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Cornell University Press
Rebuilding Poland: Workers and Communists, 1945-1950 / Edition 1

Rebuilding Poland: Workers and Communists, 1945-1950 / Edition 1

by Padraic Kenney


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Rebuilding Poland: Workers and Communists, 1945-1950 / Edition 1

The first book to examine the communist takeover in Poland from the bottom up, and the first to use archives opened in 1989, Rebuilding Poland provides a radically new interpretation of the communist experience. Padraic Kenney argues that the postwar takeover was also a social revolution, in which workers expressed their hopes for dramatic social change and influenced the evolution-and eventual downfall-of the communist regime.

Kenney compares Lödz, Poland's largest manufacturing center, and Wroclaw, a city rebuilt as Polish upon the ruins of wartime destruction. His account of dramatic strikes in the textile mills of Lödz shows how workers resisted the communist party's encroachment on factory terrain and its infringements of worker dignity. The contrasting absence of labor conflict among migrants in the frontier city of Wroclaw holds important clues to the nature of stalinism in Poland: communist power was strongest where workers lacked organizational ties or cultural roots. In the collective reaction of workers in Lödz and the individualism of those in Wroclaw, Kenney locates the beginnings of the end of the communist regime. Losing the battle for worker identity, the communists placed their hopes in labor competition, which ultimately left the regime hostage to a resistant work force and an overextended economy incapable of reform.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801432873
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 01/28/1997
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.26(w) x 9.23(h) x 1.09(d)
Lexile: 1650L (what's this?)

About the Author

Padraic Kenney is Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe, 1989 and editor of Transnational Moments of Change and Partisan Histories.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

List of Figures and Maps xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Abbreviations in Text xvii

Introduction: Continuities in Twentieth-Century Polish Society 1

Part I Revolution in the Factories, 1945-1947

1 The Struggle for the Factory 27

2 On Strike in Lódz 74

3 Wroclaw: Communism's Frontier 135

Part II The Party's Revolution, 1948-1950

4 Social Foundations of the Stalinist System 189

5 The Rise and Fall of the Labor Hero 237

6 The Battle for Working-Class Identity 287

Conclusion: State, Society, and the Stalinist Revolution 335

Sources 347

Index 353

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