Twentieth-century Poland

By Dr Janek Gryta, published 1st November 2023

In this podcast Dr Janek Gryta (University of Southampton) discusses the history and development of modern Poland from the emergence of the Second Polish Republic after World War I, Poland's experience during the interwar period, its role during and the consequences of World War II, how the Polish People's Republic evolved during the Cold War, the end of Communism in the 1980s and the Poland of the 21st century.

1. What was Poland like during the interwar period? To what extent was this a time of hope and aspiration?
2. How does Poland respond to the increasing pressures of the 1930s?
3. What was the impact of World War II in Poland?
4. What was the state of Poland after the war?
5. How is the war remembered in Poland?
6. What led to the establishment of the Polish People’s Republic? What was Poland’s role in the early years of the Cold War?
7. Can you describe Poland’s political and economic development in the 50s and 60s?
8. Do we see the development of youth culture as in other parts of the world?
9. How important a figure was Władysław Gomułka?
10. What resistance do we see in Poland during the 50s and 60s?
11. Protest and reform: To what extent was the 1970s a period of revolt and reform?
12. What led to the end of communism in Poland in the 1980s?
13. To what extent did the 1990s and the early represent a period of political, economic and cultural transformation for Poland?
14. What are the challenges that Poland has faced in the early 21st century?

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