HOME
        TheInfoList






The Polish Workers' Party (Polish: Polska Partia Robotnicza, PPR) was a communist party in Poland from 1942 to 1948. It was founded as a reconstitution of the Communist Party of Poland (KPP) and merged with the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) in 1948 to form the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).[1] From the end of World War II the PPR ruled Poland, with the Soviet Union exercising moderate influence. During the PPR years, the conspiratorial as well as legally permitted centers of opposition activity were largely eliminated, while a communist (also characterized as state socialist) system was gradually established in the country.

Arriving from the Soviet Union, a group of Polish communists was parachuted into occupied Poland in December 1941. With Joseph Stalin's permission, in January 1942 they established the Polish Workers' Party, a new communist party. The PPR established a partisan military organization Gwardia Ludowa, later renamed Armia Ludowa. In November 1943, Władysław Gomułka became secretary (chief executive) of the Central Committee of the PPR. On 1 January 1944 the party created the State National Council (KRN), proclaimed to be a wartime parliament of Poland; the body was chaired by Bolesław Bierut. In June 1944 the Union of Polish Patriots, a rival to the PPR Polish-communist organization operating in the Soviet Union, recognized the KRN as "the true representation of the Polish nation". The PPR was initially a small party with marginal support; it grew because of its alliance with the victorious Soviet Union.

In July 1944 the Polish communists, working in close cooperation with Stalin and other Soviet leaders, established and declared in liberated Lublin a provisional executive quasi-government of Poland, which they called the Polish Committee of National Liberation (PKWN). In the PKWN Manifesto issued at that time, the PKWN claimed its authority in Poland and promised post-war reconstruction as well as land reform. The KRN and the PKWN were established when the Polish government-in-exile in London was the internationally recognized government of Poland. By the end of 1944, the PKWN was replaced with the Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland, recognized by the Soviet Union, with which it signed in April 1945 a 20-year friendship, alliance and cooperation treaty. As a result of the Yalta Conference Allied determinations, the Provisional Government was converted to a formally coalition Provisional Government of National Unity (TRJN) in June 1945. The Polish government-in-exile was excluded from participation and the PPR ended up controlling the new government, which was soon recognized by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Establishment of a permanent government was conditioned on national elections being held, as mandated by the Allies. In the meantime the PPR engaged in a massive program of rebuilding the country and its industry, in combating and containing the various forms and manifestations of opposition to its rule, but also in manipulating the election preparation process to ensure the party's lasting domination.

The 1946 Polish people's referendum, followed by the 1947 Polish legislative election, were rigged and declared a decisive victory of the PPR's "Democratic Bloc". The only legal opposition, the Polish People's Party, was marginalized. Gomułka's victory, however, was short-lived. Pressured by the Cold War, Stalin had no more patience for the Polish leader's national brand of communism, and from August 1948 the PPR was led by Bierut. In December 1948, the PPR and the purged PPS were merged to form the PZPR. What was left of democratic and pluralistic practices and pretenses was abandoned and Poland entered its period of Stalinist rule.

Communist Party of Poland and its demise

The Communist Party of Poland (KPP, until 1925 the Communist Workers' Party of Poland) was a conspiratorial organization of the far-left. The views adhered to and promulgated by its leaders (Maria Koszutska, Adolf Warski, occupied Poland in December 1941. With Joseph Stalin's permission, in January 1942 they established the Polish Workers' Party, a new communist party. The PPR established a partisan military organization Gwardia Ludowa, later renamed Armia Ludowa. In November 1943, Władysław Gomułka became secretary (chief executive) of the Central Committee of the PPR. On 1 January 1944 the party created the State National Council (KRN), proclaimed to be a wartime parliament of Poland; the body was chaired by Bolesław Bierut. In June 1944 the Union of Polish Patriots, a rival to the PPR Polish-communist organization operating in the Soviet Union, recognized the KRN as "the true representation of the Polish nation". The PPR was initially a small party with marginal support; it grew because of its alliance with the victorious Soviet Union.

In July 1944 the Polish communists, working in close cooperation with Stalin and other Soviet leaders, established and declared in liberated Lublin a provisional executive quasi-government of Poland, which they called the Polish Committee of National Liberation (PKWN). In the PKWN Manifesto issued at that time, the PKWN claimed its authority in Poland and promised post-war reconstruction as well as land reform. The KRN and the PKWN were established when the Polish government-in-exile in London was the internationally recognized government of Poland. By the end of 1944, the PKWN was replaced with the Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland, recognized by the Soviet Union, with which it signed in April 1945 a 20-year friendship, alliance and cooperation treaty. As a result of the Yalta Conference Allied determinations, the Provisional Government was converted to a formally coalition Provisional Government of National Unity (TRJN) in June 1945. The Polish government-in-exile was excluded from participation and the PPR ended up controlling the new government, which was soon recognized by the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Establishment of a permanent government was conditioned on national elections being held, as mandated by the Allies. In the meantime the PPR engaged in a massive program of rebuilding the country and its industry, in combating and containing the various forms and manifestations of opposition to its rule, but also in manipulating the election preparation process to ensure the party's lasting domination.

The 1946 Polish people's referendum, followed by the 1947 Polish legislative election, were rigged and declared a decisive victory of the PPR's "Democratic Bloc". The only legal opposition, the Polish People's Party, was marginalized. Gomułka's victory, however, was short-lived. Pressured by the Cold War, Stalin had no more patience for the Polish leader's national brand of communism, and from August 1948 the PPR was led by Bierut. In December 1948, the PPR and the purged PPS were merged to form the PZPR. What was left of democratic and pluralistic practices and pretenses was abandoned and Poland entered its period of Stalinist rule.

The Communist Party of Poland (KPP, until 1925 the Communist Workers' Party of Poland) was a conspiratorial organization of the far-left. The views adhered to and promulgated by its leaders (Maria Koszutska, Adolf Warski, Maksymilian Horwitz, Edward Próchniak) led to the party's difficult relationship with Joseph Stalin already in 1923–24.[2] The Communist International (Comintern) condemned the KPP for its support of Józef Piłsudski's May Coup of 1926 (the party's "May error").[3] From 1933, the KPP was increasingly treated with suspicion by the Comintern. The party structures were seen as compromised due to infiltration by agents of the Polish military intelligence. Some of the party leaders, falsely accused of being such agents, were subsequently executed in the Soviet Union. In 1935 and 1936, the KPP undertook a formation of a unified worker and peasant front in Poland and was then subjected to further persecutions by the Comintern, which also arbitrarily accused the Polish communists of harboring Trotskyists elements in their ranks. The apogee of the Moscow-held prosecutions, aimed at eradicating the various "deviations" and ending usually in death sentences, took place in 1937–38, with the last executions carried out in 1940. The KPP members were persecuted and often imprisoned by the Polish Sanation regime, which turned out to likely save the lives of a number of future Polish communist leaders, including Bolesław Bierut, Władysław Gomułka, Edward Ochab, Stefan Jędrychowski and Aleksander Zawadzki. During the Great Purge, seventy members and candidate members of the party's Central Committee fled or were brought to the Soviet Union and were shot there, along with a large number of other activists (almost all prominent Polish communists were murdered or sent to labor camps). The Comintern, in reality directed by Stalin, had the party dissolved and liquidated in August 1938.[4][5][6]

The PPR's World War II foundations

On 28 June 1940, soon after the Katyn massacre, Stalin received Wanda Wasilewska, an unofficial leader of Polish communists, at the Moscow Kremlin. The event initiated a reorientation of Soviet policies in regard to Poles. As a result a wide range of official political, military, social, cultural, educational and other Soviet-Polish projects and activities commenced in 1940 and continued during the years that followed.[7]

The German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 changed the course of World War II and with it the nature of Polish-Soviet governmental relations. Pressured by the British government, the London-based Polish government-in-exile, led by Władysław Sikorski, signed an agreement with the Soviet Union, which included a Soviet recognition of the Polish government. A Polish army was formed in the Soviet Union, but was soon taken out of there and into the Middle East by Władysław Anders. The Katyn massacre perpetrated by the Soviets on Polish POWs was revealed and the Soviet Union "suspended" diplomatic relations with the Polish government. Prime Minister Sikorski was killed in an airplane crash in July 1943. These and other factors, including disagreements about future borders, caused the Polish-Soviet relations to deteriorate.[8]

Meanwhile Stalin, beginning in the summer of 1941, pursued other Polish options, utilizing Polish communists and other Poles willing to cooperate, many of whom were present at that time in the Soviet Union. Polish language radio broadcasts began in August 1941; they called upon the Poles in Poland to unconditionally engage in anti-German resistance. Some prewar Polish officers were transferred to occupied Poland to conduct pro-Soviet conspiratorial activities and the Polish communists worked in November on organizing the Poles in the Soviet Union.[8][9] Among the communist groups that became active in Poland after Operation Barbarossa was the Union for Liberating Struggle (Związek Walki Wyzwoleńczej), whose leaders included Marian Spychalski.[10]

A September 1941 attempt to transport activists from the Soviet Union to Poland was unsuccessful, but beginning in late Decem

On 28 June 1940, soon after the Katyn massacre, Stalin received Wanda Wasilewska, an unofficial leader of Polish communists, at the Moscow Kremlin. The event initiated a reorientation of Soviet policies in regard to Poles. As a result a wide range of official political, military, social, cultural, educational and other Soviet-Polish projects and activities commenced in 1940 and continued during the years that followed.[7]

The German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 changed the course of World War II and with it the nature of Polish-Soviet governmental relations. Pressured by the British government, the London-based Polish government-in-exile, led by The German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 changed the course of World War II and with it the nature of Polish-Soviet governmental relations. Pressured by the British government, the London-based Polish government-in-exile, led by Władysław Sikorski, signed an agreement with the Soviet Union, which included a Soviet recognition of the Polish government. A Polish army was formed in the Soviet Union, but was soon taken out of there and into the Middle East by Władysław Anders. The Katyn massacre perpetrated by the Soviets on Polish POWs was revealed and the Soviet Union "suspended" diplomatic relations with the Polish government. Prime Minister Sikorski was killed in an airplane crash in July 1943. These and other factors, including disagreements about future borders, caused the Polish-Soviet relations to deteriorate.[8]

Meanwhile Stalin, beginning in the summer of 1941, pursued other Polish options, utilizing Polish communists and other Poles willing to cooperate, many of whom were present at that time in the Soviet Union. Polish language radio broadcasts began in August 1941; they called upon the Poles in Poland to unconditionally engage in anti-German resistance. Some prewar Polish officers were transferred to occupied Poland to conduct pro-Soviet conspiratorial activities and the Polish communists worked in November on organizing the Poles in the Soviet Union.[8][9] Among the communist groups that became active in Poland after Operation Barbarossa was the Union for Liberating Struggle (Związek Walki Wyzwoleńczej), whose leaders included Marian Spychalski.[10]

A September 1941 attempt to transport activists from the Soviet Union to Poland was unsuccessful, but beginning in late December, a group of Polish communists which included Marceli Nowotko, Paweł Finder, Bolesław Mołojec and Małgorzata Fornalska, was parachuted into Poland. They had Stalin's permission to create a new Polish communist party.[10] In Polish society the communists could count on marginal support only, so to avoid negative connotations it was decided not to include the word "communist" in the party's title. The party took the name "Polish Workers' Party."[11] The PPR, intended in some sense as a continuation of the prewar KPP, was established in Warsaw on 5 January 1942, when some of the new arrivals met with local communist activists.[10]

The new party, which presented itself as an anti-Nazi Polish patriotic front, distributed a manifesto printed in Moscow entitled To workers, peasants and intelligentsia! To all Polish patriots!, in which it called for an uncompromising struggle against the German occupier. A leftist, formally democratic program was proposed and the party, whose operations concentrated mostly in the General Government, grew to about six thousand members by the summer of 1942. From 1943, an affiliated youth organization existed; it was called the Union for the Struggle of the Youth (Związek Walki Młodych).[10]

The PPR operated under the Central Committee led by Secretary Marceli Nowotko. Nowotko was killed on 28 November 1942. Mołojec took over as secretary (party chief), but he was suspected of arranging Nowotko's murder and subsequently condemned and executed by the ruling of the party court. In January 1943, Finder became secretary and the three-person Secretariat also included Władysław Gomułka and Franciszek Jóźwiak.[10]

Gwardia Ludowa (the People's Guard) military organization originated together with the party it served. It was led by Mołojec and then Jóźwiak. Gwardia Ludowa attacked Germans in Warsaw and organized partisan units in the countryside, primarily to destroy the German communication facilities.[10]

In February 1943 the PPR undertook talks with the Government Delegation for Poland, which represented in occupied Poland the Polish government-in-exile, and the central command of the underground Home Army, on possible cooperation. The negotiations made no progress because of the irreconcilable points of view of the two sides. After the Soviet Union broke diplomatic relations with the Polish government (25 April 1943), the contacts were terminated and the PPR's attitude toward the exile government-led Polish authority became hostile.[10]

The war progressively radicalized Polish society and the communists tried to take advantage of the situation by forming a coalition with other leftist and agrarian forces. However, a common "democratic front", meant as a platform for the future power struggle, failed to materialize because the rival parties were generally unwilling to cooperate with the PPR.[10]

Facilitated by Stalin, communist-controlled Polish civilian and military institutions were also formed in the Soviet Union. The leading roles in them were initially assumed by Wanda Wasilewska, a daughter of former Polish minister and Piłsudski's associate, herself a friend of Stalin, and the Polish officer Zygmunt Berling. From October 1940, Berling led a group of Polish officers working to establish a Polish division within the Soviet Red Army.[12] The Union of Polish Patriots, proposed and organized from January 1943, had its founding congress in June 1943 and was led by Wasilewska. Berling, Alfred Lampe, Stefan Jędrychowski, Andrzej Witos and Bolesław Drobner were among the communists and individuals of other political orientations active in the organization, people willing to participate in a communist-dominated undertaking. After the Soviet authorities closed the branches of the Polish government's delegation in Soviet controlled territories, the union, assisted by a Soviet agency, established a social welfare department to look after the Poles scattered throughout its range of operations.[13][14] The Polish 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division, commanded by Berling, was formed beginning in May 1943. The division fought at the Battle of Lenino in October 1943. The Polish National Committee, intended to develop into a communist government, was organized under Wasilewska from December 1943, but its formation was abandoned when Moscow found out about the existence of the State National Council in Warsaw. The Polish civilian and military activities in the Soviet Union were managed from January 1944 by the Central Bureau Communists of Poland. Its important members were Chairman Aleksander Zawadzki, Wasilewska, Karol Świerczewski, Jakub Berman, Stanisław Radkiewicz, Roman Zambrowski, Hilary Minc and Marian Spychalski. Some of them would later form the core of the Stalinist and strictly pro-Soviet (internationalist in outlook) faction of Poland's ruling communists, who worked closely with Bolesław Bierut and were opposed to the national PPR current led by Gomułka. On the military side, the First Polish Corps was formed from the Kościuszko Division and expanded into the First Polish Army in March 1944, still under command of General Berling. The army was incorporated into the 1st Belorussian Front.[15][16][17]

Gomułka's leadership, State National Council, Polish Committee of National Liberation


mysqli_error: