Polish History

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 1944.

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 2008-2012.

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