By Zoran Pavlovic, Professor Charles F Gritzner
For a greater a part of its historical past, Poland's future has frequently been prompted, if no longer made up our minds, by way of activities of its associates. From the west, Germans frequently complex eastward; from the east, Russians, and later Soviets, improved towards the west. This publication is helping readers realize Poland's tradition, background, and political and fiscal events.
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Additional resources for Poland (Modern World Nations)
Solidarity’s leader, Lech Wałe˛sa, rose quickly as a political figure. He was imprisoned for a period of time and removed from Gdansk only to return later. During the following years, he continued to advocate political reforms. This leadership and resulting widespread popularity earned Wałe˛sa the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and he won Poland’s first fully democratic presidential election in 1990. Soon afterward, however, Poles became dissatisfied with the slow progress of reforms and gradually changed their attitude toward Wałe˛sa.
The historical role of the Roman Catholic clergy serving as the nucleus of political organization in rural Poland was explained in the previous chapter. Particularly in the Polish countryside, priests retained a very high status among parish- ioners, and their leadership was highly respected. This rela- tionship continues to the present day. Between 1945 and 1990, people rallied behind the Church in its response to Sovietimposed Communism. John Paul II, a Pole, led the entire Roman Catholic Church for more than two decades and was one of the most influential Popes of the twentieth century.
Long-term projections for Poland’s population growth are grim. Currently the eighth largest country in Europe (including Russia and Ukraine) with more than 38 million residents, Poland is not expected to experience any population growth in the foreseeable future. Moreover, as its urban population increases from the present 61 percent (among the lowest in Europe), fertility rates should decline still further. People and Culture Lower fertility, shrinking family size, and a growing elderly population have sparked intense debate in the European Union.