After the fall of the Communist regime, in 1989, Poland entered a new phase, dedicated to the establishment of a democratic system, of a market economy and of international relations based on membership of Nato and the European Union. These transformations have been accompanied by a debate on the Communist regime (1944/45-1989) which, after reaching its peak at the beginning of the XXI Century, has gradually subsided. This essay examines the issues at the centre of the debate: was Poland a sovereign state? Can its system be described as totalitarian? While these issues, in the last twenty years, have remained central to the debate, the historical approach to the 1944/1989 events has greatly changed. Previous to the reconstruction of the debate, a review of the pre 1989 Polish historiography, will explain these changes and will show the lines of continuity in the Polish historical research on Communism.
Keywords: Poland, Polish historiography, communism, Totalitarian state, Polish People’s Republic, Institute of National Remembrance (Ipn)