Warsaw School of Economics is the oldest economic university in Poland. It started its activity in1906 with the foundation of August Zieliński’s Private Courses of Commerce for Men at a time whenPoland was being divided by Russia, Prussia and Austria. The founder of the School, August Zieliński,managed to obtain the permission of the Russian authorities for opening courses, which, in fact, provid-ed academic lectures in the Polish language. During World War I, with the consent of the occupyingGerman authorities, the courses were acknowledged as „Handelshochschule”, i.e. the Higher School ofCommerce (HSC). However, it was not until Poland regained independence in 1918 that it became pos-sible to give the School a more academic look. One year later, the authorities approved the statute ofthe HSC by giving it full rights of a university. During World War II the school operated in conspiracy.
After the end of the war in 1945, classes were resumed in the library building, which was kept intact.In June 1949, communist authorities nationalised the university and transformed it into the CentralSchool of Planning and Statistics. The „socialist shape” imposed on the university by communists wasaimed at creating an institution for educating official personnel, which was adjusted to the needs of acentrally planned and managed economy. Despite numerous limitations and obligations, the so-calledscience schools managed to develop, such as those of Aleksy Wakar and Michał Kalecki, which at thattime were an avant-garde of economic thought. By the end of the period of the Polish People’sRepublic, the need for a thorough reform of the school became discernible. The conditions to conductthem appeared in 1990 in the wake of the general transformation of the state.
On 5 April 1991, the university returned to its previous name of the Warsaw School of Economics –„Szkoła Główna Handlowa w Warszawie” which literally translates from Polish as the „Main Schoolof Commerce”. New authorities commenced the transformation of the School. The teaching processwas computerised and modernised and contacts were established with the best economic schools inEurope and around the world. Students were given the opportunity to choose lecturers and shape theirown programme of studies.