Poland as a People's Democracy 1

Under Stalinist rule (1945–56)

According to ezinereligion, the Second World War claimed around 6 million deaths from Poland – including over 85% of the Jewish population – and cost the country around 38% of its national wealth. The economic policy decisions already made by the Lublin Committee on August 15, 1944 included the expropriation of large estates in favor of small farmers and the nationalization of industry and banks. In the government led by the socialist Edward Osóbka-Morawski (* 1909, † 1997) from 1945-47 , the communist PPR under W. Gomułka occupied the key positions; only the exiled Prime Minister Mikołajczyk The Polish Peasant Party (PSL) founded with 600,000 members opposed it. Resistance groups in the underground could not be eliminated until 1947. The government did not comply with the requirement to hold elections soon until January 19, 1947; Due to massive manipulation, the Communist-dominated Democratic Bloc won 394, the PSL only 27 of the 444 Sejm seats. After B. Bierut waselected President (1947–52), J. Cyrankiewicz was appointed Prime Minister (1947–52, again 1954–70) and the »Small Constitution« came into force on February 19, 1947, the repression and persecution began unpopular politician; Mikołajczyk went into exile again in October. The growing dependence on the USSR became evident with the introduction of the planned economy, the takeover of Soviet institutions, the rejection of the Marshall Plan and the forcible merger of the traditional Socialist Party (PPS) with the PPR to form the Polish United Workers’ Party (Polish abbreviation: PZPR) in December 1948. The PZPR appropriated the leadership monopoly in state and society.

After the group around Gomułka, branded as »bourgeois nationalists«, was eliminated within the PZPR in 1949, unilateral industrialization began, preferring heavy industry and the forced collectivization of agriculture, supervised by Soviet Marshal K. Rokossowski, who had risen to become Minister of Defense and Politburo member and numerous Soviet specialists. With the people’s democratic constitution of July 22, 1952, the country officially adopted the designation “People’s Republic of Poland”. The office of president was replaced by the collective council of state, the chairman of which acted as the nominal head of state. Since about 95% of the population belonged to the Catholic Church, measures to suppress ecclesiastical influence were intensified despite the signing of a modus vivendi agreement on April 14, 1950; it culminated in September 1953 with the arrest of many priests and the primate of the Catholic Church, S. Wyszyński.

Since the conclusion of a friendship and assistance treaty on April 21, 1945, the USSR had laid a network of treaties, economic agreements and arrangements over Poland, which was a founding member of the Council for Mutual Economic Aid (Comecon) in 1949 and the Warsaw Pact in 1955 . – With the Görlitz Agreement (July 6, 1950), the GDR recognized the Oder-Neisse line as the German-Polish border.

The XX. The party congress of the CPSU in February and Bierut’s death in March 1956 set the first de-Stalinization measures in motion in Poland as well. Despite the release of political prisoners and the relaxation of censorship, popular discontent reached v. a. because of the poor supply situation and the omnipresent Soviet presence, a climax in the Poznan uprising (June 1956). Further demonstrations and the decline in authority of the PZPR brought the rehabilitated Gomułka to the head of the party on October 19, 1956, who promised to take his own Polish path to socialism while respecting Soviet dominance.

The Gomułka Era (1956-70)

The abandonment of forced collectivization, a more generous church policy, the reorganization of the administration and the planning system with greater consideration of consumer needs, limited liberalization in the cultural sector and the consideration of politically independent candidates in the Sejm elections of January 20, 1957 made W. Gomułka a big one Trust bonus a. However, as early as the late 1950s, interest in securing power and consideration within the bloc prompted him to steer a stricter domestic political course, which led to a restriction of the church’s ability to act and intellectual freedoms and the nationalist-neo-Stalinist wing around Interior Minister and Central Committee Secretary Mieczysław Moczar (* 1913, † 1986) Boosted. In view of the widespread dissatisfaction due to latent supply shortages and a large housing shortage, the Israeli-Arab Six-Day War in 1967 was used as an excuse to act in an anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist campaign against “revisionists” in the party and against unpopular intellectuals and most of the remaining Jews to emigrate to cause. After a student strike in Warsaw in March 1968, the party opposition was eliminated. Considerable price increases for groceries, announced five days after the signing of the Warsaw Treaty with the Federal Republic of Germany on December 12, 1970, solved v. a. serious unrest in the port cities with at least 45 dead. Gomułka and J. Cyrankiewicz lost their offices.

Domestic immobility and economic stagnation in the Gomułka era could not be offset by foreign policy initiatives. The initiative launched by Foreign Minister A. Rapacki in autumn 1957 to establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in Central Europe (Rapacki Plan) did not meet with any response from NATO. Because of the open border question and the Hallstein doctrine, an agreement on the establishment of trade missions with the Federal Republic of Germany could not be reached until March 7, 1963.

Poland as a People's Democracy 1