Poland’s goal: overcoming the economic legacy of WWII


POLAND is one of those countries which suffered the greatest losses during the 20th century. Six million Poles were killed in World War II (WW2). In compensation for its eastern borders, it received the ruined regions of Silesia and Pomerania.

In the public mind, the utter tragedy of the last great war overshadows the fact that it was World War I that had already made Poland one of the most destroyed countries in the world; its industries torn to shreds.

Following the Second World War, Poland was cut off by the “Iron Curtain”. The imposition of communism by the Soviet Union prevented it from participating in the great economic boom that swept through the West until the 1970s. As the realities of post-war Poland prevented the continuation of the legacy of its underground state, the country missed the experience of its own version of The Thirty Glorious in France, or Italian dolce vita.

The great human and economic cost of Poland’s experiences with two totalitarian regimes is irreversible. Therefore, on the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, we should not be focusing so much on settling the past as it is on the future of our country.

Poland has the difficult task of unlocking its full growth potential. This requires a new approach to the development of all of its regions. Such revolutionary thinking on how to harness the potential of regional Poland is present in the strategic investment program implemented with the government by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego. Under this program, local communities can obtain state investment grants on an unprecedented scale.

The fall of Poland at the end of the 18th century prevented it from developing a strategic plan to develop its provincial regions over the next 100 years. A qualitative change in this regard did not take place until the construction of the central industrial region in the 1930s. However, all of these efforts were dashed by the outbreak of war and later by the Communist government of post-war period which punished areas where anti-Communist partisans were active long after the end of the war. This was the case with Podlasie.

Today, thanks to the ambitious investment policy targeting roads, railways and aviation, Polish regions are increasingly interconnected and can develop evenly. According to pre-pandemic data, Poland is visited by around 20 million tourists every year, but its total annual capacity is around 100 million. Thus, tourism offers our economy an important axis of growth, even if it is not yet fully exploited.

Even in Poland, few people know that Ogrodzieniec Castle, which belonged to the Boner family of merchants and bankers, had the ambition to compete with Wawel Castle. The reconstructed castles in the highlands of Krakow-Częstochowa which are on par with Krzyżtopór Castle, should serve as a globally recognized symbol of Poland proud of its history and heritage. The renovation of historic buildings is a great way to revive local communities proud of their roots and to obtain a new source of income through the development of tourism.

In addition to its rich and interesting history, Poland boasts of beautiful and impressive natural sites. This represents a great opportunity for regions like Podlasie which were heavily underinvested under communism. Thanks to an ambitious investment policy, the region could become a newly discovered tourist gem of Poland and Europe eager to get closer to nature. Every region in Poland has such unique potential that is waiting to be harnessed and shown to the rest of the world.

To achieve this, we must act and make sound decisions about investing in the development of infrastructure, culture and local communities. I believe that all of this is in front of us.

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