Communist Authorities in Poland and the Twin Towns Movement in Europe
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Uniwersytet Warszawski
Polska Akademia Nauk
Publication date: 2016-12-31
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2016;52(4):293-313
The town twinning movement, which began developing in Poland after the transformations of October 1956, took many forms and included relations with towns from both the Eastern Block and the capitalist world. On the part of Poland, relations with the European foreign partners were strictly controlled on the central government level by the structures of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (mainly the Foreign Department) as well as ministries and central institutions. Contacts were strongly regulated by the principles of Poland’s foreign policy, which determined both the scale and forms of cooperation. In terms of types of relations, the greatest difference was between the relations of Polish towns with towns from other real socialist countries and with those from Western Europe. The former were usually initiated by the central authorities of the Polish United Workers’ Party. Relations with Western European countries, in turn, were much more influenced by international policy, including especially the rivalry between the East and the West. Beyond this context, an important factor differentiating the extent and form of contacts between Polish towns and those on the other side of the Iron Curtain was the state of Poland’s relations with the individual countries of Western Europe. In this regard, West Germany and France were at the opposite poles, the former considered to be politically hostile to Poland, and the latter perceived as Poland’s most important partner in the West, for reasons such as shared sensitivity to the German threat.
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