Poland, Bridge for the Abyss? An Interpretation of Developments in Post-War Poland

By Richard Hiscocks | Go to book overview

VI. THE FIRST GOMUŁKA PERIOD,
1945-8

GOMUŁKA was secretary-general of the Polish Workers' Party from November 1943 until the summer of 1948. During his first eighteen months in office the War was still going on: Poland, to begin with, was under German occupation and later it was a battlefield with two foreign armies in political control of the areas they occupied. It was thus not until the War ended and the provisional government was reconstructed and recognized by the Great Powers that the PPR's effective rule over the country really started. Mikołajczyk, it is true, continued to challenge Communist authority until the elections of January 1947, but the challenge was not formidable enough to prevent the work of government and reconstruction from being carried on. The first stage of Polish Communist government, therefore, and the first period of Gomułka's power may be considered to have started in the summer of 1945.

The extent to which the government of Poland reflected Gomułka's personal views during the period from 1945 to 1948 is doubtful. The sources of information on the subject are incomplete, and few of those that are available are objective.

Gomułka's record during the War, his moderation, his patriotism, and his understanding of the Polish people contributed greatly to the establishment of Communist authority and to the development of his own influence. His personal qualities gained him more respect amongst the Polish people than any other Communist has received.

Gomułka combines great courage and tenacity of purpose with sincerity and utter integrity. He is at once sensitive and temperamental, hard-working, and rigidly self-disciplined. Although he was ruthless in the struggle with Mikołajczyk and from time

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