski chose to table his
proposals, Europe – while still, by and large, a Europe of monarchs –
was already openly walking down the path of other systemic solutions and
value systems. Ever-swifter social changes, mainly arising from
economic development, forced governments and formerly dominant classes
to face increasingly present and urgent challenges tied to the living
conditions of societies as well as to their progressively more forceful
political aspirations. These involved more intense participation in
authority, achievable, for instance, through the democratisation of
elections, and changes in mentality introduced by ever more popular
ideologies: socialism and nationalism. Hence, Szymanowski’s vision of
international relations based on Christian ethics resembles Don
Quixote’s noble dreams rather than the opinions of a political reality
analyst with ambitions of designing a realistic action programme for his
contemporaries. Today, Europe and the world are facing equally serious
and complex challenges, also requiring responses on a global or
continental scale. Their general nature – be it economic, social or
political – remains largely the same. Yet one would be hard-pressed to
search Korwin-Szymanowski’s proposals for direct ideas or guidelines
adaptable to our world. As I said before, his deliberations are a mere
record of his time, albeit inspiring and conducive to consideration of
the current options, benefits and threats arising from any choice or,
possibly, the general justifiability of such a choice, and of
alternative solutions to the direction taken by the author of L’Avenir... in his fundamental ponderings.
The EU’s founding fathers were not only Konrad Adenauer, Jean Monnet,
Robert Schuman and Alcide de Gaspari. There were also perhaps lesser
known Poles who had given serious thought to the concept of European
integration even before the 1951 Paris Treaty created the European
Community of Coal and Steel.Their legacy is being
promoted by Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which for nearly
a decade has been publishing a series titled European Unity Library
(Biblioteka Jedności Europejskiej), regardless of the political option
in power.Filip Memches Source: "Rzeczpospolita"

The  publicist from the "Rzeczpospolita" daily, Filip
Memches, writes that Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski’s vision "can be seen as
groundbreaking in comparison with the integration project implemented by
contemporary Eurocrats, in terms of the common currency and customs
union in particular”. Would this be your opinion too?

Were we to perceive the common currency and customs union as
a general slogan accompanying the European integration project, I would
be inclined to agree with the statement. The fundamental question we
would have to answer before accepting it unconditionally does not – as
I see it – concern Korwin-Szymanowski’s concepts but rather the motives
behind ideas coined by these contemporary ‘Eurocrats’. I dare
not, at this point, initiate any debate on whether and to what extent
they applied economic premises to their decisions – as undoubtedly the
author of L’Avenir... had – or whether they were actually
driven by ideological and political influence wherein the customs and
currency union was but a tool. Similarly, the ultimate consequences of
both projects – tabled by Korwin-Szymanowski in the 19th century and by
the contemporary European Union, respectively – are equally difficult to
assess. While having emphasised before that Szymanowski was much less
concerned with political compared to economic issues, the final
consequences of changes he suggested – however general – yield a project
of a European super-state, in the banking and financial dimension at
least. Such a state obviously exerts a huge influence over the
autonomous decision-making processes of individual national governments.
We are witnessing similar trends today, trends recognised as the basic
reason for concern among contemporary Eurosceptics. On the other hand,
the author of L’Avenir… made no suggestions about appointing
a pan-European government of any kind, in the political and
administrative dimension at least, although he did predict the formation
of an international council of ministers of associated states, which
could well have evolved in such a direction. In general, he avoided any
direct confrontation with the emerging problem, not perceiving it as
a major question mark within the concept he had created. Possibly also
in this aspect, his integration project resembles the one we are facing
today, wherein – out of fear of potential discord – any debate on
whether we will be facing a European super-state as a result of current
developments is summarily sidestepped.

In recent years, a number of books have been published that
recall the Polish contribution to the development of Polish European
thought. Prince Adam Czartoryski’s Essay on Diplomacy was published, as was Stefan Buszczyński’s Decline of Europe; Wojciech Jastrzębowski’s Constitution for Europe
even became the theme of a historical play staged by Olgierd
Łukaszewicz. For a few years now, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has
been looking back at Polish reflections on the Old Continent by means of
the European Unity Library (Biblioteka Jedności Europejskiej). What
other titles do you believe should be restored to public memory? Which
Europe-focused Poles ought to be summoned?

A number of such books could be listed, such as Leszek Dunin-Borkowski’s Un Programme de paix européenne fondé sur le droit chrétien
(Dunin-Borkowski published in Paris in 1867 as Abbé Ambroise), or the
map of united Europe designed by Henryk Nakwaski, actually related to
Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski by affinity. I also believe it would be
worthwhile to recall Karol Boromeusz Hoffman’s Cztery powstania, czyli krótki wykład sposobów jakimi dobijały się o niepodległość Grecja, Holandia, Portugalia i Polska (Four Insurgencies, or a Brief Dissertation on how Greece, Holland, Portugal & Poland Fought for their Freedom), as well as works by other forgotten 19th-century military theoreticians: Ludwik Bystrzonowski and Wojciech Chrzanowski.

Radosław Żurawski vel Grajewski, Ph.D. Hab.
teaches at the Institute of History at the University of Łódź. He is
the head of the Faculty of Contemporary World History. His fields of
research include the history of 19th-century diplomacy (with a special
focus on the British Empire before 1850), the history of the Great
Emigration and the history of diplomacy in World War II. He is the author of multiple books: Działalność księcia Adama Jerzego Czartoryskiego w Wielkiej Brytanii (Prince Adam Czartoryski’s Activities in Great Britain, 1999); Wielka Brytania w dyplomacji księcia Adama Jerzego Czartoryskiego wobec kryzysu wschodniego (Great Britain in Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski’s diplomacy vs. the Eastern Crisis, 1999); Księżna Dorothea Lieven wobec Polski i Polaków. Pojedynek za kulisami wielkiej dyplomacji (Duchess Dorothea Lieven on Poland & the Poles: The Duel Behind World Diplomacy, 2005); Brytyjsko-czechosłowackie stosunki dyplomatyczne październik 1938 r. - maj 1945 r. (British-Czechoslovak Diplomatic Relations, October 1938–May 1945, 2008); and of numerous articles and scientific works.

from: http://poland.pl/politics/foreign-affairs/noble-dreams-don-quixote/

Tommy Stöckel, Berlin
Oui, j’ai eu faim et froid […],  j’ai donc le droit de me plaindre, dans mon caractère de seigneur
terrassé par les circonstances« (S. 39), so rechtfertigte der polnische Aristokrat Teodor Korwin-Szymanowski seine 1885 in Paris erschienene Broschüre »L’avenir économique, social et politique en Europe«, die eine umfassende ökonomische Reform Europas vorschlug. Dass diese Schrift lange ein Schattendasein
fristete, so in dem 2004 publizierten Sammelband »Polen denkt Europa« nicht abgedruckt worden ist1, rechtfertigt die erneute Herausgabe. Weiterhin weist sie eine gewisse Originalität auf, wie Radoslaw Zurawski vel Grajewski in seinem Nachwort betont (S. 70). Die 2015 in der Schriftenreihe »Bibliothèque de l’Unité européenne« erschienene französisch-polnische Edition besteht dabei nicht allein aus dem Text Szymanowskis (S. 7–54), sondern wird durch ein Nachwort des in Łódź tätigen Historikers Zurawski vel Grajewski (S. 55–102) ergänzt, welches den Verfasser ideengeschichtlich verortet und einen kurzen biografischen Abriss bietet. Insbesondere diese Details sind von großem Wert, da über Szymanowski selbst wenig bekannt ist. Szymanowski, der aus einer traditionsreichen, polnischen Adelsfamilie stammte,
veröffentlichte seine Broschüre in dem Augenblick, als er den verschuldeten Familienbesitz in Cygow verkaufen musste (S. 60), was das eingangs erwähnte Zitat verständlich macht. Prägende Elemente für die Biografie Szymanowskis waren einerseits sein Bezug zu Frankreich, wo er studierte, wie später auch seine
Söhne, andererseits sein christlicher Glaube, der sich u. a. in seinem Verständnis der internationalen Beziehungen widerspiegelte (S. 58–60). Zudem bewegte er sich im Fahrwasser des im 19. Jahrhundert
verbreiteten Internationalismus: »Qu’il n’y a pas moyen de sortir, maintenant, des embarras économiques en Europe, sans le concours solidaire international de tous les gouvernements« (S. 37). Diese Überzeugung prägte denn auch seine Broschüre, die sich in zwei Hauptteile gliedert: einen umfangreicheren »Code social et économique« (S. 13–42) sowie einen knapper ausfallenden »Code politique et administratif« (S. 42–53).
Ausgangspunkt für das Reformprogramm, welches Szymanowski konzipierte, stellen die
Finanzen und die Wirtschaft dar, wodurch jedoch weitere umfassende Umgestaltungen in Europa ausgelöst werden sollen (S. 10). Im Zentrum steht die Schaffung einer internationalen Bank, die in den unterschiedlichen Ländern Europas jeweils Zweigstellen unterhält, sodass die nationalen Zentralbanken überflüssig werden (S. 14–16 und 20). Wie zentral die Schaffung der internationalen Bank in der Vorstellungswelt Szymanowskis war, zeigt sich daran, dass sie ihn auch in den 1890er Jahren noch umtrieb2. Jene internationale Bank wird kontrolliert durch die nationalen Finanzminister, gehört jedoch den Aktionären einer ebenfalls zu
schaffenden internationalen Anleihe, der »rente perpétuelle internationale« (S. 14, 17). Die internationale Bank besitzt einen Teil des Regierungsvermögens und hat als zentrale Aufgabe die Ausgabe der gemeinsamen europäischen Währung, welche – aus pragmatischen Gründen – der französische Franc ist
(S. 15–17). Eine weitere zentrale Forderung aus dem »Code social et économique« stellt die Abschaffung der europäischen Binnenzölle bei gleichzeitiger Einführung eines gemeinsamen europäischen Außenzolls dar (S. 18). Sehr mit Recht hebt der Herausgeber in seinem Nachwort hervor, dass gerade die Dominanz
der wirtschaftlichen Ideen bei gleichzeitiger Ausblendung der Nationalitätenfrage sowie der knappen politischen Ausführung die Originalität von Szymanowskis Werk ausmache (S. 70f.). Denn in seinem »Code politique et administratif« beschränkt sich Szymanowski auf ein generelles Lob der absoluten monarchischen
Regierungsgewalt, die auf seine aristokratische und christliche Prägung zurückzuführen ist, verbunden mit einer Kritik am Parlamentarismus. In seinen Vorschlägen für eine Verwaltungsreform plädiert er folglich für eine absolute und zentrale Regierungsgewalt, wohingegen die legislative Gewalt wie auch die verschiedenen Kontrollinstanzen so dezentral wie möglich organisiert werden soll (S. 49f.). Hervorzuheben ist, dass
jener skizzierten umfassenden wirtschaftlichen Internationalisierung in den Überlegungen Szymanowskis keine
paneuropäische Regierung folgte (S. 71). Auffällig ist ferner der stark Stellen offenbar wird (S. 34, 39, 43f.). So betont er beispielsweise, dass er seine Schrift niemanden zur Korrektur gezeigt habe, »pour que la science n’en enlevât avec son gros d’ignorance son duvet de vérité« (S. 52). Nur in der isolierten Arbeit also, die sich nicht der Wissenschaft unterwerfe, entstünden authentische Gedanken (S. 10).
Es stellt sich natürlich die Frage, wie das Werk Szymanowskis zeitgenössisch rezipiert wurde.
Der Herausgeber betont, dass die Schrift – wie im Übrigen alle politischen wie auch poetischen Werke – keine Wirkungen hinterließen und kaum wahrgenommen wurden (S. 63). Die Gründe dafür liegen noch in Dunkeln; und sind insbesondere aufgrund der Vernetzung Szymanowskis verwunderlich (S. 57,  60f.).

Dem eigentlichen Text von Szymanowski folgt – es wurde bereits darauf verwiesen – ein Nachwort, welches u. a. eine biografische Skizze Szymanowskis bietet. Zurawski vel Grajewski betont dabei die schlechte
Quellensituation bei der Rekonstruktion der Biografie, sodass er sich hauptsächlich auf das familiäre Umfeld konzentrieren muss (S. 55). Bedauerlich ist dabei, dass es der Herausgeber bei der äußerst knappen Benennung des sozio-politischen Kontexts belässt (S. 56) und die Ideen Szymanowskis daher nicht
sozialgeschichtlich rückbindet; dies umso mehr, da Szymanowski selbst seine Motivation für die Abfassung der Broschüre aus seiner sozialen Situation herleitete (S. 39f.). Der enge Frankreichbezug Szymanowskis wurde bereits erwähnt, den auch Zurawski vel Grajewski betont. Wünschenswert wäre es jedoch
gewesen, wenn er sich dabei nicht auf die Feststellung beschränkt hätte, Szymanowski verfügte über ein breites Netzwerk in Frankreich, sondern dieses spezifiziert hätte, was eine Kontextualisierung der Person und des Werks von Szymanowski weiter erleichtert hätte (S. 60f.). Das Nachwort bietet schließlich eine hilfreiche klassisch ideengeschichtliche Auflistung weiterer polnischer sowie französisch-, englisch- und
deutschsprachiger Europakonzeptionen des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts, die eine diskursive Verortung Szymanowskis Ideen ermöglichen (S. 71–101). Fruchtbar für das Nachwort wäre
möglicherweise noch eine Einordnung der Quelle in verschiedene Forschungskontexte gewesen. Denn für Fragen nach Europäisierung, dem Internationalismus oder dem Wissenschaftsskeptizismus
aristokratisch-katholischer Kreise bietet Szymanowskis Broschüre »L’avenir économique, social et politique en Europe« interessante Einblicke.

1 Peter Oliver Loew, Polen denkt Europa. Politische Texte aus zwei Jahrhunderten, Frankfurt a. M. 2004 (Denken und Wissen. Eine polnische Bibliothek).
2 Siehe dazu die Broschüre Szymanowskis: Teodor Korwin Szymanowski, À propos de la conférence de Berlin, Paris 1890.
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