chapter  3
21 Pages

Initiative

Fighting on the Eastern Front (1914–20)
ByAntonia Bifulco

This chapter describes the theme of initiative. In Erikson's scheme, it adds action to autonomy: it includes undertaking, planning and attacking a task. Initiative is thus the operational side of autonomy. The theme of the chapter has been initiative, the relative virtue being willpower. Such was shown by author's grandfather Tadeusz, but also by the Polish population that took up the challenge of fighting for independence against the Bolsheviks. The initiative had been taken by the Poles to regain independence for their country when the surrounding powers were looking elsewhere. The willpower required was substantial given the devastation and exhaustion following the First World War. The Polish–Soviet war changed the power and politics of the period. The benefits were clear to a generation brought up in Poland at that time.