Rebuilding Poland: Workers and Communists, 1945-1950

Synopsis

The first book to examine the communist takeover in Poland from the bottom up, and the first to use archives opened in 1989, Re-building Poland provides a radically new interpretation of the communist experience. Padraic Kenney argues that the postwar takeover was also a social revolution, in which workers expressed their hopes for dramatic social change and influenced the evolution - and eventual downfall - of the communist regime. Kenney compares Lodz, Poland's largest manufacturing center, and Wroclaw, a city rebuilt as Polish upon the ruins of wartime destruction. In the collective reaction of workers in Lodz and the individualism of those in Wroclaw, Kenney locates the beginnings of the end of the communist regime. Losing the battle for worker identity, the communists placed their hopes in labor competition, which ultimately left the regime hostage to a resistant work force and an overextended economy incapable of reform.

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