The development of nursing began in Poland much later than it did elsewhere, for instance in the United Kingdom, the United States, or Germany, and it came up against difficult conditions. After a brief twenty-year period of development between 1918 and 1939, it almost stalled during the war (1939–45), only to be followed by nearly twenty years of chaos. Nursing started to come out of this difficult period at the beginning of the 1960s. The turn of the 21st century saw the emergence of extensive professional development and training opportunities for nurses. This change was brought about as much by political, social and economic issues, health care requirements, and the advancement of science, medicine, the birth of humanitarism, the growth of the feminist movement, the European Agreement on the Instruction and Education of Nurses, the WHO European Strategy for Nursing and Midwifery Education, the Bologna declaration, as well as the activities undertaken by the European Union, the International Council of Nurses, the American and Polish Red Cross, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Polish Association of Nurses, and the professional self-governing body. The transformation of nursing into an independent profession was further boosted by physicians deeply involved in the issue and female pioneers of nursing.