This chapter demonstrates how the reconstruction of Europe's war-destroyed cities served an important additional function, one that was not merely practical. Surely, it was necessary to restore the basic necessities of life. But more than that, reconstruction meant the promise of a better future. This was particularly true in Poland, where people tied the rebuilding of devastated cities to the hope of moving beyond the horror of war and occupation, and of overcoming the enormous losses the country had suffered. The city of Warsaw became a symbol of the devastation wrought by the war in Poland; Warsaw's reconstruction in the second half of the 1940s was to symbolize the country's resolve to rise like a phoenix from the ashes and erase the humiliation of German occupation.
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