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Yearbook 2004

Flag - PolandPoland. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Poland is 37,846,622 people in 2020. Prime Minister Leszek Miller resigned in March as leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) after his party collapsed in opinion polls. When nearly 30 MPs left SLD to form a new party, Miller announced that he would step down as head of government as well. The high unemployment rate of around 20%, several corruption scandals and failed health care reforms had lowered confidence in the government to a very low level. Miller chose to resign the day after Poland joined the EU on May 1.

President Aleksander Kwaśniewski nominated former Finance Minister Marek Belka as new Prime Minister. The foreign-educated economist Belka had most recently served as chief adviser on the economic reconstruction of Iraq. As one of America's most faithful allies in Iraq, Poland led a multinational force in the southern part of the country. Around 2,400 Polish soldiers were stationed in Iraq. Marek Belka barely had a job as head of government before he lost a vote in parliament in mid-May and was forced to resign. The majority in Parliament demanded a fresh election, but President Kwaśniewski reappointed him as prime minister. Belka's left-wing government was finally approved by Parliament in June. Seven of Miller's government ministers remained in Belka's cabinet.

In Poland's first elections to the European Parliament, the SLD government party received very low support and took only five of Poland's 54 seats. The Liberal Citizens' Platform succeeded best with 15 mandates, while the EU-critical parties Self-Defense and the Polish Families Alliance together took 16 mandates.

In June, Jacek Kuroń, who in the 1980s, was a key figure behind the democracy movement in Poland. He co-founded the free trade union movement Solidarity and staged the talks between the opposition and the regime in 1989 that paved the way for the fall of communism in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe. Jacek Kuroń turned 70.

This year's autumn storms had severe consequences in Poland. About ten people were killed in the unusually strong storms that advanced across the country. Among those killed was a six-month-old child who received a falling tree over his pram in a park in Warsaw.

President Kwaśniewski was given a prominent international role at the end of the year, when he successfully acted as a mediator in the political crisis that arose in neighboring Ukraine after the November presidential election there.

2004 Poland


By the outbreak of the war in September 1939, the old, deep internal divisions had been forgotten. The Poles fought valiantly. The military was strong, but completely outdated. Socially and economically, Poland was also weak at the outbreak of the war. The country had not recovered after the world crisis, and despite certain attempts at industrialization and planning economy - the construction of the port city of Gdynia and the central Polish industrial zone - Poland was still a backward agricultural country at the outbreak of the war.

World War II became the biggest disaster in Polish history. It required six million deaths - half of them of Jewish descent. Warsaw was totally destroyed after a tragic uprising in 1944. In collaboration with the London government, an impressive resistance movement was developed under the civilian leadership, with the National Army as a military body. During these years, when the Poles hovered in daily danger, they succeeded in building an illegal counter-state with schools, universities and even a thriving illegal cultural life. Part of the prize was legal demoralization. Black stock exchange and economic sabotage were used, which had unfortunate consequences for post-war social morality.

From 1942 a communist resistance movement arose. Its trump card was the support of the Russians. However, the experiences of the hard Stalinist occupation of the East Pole (1939-41) were not forgotten, and the communists remained a small minority among a people who continued to see with the deepest skepticism of the neighbor in the east.

Also, the attempt to liberate the capital before it through the Warsaw uprising. red army moved in ended with defeat - i.a. because the Russians did not support the uprising. An important part of the young non-communist elite died, and the real power base slipped over to the left-wing Lublin government, which was established on July 22, 1944. Despite Russian assaults - especially against activists in the National Army - the Lublin government's public-front policy yielded results. Under the leadership of Wladislaw Gomulka and the later Polish leader of the Stalinist period (1948-55), Boleslaw Bierut, in the first period the government pursued a relatively open policy and gained ever wider support. The big industry was nationalized.

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