Poland in the Geographical Centre of Europe: Political, Social and Economic Consequences
Poland is one of more than 40 European countries, but it lies at the very centre of the continent. To the south its limits are set by the Sudetic and Carpathian mountain ranges, while to the north almost the entire length of the border is constituted by the Baltic Sea coast. The remainder of the country is on the Central European Plain. These features alone predestined Poland to being, down the centuries, a conduit for numerous communication routes that brought wandering people, carried goods, but also offered easy access to armies marching in. Thus, from the geopolitical point of view, this kind of location always brought benefits to Poland, but also a great many threats. The latter resulted above all from the fact that Polish territory proved a consistently convenient arena for successive wars -- it was after all the point of contact between inputting political influences from the West (primarily Prussia and later Germany) and the East (Russia, and also Turkey). Benefits could accrue only from the transit of people, goods and ideas, with these playing different roles in the social and economic development of the country at different times. From the early 1990s on, it was possible to discern in Polish space certain processes and phenomena that were an outcome of either earlier decisions taken by the communist authorities, or else part of what the communists had inherited from earlier times but been in a position to keep the lid on, by artificial masking of them. When communism fell, there was a re-emergence, often in a kind of hybrid version of pre-War/post-War pedigree, of deep divisions in society and the economy, as well as disparities between the regions. It is to these questions that this book is primarily devoted to.
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activity administration agriculture bank office biggest Bydgoszcz central centres changes Cieszyn Silesia cities coal communist companies competition Cracow cultural districts division eastern economic entities employment enterprises especially ethnic Europe exports factors farms Figure firms foreign capital foreign direct investment foreign investment Gdansk Geography German groups growth important increase infrastructure inhabitants institutions investors Jalowiecki Kashubian Katowice KPZK Kraków labour land located Lodz Lower Silesia Lublin Malopolska manufacturing Masuria Matykowski Mazovia million Miroslawa Czerny municipalities Nova Science Publishers Opole Opole Silesia organisation output ownership period Poles Polish economy Polish Peasants Party political Polsce Polski Pomerania population poviats Poznan privatisation production Regionalizm repatriation restructuring result Rykiel self-government service sector share situation social Source spatial structure Szczecin Table territory towns transformation Treasury's Upper Silesia urban voivodship Warsaw Warszawa Western Wielkopolska wojewodztwo Wroclaw Wydawnictwo