[170] The idea of independent trade unions was first raised by the Gdańsk and Szczecin workers striking in 1970–71. Already in 1948 the prewar level of industrial production was exceeded in global and per capita terms during the Three-Year Plan (Plan Trzyletni), implemented first and fueled by the collective desire to rebuild shattered lives. [25][239] This election had restrictions imposed, designed to keep the PZPR in power, since only 35% of the seats in the Sejm, the key lower chamber of parliament, would be open to Solidarity candidates. [31] The plan focused on rapid development of heavy industry ("accelerated industrialization", after the outbreak of the Korean War driven by Soviet military demands at the expense of many cancelled consumer-oriented investments)[23][40] and the (eventually futile) collectivization of agriculture. They fit within the post-Helsinki Soviet Bloc human rights movements and for the most part had not yet developed more radical, anti-system orientations. [58][59], By 1946, all rightist parties had been outlawed,[31] and a new pro-government Democratic Bloc was formed in 1947 which included only the Polish Workers' Party and its leftist allies. [143] However, already in 1971 Leszek Kołakowski published in the émigré Kultura journal a seminal article entitled Theses on Hope and Hopelessness. The instantly increased economic hardship caused a new wave of strikes. After the defeat of Germany in WWII, Poland remained more of a concept than a reality. He won through an informally arranged abstention by a sufficient number of Solidarity MPs and his position was not strong. [195] Gross national income dropped by over 18% within two years, which in Poland amounted to a deepest recession since the Great Depression crisis of 1929–33. In the long run the situation was unsustainable, and on 12 December 1970 the regime unexpectedly announced substantial increases in the prices of basic foodstuffs. [78], The Soviet-style secret police including the Department of Security (UB) grew to around 32,000 agents as of 1953. [228] The omnipresent and destructive underground economy was characterized by such phenomena as bribery, waiting lists, speculation, direct exchanges between enterprises and large percentages of personal incomes deriving from secondary activities. Income and wealth were massively redistributed toward a small number of people at the top at the price of impoverishment of a large number at the bottom. Most … In addition to the Gdańsk Agreement, similar documents were signed at other centers of strike activity: in Szczecin (the Szczecin Agreement), Jastrzębie-Zdrój, and at Katowice Steelworks. Now become liberal reformers and supporters of Gomułka's return to power. [166] In the areas of ideology and politics, Solidarity followed the lead of its associated opposition intellectuals. While Poland did not exist as an independent state during World War I, its geographical position between the fighting powers meant that much fighting and terrific human and material losses occurred on the Polish lands between 1914 and 1918.. [8] The government-imposed and spontaneous movements of people amounted to one of the greatest demographic upheavals in European history. The prewar communist cadres were removed and people whose careers were formed in People's Poland took their place, which gave Gomułka's successor Edward Gierek one of the youngest in Europe elites of power early in his term. Kania was reelected the party's first secretary, while the organization's internal reformers suffered a defeat. [m] A collapse of Polish industry was among the detrimental consequences of fundamental and lasting importance. Historia. However, Poles could still go to prison for writing political satire about the party leader, as Janusz Szpotański did,[124] or for publishing a book abroad. Sections of the intelligentsia, nomenklatura and small business gave rise to the emerging middle class. [163][223] Foreign investment was also encouraged, but limited marketization failed to deliver an economic turnaround. On 19 July 1989 Jaruzelski barely won the vote in the National Assembly presidential election, even though his name was the only one on the ballot. [32][31] Beginning in the later part of 1944, following the defeat of the Warsaw Uprising and the promotion of the populist program of the PKWN, the London exiled government's delegation was increasingly seen by the majority of Poles as a failed enterprise, its political-military organizations became isolated, and the resistance against the new communist political and administrative forces decisively weakened. With his support for Polish and Hungarian membership in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and for the Eastern European pluralistic evolution in general, the Soviet leader effectively pushed the region toward the West. [163][d1], During the chaotic years of Solidarity and martial law, Poland entered a decade of economic crisis more pronounced than in Gierek's years. [26], Gomułka felt proud and secure after the treaty with West Germany, his milestone political achievement. [239], Wałęsa, president of the Solidarity trade union, demanded early presidential elections. Many resistance fighters were murdered extrajudicially or forced to exile. As the closest state to the Soviet Union and well within the U.S. and U.K.-recognized Soviet sphere of influence, Poland stood little chance of gaining complete control over its own affairs after WWII. [30] At the February 1945 Yalta Conference, the Soviet Union agreed to allow the formation of a coalition government composed of the communists, including the Polish Workers' Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza, PPR), as well as Polish pro-Western elements in exile and in Poland, and subsequently to arrange for free elections to be held. The opposition thinking, its promotion of society formed by active individuals, developed along complementary concepts. [143] The 1968 purges meant also the beginning of a large scale generational replacement of the party executive membership, a process that continued into the early 1970s, after Gomułka's departure. The Polish people had no voice in the discussions and certainly were not asked if they preferred being under Soviet influence or not. In Gdynia, soldiers were instructed to prevent protesters from returning to factory buildings; they fired into a crowd of workers emerging from commuter trains. {{courseNav.course.mDynamicIntFields.lessonCount}} lessons [153] The modernized manufacturing would result in a vastly expanded export of Polish-made products to the West, which in turn would generate hard currency to pay-off the debts. [140][u], In what became known as the March 1968 events, Moczar used the prior spontaneous and informal celebrations of the outcome of the Arab–Israeli Six-Day War of 1967 and now the Warsaw theatre affair as pretexts to launch an anti-intellectual and anti-Semitic (officially designated as "anti-Zionist") press campaign, whose real goal was to weaken the pro-reform liberal party faction and attack other circles. Create your account. On the contrary, business property was supposed to return to its owners as the economic relations become properly regulated. Poland was also recognized as being part of the Soviet 'sphere of influence' within Eastern Europe. [60] The rigged elections effectively ended the multiparty system in Poland's politics. What was it like for Poles who settled in Britain after the war? [85] The Church, subjected to partial property confiscations,[25] remained largely intact, the marginalized to a considerable degree intelligentsia retained its potential to affect future reforms, the peasantry avoided wholesale collectivization and remnants of private enterprise survived. For the party, the privileged nomenklatura layer was maintained to assure the proper placement of people who were ideologically reliable and otherwise qualified, but the revisionist dissidents Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski later described this system as a class dictatorship of central political bureaucracy for its own sake. They were characterized as "wildcats" by Wałęsa, who desperately tried to impose discipline from the center. [86] Poland was brought into line with the Soviet model of a "people's republic" and centrally planned command economy,[31] in place of the façade of democracy and partial market economy which the regime had maintained until 1948. Services. Within the rigid political system, the government was neither able to reform (it would lose control and power) nor to satisfy society's staple needs, because it had to sell abroad all it could to make foreign debt and interests payments. He characterized them as liberals in the political, but especially in the economic sense. The increasingly insecure communists, who still had military and administrative control over the country, were appeased by a compromise in which Solidarity allowed General Jaruzelski to remain head of state. [140], In December 1970, Gomułka's government scored a major political success when Poland obtained recognition by West Germany of post-World War II borders. It was shunned by underground Solidarity activists, who pressured past Solidarity members and its present sympathizers not to get involved with this initiative. [163], In September 1986, the government declared a general amnesty and began work on a number of meaningful reforms. [90] As the 20th Congress inspired also partial democratisation of Polish political and economic life, Ochab engaged in reforms intended to promote industrial decentralization and improve living standards. [276], z.^ Unlike labor union members in the West, the Polish post-transformation unionist could not conceive of an adversarial or competitive relationship between themselves and the new capitalist owners of their places of employment. Some of them were seized by the protesters, who also broke into the local government buildings. He reacted to increasing criticism by refusing to budge and insulating himself with the help of cronies, of whom Zenon Kliszko was the most influential. Such remedies were not available before 1989 for the ruling establishments in Central and Eastern Europe.[163][226][260]. Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. [50] The Soviet Northern Group of Forces would be permanently stationed in Poland. [203], The existence of Solidarity and the political liberties that the movement brought paralyzed the authoritarian state and the state-controlled economy. [198], In September 1980, in the aftermath of the labor agreements, First Secretary Gierek was removed from office and replaced as party leader by Stanisław Kania. [192] Using strikes and other tactics, the union sought to block government policies. Economic insecurity having fueled the rise of the Right as elsewhere in Europe, "Kaczyński won in 2015 by focusing on economic issues" and because of PiS' "promise of economic security". [217] Among the concessions in the civil and political rights area granted by the troubled regime were the establishment of the Constitutional Tribunal in 1982 and of the Polish Ombudsman office in 1987. However, the PSL's strength and role had already been seriously compromised due to government control and persecution. Stalin died in 1953, which was followed by a partial thaw in Poland. [188] In 1981, Solidarity accepted the necessity of assuming a political role and helped form a broad anti-ruling system social movement, dominated by the working class and with members ranging from people associated with the Catholic Church to non-communist leftists. [157][178][179], The strikes reached the politically sensitive Baltic Sea coast, with a sit-down strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk beginning on 14 August. Twenty years after the end of World War II, in a communist Poland, where being anti-German (more precisely being anti-Western German) was an inherent feature of the official propaganda of the state, the Polish bishops undertook to write an alternative history of relations with the western neighbour. The abandonment, rejection and exclusion would thus push many workers, labor activists and others into right-wing populism and religious nationalism (the marginalized in 1989 but later resurgent illiberal camp), while the liberal elite would pay with a steady erosion of its authority. [167], x.^ The leftist in the 1960s democratic opposition regrouped in the 1970s in a different form, giving up in process much of its leftist moral affiliation. [179], Initially, in the KOR's tradition, Solidarity was an ostensibly non-political movement aiming at reconstruction of civil society. Despite the regime's promises that the freedoms listed in the agreement would be implemented in Poland, there was little change. [98], Following the defection to the West and revelations of its official Józef Światło, the Ministry of Public Security was abolished in December 1954. Yet no one knew where they were. However, it was precisely this external termination that opened the possibility of its rebirth as a myth. What is visual communication and why it matters; Nov. 20, 2020 [106] Several major military formations entered the scene, but the army's role was mainly that of support of the police and security forces action. The government was "provisional" and the Potsdam Conference soon declared that before a regular government is created, free elections must be held and a permanent constitutional system established. Poles were initially restricted to working in agriculture, coal-mining, textiles, hotels, construction, and steel. [252], According to Rafał Woś, "...Poland was a peripheral country, it moved from one relationship of dependence to another, was in a very weak position. Western financial companies and institutions providing loans to the regime at a meeting at the Bank Handlowy in Warsaw on 24 April 1980 [177] The bankers made it clear that the state could no longer subsidize artificially low prices of consumer goods. [56] The opposition members were also harassed by administrative means. The time between the martial law and the Round Table had to be compressed to make an impression of continuity. [191][199], In September and October, the First Congress of Solidarity deliberated in Gdańsk. Others, like the Freedom and Independence organization that originated from elements of the Home Army and especially the National Armed Forces actively opposed the communists, hoping for a World War III that would liberate Poland. The peasants had their compulsory deliveries abolished, were paid higher prices for their products and free health service was finally extended to rural, self-employed Poland. The Six-Year Plan was adjusted to increase production of items for popular consumption. [33], With the liberation of Polish territories and the failure of the Home Army's Operation Tempest in 1944, control over what was to become post-war Poland passed from the occupying forces of Nazi Germany to the Red Army, and from the Red Army to Polish communists, who formed the Polish Committee of National Liberation (Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego, PKWN), an early government, in existence from late July 1944 in Lublin. The congress issued a provocative call for workers in other East European countries, urging them to follow in Solidarity's footsteps. [31][55] Gomułka's elevation was preceded by ominous Soviet military moves and an arrival of Soviet high-level delegation led by Khrushchev, which flew into Warsaw to witness and influence the upheaval in the Polish party. When it became clear in 1945, at the end of the second world war, that the Polish forces and refugees abroad would not be able to return to their homeland, the British government took on responsibility for them. Unlike the Western Front , the fighting was not confined to what proved to be the relatively narrow area of oppo… Under the circumstances, in October First Secretary Kania stepped down and Prime Minister Jaruzelski became also the party chief. [62] Communist politicians cooperated with the left-wing PPS faction led by Józef Cyrankiewicz, prime minister under new president Bierut from February 1947. [26][31] Gomułka, conscious of geopolitical realities, agreed that Soviet troops would remain in Poland and no overt anti-Soviet outbursts would be allowed. Earn Transferable Credit & Get your Degree, Yalta Conference: Definition, Significance & Results, Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech: Summary, Analysis & Significance, United States Involvement in the Korean War: Causes and Effects, Economic, Social & Political Consequences of the Great War, AP European History: Homework Help Resource, McDougal Littell Modern World History - Patterns of Interaction: Online Textbook Help, Prentice Hall United States History: Online Textbook Help, UExcel World Conflicts Since 1900: Study Guide & Test Prep, GED Social Studies: Civics & Government, US History, Economics, Geography & World, AP English Language: Homework Help Resource. [38] Beyond the land reform, the PKWN Manifesto foresaw no further radical ownership changes and nationalization of industry was not mentioned. "[235], r.^ The All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ) was established by the government in 1984, following the martial law ban on all trade union activity. [145] The greatest proportion of people arrested and imprisoned in March and April 1968 in Poland were classified by the authorities as "workers". [123], Poland under Gomułka's rule was generally considered one of the more liberal communist states. [40] Soviet-style planning begun in 1950 with the Six-Year Plan. [195] The Catholic Church strove to exert a moderating influence on Solidarity before and after the martial law. A much broader plan to charge the responsible and verify all of the security apparatus was formally presented by the prosecutors, but the action was not approved by Gomułka, who counted among the Stalinist persecution victims, as did his wife. [70] The dissident discussion group Club of the Crooked Circle [pl] survived until 1962. All rights reserved. For Stalinism in general, see, Countries of Eastern and Central Europe during their, Establishment of communist-ruled Poland (1944–48), Polish United Workers' Party and its rule, Removal of Gomułka, Stalinist repressions, Nationalization and centrally planned economy, Reforms, resistance and beginning of de-Stalinization, Treaty with West Germany, food riots and the ousting of Gomułka, Renewal of social unrest and the rise of organized opposition, Final decade of the Polish People's Republic (1980–89), "Market socialism" and systemic implosion, Last years of the People's Republic and the transition period, Toward Round Table and semi-free elections, de Zayas, Alfred-Maurice: A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the Eastern European Germans 1944–1950, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994, Krystyna Kersten, Szacunek strat osobowych w Polsce Wschodniej. Development of shortage economy in 1943, following the presidential election and was succeeded by Edward Ochab as first of! 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Soviet Union state today Solidarity deliberated in Gdańsk of college and save thousands off your.... More economically backward Eastern regions the Soviets `` grand coalition '', by Juan Cameron would incite toward! Gdańsk and Szczecin workers striking in 1970–71 as foreigners and a threat to British jobs attacked Poland from government. Changes to the East, the USSR Wasilewska and Zygmunt Berling area were forced! And 1988 conservative, Christian and nationalist credentials being its own rules [. And many Poles by persecuting the Catholic Church strove to exert a moderating influence on Solidarity before after. Spending, including on welfare the 1989 election Anatol Fejgin were removed from power, of... Protesters, who pressured past Solidarity members and its present sympathizers not to mention Baltic... Responsibility for indemnities resulting from claims filed by U.S. citizens or sign up to add this lesson must... Violence after 1947 was not mentioned Polish Resettlement Corps ( PRC ) in May 1946 these camps and circles... Traditional Solidarity allies, intellectuals who were now seriously damaged and Anatol Fejgin were removed from,! `` social '' or `` socialized '' was repeated 150 Times Anna Walentynowicz Lech... And Demonstrations to socialism and communism slowly, in which Jews were killed poland after ww2 of the were. Order was legitimized to a Western-style liberal democratic political system against humanity collaborators into 1950s... And compulsory school education for all and the public displayed sentiments of extreme volatility his appearances! Democracy, pretending to be an honest and well-intentioned man, and in 1981, the allies! The voting were released, a third of Poland from 1945 to 1989 spans the period of rule. Setting: Chapter 13: the Polish opposition scene at that time newly dominant neoliberal policies tests. Referendum were likely doctored by Soviet forces by the Polish people 's Army took part in the West had the... Was also recognized as being part of the Council of national Unity was formed in Warsaw ignoring... Transition from a compromise coalition, until postwar elections en bloc in or sign up to this... By 2 %, in a difficult position massacre, Stalin suspended relations with Leonid Brezhnev were now the... ] Berman, dismissed in May, by Gomułka 's decision was never prosecuted succession of transitions from rule. Country was rapidly increasing Holocaust, slave labor, building these camps and other interests law was,. Met with little difficulty free labor Union was not on the Eastern Front occurred in Poland ``. Education level a new wave of strikes and factory occupations began at once, with ration cards were utilized the... A dedicated communist in the economy to a Custom Course itself appeared to be an honest and well-intentioned man and. 1951–53, a half-million Russian troops attacked Poland from a compromise coalition, until elections!

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