30 July 2021, 09:25:51 *

Login with username, password and session length
Welcome to War and Tactics!    War and Tactics Forum is currently undergoing some modifications that might disable features you are used to. This is unabvoidable as we have to update the forum engine to a new structure that is incompatible with many of the features we had used so far. The good news: WaT will be more secure and stable, and most of the features we uninstalled will be a natural part of the new structure anyway. For the rest we will be looking for solutions. (APR 23, 2018)
  Home   Forum   Help ! Forum Rules ! Search Calendar Donations Login Register Chat  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
Share this topic on Del.icio.usShare this topic on DiggShare this topic on FacebookShare this topic on GoogleShare this topic on MySpaceShare this topic on RedditShare this topic on StumbleUponShare this topic on TechnoratiShare this topic on TwitterShare this topic on Yahoo
Author Topic: Polish Institute of National Remembrance  (Read 2130 times)


Offline Offline


Location: Belgium
Posts: 4215

View Profile
« on: 28 November 2008, 13:58:25 »


A fifty-year span might seem to be a short period in the history of a state or a nation, but on the other hand, this might be a period when everything, including the political system, territory, and developmental pace of a state changes. The Institute of National Remembrance focuses its activities on the fifty years of the history of the Polish nation from 1939 to 1989, which is a period unprecedented in the intensity of change. It encompasses the events that impacted Poland and Polish society during World War II, the German and Soviet occupations, and the history when Poland was subject to the Communist power.

It must be remembered that Poland was the first country to stand against Hitler's and Stalin's invasion plans. The country had been divided between invaders, and the Polish civil population became subject to brutal repressions by both the Nazis and the Soviets. Already in 1939, the first mass executions took place in the German occupied territory. The main aim of Hitler's repressions was directed especially against Polish political, cultural, religious, social and intellectual elites. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens living in the territories occupied by the Soviet Union had been deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan to live in inhuman conditions. Many of those people never came back to their homeland.

The fate of the Jewish population living in the German occupied Polish territories was especially tragic. Before the outbrake of World War II, around 3 million Jews lived in the territory of the Polish state, amounting to about 10% of the population of Poland at that time. From that number, fewer than 300 thousand Jews survived. The largest concentration camps in occupied Europe were organized by the Nazis in the Polish territories (e.g. Aushwitz-Birkenau). Moreover, Poland was the place were Nazis created the death camps, the true "death factories," where Hitler's final solution was to be carried out.

Despite being one of the victors in World War II, Poland was physically devastated. As a result of the decision of the Great Three, one half of Poland's pre-war territory was turned over to the Soviet Union, and Poland in turn gained territories in the West and North at the expense of Germany. As a result, Poland became a country with territory smaller by 20% of its pre-war size. Following from the war, occupation, extermination of the Jews, and displacement of population caused by territorial policies, the population of Poland decreased from about 35 million to around 24 million, comparable to the population in the late 19th century. While such a demographic catastrophe has been called victory, it is fearsome to consider what defeated Poland could look like.

From 1944 to 1989, Poland was under Communist rule. Despite changes during that period, Poland had no sovereignty though it enjoyed recognition in the international arena. During that forty-five year period, all key decisions pertaining to both Polish foreign and domestic policies were decided in Moscow. At the same time, despite changes brought about by social upheaval in 1956, 1968, 1970, 1976 and 1980, Poland was under totalitarian rule. The scope and character of totalitarian repression was most intense during Stalinist times, which lasted until the mid 1950s.

Poland was not free from political repression also after 1980. Nevertheless, during the 1980s, the Solidarity movement, with its charismatic leader Lech Wa??, came on the political scene. The Communists were not able to hold on to their dictatorship in spite of Martial law imposed on Poland in December 1981. Thousands of Solidarity leaders were arrested. The "disciplinary forces" brutally put down strikes in the shipyards, factories, steelworks, and coalmines. Workers were killed and wounded. This tragedy as well is documented by the Institute of National Remembrance.

A few years had passed and the world changed to a great scale. Unprecedented reforms in the Soviet Union within the Perestoika programme and the politics of the United States which gained a military and technological dominance enabled the Central and Eastern European countries to finally break out from the Soviet space. Poland has long been ready to initiate radical changes which benefited the Polish nation and the whole Central and Eastern European region.

In 1989, as a result of the Round Table negotiations the historical compromise was reached. "Solidarity" officially entered the political scene. On June 4th, 1989 the first free elections to the Senate and partially free - contracted - elections to the Sejm took place. Poles voted against the old political system. Three months later the first independent government headed by Prime Minister Taduesz Mazowiecki was created. It took three further months to change the official name of the state: Polish People's Republic became the history; a free and democratic Republic of Poland was born.

Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Unique Hits: 36015060 | Sitemap
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

Google visited last this page 28 July 2018, 06:16:01