Poland in the Central-East Europe: Selected Political Lessons from

Wawrzyniec K. Konarski
Ph.D. of Political Science
Professor at the University of Warsaw
Chair of European Studies
Counselling hours: wednesday, University of Warsaw,
69 Nowy Świat street,
11.30-12.30, floor 4, room no 32
A syllabus of the lecture
within the master's degree studies
in political science titled:
Poland in the Central-East Europe:
Selected Political Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Duration: 15 hours in the winter semester of an academic year 2009/2010
Students must attend the course regularly. They are obliged to have and pass an exam.
Its precise form will be announced later on.
Short description of the course:
The purpose of the one semester course is to supply students with a basic knowledge
on Poland’s position within the Central-Eastern Europe’s political history in the twentieth
The explanation of applied theoretical terms and concepts referring to the European
and Poland’s geopolitical stance will be presented firstly. Several theses formed in the
beginning of a lecture will be confronted then with the exemplification taken from the Polish
modern history against the background of countries belonging to the above region.
The intention of the convener is to provide an explanation of selected specific features
concerning Polish and Central-East European realities in the twentieth century in order to
encourage students to continue their further interests towards this topic.
Main fields of analysis:
1. Europe and its internal cleavages: West, East and Centre. The prerequisities of
Poland’s independence after World War I.
2. Polish fragile democracy and its continuing collapse, 1919-1926-1930
3. Mild authoritarianism in Poland against the background of other Central-East
European undemocratic systems of governance, 1930-1939
4. The Polish resistance movement and its diversification during the World War I
5. The capture of power by Communists and Polish version of Stalinism. The CentralEast European geopolitical context, 1945-1956
6. The Polish “real socialism” type of governance and its decline, 1956-1989
7. Fundamental change of 1989 and an evolution of the transformation period, 19892009
Basic and supplementary reading:
(if there are not any other suggestions students are entitled to read fragments referring to the
contents of a lecture)
1. Burks R.V., The Dynamics of Communism in Eastern Europe, New Jersey 1961
2. Chlebowczyk J., On Small and Young Nations in Europe, Wrocław et al. 1980
3. Davies N., God’s Playground: A History of Poland, vol. II: 1795 to the Present,
Oxford 1981 and other editions, chapters: 18-23 + Postscriptum 1,2 & 3
4. Halecki O., The Limits and Divisions of European History, London – New York 1950
and other editions
5. Konarski W.K., Modern Nationalist Tradition in Poland [in]: Democratic
Legitimacy in Post-Communist Societies, ed. by Bozóki A., Budapest 1994
6. Krejči J. & Velimsky V., Ethnic and Political Nations in Europe, London 1981
7. Regional Identity & Diversity in Europe: Experience in Wales, Silesia and Flanders,
red. David M. Smith & Enid Wistrich, London 2007, chapter 4
8. Rothschild J., Return to Diversity: A Political History of East Central Europe since
World War II, New York 1989
9. Topolski J., An Outline History of Poland, Warszawa 1986, pages: 201-282
10. Zamoyski A., The Polish Way: A Thousand-year History of the Poles and Their
Culture, London 1997 and other editions, chapters: 19-22