Accession Number : ADA282152

Title :   Area Handbook Series. Poland: A Country Study.

Descriptive Note : 3RD EDITION,

Corporate Author : LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC FEDERAL RESEARCH DIV

Personal Author(s) : Curtis, Glenn E.

Report Date : 1994

Pagination or Media Count : 381

Abstract : A NEW ERA BEGAN for the nation of Poland in 1989, when the last communist regime ended unexpectedly and the Poles began to explore the potentials and pitfalls of true independence. That exploration process, which was accompanied by a firm commitment to democratic government, proved more chaotic and ambiguous than most Poles expected; it meant recovering long-dormant political and social traditions and reshaping them to meet Poland's needs as a capitalist member of post-Soviet Europe. It also meant inventing a political structure to accommodate the numerous interest groups that emerged from behind the communist monolith. The cultural heritage of Poland, and the sense of nationhood that accompanies that heritage, evolved in a continuous process that began before the year A.D. 1000. Over the same period, the nation's history was a long series of dramatic shifts that included changes of dynasties, drastic realignment of frontiers, foreign invasion and occupation, and repeated partition by more powerful neighbors. Especially in the era that followed the collapse of Poland's 400-year federation with neighboring Lithuania at the end of the eighteenth century, the political and physical geography of Europe played a key role in Poland's fate. For the next two centuries, Poland was surrounded and often dominated by powerful expansionist Austrian, German, and Russian states. Poland's flat topography and central location invited invasion and made it strategically important during the many wars among European powers.

Descriptors :   *POLAND, *NATIONAL SECURITY, *HISTORY, *GOVERNMENT(FOREIGN), *DEMOGRAPHY, *SOCIOLOGY, *ECONOMICS, MILITARY FORCES(FOREIGN), POLITICAL PARTIES, NATIONAL DEFENSE, EDUCATION, SOCIAL WELFARE, INTERNATIONAL TRADE, RELIGION, HOUSING(DWELLINGS), POLLUTION, TOPOGRAPHY, HEALTH, COMMUNISM, MILITARY HISTORY.

Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Sociology and Law
      Economics and Cost Analysis
      Military Forces and Organizations
      Geography

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE