1st Edition

The Political Economy of Interwar Foreign Investment Economic Nationalism and French Capital in Poland, 1918–1939

By Jerzy Łazor Copyright 2024
    200 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    France was interwar Poland’s main ally, and the biggest source of the country’s foreign investment. The two roles were closely connected: Paris used its position in Warsaw to win preferential treatment for its firms, while Polish authorities depended on France to finance their modernization policies and military spending. The relationship’s asymmetric character bred conflict, and in the 1930s dissenting voices compared French actions in Poland to imperialism and colonial expansion. This book untangles the complex mix of economics, policy, and politics in Franco-Polish relations. Based on government and company-level sources, it evaluates the part played by French capital in Poland and discovers the mechanisms ruling French FDI and public loans. Exploring case studies of specific sectors and themes, it asks questions about the modernizing potential of FDI, interwar economic imperialism, the workings of asymmetric investment, and the interactions between investments and politics. Understanding the unequal footing of Warsaw and Paris, it goes beyond imperialistic interpretations, and examines the leeway available to the weaker partner of the relationship. The book contributes to economic history of Central and Eastern Europe, and, more generally, to our understanding of the position of peripheral countries in the interwar global system.

    Chapter 1. Interwar Poland and French capital: Economic development in a hierarchical world   Chapter 2. Profits and costs of alliance: Mechanisms of Franco-Polish interwar economic relations  Chapter 3. French companies in interwar Poland: Distribution, results, and economic environment   Chapter 4. French capital in interwar Polish state-led modernization: Infrastructure and high technology   Chapter 5. French capital in interwar Polish resource extraction: Coal, oil, and security policy   Chapter 6. Politicizing investment: Private-public mixed companies with French capital in interwar Poland   Chapter 7. Foreign investment and domestic politics in interwar Poland: The case of French capital in Żyrardów  Conclusions


    Jerzy Łazor, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Warsaw School of Economics, Poland, and a former research fellow at the Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena, Germany. He writes on 20th-century economic and business history in Central and Eastern Europe, concentrating on capital flows and centre-periphery relations.