Speaking of Lithuanian and Polish nationality in the period from mid-19th century until the first half of 20th century.
Here it is necessary to remember the formation of nationalism (good sense)birth of national identity. Since the mid-19th century begins with "modern nations' birth, and the main criterion here is the language
. Depending on the language you speak - that the nation you belong.
Until then, in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the situation was a bit different.
By the mid-19th century, nationalism has been addressed only in terms of how you realize yourself, according to your past and the fact of what you derive yourself from. Language did not play any role here. The language was relevant only to convey ideas (if you understand what I have in mind) – Polish language was more of a cultural language, Lithuanian and Belarusian - ordinary people's language, and so on.
Since the mid-19th century, language has come to play a key role to designate the nation's dependence. And then, there have been cultured (for example, noble) Lithuanian, who spoke Polish (language fiction) - had to choose - whether he is Lithuanian or Polish under the "modern" view. Here's to you an answer as to why, for example, in Lithuania, were so little nobility left in the first half of 20 century. Therefore, the Lithuanian nobleman (the old sense) did not want to waive his natural noble language (Polish) and speak with one Lithuanian, what he has done only with their subordinates.
The same situation applies to the ordinary people. Common Lithuanian (old sense) cosidered Polish language as more cultured and chose "Polish nationality", although his surname was baltic. Here, you can remember Lithuanian Ivanauskas family, whose three sons, in time of "modernisation of nations", became a Lithuanian zoologist (Tadas Ivanauskas
), Polish politic(Jerzy Iwanowski
) and Belarusians politic (Вацлаў Іваноўскі (Waclau Iwanouski)
Also in big cities, before formation of the modern concept of nation, as i said, culture language was Polish. There you have the great number of "Polish pepople" in major cities. The Polish speaking culture people and noble people are being perceived as Polish by "modern nations". And it becomes no longer relevant if that the Polish speaking cultured people perceived themselves as Lithuanians until then.
Well, I hope You all understand my opinion and sorry for my complicated english...
And finally I would like to say that, let's try to be post-modern
Let's try to find the real beautiful things in our common history. And if we find a dire things, let's try to understand them, accept them and forgive each other for them. Let us stand up and march forward brotherly as we have made this for several hundred years.
Greetings for all of You Brothers, from our Vilnius/Wilno
/ווילנע/Вільня/Wilna - Lithuanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ruthenian, Jewish, Karaites, Tatars.