The First World War (1914-1918) and the October Revolution in Russia radicaly changed the political map of Europe. In 1918 , after more then 100 years of being an annexed territory, Poland regained indepedence. The reunited country had to be restored. Both industry and culture are developing dynamicaly. There is a spirit of joy and optimism amongst the Poles celebrating their indepedence.
1919-1920 Polish-Bolshevik(Russian) war
A lot of new trends such as futurism or expressionism appear in Polish literature.
The new literary circles with the most famous one "Skamander" are founded.
Years 1923-32 Optimism of the first years is gone. There are a lot of doubts and worries about the future of the country. Literature become anxious about values in the indepedent country.
At about 1930 - Existentialism settles in Polish literature.
1923-32 The authors are chasing the order in the world. It leads them to glorification of heroism and mortal values. There is also a trend created by Peiper-the chief editor of "Zwrotnica" which is called the "Cracovian Vanguard"
The big economic crisis in 30-th's brings a criticism of capitalism system and stirs conflicts between political oponents.
Culture is getting politically involved so literature is telling about social and political problems. In a famous case against the left-wing group of Vilennis University some editors of "Zagary" are sentenced.
The most important literary circles are "Zargony" in Vilnus and a group of following poets Czechowicz in Lublin called the "Second Vanguard".
In 30-th's so called "Generation 1910" makes their debiut. Amongst them is Czeslaw Milosz.
September 1939 - the beginning of the Second World War. Poland is invaded by Germans on the west and Russians on the east border. In 1914 Russia joins the Allies and Poland has only one enemy.
The battle against invaders is carried on mainly by "Generation 1920" and "Generation with spots". Szymborska belongs to the second one.
Polish writers and poets joined the struggle either by taking part in the resistance movement or by propagating Polish culture through distribution of national papers and publishing literacy magazines.
May 1945 - the second World War is over. The writers try to describe the traumatic experience of the war crimes and genocide.
Poland is under Russian influence, the new political system - comunism - is being forced. The working class - the proletariat comes to the power while intelligentsia is losing its importance or is used by communist to popularize their ideas.
In press there is a national discussion about the literature
"Odrodzenie" (Cracow, Warsaw) and "Kuznia" (Lodz) is in favour of Marxism, "Pokolenie"(generation) supports socio-political changes Catholic magazines such as "Tygodnik Powszechny" and "Dzis i jutro" are against the comunist system.
W. Szymborska published her first poems in "Odrodzenie" and "Pokolenie".
Literature is suppose to give priority to the truth over esthetical values. It relates to traditional, realistic novel of XIX century (Diderot, Stendhal, Prus) and Age of Enlighment.
The authors are devided on those who refuse to collaborate with the goverment and the left-wing writers having very idealistic attitudes.
Very important for literacy life of those days were Polish Writers Union assemblies.The first one was in Cracow on Sept. 1945
There are years of strict stalinism and persecutions of people regarded as political oponents such as ex-soldiers of the A.K., soldiers being in Allies army, inteligensia and people having family behived 'iron custain'. A lot of people were arrested with falsified evidences and tortured.
On the Polish Writters Union assembly in 1949 in Szczecin, the Socialist Realism was recognized as the only one obligatory trend in Polish literature.
There was a very bad time for poetry, expecially lirical one. The subjects were very limited and no much place for imagination was left.
The censorship was very strict and it prevented different to the Socialist Realism estiethis works from being published. Only political poetry could appear and there are two interesting collections of Szymborska from those days: "That's What We Live For"(1952.) and "Questions Put to Myself" (1954). Many Socjalism Realists writters belong to "Generation with Spots'"
Milosz never conformed to Socjalist Realism and its limitations putting on personal freedom of writer, the decided to stay abroad.
The public dissatisfaction is caused by the poor condition of national economy and lack of democratic freedom.
In June 1956 in Poznan workmen of major factories went on strike and tremendous manifestation against goverment broke out. They were suppressed by military forces.
In October 1956 KC PZPR (the governing party) condemned the old ways of governing. The system become more open towards democracy, in politics, economy and social life
In 1956 brought a release of censorship which was very important for literature. Socialism realism ideas lost their vitality so popularizators of socialism had to prove their talent by shaving their individuality in more personal works. The writers had to judge the Stalinist past but they still couldn't openly talk about some issues as the censorship was still present in the literary life.
The late products of Socialist Realism were not taken seriously any more. People were expecting of the parody of Socialist Realism ideas and estethics.
A lot of writer made their debut or second debuts, like for example Szymborska with her collection "Calling out for Yeti" (57). After october '57 "Generation 56" ("contemporaries") started to publish their works.
Contacts with European and American culture begunen possible again.
Polish writess living abroad (for example in Grat Britain) can get in touch with the native country, which is very important for their cultural identity.
In 60's the ideas of 'Generation 56' were losing their vitality. 'Generation 60' made their debuts, some her literary circles appeared and her political trends developed.
Because at the worsening of life condition the social dissatisfaction was increasing. Famous people used to write open letters to the governing party PZPR (f.e. "letter 34" of writers and scientists). They wanted changes in cultured polititics such as: more freedom of writing and reduction of cenzorship. It was recognized as an anticomunist activity.
In january 1968 - the goverment banded from the National Theatre "Dziady" by Mickiewicz. According to the censors the drama had to many anti-soviet meanings.
March 1968 - there were anti-government manifestation in the most universities. Students demanded the freedom for culture and individuals. They condement anti-semit politics. Students were severly prosecuted.
Begening of 1970's - the living standard started to decrease.
December 1970 - working people strikes were brutally put down with the help of army forces.
After the strikes the life stadard became to improve. The government build new homes, hospitals, schools, and factories.
In literary life appears the "New Wave", the writers who made their debuts in 1968-70 ("Generation 68", "Generation 70").
Economic and political promisses given by the government on the begining of 70's never materialised, so the public dissatisfaction was increasing.
The new political organisation were founded which created a strong "political underground" as an oposition to comunist rules.
In 1976 after another mass protest of working people in Radom and Ursus, the KOR (Committee for working people rights) was set up. The organization aimed for young people of working class and students.
The literary underground was very active with publishing books which were banded by censorship. Illegal publication reached the greats popularity in 80's.
In 1977 another opositionish organisation begane his activity - this was the Movement for Human and Citizan Rights.
1978 - The Independent Workers Union was set up with L.Walesa and A.Walentynowicz as its leaders. they proclaimed 'Workers Rights Card'.
1980 - In 2000 factories around whole the country working people went on strike and they at the end of the year the their independent workers "Solidarity" received its legal statutory rights. Polish farmers also set up their union called "Farmer's Solidarity'
1980 - Czeslaw Milosz became Literary Nobel Prize winner.
The Independent Students Union was registered.
1981 - W. Jaruzelski - representing the government, L.Walesa from 'Solidarity' and archibishop J. Glemp as a Church mediator signed the agreement which frequently was being broken by the government.
Strikes spread over the country.
On 13 of December of 1981 the government decided to put a restrictive war law in force. The country started to be ruled by military regime.
1982 The Parliament dissolved the trade unions which were suspended in December 81. "Solidarity" become an illegal organization and took part in activity of Poland political underground. The oposition had its literary life, newspapers and publishers.
31.2.1982 The People's State Council Suspended the military law, on July 83 - the military regine was called off.
1983 The Polish Writers Association was dissolved.
9.10.1983 Lech Walesa received Nobel Prize for peace.
Till 1989 the govermant fighted the opposition and persecuted its active members.
1989 the govermant and the opposition started to negotiate over most vital social and political issues.
"Solidarity" was illegal to the goverment those days so Catholic Church took part in negotiation as a mediator.
04.1989 The both sides signed to agreement called "he round table agreement" which set the fundation for the new democratic system.
06.1989 the first after the II world war democratic election.The comunist are totally losing.
Democrating system brought eventuelly the freedom to speech so literature of the Polish underground could be published, the authors could freely describe the last 50 years of Polish history .
In 90's appears a new generation of poets called "The Brulion Generation"
22.12.1990 L.Walesa was elected to be a President of Polish Republic.
03.10.96 W.Szymborska become another Polish Literary Nobel Prize winner.