The Spring Will Be Ours: Poland and the Poles from Occupation to Freedom

Overview

One can think of countries that traversed the twentieth century free from war, revolution, or social upheaval. Such countries, however, are far outnumbered by those that struggled, often constantly, with severe internal conflicts, fought in bloody wars, or were attacked by their neighbors and deprived of their sovereignty. Poland is one of the more startling examples of a country subjected to a steady stream of trials and tribulations from Hitler’s Nazi Germany through decades of Soviet repression. The Spring ...

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Overview

One can think of countries that traversed the twentieth century free from war, revolution, or social upheaval. Such countries, however, are far outnumbered by those that struggled, often constantly, with severe internal conflicts, fought in bloody wars, or were attacked by their neighbors and deprived of their sovereignty. Poland is one of the more startling examples of a country subjected to a steady stream of trials and tribulations from Hitler’s Nazi Germany through decades of Soviet repression. The Spring Will Be Ours, by one of Poland’s leading historians, is the first book written after the collapse of state socialism in 1989 to tell this dramatic story based on research in newly declassified records.

The Spring Will Be Ours focuses on the turbulent half century from the outbreak of World War II in 1939, which started the chain of events that would lead to the communist takeover of Poland, to 1989, when futile attempts to reform the communist system gave way to its total transformation. Paczkowski shows how the communists captured and consolidated power, describes their use of terror and propaganda, and illuminates the changes that took place within the governing elite. He also documents the political opposition to the regime—both inside Poland and abroad—that resulted in upheavals in 1956, 1968, 1970, 1976, and 1980. His narrative makes evident the pressures that the elite felt from above, from Moscow, and from below, from the population and from within the party. The history of Poland and the Poles is of special interest because on numerous occasions in the twentieth century this relatively small country influenced developments on a global scale.

First published in Poland in 1995, The Spring Will Be Ours has been translated into several other languages. For this edition, translated by Jane Cave, Paczkowski has added an introductory chapter on Poland’s twenty years of independence prior to 1939 and an extensive postscript exploring the changes that have taken place since the fall of communism in 1989. A bibliography of English-language works, prepared by Padraic Kenney, makes this book an indispensable starting point for anyone seeking to understand the remarkable course of events that brought an independent Poland into the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The book’s strengths are great and many.”

—P.W. Knoll, Choice

“A masterly work.”

—John J. Kulczycki, University of Illinois at Chicago

Foreign Affairs
Here, in lucid, uncluttered, and dispassionate form, is Poland's political history from September 1939, when German and Soviet tanks rolled in, until 1989, when the communist regime faded out. Paczkowski, a Polish historian, treats in great detail the wartime occupation and the dramatic decade of the 1980s; in between, he deals well, if briefly, with the creation of the regime, the explosive 1950s, and the dress rehearsals of the 1970s. His analytical restraint and unemotional judgment inspire confidence, as does his dual role as firsthand observer and professional historian. It is, however, disconcerting that a book this scholarly has no footnotes, even for direct quotations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271023083
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2003
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 600
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrzej Paczkowski is Professor at the Institute for Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, where he also is a member of the Board of the Institute of National Remembrance. He serves as editor of Intermarium: An Online Journal of East Central European Postwar History and on the editorial board of the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies. He co-authored, with Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Karel Bartosek, and Jean-Louis Margolin, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (1999).

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface to the American Edition

Glossary of Abbreviations

Introduction: Twenty Years of Independence

Part I: Captivity and Struggle

Part II: Two Polands

Part III: The New Reality

Part IV: Constructing the Foundations

Part V: Real Socialism: The Iron Fist

Part VI: Real Socialism: La Belle Epoque

Part VII: The Long March—Prologue

Part VIII: The Long March—War and Peace

Postscript: Poland After Communism

Biographical Notes

Bibliography by Padraic Kenney

Index

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