Poland under Communism: A Cold War History

Poland under Communism: A Cold War History

A. Kemp-Welch

Language: English

Pages: 457

ISBN: B000SK3RZC

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This book was the first English-language history of Poland from the Second World War until the fall of Communism. Using a wide range of Polish archives and unpublished sources in Moscow and Washington, Tony Kemp-Welch integrates the Cold War history of diplomacy and inter-state relations with the study of domestic opposition and social movements. His key themes encompass political, social and economic history; the Communist movement and its relations with the Soviet Union; and the broader East-West context with particular attention to US policies. The book concludes with a first-hand account of how Solidarity formed the world's first post-Communist government in 1989 as the Polish people demonstrated what can be achieved by civic courage against apparently insuperable geo-strategic obstacles. This compelling new account will be essential reading for anyone interested in Polish history, the Communist movement and the course of the Cold War.

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had done in the ‘great turn’,60 a seemingly marginal point of Party history was taken as emblematic of a new campaign. Despite its apparently Aesopian language, the debate went to the heart of current politics. Though none of the participants would say so openly, the main point at issue was Warsaw’s relationship with Moscow. According to the resolution, Gomułka was mistaken in referring to the PPS programme as ‘realistic’. It was realistic only in the sense that it reflected a

military shape to NATO, under General Eisenhower. At the end of 1950, the President embarked on a massive security programme for the next eighteen months. During that time, the army was to increase to 1,353,000 troops (from 655,000), the navy to 397 major combat vessels (from 238) and the air force fleet to 95 (from 48). In his ‘Farewell Address’ (15 January 1953), he noted: ‘history will remember my term in office as the years when the ‘‘cold war’’ began to overshadow our lives’. History would

March. The sudden announcement was met with widespread disbelief. Reports from Stalinogrod (the once and future Katowice) asked why there had been no bulletins on Bierut’s illness, while there were regular communique´s about the illnesses of Eisenhower and Adenauer. Others were even more suspicious: ‘Who knows whether there aren’t still Beria supporters in the USSR who murder our leaders?’88 Reports from Ło´dz´ asked: ‘Why do activists always die in Moscow?’ They named Gottwald and Dimitrov.

Kerepesi Cemetery. The official intention was simply to right a Stalinist wrong, and also to send a conciliatory signal to Yugoslavia that ‘Titoism’ was a bogey of the past. ‘These men’, Tito had said of Ra´kosi and his clique, ‘have their hands soaked in blood, have staged trials, given false information, and sentenced innocent men to death. They have Yugoslavia mixed up in all these trials, as in the case of the Rajk trial, and they now find it difficult to admit before their own people their

righteousness by the police baton.’ Disinformation by the press with regard to students’ demands and intentions was well understood by the Episcopate ‘since they have themselves experienced the bitter fruits of an unscrupulous press’. The state should free all those arrested, make the real demands of students publicly known, and cease the ‘anachronistic repressive measures which awaken in our Nation disgraceful memories of the past’.56 Instead of heeding this calming missive, the Party

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