Almost seventy years now separate us from the outbreak of World War II. To date the most important trend in debates about the war's consequences for Central Europe has focused on the interconnections between the social, political and economic changes occurring during the war, on the one hand, and the origins of the communist bloc in that part of Europe, on the other. This approach is overly narrow: it fails to take account of the importance of the psycho-social consequences of the war, which were incomparably broader, extending far beyond the political dimension. The author attempts to sketch out a systematic account of the sociological and psychological effects of this war, through an examination of the Polish case. His analysis draws upon two key theoretical concepts: Pitirim Sorokin's sociology of catastrophes; and Piotr Sztompka's sociology of trauma. Paraphrasing the title of Sztompka's book (Trauma wielkiej zmiany. Spoleczne koszty transformacji), we might call the Polish war experience 'the trauma of the great war'. The article shows the sources, symptoms and cultural consequences of the trauma of war in Poland.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.