Aaaah - Czechs and Poles. Both Slavic nations, both speaking Western Slavic languages
and yet so different in some aspects. My family lives very close to the Czech border
and I used to go to Czechoslovakia and then Czech Republic almost every summer when
I was a boy. My wife and I spent bigger part of our honeymoon in Prague and we have
a lot of Czech friends, so I can put all the stories about being "more effective", having
more "Germanic influence" (LOL) etc. among fairy tales. I just know too many Czechs
personally to buy this :) They simply avoided the terrible damages that Poland suffered
during WW2, lost uncomparably less national wealth, infrastructure and population.
The difference gave them 25-30 years advantage over Poland (we managed to close
the gap a little, but it's still visible.)
When I look at Polish history, at all the sufferings that could have been avoided,
I sometimes wish we had adopted Czech survival tactics - so many times we should
have just kept our heads down and get on with our lives, like Czechs, but we weren't
willing to. So many of our national uprisings were completely unnecessary and impossible
to win... yet we tried. Take Kosciuszko Uprising for example, with less than 10 thousand
men, mostly armed with pikes and scythes, we started a war against Prussia and Russia
at the same time. We had some sucess at the beginning and then, surprise, surprise...
we lost. Or January Uprising of 1863 - totally and utterly hopeless, romantic, impossible...
Polish. I could go on like that, but the main difference between Czechs and Poles (apart
from different approach to religion) is the survival tactics throughout history. It was Czech
"keep your head down, get on with your life and see what happens" against Polish "liberty
or death". Apparently, their tactics was better.
The differences in organisation of public life, work efficiency or infrastructure (the
secondary Czech roads, outside bigger cities, are in comparable or even worse condition
than Polish provincial roads and I've driven on both) are minor and with time, as Poland will
eventually close the WW2 gap on the Czech Republic, they will dissapear.