Division. – In 1950 the administrative division of Poland was changed: the new voivodships of Koszalin, Opole and Źielona Góra were created. Furthermore, the denomination of some voivodships has been changed; that of Silesia has taken the name of its capital Katowice (which, formerly Stalinograd, has taken the old name) and that of Pomorze now has the name of Bydgoszcz. In 1951 a territorial exchange with the USSR took place: Poland ceded a territory of 480 km 2of the Lublin voivodeship between the Bug, Solokija and Huczwa rivers, and obtained in exchange one of the same size, added to the Rzeszów voivodeship. Currently the republic is administratively divided (see table) into 17 voivodships and five cities with voivodship status.
Population. – According to 800zipcodes, the population census carried out in 1950 gave a result of 24.976.926 residents; according to the provisional data of 6 Dec. 1960 there are 29,731,000 residents. (95 per km 2).
Economic conditions. – On the basis of the constitution issued on July 22, 1952, the people’s republic of Poland organizes the planned economy by relying on the enterprises that make up the social properties. The three-year plan for economic development of 1947-49 was followed by a six-year plan (1950-55) and a five-year plan (1956-60), which foresaw, among other things, for 1958, investments of 64 million zloty. In November 1958 the foundations were laid for a seven-year plan (1959-65) which aims above all at the strengthening of agriculture through the granting of state contributions in favor of agricultural clubs.
And in fact, the economy of Poland, although the industrialization of numerous regions that were once exclusively agricultural is underway, always remains largely linked to agriculture. Indeed, this is currently taking place under more favorable conditions; a better use of the water allows the cultivation of areas that were once marshy or exploited only as meadow-pasture. For example, the 109 km long Wieprz-Krzna canal was built, allowing the use of large areas of southern Poland. The courses of the Oder and the Vistula have been regularized, which will be joined by a canal already under construction; in this way it will be possible not only to use it for motive power, but also to irrigate large areas and it will also be possible to avoid flooding.
Among the cereals, rye is the most widespread, cultivated in 1950 on 5,136,000 ha and in 1958 on 5,213,000 ha, with a production of 65,028,000 q and 73,000,000 q respectively. This is followed by oats, grown in 1958 on 1.674.000 ha (production 27.000.000 of q). Wheat currently occupies 1,474,000 ha and the average annual production is around 20 million q. Barley, which in 1950 was grown on 845.100 ha (production 10.766.000 q), gradually shrunk on 777.000 ha (production 12.000.000 q, in 1958). The potato is grown on 2,758,000 ha and the 1958 production was 348 million quintals. Among the industrial plants, sugar beet, grown on 286,000 ha until 1954, is now grown on 358,000 ha and has given the sugar factory industry, which currently has 70 factories, a production of 11,370,000 q (in 1957). Flax is grown on 126,000 ha and in 1958 produced 410,000 q of seeds and 402,000 q of fiber.
A notable increase has had the zootechnical patrimony; cattle, which in 1950 were 7,164,000 head, rose to 8,209,700 in 1958 (of which over 5 million dairy cows), sheep and goats went from 2,194,000 to 3,439,000, pigs from 9,928,000 to 10,536,000; a decrease was recorded for horses, which fell from 2,797,000 to 2,518,000. A notable decline can be seen with regard to sericulture: from 160,000 kg of cocoons produced in 1955, it decreases to 96,061 in the following year and again to 69,000 kg in 1957. Fishing, which is used for 1550 boats (of which about forty to steam) gave, in 1958, a product of 135,700 t; the most important fishing port, recently equipped, is Świnoujście, at the mouth of the Oder, which in addition to having a large basin for fishing boats, has a residential area for fishermen and employees of the fishing industry; this is in rapid and continuous development and also allows an active trade with foreign countries. Since 1951, special support vessels have been in operation that collect fish and transport it to the bases and that are equipped with facilities for a first processing of the product. Forest exploitation gave a production of 16,475,900 m in 19583 of lumber; in addition, the related industry produced 157,000 t of mechanical pulp, 221,000 t of chemical pulp and 402,000 t of paper.
As regards the resources of the subsoil, the production of coal is constantly increasing, rising from 84,237,000 t in 1952 to about 99 million t in 1959; in the last year the lignite deposits gave a yield of 9,264,000 t. Oil production in 1951 was 198,000 t, rising to 250,000 t in 1953; in the following years, however, there was a decline and 186,000 t were produced in 1956 and 170,000 t in 1959. On the other hand, the production of natural gas, produced at the rate of 358.2 million m 3 in 1954, increased., 434 million m 3 in 1956 and finally 424 million m 3in 1959. Among the mining products we still remember the production of rock salt at the rate of 392,000 t in 1958 (the overall production of salt, however, was 621,000 t). The iron mined in 1959 amounted to 2,016,000 t.
Also in 1959 the installed energy amounted to 5,008,600 kW, of which 246,000 was water, with a production of 26,309 million kWh. Provision is being made for the setting up of a nuclear plant which is expected to operate by 1965 and which will produce 200,000 kW; this will be followed by others and moreover the production of the existing plants will be strengthened, for which it is foreseen, again for 1965, to be able to use double the current energy.
A nuclear reactor is being set up in Skierek, near Warsaw.
Polish industrial activity is still based especially on the steel and textile industries. For the first time, new plants were built and the previous ones in the coal and iron basins were modernized and enlarged (eg the Nowa Huta and Częstochowa plants). In 1959, 4,368,000 tons of cast iron and ferroalloys and 6,156,000 tons of steel were produced. New zinc smelters have sprung up in Chrzanów and Olkusz; production in 1959 was 165,000 t. The textile industry, which has also been modernized and strengthened, currently has 390,000 employees; according to an estimate made in 1952, there were 1,180,000 spindles. The automobile industry, in 1958, put 22,409 vehicles into circulation, of which 11,507 were cars, while 8,510 tractors were manufactured in 1957.
The most important center for the chemical industry, which will mainly produce synthetic fertilizers, is being built in Oświęcim. The Kędzierzyn chemical complex (for nitrogen fertilizers) has been in full operation since 1954. A complex for the processing of sulfur and derivatives will come into operation in Tarnobrzeg as soon as possible. The cement factory produced, in 1959, 5,304,000 t. The brewery, in 1958, gave 6,106,000 hl. A large leather processing center is being set up in Nowy Targ, in the Kraków Voivodeship.
Communications. – The merchant navy in 1959 amounted to 223 ships (counting only those of over 100 tonnes), for a total of 533,895 tonnes. In 1956 in the ports of Gdansk, Szczecin and Gdynia there was a movement of 7,960 ships (6,797,674 net tonnage), of which 1260 ships, for 1,282,044 t, flew the Polish flag. Navigation on inland waters recorded a movement of goods for 2,458,060 t.
The railway network is 27,098 km, of which 670 are electrified. The road network is 101,890 km, of which 24,036 are macadamized; traffic in 1959 was 188,000 cars (75,000 cars). Civil aviation recorded 6,720,000 km flown, with 99,071,000 passengers / km.
Foreign trade. – Foreign trade takes place almost entirely with the USSR and East Germany. In the three-year period 1956-1958, the value of imports, in millions of dollars, was, on average, 1022 million a year; and that of exports of 975 million.
Finances. – The state budget usually has a surplus ranging from 1 to 4 billion złoty. The revenues of 1960 came for 138 billion from the national economy, for 25 billion from taxes, for 22 billion from social insurance; the expenses concern the national economy for 100 billion, social services, education and culture for 43 billion, defense for 15 billion.
The national currency is the złoty, divided into 100 groszy. The law of 28 October 1950 modified the monetary system; the old złoty were changed to the new ones, on the basis of 100 to 1. However, the wages and savings deposited in savings banks up to a maximum of 100,000 złoty were changed on the basis of 100 to 3. On 30 October 1950 the złoty was pegged to the ruble Soviet, and its parity is declared to be 0.222168 grams of fine gold. The official exchange rate of the currency was set at 3.99-4.10 złoty for the US dollar; on February 11, 1957, the złoty was devalued in exchanges with non-Soviet bloc countries, so from that date the exchange rate is set at 23.94-24.06 złoty per 1 US dollar.
The credit system is always organized according to the banking law of 25 October 1948; it includes the National Bank of Poland (central bank), the Central Investment Bank (which exercises control over investment financing), the Agricultural Bank, the General Savings Bank and others. These include the Bank for the National Economy, the Commercial Bank of Warsaw and the Polska Kasa Opieki bank. As of December 1, 1958, deposits with savings institutions amounted to 7.2 billion złoty.