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

By Aleksander Gella | Go to book overview

2
POLAND UNTIL WORLD WAR II

A foreign observer has written: "' Poland is riot lost yet,' Poles used to intone; it was a prayer, more than an anthem. She is one of the curiosities of the world--now she is there, and again she is riot. She was not there for over a century, dismembered, the wisp of a prayer, riot a reality. Then she was there again, and riot there again, . . . The prayer, in lieu of the anthem, provides us with a clue--Poland is more than a nation: Poland is a religion, even under the Communists." 1

Indeed, Poland occupies a particular position in the bloc of East- European satellites of Russia for several reasons: geographical, historical, and political. The writer cited above has grasped the essence of what has allowed this nation between Germany and Russia to survive. Why and how this attitude developed are questions to be answered by the history of the country. Therefore, perhaps even more than in the case of other eastern European countries, we have to look into Poland's past. (See map 3.)

In the tenth century, the people living on the banks of the Vistula and Warta rivers formed their own state, which, defending its independence, became engaged in a mortal struggle against the imperialist German expansion toward the East.

-9-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part One - The Time of Estate Order 1
  • 1 - A General View on the History of Eastern Europe 3
  • 2 - Poland Until World War II 9
  • 3 - Czechoslovakia Until World War II 29
  • 4 - Hungary Until World War II 38
  • 5 - Romania Until World War II 47
  • Part Two: From Estate to Class Order 55
  • 6 - The Peasantry 57
  • 7 - The Nobility and the Bourgeoisie 84
  • 8 - From the Proletariat to the Working Class 109
  • 9 - The Intelligentsia 130
  • Part Three - The Period of Destruction 165
  • 10 - The Effects of World War II on Social Structure 167
  • 11 - Structural Changes Introduced by the Imported Revolutions 194
  • Maps 203
  • Abbreviations 215
  • Notes 217
  • Bibliography 271
  • About the Author 309
  • Name Index 311
  • Subject Index 314
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