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 Using a wide range of Polish archives and unpublished sources in Moscow and Washington, Tony Kemp-Welch integrates the Cold War history of diplomacy and inter-state relations with the study of domestic opposition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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also record ‘that in those 8 years we have set the course that we can win it’.6 Six weeks later, the Soviet leader also left the stage. 3 4 5 6 S. Lucas, Freedom’s War. The US Crusade Against the Soviet Union, 1945–1956 (Manchester, 1999), p. 79. E. May (ed.), American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68 (Boston, 1993), p. 78. Ibid. pp. 78–81. Public Papers of the Presidents. Harry S. Truman 1952–1953 (Washington, 1963), p. 1199. Thaw 51 Death of a deity Stalin had suffered his first

likely that the chief of guards alerted the Kremlin to this fact and awaited their instructions. These were evidently to do nothing. No doctor was called until 7 a.m. on 2 March. There was thus a clear day in which Stalin’s closest allies – Beria, Bulganin, Malenkov and Khrushchev – could collude. They all feared the ‘spontaneous reaction that would both erupt in the country’s leadership and the public at large’ if news of Stalin’s death leaked out before they had arranged the succession amongst

stationed in the north and west of the country, began to advance towards Warsaw.16 They mostly used side-roads, avoiding major urban centres, notably Ło´dz´. Their tracked vehicles did great damage to roads and bridges: Moscow was later sent a vast bill for compensation. Soviet warships took up positions opposite the Polish fleet in the Bay of Gdan´sk and Soviet aircraft patrolled the coast from their Polish bases. Soviet forces in the DDR were put on readiness and similar steps were taken in the

But others, who joined the seventies opposition, had little left to lose. The mixed response to student protests may have other explanations. Students are an easy target in any country where higher education is open only to a tiny minority. In 1968, the percentage in Poland with higher education was less than 3 per cent of the total population. As we have seen, they were immediately presented as ungrateful beneficiaries of special privileges. One private farmer (from the Krako´w region) commented

western border of the Polish People’s Republic and the border between the Federal German Republic and the German Democratic Republic.’ Whilst critics of de´tente claimed that this was a ‘brilliant diplomatic success’ for the Soviet Union, gaining recognition for an East European regime based principally on brute force,22 there were wider implications for Europe. Poland in particular was the beneficiary. As a German author memorably noted: ‘A nation that has for two hundred years been partitioned,

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