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CIA: In Poland, the Communist-led Party was popular, Anglo-American imperialists were unpopular.

The History of the USSR & the Peoples’ Democracies

Chapter 13, Section 5, Subsection 1 (C13S5.1) 

 

Saed Teymuri

 

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The 1947 elections in Poland involved the victory of the communist-led PPR popular front. Progressive politics had a strong social base in Poland. It must be remembered that as confirmed by Timothy Snyder of the CIA’s Council on Foreign Relations,:

Polish politics had shifted to the left during the war, as was the case throughout occupied Europe. (Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, Timothy Snyder, p. 310) (IMG)

As such, in 1946, the majority of the Polish voters voted ‘yes’ to all the three questions in the 1946 referendum and voted for the PPR in the 1947 elections. The PPR, not a communist organization but a communist-led progressive anti-fascist organization, had demonstrated great initiative in the war against the fascist occupation. This had a great propaganda advantage for the communist-led progressive Party, winning many Polish voters to its side. Moreover, referring to the PPR, the CIA had reported:

Amnesty and internal stability were the pre-election slogans which secured a victory for the [communist-led] bloc. (Public Reaction to Political Events, CIA, September 22, 1947, p. 1) (IMG)

On the other hand, the Anglo-Americans and their PSL stooges wanted German settlers to continue to occupy Polish territories:

Wide public interest in the Moscow Conference was stimulated by two questions in the Polish mind: would the western frontiers be confirmed? Would there be peace or war? Secretary Marshall’s demand for revision of the western frontier in favor of Germany spread fear among the transferred people. (Public Reaction to Political Events, CIA, September 22, 1947, p. 1) (IMG)

The Anglo-Americans acted against the Polish people, who in turn naturally grew hostile to the Anglo-Americans. By contrast, the Soviets and the PPR were the champions of Polish socialist patriotism, and advocated the expansion of Poland’s boundaries westwards.

As these repatriates, brought from the East, find themselves about to be ousted from the West, suspicion and even hatred is replacing their friendliness and goodwill toward Anglo-Saxons. This growing hatred is nurtured by Soviet propaganda which blames the Anglo-Saxons for Poland’s plight. (Public Reaction to Political Events, CIA, September 22, 1947, p. 1) (IMG)

All of these factors led the PPR to win the trust of the Polish masses.

Contrast the PPR with the Mikolajczyk and his ‘Polish People’s Party’ (PSL). After the War, the Nazi-collaborationist AK militants either joined the guerrilla groups, the infiltrators, or the legal opposition led by the PSL. The CIA reported:

The AK … no longer exists as an organization. Its members have joined other Partisan or Underground groups, associated themselves with the legal opposition parties, or gone over the Government. (Survey of the Illegal Opposition in Poland, CIA, July 1, 1947, p. 4) (IMG)

Indeed, a disproportionate number of the PSL supporters, the CIA confirmed, were made up of the veterans of the Nazi-collaborationist AK terror organization:

The Underground includes all elements, but its chief support is among the moderate, middle-of-the-road groups akin to the PSL. A great many members of these are former AK men. (Survey of the Illegal Opposition in Poland, CIA, July 1, 1947, p. 7) (IMG)

The program of these AK veterans was very close to the PSL led by Mikolajozyk:

the Underground … is closer politically to the moderate socialist and land reform program of Mikolajozyk and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). There are innumerable exceptions to and variants from this general pattern….  (Survey of the Illegal Opposition in Poland, CIA, July 1, 1947, p. 1) (IMG)

Unfortunately, in the 1947 election, Mikolajczyk and his ‘Polish People’s Party’ (PSL) were able to participate. It is well known that Mikolajczyk and his ‘Polish People’s Party’ (PSL) were the representatives of the Polish government-in-exile and the Anders Army. Note that as previously documented, the Anders group was a terrorist organization heading the military branch of the Polish government-in-exile and collaborating with the Ukrainian anti-Polish terrorist OUN as early as 1946. Mikolajczyk and his PSL were the electoral wing of the Polish government-in-exile and Anders group. There was absolutely no right whatsoever for the Mikolajczyk group, the agents of the sworn enemies of the Polish nation, to participate in the elections. The mere fact of their right to participate was a violation of not just democracy but also sanity. Nonetheless, at the time, the Soviets and the Anglo-Americans were still ostensibly ‘allied’ to one another. To maintain the façade of such an ‘alliance’, and in the face of Anglo-American lobbying pressures, the Soviets were compelled to accept the participation and candidacy of the Mikolajczyk group in the 1947 elections. Hence, that the Soviets and communist Poles allowed these renegades to participate in the elections was not really owing to communists’ ‘generosity’ – the Soviets and Polish comrades were not generous towards criminals. Nonetheless, the Soviets and Polish comrades were involved in arresting many of the politicians in the Mikolajczyk camp, something that was ferociously condemned by the Anglo-American media as ‘evidence’ of the ‘unfair’, ‘unfree’, and ‘farcical’ character of the 1947 elections.

Anyways, the PPR won the election in 1947. In terms of political development in Poland, it must be noted that the communist-led anti-fascist resistance movement in Poland had 400,000 members during the Great Patriotic War. The numbers only increased after the War. A 1947 CIA document presented a translation of a report by Gomulka, the First Secretary of the Executive Committee Polish Communist Party (PPR). The CIA agent, who sent the copy of Gomulka’s report, stated that Gomulka’s report was absolutely truthful and reliable:

This is an evaluation of the internal situation in March 1947 and directives for action in various sectors. The truthfulness and reliability of this report is absolute. Changes have only been made in the form of presentation if you compare this with instructions by Central Committee PPR and is especially reported for the lower ranks of PPR and adapted to the territory where they are binding. (Political Report made by First Secretary Executive Committee Polish Communist Party (PPR), CIA, August 7, 1947, p. 1) (IMG)

The Party’s popularity, Gomulka said with ‘absolute’ ‘truthfulness’ in that report, kept growing. The PPR:

now have 500,000 members and by the end of [19]47 … will have 1 million. On the 1st of January 1947 there were 120,000 [PPR] members in Silesia alone. (Political Report made by First Secretary Executive Committee Polish Communist Party (PPR), CIA, August 7, 1947, p. 3) (IMG)

Note that the Party leadership denounced and discouraged any attempt to coerce the masses into joining the Party. Regarding PPR recruitment, Gomulka’s report stated with ‘absolute’ ‘reliability’ that Party leaders:

don’t want coercion…. (Political Report made by First Secretary Executive Committee Polish Communist Party (PPR), CIA, August 7, 1947, p. 3) (IMG)

Thus:

the PPR increased its membership … to 800,000 in the spring of 1947. (SOVIET STAFF STUDY: Gomulka and Polish Communism, CIA, Office of Current Intelligence (OCI),, February 28, 1958, p. 21) (IMG)

The new constitution of Poland, also known as the ‘Little Constitution’ or the ‘Small Constitution’ ushered in a new era of rule by ‘democratic spirit’. Gomulka reported with – in CIA’s words – ‘absolute’ ‘truthfulness’ when he said:

The March constitution was one which gave the basis for a Fascist and big landowner expansion. The small constitution will us to rule in a democratic spirit. (Political Report made by First Secretary Executive Committee Polish Communist Party (PPR), CIA, August 7, 1947, p. 1) (IMG)

By 1949, Poland too began the process of establishing heavy industry and centralizing the economy. According to a paper by the Federal Research Division of the US Library of Congress and sponsored by US Department of the Army,:

In 1945 the Polish economy was completely disorganized and urgently needed reestablishment of its prewar industrial base. The initial central planning organization that began work in Poland in late 1945 stressed [libertarian] socialist rather than communist economic goals: relative decentralization, increased consumer goods production to raise the standard of living, and moderate investment in production facilities. In 1949, however, that approach was scrapped in favor of the completely centralized Soviet planning model. During the 1950s, planners followed Stalin's requirements for a higher growth rate in heavy industry than the overall industrial rate and a higher growth rate in the steel industry than that of heavy industry as a whole. This approach neglected the other economic sectors: agriculture, infrastructure, housing, services, and consumer goods. The sectors that were emphasized were all capital-, fuel-, and material-intensive. (Country Studies: Poland, Federal Research Division of the US Library of  Congress, Sponsored by US Department of the Army, Glenn E. Curtis, October 1992) (IMG)

Anti-communist sources propagate that the Polish electorate ‘continued’ to be vehemently anti-communist, were ‘supportive’ of Anglo-American imperialist efforts, and ‘regarded’ themselves as ‘captives’ of the USSR. A CIA document that parroted such propaganda nonetheless admitted:

Soviet propaganda has quite cleverly exploited some popular sentiment in favor of a variety of social reforms which are loosely described as socialism. Whereas the Soviets have had a hard time finding acceptance of collectivization among all but the most rabid Polish Communists, the widespread program to establish health resorts for workers and peasants, state care for children, establishment of village libraries and other steps designed to eliminate illiteracy, and similar measures have been rather popular. Soviet propaganda insists that the US would eradicate every trace of this program if it gained any influence in Polish affairs, and would establish the influence of foreign [finance] capital as a means of exploiting Poland. The … attitude of the average Pole is no complete protection against such propaganda claims…. (COMMENTS ON POLITICAL SITUATION, CIA, October 18, 1950, p. 2) (IMG)

Hence, the Poles were indeed influenced by the pro-Soviet line, thanks to the popular measures enacted there. 

Furthermore, the people of Poland regarded the VOA unfavorably:

It has been implicit from some of the foregoing [remarks in this intelligence report] that the Voice of America is not very favorably received in Poland. (COMMENTS ON POLITICAL SITUATION, CIA, October 18, 1950, p. 3) (IMG)

 

 

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