Poland in the Modern World

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Poland in the Modern World presents a history of thecountry from the late nineteenth century to the present,incorporating new perspectives from social and cultural history andpositioning it in a broad global context * Challenges traditional accounts Poland that tend to focus onnational, political history, emphasizing the country's'exceptionalism'. * Presents a lively, multi-dimensional story, balancing coverageof high politics with discussion of social, cultural and economicchanges, and their effects on individuals' daily lives. * Explores both the regional diversity within Poland and thecountry's place within Europe and the wider world. * Provides a new interpretive framework for understanding keyhistorical events in Poland's modern history, including theexperiences of World War II and the postwar communist era.

Brian Porter-Szücs is Professor of History at the University of Michigan, where he has taught since 1994. He is the author of Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland (2011) and When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland (2000). He is also the co-editor, with Bruce Berglund, of Christianity and Modernity in Eastern Europe (2010).


This timely account of Poland's modern history, from the end of the 19th century to the present day, positions the country within the context of Europe, using the events of Poland's past to illustrate and illuminate the global forces that have transformed the world over the last century.

Challenging traditional, nationalistic accounts of heroism and tragedy, the author sets the major political events in Polish history alongside broader developments within society. He provides particular insight into the regional, cultural and economic diversity of the country, and focusses on the experience of individuals' daily lives. For instance, readers learn of the day-to-day relations between people of differing religion and language between the two world wars, the realities of life in the Warsaw ghetto; what Stalin's industrial expansion meant for the peasants who took up factory jobs in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the effects of changing concepts of masculinity and femininity over time. The result is a lively and nuanced historical overview that recognizes both the particularities and the universality of modern Poland's story.

List of Figures vi

Acknowledgments ix

Pronunciation Guide x

Introduction 1

1 Poles without Poland, 17951918 6

2 The Political Landscape at the Start of the 20th Century 43

3 Nation and/or Revolution, 191422 65

4 The Ambivalence of Democracy and Authority, 192239 90

5 Hyperinflation and Depression: The Interwar Period 105

6 Jews, Ukrainians, and Other Poles in the Interwar Period 126

7 World War II, 193945 144

8 Conquest or Revolution? 194556 186

9 The Year 1956 and the Rise of National Communism 231

10 Communism and Consumerism 258

11 The End of the PRL, 197689 285

12 Shock Therapy 328

13 Politics in the Third Republic 348

Index 367

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