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Rakowski (Mieczyslaw F.) papers
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  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Mieczysław F. Rakowski papers
    Date (inclusive): 1958-1996
    Collection Number: 90111
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: Polish
    Physical Description: 95 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box (39.1 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Diaries, writings, correspondence, printed matter, photographs, and video tapes relating to political conditions in Poland during the 1980s, and to the Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza.
    Creator: Rakowski, Mieczysław F.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    Box 96 closed. The remainder of the collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1990.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Mieczysław F. Rakowski papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Biographical Note

    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 Workers' 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 the vice-marshal of Sejm, from 1985 to 1988. Rakowski was prime minister from 1988 to 1989, 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 on Poland and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc titled, "Ushering Out Communism: A View from the Other Side."

    Scope and Content of Collection

    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 to 1999. 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 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

    Poland -- History -- 1980-1989
    Poland -- Politics and government -- 1980-1989
    Poland -- Politics and government -- 1945-1980
    Video tapes
    Statesmen -- Poland
    Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza