Maria Burczynska reports on her fieldwork in Sweden and Poland in June-July 2016, for which she was awarded funds from the School of Politics and International Relations and the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism:
I used the awarded funds towards organising a fieldwork trip to Poland and Sweden. I spent that time conducting semi-structured interviews with Polish and Swedish Air Force staff as well as academics researching that area. For this purpose, I visited Swedish Defence University, Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), National Defence University in Warsaw, Polish Air Force Academy in Deblin, 23rd Tactical Air Wing Base in Minsk Mazowiecki and 25th Air Cavalry Brigade in Tomaszow Mazowiecki. From these meetings I was also able to get new contacts for further telephone or email interviews.
During fieldwork in Warsaw I also visited the Central Military Library, the Institute of National Remembrance and Air Force Archives to search for documents related to Polish Airpower Doctrine which I cannot access from the UK. I was also looking for new material (recently unclassified) to write an article about the development of Polish Airpower Doctrine during Poland’s involvement in Warsaw Pact.
Both the interviews and archival research are vital for my thesis. First of all they put what I found already in a new light. It was absolutely crucial to talk to experts and practitioners in the field to understand the role that Swedish and Polish Air Forces play in multinational operations as well as to hear of some political motives behind such use. Secondly the archival sources helped me to put the development of Polish Air Doctrine in a certain context. That was particularly important when speaking of the Warsaw Pact documents. After all, I found there was no such thing as Polish Air Doctrine for that period therefore if I would like to use the documents that were available I would need to re-think the concept of the potential article.
Maria Burczynska, PhD Candidate
School of Politics and International Relations, The University of Nottingham
Posted on Wednesday 3rd August 2016