Next came the turn of the Polish socialists. The party's membership temporarily increased to 800,000, because masses of former Peasant party supporters now saw the Socialists as the only choice after the failure of the Peasant party. Soon the communists prevailed over the leaders of the Socialist party to purge their membership of "rightist" elements, and about 150,000 people were expelled from the party. Over 200 members of the middle-level leadership of the Socialist party were arrested and falsely charged with collaboration with the anti-communist resistance. The socialists had to acquiesce in the rejection of the Marshall Plan by Poland and were forced to withdraw from the Socialist International in March 1948. Finally, in December 1948, the Socialist party was forced to merge with the Polish Workers party, and the new party assumed the name of the Polish United Workers party. Power was, therefore, securely in communist hands by the end of 1948.
Bain Leslie, The Reluctant Satellites ( New York, 1960); Bliss Lane A.., I Saw Poland Betrayed ( New York, 1948); Bregman Aleksander, ed. Faked Elections in Poland as Reported by foreign Observers ( London, 1947); Gross Jan T., "Poland: from Civil Society to Political Nation," in Ivo Banac, ed. Eastern Europe in Revolution ( Ithaca, NY, 1992), pp. 56-71; Lewis Flora, The Polish Volcano ( London, 1959); Mikolajczyk Stanislaw, The Rape of Poand: Patterns of Soviet Aggression ( New York, 1948); Rothschild Joseph, The Return to Diversity. A Political History of Eastern Europe ( Oxford, 1992); Staar Richard F., Poland 1944-1962: The Sovietization of a Captive People ( New Orleans, LA, 1962).
Cultural Policies in Communist Poland. When the communists came into power in Poland, they considered their tasks to be twofold. They had to destroy a class-society based on precommunist values, and they had to create the proper conditions to mold a new generation of "socialist men," whose sole aim in life would be the building of a Soviet-style socialist society. Throughout four and a half decades of communist rule, these basic goals never changed, although tactics were adjusted to the changing situations.
Cultural policies were subordinated to these fundamental goals. The old values dominant in Polish society were diametrically opposite to Marxist-Leninist values. First among the old values was Polish nationalism. This was rooted in the centuries of struggles for Polish independence against the two great empires on Poland's borders, Germany and tsarist Russia. Other values included a highly developed sense of individualism and close identification with the Roman Catholic religion. All these values were underscored by the Western orientation of the Polish people, which was anathema to communists in Warsaw and Moscow. The memories of World War II that began with the Hitler-Stalin pact at the expense of Poland, the occupation of the country by the two powers in 1939, the Katyn massacre (see Katyn Woods Massacre) of Polish officers by the Soviet KGB, and the negative role of the Soviet army in the destruction of Warsaw in 1944 made the Soviet orientation of the Polish United Workers party suspect in the eyes of most Polish people.
In order to combat and, if possible, destroy these values, the communists promoted