République tchèque

Communist times in Poland


The setting up of the communist regime

The socialist economy settles in Poland in 1944 with the Decrees of nationalization of the industry and the large land properties, whose objective was to launch the "war against the private sector". Since 1946, a trade agreement is established with the Soviet Union and in 1947 Poland becomes a People's democracy following elections which bring officially the Communist Party to the power. It is then replaced by the POUP, created in December 1948. The integration continues in 1949 with the accession to the Warsaw Pact and in 1950 with the integration of Poland in the Comecon.

Imposition of a model which chokes the country's economy

The "war against the private sector" is prolonged until 1953, especially striking the craft industry and farms. The State, relayed on the ground by the administration and the communist party, becomes the only economic actor.

Narrowly dependant to Moscow, Poland implements the Stalinist model until 1956: heavy primacy of the industry, stakhanovism, negation of public freedoms, purgings, arbitrary imprisonments and generalized teaching of Russian at School.

After the death of Stalin, the Polish communism oscillates between liberalization and repression. Since 1956, Gomulka is rehabilitated and working riots burst in Poznan. In spite of some progress in terms of purchasing power, other social and political crises burst in 1970, 1976 and 1980.

The organization of the resistance

Lech Walesa makes his entry on the Polish political scene in December 1970 by facing the political power at the time of the strike of the Gdansk shipyards. In reaction to the violent repression lead in 1976 against the workmen of Radom who protested against price increases, the opposition meets in the KOR (Committee of Defense of the Workmen). And it is after a new strike of the Gdansk shipyards in August 1980 that was born the first free trade union in eastern Europe: Solidarnosc.

Owing to those social movements and in order to avoid any intervention of the Russians, General Jaruzelski place Poland at the end of 1981 under the state of emergency, dissolves Solidarnosc and imprisons his leaders. The state of siege is raised in 1983. In 1988, Solidarity managed to make accept the principle of national negotiations, which take the form of the Round Table in 1989, prelude to the organization of the first free elections for forty years.

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