Professor Anita Prazmowska

Professor Anita Prazmowska


Department of International History

+44 (0)20 7955 7601
Room No

About me

*on research leave 2017-2018*

Professor Anita Prazmowska studied for her undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham before moving to Queen Mary College where she studied for her PhD. Her academic career began at the University of Strathclyde before moving back to London to teach at Queen Mary and Westfield. She joined the LSE as a Lecturer in 1992.

Professor Prazmowska's main fields of research interests lie in the Cold War; communism; contemporary history; Eastern Europe; fascism; and Poland.

Professor Prazmowska has on several occasion received British Academy grants to pursue research relating to her three monographs (Eastern Front, Betrayed Ally and the Civil war).

She was also the recipient of grants from The Nuffield Foundation, awarded in April 1993; The British Academy, awarded in May 1993; The Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economic and Related Disciplines, awarded in December 1998. There were funds for research into the Origins of Communism in Poland. The result has been the recently published book entitled Civil War in Poland 1943-48, printed by Macmillan in 2004 and two refereed articles and two chapters in edited books.

Most recently she was awarded a two-year Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, 2016-18. The topic of her research will be ‘The Cold War Jigsaw: Poland's role in the Angolan Civil War, 1976-1986’.

The main focus of her current research is Polish de-Stalinisation and the events of 1956. Part of this research was published in Wladyslaw Gomulka. A Biography (2015), part of the  Communist Lives series from I.B. Tauris.


Modern Eastern Europe

Teaching & supervision

Professor Prazmowska usually teaches the following courses:

At undergraduate level:

HY232: War, Genocide and Nation Building. The History of South-Eastern Europe 1914-1990

At postgraduate level:

HY434 The Rise and Fall of Communism in Europe, 1917-1990


Recent publications by Professor Anita Prazmowska include:

Wladyslaw Gomulka. A Biography (I.B. Tauris, 2015) 

• Poland. A Modern History (I.B. Tauris, 2010);

• 'Ignacy Paderewski. Poland', in Makers of the Modern World. The peace conferences of 1919-23 and their aftermath (Haus Histories, 2009);

Civil War in Poland, (Macmillan Press, 2004);

A History of Poland, (Macmillan Press, 2004);

Eastern Europe and the Origins of the Second World War, (Macmillan Press, 2000);

Britain and Poland 1939-1943. The betrayed ally, (Cambridge University Press, 1995);

Britain, Poland and the Eastern Front, 1939, (Cambridge University Press, 1987).

She has also made contributions in recent years to:

• 'The experience of occupation: Poland' in John Bourne, Peter Liddle, Ian Whitehead (eds.), The Great World War, 1914-45, Vol. I. Lightening Strikes Twice, (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000)

• 'Poland' in The Origins of the World War Two. The Debate Continues, Robert Boyce, and Joseph A.Maiolo, (Palgrave/Macmillan Press, 2003).


News & media


New book on Wladyslaw Gomulka

Professor Anita Prazmowska newest book came out in December 2015. Wladyslaw Gomulka. A Biography is part of series Communist Lives, published by I.B. Tauris. The volume is a new and challenging reinterpretation of the role played by the Polish Communist leader in Polish and European politics. Professor Prazmowska traces Gomulka's progression from a poorly educated worker in the Krosno district of Poland, to his election as First Party Secretary in 1956 and finally to his forced resignation in 1970. She considers Gomulka's pivotal role in building a communist-led resistance in occupied Poland during World War II as well as the critical part he played in post-war Polish politics and the 'de-Stalinization' process. Incorporating recently released and previously unpublished sources, this book provides a vivid picture of how Communism functioned in Poland and an original analysis of Poland's international role in the Cold War era. Read more about the book and purchase it in the publisher’s website, I.B.Tauris.


Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship

Professor Anita Prazmowska was awarded a two-year Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, 2016-18. The topic of her research will be ‘The Cold War Jigsaw: Poland's role in the Angolan Civil War, 1976-1986’.


Rare collection of postcards donation

Professor Anita Prazmowska was in Warsaw on 3 November 2015 to donate rare postcards written between a Jewish friend, Tamara Frymer, based in London, and the latter's family, trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War. "Professor Prazmowska only found out about the postcards after her friend's death, when her son, Martin, showed them to her. After his death in March this year, Prazmowska, fearing these historical artifacts might be lost, asked the executor of Martin's will to let her take them to Poland. The postcards will now go on display at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and be included in the Central Jewish Library, an online collection of digitized Jewish documents from the Institute's archives". Read more about this incredible donation which tells a deep emotional story of a Jewish family's struggle for survival as reported by the Haaretz Newspaper. Watch Professor Prazmowska on Polish-speaking TVN Warszawa talking about her donation.


BBC World Service

On 26 October 2015, Professor Anita Prazmowska was on BBC World Service, Newshour. She commented on the recent Polish elections, saying "this was an election where people voted for emotions rather than policies". Listen to her analysis from 14m00s.


BBC Radio 4

On 11 August 2014, Professor Anita Prazmowska spoke in BBC Radio 4's programme 'Document': 'The Hague Warning'. The programme examined "the state of the British intelligence community [in July 1939], the split between appeasers and those who distrusted every German move and why this Document and the later Venlo incident in which two British intelligence officers walked into a trap laid by the Germans, was a Secret Intelligence Crisis".  Listen to the podcast.

My research


Book Section

Author(s) Anita J. Prazmowska

ISSN/ISBN 0333945395