The general consensus of
historians is that Poland established itself as a viable state
sometime in the 11th century following Mieszko the First's
declaration that Christianity be installed as the Kingdom of
Poland's primary religion. In the late 1700's, the existence of the
Commonwealth of Poland experienced partitioning under the ruling
entities of Austria, the Russian Empire and Prussia due to political
disorder rendering the democracy established by Polish nobles as
ineffective and susceptible to interference by foreign countries.
Several centuries later, however, Poland asserted its independence
and became the Second Polish Republic just after the end of the
first World War.
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Although the era of partitioning was marred by political upheaval,
Poland began developing into an economic powerhouse at this early
stage by focusing on the creation of large-scale factories and
industrialized businesses that promoted modern manufacturing
techniques. Assisted by the occupying countries at the time, Greater
Poland significantly benefited from this exceptionally productive
era following its annexation by Prussia, which eventually became a
faction of the German Empire.
Invaded by the Soviet Union and the Nazis in 1939, Poland witnessed
first-hand the beginning of World War II and what was to be the five
most bleakest years in the country's history. It is estimated that
at least six million Poles died during the war either as casualties
of war or as victims of extermination camps implemented by Adolf
Hitler. Additionally, Poland contributed a large part of troop power
to the Allies during WWII as a strong resistance movement began
establishing itself. This movement remained loyal to the previous
government and loathed any future plans to turn Poland into a
communist country. Their allegiance to their ousted government and
hatred of communism eventually lead to the famous Warsaw Uprising of
A year before WWII ended, Joseph Stalin told President Roosevelt and
Winston Churchill that he would guarantee the sovereignty of Poland
by permitting the country to have a democratic government. However,
when the war ended in 1945, his guarantee fell apart and it was the
Soviets who took over Poland's election processes, quickly
implementing a communist government resembling the same kind of
repressive government style ruling the Eastern Bloc.
Poland was known as the People's Republic of Poland in 1952.
Following Bolesław Bierut's death, the installation of Władysław
Gomułk as leader of the PRP promoted a less restrictive atmosphere
as well as more liberal attitudes towards personal freedoms. Turmoil
over labor practices in the 1980s led to the creation of "Solidarność",
or Solidarity, a trade union that grew into a formidable political
momentum which eventually overthrew the Communist Party. In 1989,
Poland experienced democratic elections for the first time in nearly
50 years. Solidarity candidate Lech Wałęsa triumphed as president of
the Poland which stimulated the rapid collapse of Red parties and
other communistic regimes over other parts of Europe.
Today, Poland reflects vast improvements in human and political
rights and is considered to possess one of the best and most stable
economies bolstered by low per capita debt and a viable currency.
Now a member of the European Union, Poland continues to pursue the
liberalization of its economy and did not experience the financial
setbacks suffered by the rest of the world during the recession of
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