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

By Richard Hiscocks | Go to book overview

V. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF
COMMUNIST POWER IN POLAND,
1944-7

THE three years that followed the setting up of the Lublin Committee settled the political fate of Poland. The improvised government of 1944, which was recognized only by its Soviet sponsors, had by 1947 been replaced by a Communist government recognized by the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States. The decisive influence in this development was Soviet power. On the main issue between Western democracy and Communism, Roosevelt and Churchill could not stand up successfully against Stalin. So there was no chance of the Polish people doing so. The period was marked in Poland by violence and civil conflict, with almost unlimited strength in reserve on the Communist side. But force was not the sole determining factor. Gomułka himself preferred to avoid violence, while both Polish Communists and their Soviet advisers realized the need to gain the goodwill of the Polish nation. They therefore modified their objectives, courted other left-wing parties, and made appeals to national and even clericalist sentiment. It is these more subtle methods of persuasion and the attitudes they reveal, rather than the one-sided power conflict, which constitute the significance of this transition period for an understanding of later political developments in Poland.

Poland's Western allies shared the misgivings of the Polish government in London about the Soviet recognition of the Lublin Committee. But they hoped that a compromise on democratic lines could be reached on the subject of Poland's future government. The Soviet Union was still their indispensable ally in the struggle against Germany and Japan, and the disillusionment with Stalin which developed later was largely a thing of the future.

The London government refused to recognize both the

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