Privilege of Koszyce (17 September 1374)

Casimir the Great, the last Polish ruler from the Piast dynasty, died on 5 November 1370. His death and the end of the dynasty opened the possibility of starting a dynamic process which, after 16 years, finally led to the election of Władysław Jagiełło to the Polish throne. Before that, however, Louis I of Hungary,…


Inaugural address of Premier Tadeusz Mazowiecki

The first free election in Poland’s post-war history was held on June 4, 1989 and brought victory to the Solidarity movement and defeat to the governing camp. In fact, the election was only partly free, as – in accordance with the Round Table agreements jointly reached earlier that year by the democratic opposition and the…


The appeal of Ryszard Siwiec

One of the main reasons behind the durability of the communist system was the existence of an extensive apparatus of control over the society, which included – among others – the secret service, a monopoly on the media, censorship and a complex system of the communist party and its affiliate political and social organisations. Any…


Appeal of the 1st National Congress of Delegates of Solidarity to the working people of Eastern Europe

A wave of strikes washed through Poland in the summer of 1980. Among others, their participants demanded the establishment of labour unions independent of the communist authorities. The protest, which affected thousands of work places, forced the communist party to concessions and to sign an agreement with the workers, including the strongest of their organisations,…


Polish interwar cities – each modern, yet different

After Poland regained independence in 1918, it was of great importance to gain recognition and international visibility as a modern state. In this matter nothing is as convincing as circulating images across the world of new investments and flourishing cities with crowds of happy young people on the streets. That’s one of the many reasons…


1 September 1939: The beginning of hell

“This means war. From now on, all other matters and issues become of secondary importance”, stated the message broadcast by Polish Radio on the morning of 1 September 1939. “We set our public and private lives on a special track. We have entered war. The entire effort of the nation must go in one direction….


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