Poland under Communism: A Cold War History

Poland under Communism: A Cold War History

A. Kemp-Welch

Language: English

Pages: 457


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 Using a wide range of Polish archives and unpublished sources in Moscow and Washington, Tony Kemp-Welch integrates the Cold War history of diplomacy and inter-state relations with the study of domestic opposition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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by special shops ‘behind the yellow curtains’, and had weekly packages delivered to their private apartments. Another privilege was political inclusion. The excluded public could see it meant ‘negative selection’: promotion for political loyalty rather than qualifications or ability. 100 101 102 M. Hirszowicz, The Bureaucratic Leviathan: A Study in the Sociology of Communism (Oxford, 1980), p. 182. A. Paczkowski, ‘System nomenklatury’ in A. Paczkowski (ed.), Centrum władzy w Polsce, 1948–1970

negotiation to restore relations between the two countries. Such talks, which might include Beria travelling to Tito, were to remain a secret from Soviet colleagues.22 It was even rumoured later that Beria envisioned a more general retreat from empire, 19 20 21 22 V. Zubok, Soviet Intelligence and the Cold War: The ‘Small’ Committee of Information, 1952–53, CWIHP Working Paper no.4 (Washington, 1992), p. 9. Khrushchev Remembers, p. 297. Zubok, Soviet Intelligence, pp. 14–15. J. Richter,

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.

increase of wages for 3.4 million workers, costing the state budget an additional 5 billion złotys over 12 months (Trybuna Ludu, 7 April 1956). AAN 237/VII/3858, Meldunki z terenu, 29 March 1956 (22). A. Braun (editorial), Nowa Kultura, 1956, p. 17. 80 Poland under Communism Discontent soon spread to the countryside. All powiaty (districts) in the Ło´dz´ voivodship held discussions of the speech (8 April). The Kutno district quoted its local bishop, ‘who told us ages ago that Stalin is a

assistance. He mentioned that a Polish delegation, led by the economist Hilary Minc, had been in Prague to affirm the same need. Molotov replied by asking whether he wanted to take part in a meeting ‘against the Soviet Union’.40 Masaryk commented afterwards, ‘I went to Moscow as a Foreign Minister of an independent sovereign state; I came back as a lackey of the Soviet government.’41 The Polish government was also forced to withdraw. Early on 9 July, Polish leader Bierut had told the US

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