Overview of the Mieczysław F. Rakowski Papers
Finding aid prepared by Hoover Institution Archives Staff.
Hoover Institution Archives© 2012
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
Title: Mieczysław F. Rakowski papers
Date (inclusive): 1958-1996
Collection Number: 90111
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material: Polish
Physical Description: 69 manuscript boxes (28.8 linear feet)
Abstract: Diaries, writings, correspondence, printed matter, photographs, and video tapes, relating to political conditions in Poland, especially during the decade of the 1980s, and to the Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza.
Creator: Rakowski, Mieczysław F.
The collection is open for research. The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Mieczysław F. Rakowski papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1990.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Mieczysław Rakowski (1926-2008), a journalist and politician, was Poland's top communist intellectual. From 1958 to 1982 he was the editor in chief of the Polish United Worker's Party (PUWP) organ Polityka, perhaps the most open and sophisticated weekly in all the Soviet bloc. He was deputy prime minister from 1981 to 1985, and vice-marshal, Sejm, from 1985 to 1988. Rakowski was prime minister during 1988-89, the last year of the communist regime in Poland before the takeover of the government by the Solidarity opposition. After the PUWP suffered a resounding defeat in the first semi free elections in the Soviet bloc in June 1989, Rakowski tried unsuccessfully to salvage the future of his party, becoming its last first secretary. During the remaining eighteen years of his life, he tried to present himself as a Social Democrat and continued to write and offer occasional political commentary on Polish politics. He visited the Hoover Institution in 1998 and gave a lecture titled "Ushering Out Communism: A View from the Other Side" on Poland and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, to a standing-room only audience.
The materials include some thirty-eight years of political diaries, writings, printed matter, photographs, and sound and video recordings. Of particular importance are Rakowski's diaries, including the original texts, showing redactions and revisions made before their subsequent partial publication in 1998-99. The diaries, covering the period from 1958 through 1996, are an invaluable source on Polish and former Soviet bloc politics as seen by an astute observer and participant. Comparing of the originals with the published version provides an interesting record of the author's intellectual and political meanderings and evolution and for students of the ancillary disciplines of history, an excellent case study of how diaries are turned into memoirs.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza.
Poland--Politics and government--1945-1980.
Poland--Politics and government--1980-1989.