The tragic national epic of Polish history - its repeated foreign occupations, and its heroic but doomed rebellions - began in these late 18th-century wars. Under Poland's Saxon monarchy, Russia and Prussia constantly meddled in the affairs of the Kingdom, both exerting pressure, and subverting Polish parties to work in their favor. In 1768 a civil war broke out between pro-Russian 'Commonwealth' Poles and 'Confederate' patriots who opposed foreign intervention; Russia intervened directly, and the First Partition followed in 1772, handing large slices of Polish territory to the Kingdom's powerful neighbors Russia, Austria, and Prussia.
Guerrilla resistance continued, and anti-Russian political moves were snuffed out by a second Russian invasion in 1792, which provoked an immediate Prussian invasion, too. Following a Second Partition between Russia and Prussia in 1793, Poland's national hero Thaddeus Kosciusko - who had formerly served under Washington in the American Revolution - led a national uprising against the invaders in April 1794. After remarkable victories against the odds at Raclawice and Warsaw, the patriots were finally defeated by the combined armies of Prussia and Russia at Maciejowice. This led to the Third Partition of 1795, between Prussia, Russia, and Austria, and Poland ceased to exist as a political nation.
Featuring specially commissioned full-color illustrations, this is the epic story of Poland's doomed struggle to remain independent in the face of aggression from its neighbors in the late 18th century.