Country Listing

Poland Table of Contents



At the end of the 1980s, Poland, like the other countries of Eastern Europe, underwent a rather sudden shift away from communist rule and into an uncertain new world of democracy and economic reform. The events spurred by the repudiation of Poland's last communist regime in 1989 demanded a new and updated version of Poland: A Country Study. Because the emergence of the opposition Solidarity movement in 1980 increased the flow of information from communist Poland, reliable coverage of the 1980s has been possible. Thus, this new treatment of Poland is based on a number of authoritative monographs and a host of scholarly articles. The most useful of those sources are cited in a bibliographic summary at the end of each chapter.

The authors of this edition have described changes in the past ten years against the historical, political, and social background of Poland. Particular emphasis falls on the transition period that began in 1989 with the rejection of the last communist government. This period, a historic watershed not yet concluded in 1993, promises to have permanent impact on all aspects of Polish life. The authors have attempted to present a compact, accessible, and unbiased treatment of five main topics: historical setting, society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security.

Polish personal names are rendered with full diacritics. The spelling of geographical names conforms to that approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names, including the use of diacritics, with the exception of commonly used international spellings such as Warsaw (Warzawa) and Oder (Odra). On maps English-language generic designations such as river, plain, and mountain are used. In the text, organizations commonly known by their acronyms (such as PZPR, the Polish United Workers' Party) are introduced first by their full English and Polish names.

Measurements are given in metric units; a conversion table is provided in the Appendix. To amplify points in the text, tables in the Appendix provide information on various aspects of Polish society, economic performance indicators, Polish political parties, and military strength. A glossary and a bibliography are also included at the end of the book.

The body of the text reflects information available as of October 1992. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Introduction discusses significant events that have occurred since the completion of research; the Chronology, Country Profile, and Glossary include updated information as available; and the Bibliography includes recently published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

Data as of October 1992