Stalinism Revisited: The Establishment of Communist Regimes in East-Central Europe

By Vladimir Tismaneanu | Go to book overview

ANTONI Z. KAMINSKI AND
BARTŁOMIEJ KAMINSKI


Road to “People's Poland”:
Stalin's Conquest Revisited1

”Much to the dismay of both Churchill and Roosevelt, Stalin
was intent [already in December, 1941—AZK, BK] on defining
the new geopolitical contours of the Continent after Hitler's
eventual defeat. His armies had barely held their own on the
outskirts of Moscow, but their leader was already looking
ahead to a new European order that would satisfy his territorial
ambitions.” (Andrew Nagorski, The Greatest Battle, New York:
Simon and Schuster, 2007, p. 272)

”The presence of the Red Army on the Polish soil was as natural
a result of the course of war as was the presence of the American
and British army in France or Netherlands. If France and
Netherlands became free and independent countries whereas
Poland was enslaved, this did not result from the purely military
circumstances but from Soviet imperialist designs…” (Leszek
Kolakowski, “Yalta & the Fate of Poland: An Exchange,” The
New York Review of Books
, Vol. 33, No. 13, August 14, 1986)

”This war is not like wars in the past: whoever occupies a
territory can impose his [own] social system. Everyone imposes
his social system as far as he can go. It could not be any other
way.” (Stalin's remark to Tito quoted in André Fontaine, “Yalta,
from failure to myth,” Le Monde, February 5, 1985)

”What a magic ballot box!!! You vote Mikołajczyk and Gomulka
comes out!” (Popular quip on the first parliamentary elections
in People's Poland in 1947)

1 Paper presented at the conference “Stalinism Revisited: The Establishment of
Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe,” organized by the Cultural Institute
of Romania and Woodrow Wilson Center, held in Washington, D.C., No-
vember 29-30, 2007. The authors are grateful to Vladimir Tismaneanu, who
inspired this research project, and to other participants of the conference, who
provided useful comments.

-195-

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