Poland

Poland

Poland

Poland

Excerpt

The Polish volume of the series, East-Central Europe under the Communists, had to cover a particularly rich material. Not only is Poland the largest of those countries, both in area and population, but in view of her historical tradition and geographical situation, she occupies a key position in the Soviet orbit. Subtler methods than elsewhere had to be used for the enslavement of that allied country with a splendid war record; more basic were the changes which had to be introduced in the whole way of life of a nation separated from Russia by a thousand years of completely different development and at the same time intimately associated with the West; and the particularly strong opposition of a profoundly Catholic people, passionately attached to individual liberty, had to be, and still has to be, overcome by its Communist masters.

On the other hand, the manifold problems of Poland, though somewhat better known at present in the United States than in earlier years, have been subject to such diverse interpretations, that it was no easy task, especially in a volume written by many contributors of different origin, to give a fully objective and, as far as possible, uncontroversial picture. Minor discrepancies and varying estimates were unavoidable, and this not only in cases where statistical figures and methods of calculation differed.

Notwithstanding that last obstacle, which concerns chiefly the economic part of the volume, precisely this part is the most comprehensive and exhaustive. It certainly received most attention in the original plan of the series because of the general interest in the economic changes produced by Communist rule. It is obviously true that some of these changes, for instance rapid progress in industrialization, are of unusual significance. However, it seems equally clear that more research will be needed in the cultural field, if only to depict the impact of Communist ideology, in its Russian expression, on the various branches of human knowledge and learning, and hence on the people's minds -- a danger which is steadily growing with every year of captivity. What has been briefly said in that respect in the chapters on education, literature and art, will perhaps make the readers aware of . . .

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