This article analyzes textbooks and curricula for primary schools in Poland published between 1944 and 1989 to show how the communist regime attempted to influence Polish history education via political change and educational reform. The article focuses on five aspects of this influence: Marxist methodology of history, portrayals of political parties, promotion of a “scientific“ worldview, justification of new boundaries and alliances of the People's Poland, and a new pantheon of national heroes. In conclusion, the article investigates the effectiveness of history education in shaping Polish collective memory under the communist regime.
Marian Falski’s Elementarz
Marian Falski’s “Reading Primer” (Elementarz) was the first textbook to be published in Warsaw in 1945 by the newly established State School Publishing House (Państwowe Zakłady Wydawnictw Szkolnych). It was officially approved by the Ministry of Education and by the Censorship Office, but nevertheless had an interim character, unlike other editions published before, during and after the war, both in Poland and abroad. The core of the book was reprinted from the prewar edition. However, in his depictions of war trauma and postwar circumstances the author was apparently trying to comply with the propaganda model developed during the Stalinist period. These findings are empirically grounded in a content analysis of the primers following archival research conducted in the files of the Ministry of Education and the Censorship Office, both of which are housed in the Modern Records Archive (Archiwum Akt Nowych) in Warsaw.