Professor Anita Prazmowska

Professor Anita Prazmowska

Professor

Department of International History

Telephone
+44 (0)20 7955 7601
Room No
SAR.M.09

About me

*on research leave 2018-2019: Leverhulme Research Fellowship*

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.

Expertise Details

Modern Eastern Europe

Teaching & supervision

Professor Prazmowska usually teaches the following courses in the Department:

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 (not running in 2018-19)

Publications

Recent publications by Professor Anita Prazmowska include:

• "'Frenchmen' in Polish Mines: The Politics of Productivity in Coal Mining in Poland 1946-1948", Europe-Asia Studies, 70:2, pp. 230-251 (2018);

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).

Books

News & media

2018


New article in Europe-Asia Studies

Professor Prazmowska published a new article in the journal Europe-Asia Studies, entitled “’Frenchmen’ in Polish Mines: The Politics of Productivity in Coal Mining in Poland 1946-1948”. In this period, 13,721 Polish miners were repatriated by the state from France to Poland. The repatriation was vital to the development of coal mining. This repatriation was distinct because it did not involve returning to Poland people who had been displaced during the war. These Poles had emigrated to France during the interwar period. After a successful start, when over 5,000 men and their families came to Poland in 1946, the project came to a halt. Poland was not a welcoming environment for these men and France wanted to retain them. LSE users, can read the article for free.

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Featured on BBC and CNN

In early February, Professor Prazmowska was featured in two articles regarding the Polish legislation to outlaw references to Polish death camps in Holocaust bill. The phrase, first used by Barack Obama in a 2012 speech, has led to a controversial bill which makes it illegal to accuse Poland of complicity in Nazi crimes. According to the BBC article, there is widespread agreement that Polish citizens participated in the Holocaust through the betrayal and murder of Polish Jews, but does that equal a larger Polish complicity? She responded: “this is history as a tool, as a means for a nationalistic government to accuse everyone else of betraying the nation while painting itself as the only true carriers of the Polish flag”. In the CNN article, she adds that legislation shouldn’t be used to force a particular historic interpretation, as this forms a broader attempt to revise negative aspects of history.


2017


Quoted in The Guardian

Professor Anita Prazmowska was quoted in an opinion article in The Guardian, entitled “William and Kate have been duped into endorsing Poland’s ugly nationalism” (21 July). The opinion article, authored by writer and academic Kate Maltby, looks into Poland’s slip into nationalist authoritarianism and the royals' designed tour to flatter the one nation most likely to soften a Brexit punitive deal.

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Documentary participation, Dear Coreczko

Professor Prazmowska contributed to a documentary shown on Polish television, on 19 February, which was based on the letters from the Warsaw Ghetto she deposited in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw in 2015. Watch the documentary on YouTube (in Polish).


2016


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.


2015


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’.

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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.

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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.


2014


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.