State violence and the eliticide in Poland, 1935-49
in Violence and the state
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An eliticide or ‘national ‘decapitation’ – a systematic and deliberate targeting and mass extermination of a nation’s ‘ruling minority’– is a form of organised and state-perpetrated mass violence that, until recently, has been escaping the attention of historians and social scientists. Eliticides emerged in the 20th century as tools of social engineering and political conquest, primarily by Stalin and Hitler. The 1939-45 eliticide in Poland, conducted by the Nazi and Soviet invaders, not only weakened the resistance movement and undermined the social, political and moral order (thus opening the way for social pathologies), but also increased vulnerability to Soviet take over and fatally hindered the post-war social reconstruction of Poland. It resulted in the formation of a politically dependent and socially deracinated ‘quasi-elite’ with limited capacity for governing.

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