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

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

by Andrzej Paczkowski
     
 

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

See more details below

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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Spring Will Be Ours is a major achievement of Polish history. It is the first attempted synthesis of a crucial period, largely falsified in the communist writings, based on newly available sources and interpretations. Paczkowski is a seasoned historian, who writes well and who shows remarkable insights into the problems of the Polish people and republic.”
—Piotr Wandycz, Yale University

“An excellent, readable, and perceptive analysis of Poland’s modern history. Essential to a deeper understanding of the experience and orientation of America’s important new European ally.”
—Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. national security adviser

“Under the communist regime, Polish historians labored to make sense of the difficult history of their country, despite censorship and official ‘blank spots’ in that history. Some of that work was published by underground publishing houses, some overseas, and some was kept in desk drawers. Andrzej Paczkowski’s book represents the historical understanding that gradually emerged in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s and reached full maturity in the years following 1989 with the removal of academic restraints and access to hitherto inaccessible sources. The Spring Will Be Ours, authored by one of Poland’s leading historians, eloquently sums up this new view of history and provides major insights into the historical consciousness of the Polish intelligentsia. It is a must read for anyone interested in contemporary Polish history, or the development of the historical profession in Poland since 1989.”
—Michael Bernhard, Penn State

“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 hte 1970s. His analytical restraint and unemotional judgement inspire confidence, as does his dual role as first-hand observer and professional historian. It is, however, disconcerting that a book this scholarly has no footnotes, even for direct quotations.”
—Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

“Andrzej Paczkowski’s measured and lightly readable narrative covers every aspect of this story, and his handling of the material is masterful.”
—Adam Zamoyski, Times Literary Supplement

“Writing in elegant prose, Paczkowski makes persuasive comments and judgments about this half-century of Poland's history. The Spring Will Be Ours is a masterly work.”
—John J. Kulczycki, University of Illinois at Chicago

“The book’s strengths are great and many.”
—P.W. Knoll, Choice

“A must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Polish history, or the development of the historical profession in Poland since 1989.”
—Michael Bernhard, University of Florida

“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.

Read More

Product Details

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >