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Limits and Problems of Decompression: The Case of Poland

M. K. Dziewanowski
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 317, The Satellites in Eastern Europe (May, 1958), pp. 88-96
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1031081
Page Count: 9
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Limits and Problems of Decompression: The Case of Poland
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Abstract

Revelation in 1953 of the corruption of members of the United Polish Workers party and of the sadism of the secret police caused a shake up in the party and the Ministry of Public Security. The resulting "thaw" was accompanied by many changes: "Socialist realism" was rejected; some Marxist tenets were questioned; economic policies were openly criticized. Events at Poznań and revolt of workers in June 1956 revealed dissatisfaction of the masses with party policies. Debates took place within the party-two factions emerged: "Liberal" and "Conservative." Gomulka was subsequently elected First Secretary. His speech at the Eighth Plenum was a return to a "specific Polish way to Socialism." The Plenum was followed by many revolutionary changes: in religion, leadership, economic policy, and elections. Gomulka then began to lean toward the Stalinists. His position was made difficult by the economics of the country and its need to remain within the Soviet orbit. A certain recompression of liberty has taken place since the summer of 1957, but not all the accomplishments of October 1956 have been destroyed. However the trend of events in Poland has worried the people.

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