Glossary -- Poland

Members of the radical political faction that, under the leadership of Vladimir I. Lenin, staged the Bolshevik Revolution and in 1918 formed the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), precursor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Medieval Christian civilization that combined European and Asian cultures on an ancient Greco-Roman foundation. Centered at Byzantium (known as Constantinople 330-1930, and later called Istanbul), the Byzantine Empire occupied western Turkey and the Balkans and, as the center of Orthodox Christianity, exerted strong influence on many of the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe.
CoCom (Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls)
Loose arrangement of Western governments formed in 1949 to prevent the transfer of military-useful (dual-use) technology from the West to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; the group (whose membership was almost identical to that of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, q.v.) operated on the basis of informal agreements covering items having military or nuclear applications.
Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance)
A multilateral economic alliance headquartered in Moscow; it existed from 1949-91. Members in 1990 included Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam. Also referred to as CMEA and CEMA.
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
official designation of the former republics that remained loosely federated in economic and security matters of common concern, after the Soviet Union disbanded as a unified nation in 1991. Members in 1993 were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)
Originating at the meeting that produced the Helsinki Accords (q.v.) in 1975, a grouping of all European nations (the lone exception, Albania, joined in 1991) that subsequently sponsored joint sessions and consultations on political issues vital to European security.
Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty
An agreement signed in 1990 by the members of the Warsaw Pact (q.v.) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (q.v.) to establish parity in conventional weapons between the two organizations from the Atlantic to the Urals. Included a strict system of inspections and information exchange.
Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (CSFR)
official name of the former Czechoslovakia, adopted in December 1990 to recognize the two ethnic components of that country. (Czechoslovakia was still used as the short form designation after that date.) In January 1993, divided into two independent states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which retained some economic and security ties.
Philosophical and spiritual movement in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, concerned with the relationship of God, nature, reason, and man, often challenging the tenets of conventional Christianity.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
A bank founded under sponsorship of the European Community (q.v.) in 1990, to provide loans to East European countries (Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia) to establish independent, market-driven economies and democratic political institutions. Some fifty-eight countries were shareholders in 1992.
European Community (EC)
A group of primarily economic communities of Western European countries, including the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom or EAEC) and the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Executive power rested with the European Commission, which implemented and defended the community treaties in the interests of the EC as a whole. Members in 1993 were Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Name changed to European Union (EU), December 1993.
Gdansk Agreement
The first of several major concessions made by the Polish communist government in late 1980 to the rising Solidarity movement. The agreement granted public expression to many groups in Polish society hitherto restricted, promised new economic concessions, removed discredited communist officials, and recognized workers' right to establish free trade unions.
Russian term, literally meaning "openness," applied in the Soviet Union beginning in the mid-1980s to official permission for public discussion of issues and public access to information. Identified with the tenure of Mikhail S. Gorbachev as leader of the Soviet Union.
gross domestic product (GDP)
The total value of goods and services produced exclusively within a nation's domestic economy, in contrast to gross national product (q.v.), usually computed over one year.
gross national product (GNP)
The total value of goods and services produced within a country's borders and the income received from abroad by residents, minus payments remitted abroad by nonresidents. Normally computed over one year.
Habsburg Empire
Also known as the House of Austria, one of the principal European dynasties between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries. Controlled a variety of separate monarchies, reaching its most powerful stage in the sixteenth century under Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (q.v.). After 1867 what remained of the empire was commonly known as Austria-Hungary.
Helsinki Accords
Signed in 1975 by all countries of Europe except Albania (which signed in 1991), plus Canada and the United States, at the initial Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (q.v.). The pact outlined general principles of international behavior and security and addressed some economic, environmental, and humanitarian issues.
Holy Roman Empire
Enduring from A.D. 800 to 1806, official successor under papal authority to the Roman Empire. The title king of the Romans, first given to Charlemagne, was borne by a long succession of German kings. Centered in Germany, the empire at its peak (thirteenth century to sixteenth century) extended from the Low Countries to Czechoslovakia and southward into Italy. Weakened by struggles with Roman Catholic Church and the Reformation, then scattered by the results of the Thirty Years' War (q.v.), 1648.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Established with the World Bank (q.v) in 1945, a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations and responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. Its main business was providing loans to its members when they experienced balance of payments difficulties.
Political philosophy of the leaders of the French revolutionary government. After reaching power in the revolutionary dictatorship of 1793, the Jacobins set about safeguarding the values of the revolution and public virtue by a Reign of Terror against opposing views.
London Club
A group of 500 major international commercial banks lending money under auspices of the International Monetary Fund (q.v.) to Poland for economic development, under conditions of continued economic reform.
net material product (NMP)
In countries having centrally planned economies, the official measure of the value of goods and services produced within the country. Roughly equivalent to the Western gross national product (q.v.), NMP was based on constant prices and did not account for depreciation.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
An alliance founded in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and their postwar European allies to oppose Soviet military presence in Europe. Until the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact (q.v.) in 1991, NATO was the primary collective defense agreement of the Western powers. Its military and administrative structure remained intact after the threat of Soviet expansionism had subsided.
Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD)
Founded in 1961 to replace the all-European Organisation for European Economic Cooperation, assists member governments to form and coordinate economic and social aid policies in developing countries. In 1992, twenty-four nations had full membership, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
Ottoman Empire
A Muslim empire that controlled southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and most of North Africa between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and lesser territories from 1300 until 1913. Ottoman occupation was a major influence on all civilizations of southeastern Europe and caused ethnic animosities that remained after the disintegration of the empire.
Paris Club
A group of seventeen Western countries lending money under auspices of the International Monetary Fund (q.v.) to Poland for economic development, under conditions of continued economic reform.
Russian word meaning "restructuring," applied in the late 1980s to an official Soviet program of revitalization of the communist party, economy, and society, by adjusting economic, social, and political mechanisms. Identified with the tenure of Mikhail S. Gorbachev as leader of the Soviet Union (1985-1991).
Prague Spring
Period of attempts to institute political and economic reforms in Czechoslovakia, led by communist party First Secretary Alexander Dubcek, in 1968. The Soviet Union and four Warsaw Pact (q.v.) allies responded by invading Czechoslovakia and forcing Dubcek out of power.
Sixteenth-century movement against dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, in favor of grace through faith, the authority of the Scriptures, and the direct relationship of believers with God. Met with resounding force by the established church, the Reformation influenced Christian practice to varying degrees in all European countries, resulting in a schism between the Roman Catholic church and Protestant reformers.
Teutonic Knights
In full, Knights of the Teutonic Order, an organization of German crusaders founded in Palestine in 1190. From their base in Prussia, consolidated the Eastern Baltic into a powerful feudal state in the fourteenth century, nominally as agents of the Roman Catholic Church. Expansion aroused hostility and revolts, which with Polish and Lithuanian support defeated the knights decisively at Grunwald in 1410. After rapid decline of military power and influence in the fifteenth century, disbanded in 1525.
Thirty Years' War
Conventional name for a fifty-year struggle (1610-60) of various factions including Protestant nobles and French kings against the Holy Roman Empire (q.v.) and its ruling Habsburg Dynasty for control of parts of Europe, including the Baltic coast. The fiercest period of the war was 1618-48, hence the misnomer Thirty Years' War.
Treaty of Versailles
Signed at the Paris Peace Conference, June 1919, dictating peace terms ending World War I. Harsh terms imposed by the Allies on Germany were cited as a major factor in the rise of Adolf Hitler and genesis of World War II.
Warsaw Pact
Informal name for Warsaw Treaty Organization, a mutual defense organization founded in 1955, including the Soviet Union, Albania (which withdrew in 1961), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The Warsaw Pact enabled the Soviet Union to station troops in the countries to its west to oppose the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (q.v.). The pact was the basis of the invasions of Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968). Disbanded in July 1991.
Western European Union (WEU)
Signed in 1948 by Western European states as a regional defense, cultural, and economic pact, became inactive in 1954 but was revived in 1984 to improve European military preparedness and activity in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (q.v.). Subsequently issued statements on European security and other international issues. Members in 1993 were Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain.
World Bank
Informal name for a group of four affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, had as its primary purpose making loans to developing countries for specific projects. The IDA, legally separate but administered by the IBRD, furnished credits to the poorest developing countries on terms easier than those of the IBRD. The IFC supplemented IBRD activity through loans to stimulate private enterprise in the less developed countries. The MIGA was founded in 1988 to insure private foreign investment in developing countries against noncommercial risks. The four institutions were owned by the governments of the countries that subscribed their capital. For a state to participate in the World Bank group, prior membership in the International Monetary Fund (IMF--q.v.) was required.
Polish national currency (Polish spelling zloty) nominally divided into 100 groszy. Became convertible with Western currencies January 1, 1990. In March 1990, US$1 equalled 9,824 zloty; in March 1991, the exchange rate was US$1=9,520 zloty; in March 1993, it was US$1=16,330 zloty.