Przegląd Zachodni – the academic journal of the Institute for Western Affairs, appears continuously since July 1945. A monthly until the end of 1948, it became a bimonthly in 1990 and a quarterly in January 1991.
Over the years, the journal changed its artwork and circulation (from 2500 to 400 copies). However, it has retained its key sections: articles, materials, reviews and commentaries, sources, debates and discussions, evaluations and descriptions, and the academic chronicle. Further sections were added over the years, among them Contemporary Czechoslovakia, The Chronicles of Contemporary Germany, Correspondence (which is a remarkable resource on the 1945-1959 period) and even poetry, reports, interviews and extensive accounts of noteworthy discussions. In 2010, the journal launched a new section: Reminiscences on the Institute for Western Affairs. The thematic range has always reflected the Institute’s academic interests as well as its research priorities in each period. As early as 1946, Przegląd Zachodni redefined its profile, which it maintained for decades. Its new scope included the so called Western Affairs (Western and Central Europe), the history of Germany, current German affairs and the broadly-based topic of Poland’s Western Territories. Such coverage was offered consistently, although with varying emphasis.
In the late 1980s and the early 1990s, in addition to the traditional focus on the history and present day of Germany, often presented through the prism of Polish-German relations or European integration, noticeably more emphasis was placed on European affairs and the regions of Europe as well as “small European homelands”. Further, more materials were published on post-World War II realities in Poland, often providing a fresh perspective on the views that persisted over the years. More recently, renewed interest has been shown in the Western and Northern Territories, this time covering new trends and realities. Much research has been devoted to such previously shunned matters as the German legacy, identification with “private homelands”, the development of new identities and the emergence of euroregions.
At the dawn of the new millennium, researchers focused mainly on answering questions associated with the new global configuration of forces, the political, economic and mindset transformations observed in post-communist countries and societies, the reunification of Germany, the deepening and broadening of European integration and global challenges. The themes that appeared over the last two decades have varied widely while remaining within the adopted boundaries of Poland, Germany and Europe. Thanks to newly-acquired freedom, it became possible to provide a fair coverage of processes, phenomena, relations and global trends.
While most back issues of Przegląd Zachodni have been multi-thematic, some of them focused on single topics. The latter were dedicated either to specific geographic areas such as Silesia, Wielkopolska, Poznań and Pomerania or devoted in their entirety to specific topics such as the Polish diaspora and Germany’s role in the world. Since 1991, it became customary to select a specific area of interest for each issue, the main theme always heralded in a cover slogan (see our list of thematic issues).
The mid-1990s and the early 21st century saw the appearance of three issues featuring distinctive content and covers. On the 50th anniversary of the Institute for Western Affairs, the editors prepared issue 3/1994 centered on the Institute’s problems and people over the preceding quarter of a century, its prospects for growth, future research plans and selected unique sources on the history of the Institute for Western Affairs. Issue 2/1995 was an anthology of the texts published in Przegląd Zachodni between 1945 and 1990. On its sixtieth anniversary, the Institute published issue 2/2004 titled “Między nauką a polityką” (“Between Science and Politics”).
The editorial offices of Przegląd Zachodni additionally prepared special publications, which appeared in the series of Biblioteka Przeglądu Zachodniego (The Library of the Institute for Western Affairs). The most recent releases came out in the subsidiary series “Z dziejów Instytutu Zachodniego” (“From the History of the Institute for Western Affairs”). The subsidiary series featured “Antenaci. O politycznym rodowodzie Instytutu Zachodniego” by Zbigniew Mazur, 482 pp., Poznań 2002; “Goścince i rozstajne drogi” by Halina Kiryłowa Sosnowska, 255 pp., Poznań 2002; “<Ojczyzna> 1939-1945. Dokumenty, wspomnienia, publicystyka” ed. by Zbigniew Mazur, Aleksandra Pietrowicz, 691 pp., Poznań 2004; “Raporty z ziem wcielonych do III Rzeszy (1942-1944)” ed. by Zbigniew Mazur, Aleksandra Pietrowicz, Maria Rutowska, 612 pp., Poznań 2004; and “Instytut Zachodni w dokumentach” ed. by Andrzej Choniawko, Zbigniew Mazur, 471 pp., Poznań 2006.