History of socialist regime in Poland
In her book, Dr. Komornicka offers an international reading of the Polish socialist regime’s history in the 1970s, and its opening up to the West. It bridges Poland’s socialist domestic history with critical developments of the global and European 1970s, such as détente in the Cold War, western European integration, and globalization.In this period of international transformations, socialist Poland under Edward Gierek’s leadership multiplied its economic and political contacts with capitalist countries, especially western Europe, and became a leader of East-West cooperation among Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and Warsaw Pact members. Relying on sources from public and corporate archives in five different European states, the book demonstrates both that the global political and economic transformations of that period were critical for the decision-making process in Poland and that the national socialist elites participated in shaping these transformations. By looking at the goals and expectations of the Polish socialist elites and their practices of political and economic exchanges with western Europe, the book explains the logic which drove the socialist regime into entanglement with the West. As is shown here, this entanglement proved inextricable and critical for the socialist regime’s failure and Poland’s political and economic future. Students of European history, Cold War studies, socialism studies, and International Relations will, undoubtedly, find much interest in Dr. Komornicka’s latest publication.
About the speaker
Aleksandra Komornicka is an assistant professor at the Maastricht University. Her research covers the international and economic history of post-war Europe in particular the history of the Cold War, European integration, and business. Previously, she was a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and a research associate the University of Glasgow. She holds a PhD from the European University Institute and an MA from the London School of Economics. Aleksandra is an author of Poland and European East-West Cooperation in the 1970s: The Opening Up (Routledge, 2023).
Furthermore, CWRN’s co-ordinator Dr. Ruud van Dijk will chair the event and will act as a main discussant.