Facing a Tough Election: How Poland’s Law and Justice Party Targets an Old Boogeyman

Facing a Tough Election: How Poland’s Law and Justice Party Targets an Old Boogeyman

In the midst of a critical general election, Poland’s Law and Justice party is resorting to a controversial tactic to rally its base: targeting an old boogeyman, the Nazis. Led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the chairman of the party, this strategy aims to not only secure another term in power but also taps into deep-seated nationalist sentiments. In this article, we will explore how Law and Justice is using Germany as a punching bag, the personal fixation of Kaczynski on reparations, and the impact of this approach on the upcoming election.

The Reparations Demand

Poland’s demand for reparations from Germany has resurfaced with new intensity as Kaczynski seeks ways to secure his party’s third consecutive term. Although the issue of reparations was settled decades ago, Kaczynski has made it a matter of “dignity” for Poland. The exact figure demanded keeps changing, but it currently stands at $1.3 trillion. This demand not only aims to secure financial compensation but also serves as a rallying cry for Law and Justice’s supporters.

Mobilizing Voters through Germany

Attacking Germany and its supposed influence over the leader of the opposition has become Kaczynski’s primary tool for mobilizing voters. Recent opinion polls place Law and Justice slightly ahead of its main rival, the Civic Coalition. However, neither party is likely to win enough seats to form a government on its own. The performance of smaller parties, including far-right and leftist coalitions, will play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the election.

The Extraordinary Influence of Kaczynski

Kaczynski’s influence within Law and Justice is unparalleled. Despite holding only one government post as deputy prime minister, he dictates Polish policy on most matters of state. His obsession with Germany, according to Radoslaw Sikorski, former defense minister, is a powerful tool for exciting voters. Kaczynski’s ability to play on fear and appeal to the worst in the nation has made him a virtuoso at manipulating public sentiment.

The Power of Law and Justice

Law and Justice’s use of Germany as a rallying point reflects the party’s behind-the-scenes power structure. Bartlomiej Rajchert, a political strategist, describes Kaczynski as the number one, two, and three figure in Poland. Poland’s prime minister and other key government officials regularly visit Kaczynski, seeking his instructions. This centralization of power has allowed Kaczynski to stack the party and the government with loyalists who serve his vision of executing power.

The Political Drama Unfolds

Law and Justice’s strategy of bashing Germany not only stokes grievances left by World War II but also transforms mundane political arguments into moral dramas. Kaczynski portrays Donald Tusk, the leader of the Civic Coalition, as a German lap dog and a national traitor intent on selling out Poland’s interests. An anti-German election ad featuring Kaczynski taking a phone call from a Polish-speaking man with a comically thick German accent plays into these narratives.

Justification for Feuds with the European Union

Casting Germany as a malevolent force helps justify Law and Justice’s long-standing feuds with the European Union. Kaczynski has described the EU as a German-led “Fourth Reich.” His portrayal of the opposition leader as a German stooge aligns with the party’s stance on the rule of law and other contentious issues. By leveraging historical grievances, Law and Justice seeks to undermine European solidarity and strengthen its nationalist agenda.

The Influence of Kaczynski’s Past

Kaczynski’s interest in history and his personal connection to the horrors endured by Poland during World War II have shaped his political ambitions. Pawel Poncyliusz, his former press officer, suggests that Kaczynski has harnessed the country’s past to serve his desire for power. Despite his lack of interest in material wealth, Kaczynski’s unifying vision of himself with Poland makes winning and holding power his primary objective.

The Fallout and Damage to Poland’s Image

Law and Justice’s demonization of Germany and Tusk has drawn international criticism. The barrage of anti-German messaging has stunned Germans invested in postwar reconciliation and Poles who desire their country to be seen as a serious player on the global stage. Experts warn of the damage done to Poland’s image and European solidarity by Law and Justice’s pre-election stunts. The implications of these actions extend beyond domestic politics.


As Poland faces a tough election, Law and Justice’s targeting of an old boogeyman, the Nazis, illustrates the extraordinary influence of Jaroslaw Kaczynski. By attacking Germany and leveraging historical grievances, Kaczynski aims to mobilize his base and secure another term in power. However, the fallout from this strategy raises concerns about Poland’s image and its relationship with the European Union. As the election approaches, the impact of Law and Justice’s divisive tactics remains to be seen.

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