This map is part of a series of 16 animated maps showing the history of Europe and nations since 1945.
After the Second World War, Poland’s territory was substantially redrawn, with its western border shifted more than 200 kilometres further into Germany:
-To the East, Poland lost “White Russia”, the territories of Belarus and Ukraine, which was transferred to the USSR;
- To the west, it gained German regions along the eastern bank of the Oder-Neisse Rivers;
- To the north, it annexed the southern part of Eastern Prussia;
In all, Poland’s territory was smaller than before, but it now had a longer coastline on the Baltic Sea.
These border changes also involved huge movements of population: millions of Germans were thrown out of the annexed territories and more than a million Poles were repatriated from territories handed over to the USSR.
On the political front, an alliance of communists and socialists, known as the “Democratic Block”, won the elections held in 1947. The two parties merged the following year allowing the communists to take control of the country and transform Poland into a socialist republic subservient to Moscow.