Textbooks as Propaganda : Poland under Communist Rule, 1944–1989 book cover
1st Edition

Textbooks as Propaganda
Poland under Communist Rule, 1944–1989

ISBN 9780367667573
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

Textbooks as Propaganda analyses post-Second World War Polish school textbooks to show that Communist indoctrination started right from the first grade. This indoctrination intensified as students grew older, but its general themes and major ideas were consistent regardless of the age of the readers and the discipline covered.

These textbooks promoted the new, post-war Poland’s boundaries, its alliance and friendship with the Soviet Union, and communist ideology and its implementation within the countries of the Soviet bloc. Through a thorough analysis of nearly a thousand archival textbooks, Joanna Wojdon explores the ways in which propaganda was incorporated into each school subject, including mathematics, science, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history, Polish language instruction, foreign language instruction, art education, music, civic education, defense training, physical education and practical technical training. Wojdon also traces the extent of the propaganda, examining its rise and eventual decrease in textbooks as the totalitarian state began its decline.

Positioning school textbooks and textbook propaganda in the broader context of a changing political system, posing questions about the effectiveness of the regime’s educational policies and discussing recent research into political influences on school education, this book will appeal to anyone interested in the history of communist-era propaganda.

Table of Contents

List of figures


1. Primary school curricula in Poland: 1944-1989

2. Primary School Textbook Propaganda: Central Themes

3. Maths and Sciences

3.1. Mathematics

3.2 Science

3.3 Physics

3.4. Chemistry

3.5. Biology

4. Geography

5. Polish Language Instruction

6. History

7. Foreign Languages and the Arts

7.1. Russian Language Instruction

7.2. French, English and German

7.3 Art

7.4. Music

7.5. Other Subjects

8. Civic and Defense Education

8.1. Civic education

8.2. Defense training

9. Conclusion: Primary School Textbooks, Propaganda and the Totalitarian State



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Joanna Wojdon is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. Her publications include White and Red Umbrella: Polish American Congress in the Cold War Era (1944-1988) (2015); The World of Reading Primers: The Image of Reality in the Reading Instruction Textbooks of the Soviet Bloc (in Polish: Swiat elementarzy: Obraz rzeczywistosci w podrecznikach do nauki czytania w krajach bloku radzieckiego) (2015); and E-teaching History (2016, ed.). She is the managing editor of the International Journal of Research on History Didactics, History Education and History Culture: Yearbook of the International Society for History Didactics (vol. 33–37: 2013–2016).