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Question about interwar Poland


juglettee 3 | 3
14 Feb 2013 #1
Hello everyone!

I have a question for the Polish history buffs in this forum. How accurate are some of the books out there about interwar Poland? For example, in Bitter Fate by Richard Watts, he insinuates that Poland was never able to achieve prosperity because of the tense international situation, hyperinflation, and inequality between the old landed gentry and the peasants and Poles and Ukrainians and Belorussians in the borderlands. If so, why do some Polish historians believe that interwar Poland was ripe for radical leftists, even though most Poles rejected Communism as a Russian invention?

Interwar Poland (1918-1939) was a fascinating time period that doesn't get a lot of scholarly attention, I believe.
Tim Bucknall 7 | 98
23 Feb 2013 #2
i do find it amazing how hostile some Ukranians were to the 2nd republic, considering that the alternative was the Holodomor!
grubas 12 | 1,390
23 Feb 2013 #3
hyperinflation,

Hyperinflation ended in 1924 following Grabski's reforms.
Ironside 51 | 11,338
23 Feb 2013 #4
For example, in Bitter Fate by Richard Watts, he insinuates that Poland was never able to achieve prosperity because of the tense international situation, hyperinflation, and inequality between the old landed gentry and the peasants and Poles and Ukrainians and Belorussians in the borderlands.

Well he is wrong at all counts. Poland did achieved much during that short time on almost every field regardless of all conflicts.

do find it amazing how hostile some Ukranians were to the 2nd republic, considering that the alternative was the Holodomor!

Morons.
Gregrog 4 | 100
24 Feb 2013 #5
What were the chances of interwar Poland to achieve the prosperity?

Let's look at this:

You have a country which a few days ago happened to be 3 different countries. Different countries with different systems of railways, roads, schools, law, treasure... different everything except the willing people. And then we have global crisis wide-spreading. And you know... this hopeless country got united within 20 years, build a whole city and port which happened to be one of the most important ports in Europe just in a few years and so on...

Yes, it was a country of millions of failures and even more problems, but there were people with vision, willing to work and fight for it. They achieved enormous success within the time given to them.

I would love to see present day Poles with such attitude, but we just moan and cry about our inability to build a few kilometres of highway.
Tim Bucknall 7 | 98
24 Feb 2013 #6
they did have a lot of promising Industrial improvement plans that seemed like they'd have worked if the war hadn't happened.
Polskie Radio who were at that time operating the highest powered transmitter in Europe were poised to open Polskie Radio Wolyn from Luck on 424khz, sounds like a trivial thing

but it was part of the plan to develop Wolyn/Volhynia after centuries of neglect by the Russian Empire.
the signs were promising, another great "what if" in Polish History.

The leaders of the 2nd Rep. did do a good job considering what they inherited. as Norman Davies said " 4 worthless currencies and the administrators of 3 dead empires"
goofy_the_dog
24 Feb 2013 #7
Until 1933-1934 Germany was afraid of Poland and its military might.
We were in the state of an economical waqr with Danzig for a long timne, Pilsudzki actually ordered to make a new harbour city in Sopot,m- the development inished after about three years!

Not like today with the motorways ;)
I believe that the 2nd Republic was one of the best run nations in this time ( until the death of Pilsudzki in 1935.
OP juglettee 3 | 3
13 Mar 2013 #8
Hyperinflation ended in 1924 following Grabski's reforms.

Yes, but did Grabski put a stop to the trade tariff war with Germany, whose Chancellor still refused to accept the new national borders with Poland, or the Versailles Treaty, which forced his government to acknowledge Germany's war guilt? If so, Grabski would have gotten Poland out of its financial straits and its war devastation, as Poland relied heavily on natural resource exports to Germany, Britain, and France in those days in order to regain the capital lost after 125 years of occupation and World War I. Remember, when the Central Powers occupied Poland, the occupation authorities depleted the resources necessary to rebuild post-war Poland, so PiƂsudski had to rely on foreign loans, and military expertise, to build up Poland's presence in interwar Europe and in the Baltic. I don't think Grabski was sophisticated enough to rebuild trade relations with Germany, although I could be wrong.
Tuesday
19 Sep 2021 #9
Merged:

Life in interwar Poland



What was life like in interwar Poland (1918-1939) for the average Pole? Are there any books or stories about what it was like to live in Poland between the two wars? I am writing a historical dissertation on this question.
Atch 17 | 4,046
19 Sep 2021 #10
That would depend on what region of Poland they were living in, whether they lived in a town/city or the countryside and what social class they belonged to. It's a good question and a very interesting subject for a dissertation. I don't know of many books on the subject. I think you'd have to read quite a lot of different material from different sources and draw a few conclusions from them. This is a good site with different articles about all things Polish. You have to search for inter-war stuff though:

culture.pl/en/article/the-hussies-gentlemen-of-interwar-poland

culture.pl/en/article/polish-tangos-the-unique-interwar-soundtrack-to-polands-independence

culture.pl/en/article/the-rise-and-fall-of-polish-song

culture.pl/en/article/polish-cinema-interwar-period-film

If you know Polish and you can get hold of any old magazines it would be useful. Articles and ads can give you an insight into life at the time for the middle classes.

A book I've read is 'Polska Przedwojenna, Pre-war Poland' published by Bosz. I got it in a museum but you can buy it online. It has the Polish text on one side of the page and the English translation on the other. It's really more of a photographic record but there is quite a bit of information there and it does tackle 'ordinary' things like shopping, sports, leisure time etc.

gandalf.com.pl/b/polska-przedwojenna-pre-war-poland/

One thing I can tell you is that the largest single retail space in Poland in those years was the Hala Mirowska, an indoor/outdoor market in Warsaw which is still in business today. If you visited it and saw how small it is I think you'd be surprised.
pawian 192 | 19,240
19 Sep 2021 #11
for the average Pole?

Generally, most people were poor and had problems to meet both ends meet, especially after the Great Crisis whose effects in Poland lasted practically till WW2. In the countryside peasants were so poor they divided matchsticks into 4 pieces to have more of them and save money in this way.
Atch 17 | 4,046
19 Sep 2021 #12
most people were poor

Yes, two thirds of the population lived on the land and farms were often too small to support their owners.
Nissan - | 9
19 Sep 2021 #13
If you look at an aerial view of Southern Poland you can see these matchstick field patches everywhere.


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