For several generations, the lives of Polish citizens were predetermined by a political system in which they had very little say. Soviet Communists governed Poland from 1945 to 1989 and decided what was best for the people. The Communists promoted an image of the country in which the masses were satisfied with their way of life and unwilling to change. The deterioration of the political and economic climate from the late 1970s throughout the 1980s elicited social discontent and caused a growing number of dangerous confrontations between the government and Polish activists. Eventually, the government loosened its grip, and reform became possible in Poland. The Communist system was dismantled.
Polish citizens who came of age in the 1990s and beyond know little about those times. Today, young Poles see the world through a different lens, as a place in which people are free to establish their own goals in pursuit of individual achievement. Young Poles perceive change as a positive process in their society and see a future filled with possibilities.
About the Author:
Author Zoran Pavlovic is a cultural geographer currently working at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater
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