THE STANDPOINT OF THE TECHNICIANS OF LWÓW AND CRACOW ON THE PROSPECT OF POLAND'S REGAINING INDEPENDENCE
The establishment of technicians' associations and the appearance of journals published by those associations, allowed Polish technicians in the Austrian-held part of Poland to voice their views on many issues, including political and social matters. In Lwów [Lemberg/Lviv], the first such association was established in 1877 under the name of Towarzystwo Ukończonych Techników [Society of Accomplished Technicians], which was later renamed, in 1878, as Towarzystwo Politechniczne [Polytechnical Society] and, in 1913, Polskie Towarzystwo Politechniczne [Polish Polytechnical Society]. In Cracow, the first association of this kind came into being also in 1877 as the Krakowskie Towarzystwo Techniczne [Cracow Technical Society]. The members of those associations published their views in two journals: "Czasopismo Techniczne" [Technical Journal] and "Czasopismo Krakowskiego Towarzystwa Technicznego" [Journal of the Cracow Technical Society]. The heyday of the members' active voicing of their ideas came during World War One, when the hopes of Poland regaining independence began to take a more tangible form. The views presented in the journals concened not only current affairs, but also dealt with long term prospects, such as the socio-economic and political shape of the country after the imminent regaining of independent statehood.
The regaining of independence by Poland was treated not only as a token of historical justice, but also, very significantly, a precondition for maintaining peace in Europe. While refraining from a cear-cut stand on the future borders of Poland, the Lwów milieu generally opted for restoring the historical borders of the country. Lwów technicians also supported the capitalist path of development, which was to evolve gradually under the influence of broadly understood industrialization; industrialization was viewed as the only way to overcome the country's considerable civilizational backwardness. They also emphasized the role of exploiting domestic sources of energy, and especially water, for the wide-spread electrification of the country, which would allow the decentralization of industry and major transformations in the everday life of large sections of society.
Industrialization would change the role and position of engineers in society. Engineers believed that the knowledge they had at their disposal not only made them qualified to solve technical problems, but also to deal with social problems that necessitated the spirit of social accord. Hence, it was argued that engineers should be able to occupy key positions in administrative agencies, including ministries. This in turn led to the view that the training of engineers at the tertiary level should have a special role, and should be oriented not only at professional knowledge and skills, but should also prepare young people for conscious participation in the life of a democratic society.
Many of the Cracow and Lwów technicians supported the classical liberal model of the state, with a reduced role of the bureacracy and decentralization of power.