Poland Table of Contents

The authors are indebted to numerous individuals and organizations who provided materials, time, advice, and expertise on Polish affairs for this volume.

Thanks go to Ralph K. Benesch, who oversees the Country Studies-Area Handbook Program for the Department of the Army. The authors also appreciate the advice and guidance of Sandra W. Meditz, Federal Research Division coordinator of the handbook series. Special thanks also go to Marilyn L. Majeska, who managed the editing and production process, assisted by Andrea T. Merrill; to Teresa E. Kemp, who designed the book cover and the title page illustration for chapter 2; to Marty Ittner and who designed the other chapter title page illustrations; to David P. Cabitto, who provided graphics support and, together with the firm of Greenhorne and O'Mara, prepared maps; and to Tim Merrill, who compiled geographic data. LTC Peter J. Podbielski, United States Army, provided invaluable personal insights into the current status of the Polish military; Marcin Wiesiolek of the Foreign Military Studies Office, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and Michal Bichniewicz of the Center for International Studies and Defense Analyses updated the national security section; and Karl W. Soper assembled basic source materials for preparation of Chapter 5.

The Polish Information Agency (Polska Agencja Informacyjna) provided the editor with a wide selection of current photographs of economic and military activities. Ronald D. Bachman and Sam and Sarah Stulberg also contributed numerous timely photographs.

The contributions of the following individuals are gratefully acknowledged as well: Sharon Costello, who edited the chapters; Barbara Edgerton and Izella Watson, who did the word processing; Catherine Schwartzstein, who performed the final prepublication editorial review; Joan C. Cook, who compiled the index; and The Printing and Processing Section, Library of Congress, prepared the camera-ready copy under the supervision of Peggy Pixley.


At the end of the 1980s, Poland, like the other countries of Eastern Europe, underwent a rather sudden shift away from communist rule and into an uncertain new world of democracy and economic reform. The events spurred by the repudiation of Poland's last communist regime in 1989 demanded a new and updated version of Poland: A Country Study. Because the emergence of the opposition Solidarity movement in 1980 increased the flow of information from communist Poland, reliable coverage of the 1980s has been possible. Thus, this new treatment of Poland is based on a number of authoritative monographs and a host of scholarly articles. The most useful of those sources are cited in a bibliographic summary at the end of each chapter.

The authors of this edition have described changes in the past ten years against the historical, political, and social background of Poland. Particular emphasis falls on the transition period that began in 1989 with the rejection of the last communist government. This period, a historic watershed not yet concluded in 1993, promises to have permanent impact on all aspects of Polish life. The authors have attempted to present a compact, accessible, and unbiased treatment of five main topics: historical setting, society and its environment, the economy, government and politics, and national security.

Polish personal names are rendered with full diacritics. The spelling of geographical names conforms to that approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names, including the use of diacritics, with the exception of commonly used international spellings such as Warsaw (Warzawa) and Oder (Odra). On maps English-language generic designations such as river, plain, and mountain are used. In the text, organizations commonly known by their acronyms (such as PZPR, the Polish United Workers' Party) are introduced first by their full English and Polish names.

The body of the text reflects information available as of October 1992. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated. The Bibliography includes published sources thought to be particularly helpful to the reader.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress