mask the basic illegitimacy of the regimes, especially toward left-leaning Western intellectuals.
In Poland, such mass-organizations included the League of Soldiers' Friends, the League of Democratic Women, the Polish-Soviet Friendship Society, the League of Communist Youth, the Patriot Priests, the Association of Children's Friends, the Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers, and the Union of Fighters for Freedom. Some political parties served the same purpose, such as the Democratic party and the Polish Peasant party, whose membership consisted of cryptocommunists and whose leaders were approved in advance of their appointment by the Politburo of the Polish United Workers party. Many of these organizations also served the domestic needs of the communist leadership and were used for the mobilization of certain segments of the population for specific tasks designated by the communists. This was especially the case with two Catholic laymen's organizations, Caritas (see Caritas in Communist Poland) and PAX. These two groups were used to weaken the hold of the episcopate on the believers. Most mass-organizations were supervised by the secret police. In many ways, the establishment of these organizations was the substitute of the communists for a nonexistent civil society.
Blit Lucjan, Gomulka's Poland ( New York, 1968); Polonsky Antony, and Druiker Boleslaw, The Beginnings of Communist Rule in Poland ( London, 1980); Staar Richard F., Poland, 1944-1962: The Sovietization of a Captive People ( New Orleans, LA, 1962).
Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM). Delegates from nine Communist parties attended a meeting held at Szklarska Poreba, in Poland, on September 22- 27, 1947, to establish this organization. A successor to the Third International ( COMINTERN), so brilliantly used for subversion in the interwar years by the Soviet Union, the new institution was expected to be a similar tool for the post-World War II Soviet leadership. The COMINFORM rejected the notion of separate, national ways to communism, deplored the failure of the Czechoslovak Communist party to conquer power, and scolded the French and Italian Communist parties for "permitting" their exclusion from their respective governments without resorting to civil war.
Following this meeting, the consolidation and/or the conquest of communist power in East European countries was speeded up. Czechoslovakia and Hungary were brought tightly into the fold of the developing, new Soviet colonial empire, and a series of strikes and labor unrest was initiated in Western European countries. The COMINFORM helped the Soviet leadership to enforce discipline in Eastern Europe, and linked closely the countries of the region to the Soviet Union through their economies, communist parties and secret police organizations.
At its June 28, 1948, meeting, from which the Yugoslav communist delegates were absent, the COMINFORM discussed the so-called Yugoslav deviation from Marxist-Leninist doctrines and condemned Josip Broz Tito for his allegedly nationalistic actions. On May 22, 1949, the COMINFORM condemned Tito and his support-