(This is not a post about running. I was a history major in school, and have written a book about my parents who met and married in Poland during World War II. As such, the issues of those times have always been of particular interest to me. The following is an essay that I pulled together from today’s headlines and the research I conducted for my book. I will return to the issues of running in due course.)
In the aftermath of World War I Poland rejoined the family of nations via the Treaty of Versailles after a series of partitions lasting 150 years. Versailles also imposed punitive measures on Germany, forcing her to surrender around 13% of her territory, stripping her of her colonies, prohibiting her from annexing other states, while saddling her with harsh reparations which the loss of territory made impossible to meet. The size and makeup of Germany’s armed forces were also scaled way back. These severe conditions resulted in a bitter peace that helped spark Hitler’s rise in the early 1930s, and fueled his nationalistic appeal.
While not born of a punitive treaty per se, is it too far a stretch to see a similar nationalism rising in Russia in the aftermath of the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, and in the current political machinations of Russian president Vladimir Putin in Crimea?