As is well known, great developments in the chemical industry marked the second half of the nineteenth century. A number of Polish scientists, including Jakub Natanson, Marceli Nencki, Stanislaw Kostanecki, Zygmunt Wróblewski, Karol Olszewski, Bronislaw Radziszewski, Maria Sklodowska-Curie, and others took part in this development and helped to build the modem chemical industry.
Because of the unfavorable social and political conditions at that time, however, it was not possible for Poland to profit from the potential of its own scientists in this industrial development. As a result of successive partitions of the country, Polish territories had been annexed by three foreign powers, and these territories were made dependent on the invaders’ states. Consequently, establishing any national industry was dificult, if not impossible.
Even with the recovery of national independence in 1918, the situation was no more favorable since the industry remained in the hands of foreign capital. Under these conditions, Poland missed the chance of an early start in the chemical industry, and still lags behind other countries.