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Flashback Friday About Poland Essay

1974 words - 8 pages

Poland has been invaded or has fought for freedom in mutinies 43 times from 1600 to 1945 (Lionel). Poland had a violent past including the deaths of many citizens alike. Nationalism in Poland was a very long process that impacted the lives of the citizens and the country in a negative manner. After the Cold War, Poland was very unstable with a changing government and the deteriorating economy. The Cold War had a negative effect on Poland because of the rule by the Soviet Union which is seen through the Solidarity Movement, the downfall of the economy, and the instability of the governments. The start of the negative impact is seen through Poland’s history from 1945 to 1989.
Poland’s ...view middle of the document...

Apart from Wladyslaw Gomulka, there were other less illustrious leaders.
Another leader was Boleslaw Beirut, Poland’s new secretary. One thing he did was to force industrialization. Beirut achieved a favorable outcome in rebuilding and streamlining Poland’s destroyed manufacturing base (MacMichael, 861). Stanislaw Mikolajezak started in 1945 as Poland’s figurehead (Radzilowski, 230). General Wojciech Jaruzelski was an infamous communist leader that imposed martial law (Bjornlund, 44-45).
Poland had three major ethnic groups. The first one was the Germans. There was a small German minority across Poland (MacMichael, 859). The ethnic German population was expatriated and replaced by Poles coming from the east of Poland (Baker, 20). The other ethnic group was the Jews with over 3 million Polish Jews in 1938 ("Poland, Republic of."). Lastly the largest ethnic group is the Poles. They lost 20% of population including 3 million Jews in WWII (MacMichael, 860). In 1945 the population was an estimated 24 million people (Tucker, 1651-1652). The major religion was Roman Catholicism (MacMichael, 859).
Poland had a vast variety of agriculture and was a major industrial nation (MacMichael, 859). For natural resources they had coal, crude steel, pig iron, coke, crude oil, and natural gas ("Poland, Republic of."). They had potatoes, sugar, beet, wheat, rye, and barley as their main crops. In addition to agriculture, pigs were raised in great quantity. Poland was an important producer and exporter of coal, copper, and sulfur. Their manufacturing varied from producing machinery transport equipment, metals, chemicals, and textiles, to shipbuilding, which was traditionally important. Over twenty percent of the population was engaged full time in agriculture, mostly as small peasant farmers and nearly a quarter of the rest lived in the countryside and farmed part time (MacMichael, 859).
Poland is in Central Europe with neighboring East Germany in the West, Soviet Union in the East, and Czechoslovakia in the South. North of Poland, the Baltic Sea is found (MacMichael, 859). Unfortunately for them, they fell on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain (Baker, 20). At the Yalta Conference, the US and Great Britain acknowledge that Poland is a sphere of influence of the Soviet Union (MacMichael, 860). Stalin then agreed to let the Poles chooses their government but this never happened. Instead they were under the control of the Soviet Union. After World War II, the borders with its neighbors changed by shifting about 124 miles westward (Baker, 20).
Poland’s major flaws were reasons for nationalism to be seen throughout the country. There was a worsening economy with forty percent of its wealth, including factories, railways, houses, roads, and livestock, destroyed because of WWII (MacMichael, 860). Poland lost backing of the Soviet Union and could not lift them out of the economic decline going on (Bjornlund, 46). There was inflation due to the war in the Middle East that...

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