62 Comments
Feb 27Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Incredible story. I've heard and seen this before, but never in this level of detail. What was done to the Poles over the centuries is something that no people should ever experience. I wish them well in their goal of fortifying their country against future aggression from the east and hope that their allies to the west stay true to our shared values.

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author

I agree!

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Just want to add that James A. Michener painted a very detailed portrait of all of Poland's tribulations along the centuries in his novel, Poland, first published in 1983. A wonderful read.

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Feb 28·edited Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

You can also notice the territory around Białystok (north-eastern part), than in 19th century was direct part of Russian Empire, not Congress Poland. Białystok was kind of Russian Hong-Kong - the gateway between Poland and Russia where all trade was going (esp. textiles) and a lot of Polish companies created outpost to avoid duties. And it's also still visible on some maps.

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author

Nice!

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I voted on Professional storytelling because to me it's less buzzy-wordy than "business storytelling". I understand the power of keeping it very short but I played around with longer (probably too long) versions.

How to tell your professional story - A course on conveying your ideas and thinking in business

Also - will the course be full-time or when do you plan the lectures to take place? Asking since I am employed full time and need to plan accordingly :)

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author

Interesting ideas. Yes, I probably need a longer title. It's a good idea.

The course will be online, a cohort-based course. There will be 3 lectures per week, probably around 9am PST / 12pm EST / 5pm GMT / 6pm CET. I will also organize project reviews and office hours around those times.

What else can I tell you?

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Tomas, keep in mind that this time the opposition to the PIS didn't participate as only one coalition. So the map of the results is actually quite similar to the last one if you just plot the % that the more conservative parties received. The divide in Poland is quite similar to the one in Germany, nad it'll take at least some generations more to smoth the divide.

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author

That's true, good point!

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Just in case you don´t know, this year are the european elections, so we´ll get a new update on the political map soon

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author

Ah yes!

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Getting the (great) Zanclean megaflood video in the middle of the (great) article about Poland is unfair to each content! They rob each other attention

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author

You know I was struggling with that. I was excited to share it! And I don’t want to spam y’all!

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Attaching the word spam to your work… The mere idea is absurd.

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author

That's kind!

I feel like I shouldn't be sending more than 2 articles a week though. Am I being too conservative?

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Hi Tomás, I have a folder just for your articles. If I do not have time to read them when you send them, I eventually find a way of making time for them. So, I would say that yes, you are being conservative.

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author

Thank you!

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Feb 27Liked by Tomas Pueyo

I was about to suggest, "How to Tell Stories and Influence People", but Daniel beat me to it...

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The first time I came across this persistent border was in an article on Strange Maps almost 15 years ago ( https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/348-an-imperial-palimpsest-on-polands-electoral-map/ ). I did some digging at the time and got impressed with the differences, but I didn't get as far as you got in this article.

Amazing work!

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author

What other maps have caught your attention that you haven’t seen in my articles?

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27Liked by Tomas Pueyo

I'm probably the definition of a map-nerd, so most likely too many to count (I have 10,000+ maps stored in my OneDrive, which I'm trying to slowly curate and upload into an online catalogue - https://mapasmilhaud.com ).

I haven't read all your articles in detail, but I believe you have not covered yet the geopolitics of China: Increase their presence in Africa, control of high-tech minerals, new trade routes… That could be an interesting one.

Some maps to talk about this:

Chinese investment in Africa: https://www.businessinsider.com/map-chinese-investments-in-africa-2012-8

New Silk Road: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/06/why-china-is-building-a-new-silk-road/

Chinese control over High-tech minerals: https://www.voanews.com/a/east-asia-pacific_voa-news-china_studies-reveal-chinas-dominant-position-high-tech-minerals/6206341.html

Chinese tourisim: https://elordenmundial.com/mapas-y-graficos/donde-viajan-turistas-chinos/

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author

Beautiful maps!!

And interesting points about China. I will look into them. Thx!

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founding

on the zanclean flood - very cool geographic analysis… but if you go to something like Catching Fire by Wrangham - six million years ago was still roughly one million years before what became modern humans branched from chimps probably as a result of eating more meat or some differential diet… and it wasn’t until about 1.5 to 2.0 million years ago that the predecessor of homo habilis seems to have mastered fire and come down from the trees and started cooking… so the zanclean flood is several million years too early to be part of human cultural memory.

the analysis is still excellent outside of the pseudo-scientific suggestion that it could be the source of flood stories. if you’ve been in any sort of a flood - it is horrific enough to understand why flood stories would exist everywhere as a result of normal weather patterns…. or weather patterns since the trauma of Katrina in New Orleans or the recent Pakistan floods or the Mississippi floods that the Neville brothers sung about in gospel choirs…

Just like your work a lot and found it odd to throw in the idea that somehow a six million year old flood could be in modern cultural memory when we were still 4 million years away from coming down from the trees and beginning to develop smaller guts and bigger brains and the language and art and cultural memory and ability to collaborate in large groups which came with that larger brain and reallocation of basal metabolic energy…

thx!

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author

Hi! You’re right!

You might have misunderstood, or maybe not have seen the entire video, but that’s exactly what I say! We agree.

The reason why I added it in the video is that this was by far the most consistent question I got when I wrote about it on Twitter!

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Feb 27Liked by Tomas Pueyo

”Business Storytelling” seems most accurate but also most dry. Your posts have great titles like this one! I found the title intriguing. Dale Carnegie had a good book title with “how to Win friends and influence people” which kind of sounds like what you’re aiming at. I can’t think of a better title, but just wanted to let you know that I believe that you can find one!

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author

Thank you!

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Mar 5Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Wow, just wow. What a story, so captivating! Thanks!

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author

Glad to hear!

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

The videos are amazing!!

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author

Thx!!

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This was a great read🔥Thanks Tomas! 🌟

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author

You’re welcome!

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

What happened when millions of people were moved out of one area and into another? Did the people move voluntarily, or were they forced to (and how was that done)? Did they have to buy the homes from the former owners, who had gone to another country, or did they just walk into them? Was there any compensation provided to those who were displaced? The logistics are hard to fathom.

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author

The Germans just had to leave, so AFAIK no buying. Remember: This was the Red Army steamrolling over the very hated Nazis, so no nicety there.

A lot of the land was nationalized though. Remember, this was a Communist country.

I believe Poles weren't forced to move, since many stayed in what's now Belarus. There are 300k-1.1M Poles there today.

But I am not 100% sure

This Wikipedia page discusses this event:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_and_expulsion_of_Germans_(1944%E2%80%931950)

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

What I heard from people living in Szczecin (AKA them or their families relocated there after WW2):

You came with a train with your belongings. You were either forcefully loaded onto the train (especially in the eastern parts of Poland), or happily jumped on it looking for a better life. Or any life at all, if you lived in the cities destroyed during WW2. The train arrived to a major city, let's say Szczecin. You jumped out and ran to a nearest house that looked empty. You went in, had a look around, if t was nice, you just claimed it. Usually you put something on the door marking it as claimed. If you were successful, the house became your property later on.

The further west you went into the city, the better houses there were and lower chance on them being claimed by other Poles. However, it also increased a risk of meeting German partisans, who were fighting the invading Poles. So if you grabbed a house, you could be shot during the night. But if you survived long enough for other Poles to settle in and the German guerilla to be kicked out, you ended up owning a nice house in a proper district.

I didn't do much research into how it really looked. I recall similar scenes as above depicted in Polish movies about that time period.

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author

Oh wow that’s crazy. Can I add this to the quarterly update?

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Sure thing. But please do some historical cross-checking for this, I only heard it as a story from some families I got to know while living there.

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founding

😂👍🙏 i got to that later.

genuinely enjoy your work!

i particularly appreciate how it feels like you think in terms of processes - which is how O believe the world works, but we are all taught to think in terms of things or individual events, and most people and analyses stop there…. but the things and events are all just artifacts of ongoing processes at a point in time… the simplest instance of this is a bank account balance - which seems to be what a bank account is or what’s in the account, but the account is actually a ledger of transactions and the balance is just the residual of the transactions at a point in time…

the world is cool when you do the work to see how, in dan nicholsons terms, everything flows…

appreciate how you help us see parts of those flows in your posts.

apologize that i got excited and jumped ahead of myself. it’s a complement to how you had me

fully engaged with the video:..;)

thank you.

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Feb 28Liked by Tomas Pueyo

You are touching upon theories of history there, which is an incredibly fascinating rabit hole to dive into. The two (out of three dominant) theories you are refering to are the "invisible hand" and "the great man of history" (the third being the "Italian elites"). The "invisible hand" - or processes as you describe them - do play a major role in shaping history. Many time periods like the industrialization are heavily shaped by these processes that are beyond the control of any one person or group of people. On the other hand, there are some individuals who play pivotal roles in history, that no one else could have. Napoleon shaped Europe actively for nearly two decades and his legacy echoed for a long time (and arguably to this day). Would we have the universal declaration of Human Rights and the idea of dignity today if Picco delly Mirandola never ditched studying law for philosophy? There are some situations where there is no one else who could take the same or even similar actions at a certain time or place. The last theory (Italian elites) was first discussed in the context of the small groups of Italian nobles like the Borgias who had an outsized effect on what was happening in rennaissance era Italy (hence the name), and views events in history as the machinations of small elect groups I like to call oligarchs (some of them are anything but elite). All three are valid to some degree and can explain some parts of history very well, while struggling to do so with others.

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author

Indeed! I am a strong proponent of systems (what you call the invisible hand) against the Big Man Theory.

Let's take Napoleon, who might be quite exceptional, but:

• The revolution happened without him

• It created an ability to conscript more people than ever, because you're not fighting for the king, you're fighting for the country

• France was the most populated country in Europe at the time, by far

• Other countries wanted to intervene in France because the revolution was threatening their monarchies

You can easily see how all the ingredients were there for France to be attacked, and for her to respond in a way that would prevail. Napoleon was able to harness all these latent forces with skill, but look what happened in the end: He still lost. Because he couldn't fight all the monarchies at once. He lost in Russia, because he had to attack to fight off the British blockade. These were 2 monarchies.

Napoleon doesn't seem as special under this light.

In any case, your framework stands: There are probably combinations of these 3 theories. My stance is that one (systems) is much more important than the other two, and definitely more important than we traditionally think.

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I never claimed everything at the time happened solely due to him, but that his actions had a totaly outsized effect on Europe to this day that would never have happened if he hadn't been there. If he'd eaten a canonball in Italy, the entire situation would have resolved itself far differently, most likely with a still intact HRE, because no one else could have fought as skillfully as he did. An intact HRE would have meant that the Habsburgs wouldn't have reoriented towards the Balkans and that Prussia wouldn't have been able to form the German Empire. That would have created a completely different trajectory for all of Europe.

One thing that is often misunderstood about the "Big Man" theory is that it doesn't matter if they achieve their goals or not. The effect their presence has at that specific time and place is what matters and whether or not other people around them could easily step in to replace them in case of an accident. Take Alexander the Great. His empire collapsed with his death because he had no successor and if he'd died in a training accident early in life (as happened to many an heir), Macedonia never would have spread its influence to the Indus. Or take everyones facvourite weird mustache man. Say he takes a stray bullet in the Munich Beerhouse Putch? No one in the party could replace him as an orator and demagogue, the Third Reich doesn't happen, and the Weimar Republic falls to the Communists instead. Totally different outcomes solely due to one individual not being at a specific time and place.

Meta forces shaping society explain a lot of history, I completely agree with you on that. As a singular theory it probably explains more than any of the other theories in isolation. But it does break down quickly in some circumstances (I love the contortions some hardcore proponents of the "Invisible Hand" came up with to explain away the influence Napoleon as an individual had).

Exploring this topic could actually be a great for an article.

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author

Oh I totally hear your argument. I’m just saying the weight put on these big men is not proportional to their actual impact. Would Egypt had been very different without the Ptolemaics? Unclear. Would have another strongman appeared in Germany if Hitler hadn’t died? Likely, since they had popped up all across Europe in reaction to communism and the arrival of radio.

History can’t be tested with counter factual, so we should think about what our biases lead us to think. The fundamental attribution error and tendencies towards storytelling lead us to think in stories and not luck for these situations. We should be wary of big man theories. Especially if a more parsimonious explanation exists, and I believe systems are it since you can test them across geographies.

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I agree on Egypt, there is no clear way the Ptolemaics were different from other Pharaos. On Hitler though I have to strongly disagree. A leader like him doesn't appear out of thin air. At the time, there were the NSDAP and the Communists as strong radical factions tearing up the Weimar Republic. Take out Hitler and there is no one in the leading ranks of the NSDAP who can replace him as the figurehead who mobilizes the masses against the Reds. There was no other orator of his caliber in the party. Would they have folded immediately without him? No. Would they have been able to mobilize enough support to counter the Communists? Also no. Take out Hitler and you don't have a Third Reich, you have a Communist Germany fifteen years before the DDR was founded. Some people in history truly have a unique combination of skills at specific places and times that cannot be replaced by anyone in their vicinity.

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author

Primo de Rivera and Benito Mussolini took power before Hitler. Fascism didn't emerge in Germany. It was emerging as a response to Communism—as is super clear in Mein Kampf.

Also, Germany was the most powerful country on the continent, and felt uniquely grieved by WWI.

The history of Germany also pushed it to integrate further with German-speaking people, many of which lived in Czechia and Poland. Germany had been integrating for nearly 150 years

You put these 3 things together, and whoever would end up leading Germany was going to look like Hitler.

You might not have had a WWII like that. But you would have had a war. In fact, it's very possible that Germany would be *more powerful* today thanks to a Bismarck-like figure than a Hitler.

So yes, Hitler had a big impact on the outcome, but not on the situation, and in another history we would be talking about how the Great Schneider was completely unparalleled.

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author

Hahaha no worries. I’m glad you try to keep me honest!

And thanks for noting the systems thinking. This is probably the biggest thing that differentiates what I write va what’s commonly out there!

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Feb 27·edited Feb 27Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Nice one, what a history the Poles have seen and endured .

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author

Hahaha I see you edited your comment. I assume you found the Ukraine article!

https://unchartedterritories.tomaspueyo.com/p/why-isnt-ukraine-a-global-superpower

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Feb 27Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Indeed. I found 2 articles on Ukraine :) Thanks .

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Feb 27Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Fantastic article, amazing info, thanks!

Zanclean Flood video was fantastic too.

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author

Glad to hear!

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