Development of Class Structure in Eastern Europe: Poland and Her Southern Neighbors

By Aleksander Gella | Go to book overview
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A GENERAL VIEW ON THE HISTORY OF EASTERN EUROPE

Before World War II, the social stratification of the East-European states differed from state to state much more than it does today. Each of these states had a history of its own that exerted a decisive influence on its stratification system. The international relations of this part of Europe were in many ways related to the problem of social stratification because the nationalistic policies that divided nations developed not only in accord with various political orientations but also in response to class interests.

The revolutionary changes under Communism have brought about a far- reaching homogenization in the character of the stratifying processes in these countries, so that, while the differences are still quite significant, the general tendency to make these societies alike is powerful. It is possible to understand the similarities in their systems of stratification on the basis of contemporary development, but it is impossible to understand the differences among them without a glance at their various historical evolutions.

History has not been favorable for the eastern part of Europe. The peoples who live south from the Baltic coast and between the Dnieper, Danube,

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