Before World War II, Poland's industrial base was concentrated in the coal, textile, chemical, machinery, iron, and steel sectors. Today it extends to fertilizers, petrochemicals, machine tools, electrical machinery, electronics, car manufacture and shipbuilding.
Poland's industrial base suffered greatly during World War II, and many resources were directed toward reconstruction. The socialist economic system imposed in the late 1940s created large and unwieldy economic structures  operated under a tight central command. In part because of this systemic rigidity, the economy performed poorly even in comparison with other economies in Central Europe.
In 1990, the Mazowiecki government began a comprehensive reform programme to replace the centralised command economy with a market-oriented system. While the results overall have been impressive, many large state-owned industrial enterprises, particularly the rail, mining, steel, and defence sectors, have remained resistant to change and the downsizing required to survive in a market-based economy.