ers would agree not to introduce nuclear weapons beyond existing levels. This would have meant, of course, the exclusion of the territory of West Germany from stationing nuclear weapons. In the second stage, nuclear arms would be removed simultaneously together with some reductions in conventional arms.
In 1958, a few weeks after this proposal was made, Nikita Khrushchev torpedoed the Rapacki plan. He proposed the settling of problem between the two superpowers, if need be at the expense of their allies. This, of course, included Poland. Several times after the fiasco, the Polish government tried to resuscitate the Rapacki plan, but its time had passed. Another version of the plan was submitted to the eighteen members of the Disarmament Conference meeting in Geneva in February 1962. According to this version, the nuclear-free zone would include only states that wanted to be included. This was, however, no longer being seriously considered. It eventually disappeared quietly from the diplomatic scene.
Keesing Research Report, Germany and Eastern Europe Since 1945: From the Potsdam Agreement to Chancellor Brandt's Ostpolitik ( New York, 1973); Stehle Hans Jakob, The Independent Satellite: Society and Politics in Poland Since 1945 ( New York, 1965).
Religious Policies in Communist Poland. The communist leaders never really understood the relationship between Polish Catholicism and nationalism. They were dogmatic Marxist-Leninists who considered religion a tool of the ruling classes and a distinctly bourgeois ideology. When both the ruling classes and the bourgeoisie were eliminated, religion and nationalism would become irrelevant. They were unwilling to admit the historical fact that the Catholic church was instrumental in preserving Polish nationality and culture at the time when Poland was divided among three great empires, and at the time when Joseph Stalin made great efforts to turn Poles into Russians after World War II.
The church also took on the role of encouraging the integration of the western territories by Poland, lands that were acquired from Germany after the war. The Polish emigrants who were transferred from the east when they were expelled from eastern Poland by the Soviet authorities to the west, faced chaotic conditions. The Catholic church not only provided food for them, but also helped them in rebuilding an almost completely destroyed economy. It provided health services and started up new schools. The Catholic organization, Caritas, supervised by a committee of bishops, performed all these services (see Caritas in Communist Poland). Collections were taken up in every church in Poland to support the people in the western lands, and the Catholic church made great efforts to convince the United Nations' relief organization (UNRRA) to contribute its share to the solution of problems.
Polish society was undoubtedly shaped by Catholicism. The church was an especially important institution for the peasantry. During dismemberment, the church provided the links between Poles living under German, Habsburg, or Russian occupa