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Poland: Communist Era


1870-1918: The beginning of communist movement

There were stirrings of socialism in Poland in the 1870s although it was not until 1892 that the Polish Socialist Party was founded in Paris. In Poland, one of its founders was Jozef Pilsudski, whose main concern was to restore Polish independence from Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Soviet Russia. Pilsudski's nationalism was criticised by other social-democrats in Poland, for example the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania Party, which cooperated closely with Bolsheviks. They saw national independence as a risky step. The party played an important role in the October Revolution in 1917 and in 1918 the Polish Communist Party was formed, which opposed Pilsudski's party.[1]

1914-1938: Poland in World War I: restoration of independence, dissolving of the Communist Party

During the First World War, Poland struggled against Soviet Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, managing to gain independence. It reaffirmed its independence after a series of military conflicts with Soviet Russia. The Polish communists rejected the idea of Poland’s independence, and thus worked against their own state. The state out-lawed the communist party[2], which lost most of the membership and had to start working underground. Polish communists tried to keep their autonomy from Comintern and earned Stalin’s condemnation by having supported Stalin’s opponent in the Communist Party (Trotsky) in 1923. In 1925, Comintern dissolved the Polish Communist party's leadership and took over the party's management. In 1938, as a result of massive purges, most Polish communists in Russia were eliminated and party itself was dissolved.[3]

1939-1941: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Poland is divided between Nazi Germany and Communist Soviet Union

In 1939, Poland was pressured by two totalitarian powers, the Nazi Germany and the communist Soviet Union. After secret negotiations, a non-aggression pact was signed between the two. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was supplemented by a secret protocol that contained an agreement to divide Eastern Europe into spheres of influence according to which Poland was divided between Germany and the USSR.[4] The protocol further stated that each of the signatories was free to attack the countries in their sphere of interest without interference from the other.

After attacking Poland on 1 September 1939, the German army advanced quickly and destroyed the main forces of the Polish army. On 17 September, the Red Army troops crossed the Polish border. Poland capitulated on 4 October 1939, and was divided between the two aggressors.[5] As a result of the pact, the Soviet Union secured almost all Polish territory east of the line of the rivers Pisa, Narew, Western Bug and San, some 52.1% of the territory of Poland with a population of 13 million people.

The territory under the Nazi rule carried out torturing and executions from the very beginning. Poland experienced mass deportations of Jews, Polish intelligentsia, communists, Soviet prisoners of war, and Roma people.  As well as civilians, Polish soldiers were massacred. To add, a plan to execute psychiatric patients was initiated and resulted in over 15 000 patients being killed.[6] Besides concentration camps, mass arrests and killings of both Polish and the Jewish population, civilians suffered aerial bombings. Other atrocities included women in concentration camps suffering forced prostitution;[7] kidnappings of Polish children who were sent to Germany to be converted into Germans.[8] There were other attempts to destroy Polish culture. For example universities, schools, museums, laboratories and libraries were closed and turned into German establishments.[9] Poland is estimated to have lost between 4.9 and 5.7 million citizens during the Nazi regime.[10]

Poland under Soviet rule

The occupation was accompanied by Sovietisation policies: property was confiscated, nationalised, and redistributed. According to the Soviet law, all residents of the annexed area automatically acquired Soviet citizenship. Still, actual conferral of citizenship required individual agreement. The refugees who opted out were threatened with repatriation to Nazi controlled territories of Poland.[11]

In addition, all institutions of the dismantled Polish state were closed and reopened under the Soviet appointed supervisors. This also meant that all Polish parties and organizations were disbanded.[12] only the Communist Party was allowed to exist with other organizations subordinated to it. Furthermore, Polish currency was withdrawn from circulation without any exchange to the newly-introduced rouble, which meant that the entire population of the area lost all of their life savings overnight.[13] To diminish the possibility of any open criticism of the changes, the media was subordinated to Moscow’s control.

Changes were also carried out in social and cultural sphere. For example, all religions were persecuted. Moreover, Polish literature and language studies were suspended while any political or cultural references to the preceding Polish state were removed.

Red terror: Mass deportations and massacres

To ensure the whole population succumbed to new rules and to get rid of the opponents, the Soviet Union conducted a series of repressions including mass-killings and deportations. Communist ideology was used to justify the killings. Namely, the Soviet authorities regarded service to the pre-war Polish state as a "crime against the revolution" and "counter-revolutionary activity". Subsequently, large numbers of Polish intelligentsia, politicians, civil servants and scientists were arrested whereas also other people suspected of posing a threat to the Soviet rule were persecuted. Altogether, the Soviets arrested approximately 100,000 Polish citizens, among them the former Prime Ministers Leon Kozłowski and Aleksander Prystor. Furthermore, the NKVD aimed its repression campaign against the Polish communists and socialists who did not obey orders from Moscow. Many of them were arrested and imprisoned.[14] In addition, there were four mass deportations from 1940-41 where at least 350,000 people, including former officials, officers, and the clergy and their families were sent to Siberia and other distant locations within the Soviet Union. Men were sent to labour camps or the Soviet Army while women and children were forced into captivity in harsh living conditions.

Moreover, the Soviets executed about 65,000 Poles, tens of thousands of them Polish war prisoners. The Soviet Union had ceased to recognise the Polish state, which meant the two governments never officially declared war on each other. As a result the Soviets did not classify Polish war prisoners as prisoners of war but as rebels against the new legal government.[15] Thus, the Soviet Union could justify the killings of Polish soldiers by manipulating with international law. In one massacre, the NKVD systematically executed 21,768 Poles, among them 14,471 former Polish officers, including political leaders, government officials, and intellectuals. Some 4,254 of these were uncovered in 1943 in mass graves in Katyn Forest in today’s Russia.[16] The Polish exile government demanded independent examination of the burial pits. The Soviets in turn tried to convince the Allies that the Polish exile government in collaboration with Nazi forces was responsible for Katyn, and denied it until 1990. When the Poles and the Soviets re-established diplomatic relations in 1941, Poles were released from prisons and deportation camps

1944-1947 Securing the communist regime

In 1944 when the German army had weakened while the Red Army furthered west. The Polish exile government and the underground Home Army made attempts to overthrow the Nazis and restore an independent Polish government before the Soviets arrived. Still, after the Soviet army took over the Polish territory, the requests to restore democratic freedoms suggested by the Polish exile cabinet were ignored.[17] Even though formal Polish sovereignty was restored when the Nazi forces were expelled in 1945, the country remained under Soviet control until 1956. An active campaign against democratic parties was launched together with widespread arrests of the supporters of the democratic parties.[18]

In 1946, instead of the promised parliamentary elections, a national referendum was held. It comprised of questions to test the popularity of the communist rule in Poland. The referendum demonstrated little support for the communist agenda. Yet, vote rigging made the poll a success for the communists. After the vote the rights of the non-Communist parties were banned. In some cases, opponents of the regime were sentenced to death.[19]

When democratic parties were outlawed, the Polish United Workers' Party and its leftist allies formed a pro-government Democratic Bloc. By January 1947, the first parliamentary elections allowed candidacy of the Polish People's Party which was nearly powerless due to strict government controls. The election results were adjusted to suit the Communists, and therefore, the Communist candidates won the majority in the parliament, effectively ending the role of the opposition. Several opposition members left the country.[20]

Resistance movement

The initial persecution of the former anti-Nazi organizations forced thousands of people into partisan movements operating in forests across the country. However, the Soviet repressions lead to the first Armia Krajowa (AK, Home Army) structure NIE (Niepodległość, independence), formed in 1943. NIE's goal was to observe and conduct espionage while the Polish government-in-exile decided how to negotiate with the Soviets. At that time, the exiled government expected a negotiated solution.

There was another AK organization called Wolność i Niezawisłość (Freedom and Sovereignty). Again, its primary goal was not to combat, rather it was designed to help the AK soldiers to transition from life as partisans to that of civilians. Still, WiN was viewed as an enemy of the state by the communists. It had minimal resources but was quite successful in advocating armed resistance against the Soviets and their Polish proxies.[21]

To avoid armed conflict with the Soviets and to prevent a civil war, the AK was officially disbanded in January 1945 by the organisation itself. However, many units decided to continue the struggle because the Soviet forces were regarded as occupiers. The Red Army and the NKVD conducted operations against AK partisans as the Soviet and Polish communists viewed most of the Polish resistance movement as a force that had to be removed to gain complete control over Poland.[22] A significant victory for the NKVD and the newly created Polish secret police came in the second half of 1945, when they managed to convince the AK and WiN that they offered amnesty to all AK members. As a result, within a few months, they managed to gain information about AK and WiN resources and members using this information to capture and kill partisans. A few years later, in 1947, an amnesty was passed for most of the partisans. The Communist authorities expected around 12,000 people to give up their arms but the actual number reached 53,000. Many of them were arrested despite promises of freedom.[23]

Mass repressions

The persecution of partisans was only part of the terror. In Poland, repressions affected up to 400, 000 people. During 1944-1953, military courts sentenced 70,097 people for crimes against the state (any alleged anti-regime activity or sentiment). 20,000 prisoners died due to harsh condition in prisons. Furthermore, the courts authorised around 8,000 death sentences during 1944-1945, 3,100 of them were carried out.[24] A further 6,000,000 Polish citizens were classified as suspected members of a “reactionary or criminal element” and subjected to investigation by state agencies. The repressions were meant to scare the common people and get rid of any anti-communist opponents. Often the accusations and sentences were exaggerated or fabricated to speed up the process; sentencing laws were disregarded, as the aim was to secure the Soviet rule.

1947-1956: Restructuring the economy

The economy of Poland was quickly sovietised as the Soviet leadership demanded a shift to the East to cover the needs of the USSR. Heavy industry was reorganised to enable a steep increase of its production and export while the expansion was promoted at the expense of other sectors of the economy. At the same time, agricultural sector suffered from forced collectivisation which created a chaos due to rapid changes in the organisation of this field.[25] Nevertheless, ambitious goals were set for the economy, for example exceeding the developed capitalist states in per capita performance in all major production lines in a brief span of time. However, as production technologies were not modernised, it lead to a decrease in the efficiency of the production and reduction the competitiveness of Polish goods. This in turn caused reduced rate of growth in the standard of living, shortages in goods and an insufficient number of service facilities.

1956: Temporary liberalization

A brief change in the Polish internal political scene occurred in the second half of 1956 when the deaths of Stalin and of the Polish communist leader Bierut significantly weakened the Stalinist faction in Poland. In February 1956, Nikita Khruschev condemned Stalin's crimes in a speech delivered to the Congress of the Communist Party which undermined the authority of communism in all communist countries, including Poland.[26] Bierut's successors approved the condemnation of Stalinist policy and saw it as an opportunity to demonstrate reformist, democratic credentials as well as their willingness to split from the Stalinist ideology. This undermined Polish communists' legitimacy while the Polish people demanded changes, such as a new Party Congress, a greater role for the parliament (Sejm), and personal liberties.[27]

Protests against the regime

In June 1956, workers in Poznan protested against food shortages and consumer goods scarcity, poor housing conditions, decline in incomes, unsatisfying trade relations with the Soviet Union, and poor management of the economy. The Polish government responded by labelling the rioters as “provocateurs, counterrevolutionaries, and imperialist agents”.[28] 57-78 protesters were killed, hundreds were wounded and arrested.[29] Soon, however, the Communist party recognized that the riots had encouraged a nationalist movement. Therefore the government enacted economic and political changes: wages were increased by 50% while promising further economic and political reforms.[30]

The Poznan protests, although the largest, were not unique in Poland. Public meetings, demonstrations, and street marches took place in hundreds of towns across Poland. People across the country criticised the security police and requested the punishment of its functionaries, and the exposure of the secret police collaborators. A simultaneous upsurge in religious and clerical sentiment took place to demand the reinstatement of supressed bishops and to continue religious education in schools. In addition, massive public meetings with nationalist sentiments were held. Protesters requested restitution of eastern territories, explanations of the Katyn massacre, and the elimination of the Russian language from the educational curriculum.[31]


The Soviet leadership was alarmed by events in Poland, especially after Władysław Gomułka was appointed as the First Secretary of the Party in October. Gomułka insisted that he would be given real power to implement reforms while Moscow believed that any liberalisation could lead to the breakdown of communism and reduce Soviet influence in the region.[32] Economically, the Soviet Union had made large investments in Poland and acted as its main trading partner. Gomułka reassured the Soviets that the reforms he planned were strictly internal and that Poland had no intention of abandoning communism or treaties with the Soviet Union. Still, he was supported by the majority of people as a leader who embodied the pursuit of independence by having resisted the Soviet demands.[33]

Gomułka secured substantive gains in his negotiations with the Soviets: Poland's existing debts were cancelled, new special trade terms agreed upon, the unpopular Soviet-imposed collectivization of Polish agriculture was abandoned, and policies concerning the Roman Catholic Church became more liberal. Also, many political prisoners were set free.[34]

1957-1978: Economic crisis

Despite the changes and the increased liberty in the Polish legislative elections in 1957, Poland could not be considered free by Western standards.[35] Eventually, also hopes for full liberalisation faded as Gomułka's regime became more conservative. Nonetheless, the era of Stalinisation of Poland had ended and the society became more liberal.

Mid-1960s, however, brought Poland economic and political difficulties because too much was spent on heavy industry, arms and prestige projects, and too little on consumer goods. The end of collectivisation lead to private land ownership but most farms were too small to be efficient, keeping agricultural productivity low.[36]

In the 1970s, the economic crisis became apparent. The system of fixed, artificially low food prices kept discontent under control. However, it caused stagnation in agriculture and resulted in more expensive food imports. The economic situation was becoming unsustainable.[37] As a result, in December 1970, the regime announced increases in basic food prices, which was unpopular and encouraged a new wave of demonstrations in Gdansk, Gdynia, Elbląg, and Szczecin.[38] The army was ordered to fire at the protesting workers, killing many in Gdynia. The protests then spread to other cities causing angry workers to occupy factories. Those responsible for protests were punished.

To avoid a full-scale revolt, Brezhnev forced Gomułka to resign[39] and Edward Gierek was appointed to replace him. To upgrade Poland's production technologies, Gierek created a new economic programme based on large-scale borrowing. Some 10 billion USD was used to re-equip and modernize Polish industry.[40] For the next four years, Poland enjoyed rising living standards and a stable economy. Wages grew 40% between 1971 and 1975, and for the first time, the majority of Poles could afford cars, television sets, and other consumer goods. The farmers received subsidies to increase agricultural production. Other advancements included permission to travel to the West, political and cultural liberalisation, and limited freedom of speech.[41]

A worldwide recession and increase in oil prices at the end of 1970s caused a sharp elevation of the costs of imported consumer goods while a decline in Polish exports occurred. In 1975, Poland's foreign debt was estimated at over 6 billion USD, continuing to grow rapidly.  Further borrowing from the West became difficult whereas the new factories proved to be ineffective and mismanaged. Due to pressure by Western creditors, prices that had been maintained at the 1970 level were increased in 1976. The steep rise in living costs (the price of butter increased by 33%; meat by 70%; and sugar by 100%) caused a wave of strikes, to which Gierek responded by annulling the price changes.[42] Economic crisis was not avoided but postponed.

Growing concerns over the situation in Poland encouraged cooperation between workers and intellectuals opposing the regime. They founded the Committee for the Defence of the Worker (KOR) which soon grew into a political resistance group. Opposition to the regime spread within free trade unions, student groups, and was supported by underground newspapers and publishers, who imported books and newspapers. The regime made no serious attempt to suppress the opposition because Gierek wanted to reconcile with the workers whilst reassuring the Soviet Union that Poland was a loyal ally.[43]

1978-1981 John Paul II and Solidarity

In 1978, Polish born John Paul II was elected as pope of the Catholic Church. This event strengthened the Church and the dissidents in Poland. The two groups were strongly linked and people hoped that the new Pope would introduce the problems of communism to the West. In 1979, during the Pope’s visit to Warsaw he spoke about people’s right to religion and their rights to freedom. The speech encouraged people to intensify their efforts in fighting against the regime.[44] For example, it contributed to the founding of the Solidarity movement in 1980. Soviet leaders reacted with alarm as the Pope’s speech was seen as a threat undermining the foundations of the Soviet bloc.[45]

In August 1980, Polish authorities caught a member of the underground trade union Anna Walentynowicz collecting candles from the graves of the shooting victims of 1970 protests. The candles had been put there during an unauthorised memorial service. She was accused of stealing and was fired. A few days later, workers of the same shipyard refused to work, demanded her reinstatement, and a pay rise. Authorities tried to appease the protesters but failed. As a result, a member of a trade union, Lech Walesa, urged his 17,000 co-workers to strike.[46]

During the following days, the strike spread over Poland. An inter-factory strike committee was created. It presented the Communist authorities with 21 demands, among them establishing free unions, the right to strike and access to free media. The authorities tried to disregard the committee, but it was impossible with more protestors joining the movement every day.[47] Faced with the threat of a general strike, the Communist authorities decided to compromise. The government and the leader of the movement, Lech Walesa, signed the Gdansk accords, granting workers wage increases and permission to belong to free trade unions. Political involvement became more common. Nearly 10 million workers joined the Solidarity trade union.[48]

For the Soviet Union, Solidarity represented a threat to the socialist system. The Soviet leaders were concerned with the situation in Poland, and anxious that similar movements could spread to other parts of the communist regime. The news of the Solidarity movement spread quickly over Central and Eastern Europe countries (CEECs) and the Soviet Union. Activities of the opposition increased significantly in all CEECs. [49]

1981-1989: Economic situation worsens and hopes for further reform arise

As Poland entered a decade of economic crisis, major investment projects came to a halt while queuing became common with ration cards being necessary to buy basic consumer goods. Access to Western goods became more restricted because Western governments applied economic sanctions to express their dissatisfaction with the repression of the opposition. At the same time, the government had to use most of the foreign currency to pay back its foreign debt, which by 1980 had reached US $23 billion. The Communist government tried various experiments to improve the performance of the economy but the measures that were taken failed. This led to small-scale reforms, for example allowing more small private enterprises, which meant departing further from the socialist model of economy.[50]

In December 1981, claiming that the country was on the verge of economic and civil breakdown, and proclaiming the threat of Soviet intervention, Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Party's new secretary, started the liquidation of Solidarity. He suspended the union, and temporarily imprisoned most of its leaders. Throughout the mid-1980s, Solidarity persisted solely as an underground organisation. Starting from 1986, other opposition structures started to organise and assembled thousands of participants. [51]

Still, Solidarity gained more support and power. At the same time, the dominance of the Communist Party eroded further. The government started to accept the idea that collaboration with the opposition would be necessary.[52] Furthermore, the continuous economic and social crisis resulted in steps towards regime change. Jaruzelski’s attempts at reform failed to satisfy Solidarity and its supporters. The following nationwide strikes in 1988 lead to the government opening the dialogue with Solidarity. [53]

By December 1988, the Communist Party approached the leaders of Solidarity for talks[54] that radically altered the structure of the Polish government and society. The negotiations resulted in an agreement to vest political power in more democratic structures and new elections.[55]

Change in 1989

In April 1989, Solidarity was legalised and allowed to participate in semi-free elections in June 1989. Restrictions on elections were designed to keep the Communists in power. Only one third of the seats in the lower chamber of parliament were open to Solidarity candidates. The Communists thought the elections will keep them in power while gaining some legitimacy by allowing Solidarity to run.[56]

When the results were released, the victory of Solidarity surpassed all predictions. Solidarity candidates captured all the seats they competed for, while in the Senate (the upper house of the parliament) they won 99 out of the 100 available seats. At the same time, many prominent Communist candidates failed to gain the minimum number of votes required. With the election results, the Communists suffered a catastrophic blow to their legitimacy.[57]

The Communist candidate for the Prime Minister’s position failed to gain enough support in the Sejm. Jaruzelski tried to persuade Solidarity to join the Communists in a coalition, but Wałęsa refused. Jaruzelski resigned as the general secretary of the Communist Party but Solidarity aiming for a peaceful transition allowed him to remain the head of state while a member of Solidarity, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, became the Prime Minister.[58] The new non-Communist government, the first of its kind in Communist Europe, was sworn into office in September 1989.[59]

Poland as a newly independent state (1989-2012)

In 1989-1991, Poland engaged in a democratic transition which put an end to the socialist Polish People's Republic and led to a democratic regime, called Polish Third Republic. In December 1990 Lech Walesa was elected President of the Republic of Poland. Poland's first free parliamentary elections were held in 1991. More than 100 parties participated, representing the full spectrum of political views. No single party received more than 13% of the total vote. 1993 saw the second group of elections, and the first parliament to serve a full term. The Alliance of the Democratic Left (SLD) lead by Aleksander Kwaśiniewski received the largest share of votes.[60]

During presidential elections in November 1995, Walesa was defeated by a former communist Aleksander Kwaśiniewski. [61] Over the next few years the main task of the president and the government was to get Poland admitted to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In 1999, the documents that ratified Poland’s membership in NATO were signed. In 2000 Kwaśiniewski was re-elected as president with 53.9 per cent of the vote.[62] A leading issue in the subsequent years was negotiations with the European Union regarding accession and internal preparation for this. Poland joined the EU in May 2004.

In the autumn of 2005 Poles voted in both parliamentary and presidential elections. Both elections had low turn-outs. The suggested cause was popular disappointment with politicians. Lech Kaczyński from centre right PiS party won the presidential elections. Also, after the parliamentary elections, PiS formed a minority government with the previously little-known Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz as Prime Minister. In July 2006, following a disagreement with his party leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, Marcinkiewicz resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Jarosław Kaczyński. During the next 15 months the government passed controversial legislation and was thus faced with national and international attention. The government pursued lustration policies, established a Central Anticorruption Bureau with far reaching powers and was involved in a case relating to the suicide of a Member of Parliament who was under investigation for corruption. Furthermore, the new government modified Polish foreign policy by adopting a more euro-sceptical stance. However, due to corruption charges the coalition agreement collapsed.  In September, the Sejm voted to dissolve itself, paving the way for elections in October.[63]

The October parliamentary elections saw a victory for the centre right Civic Platform (PO), the largest opposition party, which gained more than 41% of the popular vote. Donald Tusk took over the Prime Minister duties. On 10 April, 2010, the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, died in a plane crash in Russia. At the Polish presidential election in 2010, Donald Tusk decided not to present his candidature. At PO primary electionsBronisław Komorowski defeated the Oxford-educated Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski. At the second round of voting on 4 July 2010 Komorowski defeated Jarosław Kaczyński, ensuring PO dominance across the Polish political landscape.[64]


[1] Mieczysław B. Biskupski, The history of Poland. (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000), pp. 78-79

[2] Ibid., p. 79

[3] Richard C. Frucht, Eastern Europe: an introduction to the people, lands, and culture, Volume 1. (ABC-CLIO, 2005), p. 5

[4] Saulius Sužiedėlis, Historical Dictionary of Lithuania. (Scarecrow Press, 2011), p. 202

[5] Joseph Poprzeczny, Odilo Globocnik, Hitler's man in the East. (McFarland, 2004), pp. 83-87

[6] Project in Posterum, German Extermination of Psychiatric Patients in Occupied Poland 1939-1945, (2004).

[7] dgs/dpa/ap. Nazi Sex Slaves, (Der Spiegel 15 Jan, 2007):,1518,459704,00.html

[8] A. Dirk Moses, Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2004), p. 255.

[9] Terese Pencak Schwartz, Five million forgotten (, 1997)

[10] Expatica. Polish experts lower nation's WWII death toll (30 Aug, 2009):

[11] George Ginsburgs, The citizenship law of the USSR. (Brill, 1983), p. 14

[12] John L. H. Keep, Last of the empires: a history of the Soviet Union, 1945-1991 (Oxford University Press 1995), p. 51

[13] Margaret Low Stump Super, Ann Su Cardwell, Poland and Russia: the last quarter century (Sheed & Ward, 1944), pp. 74-75

[14] Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin's wars: from World War to Cold War, 1939-1953 (Yale University Press, 2006), p. 319

[15] Pertti Ahonen, People on the move: forced population movements in Europe in the Second World War and its aftermath (Berg 2008), p. 26

[16] Anna M. Cienciala et al, Katyn: Annals of communism (Yale University Press, 2007), p. 216

[17] Jan Tomasz Gross, Revolution from abroad: the Soviet conquest of Poland's western Ukraine and western Belorussia (Princeton University Press, 2002), p. 35

[18] Polish Academic Information Center, Poland - The Historical Setting: Chapter 6: The Polish People's Republic.(University of Buffalo), para. 3. Retrieved on 19 Jan, 2012

[19] Tom Buchanan, Europe's troubled peace, 1945-2000 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006), p. 84

[20] Polish Academic Information Center, Poland - The Historical Setting: Chapter 6: The Polish People's Republic.(University of Buffalo), para. 3. Retrieved on 19 Jan, 2012

[21] Stefan KorbońskiWarsaw in Chains (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1959). pp. 112–123.

[22] Józef Garliński, Poland in the Second World War (Hippocrene Books, 1985), p. 336

[23] Andrzej Kaczyński, Wielkie polowanie: Prześladowania akowców w Polsce Ludowej (Great hunt: the persecutions of AK soldiers in the People's Republic of Poland) (Rzeczpospolita, 02.10.04 Nr 232)

[24] Stéphane Courtois, Mark Kramer, The black book of communism: crimes, terror, repression (Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 374

[25] Richard C. Frucht, Eastern Europe: an introduction to the people, lands, and culture, Volume 1. (ABC-CLIO, 2005), pp. 32-35

[26] Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, Volume 2 (Penn State Press, 2006), p. 212

[27] Carole Fink et al., 1956: European and global perspectives: Volume 1 of Global history and international studies (Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2006), p. 144

[28] Joseph Rothschild, Nancy M. Wingfield, Return to diversity: a political history of East Central Europe since World War II (Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 122

[29] Carole Fink et al., 1956: European and global perspectives: Volume 1 of Global history and international studies (Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2006), p. 144

[30] Ibid., p. 147

[31] Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone, Communism in Eastern Europe (Manchester University Press ND, 1984), 332

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Europa Publications Limited, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Routledge 1998), p. 571

[35] The Polish October 1956 in the World Politics (PISM, 2007), p. 155

[36] Poul Villaume, Odd Arne Westad (eds.), Perforating the Iron Curtain: European détente, transatlantic relations, and the Cold War, 1965-1985 (Museum Tusculanum Press, 2010), p. 42

[37] Arista Maria Cirtautas, The Polish solidarity movement: revolution, democracy and natural rights (Routledge, 1997), p. 161

[38] Ibid., p. 164

[39] Grzegorz Ekiert, Jan Kubik, Rebellious Civil Society: Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, 1989-1993 (University of Michigan Press, 2001), p. 35

[40] Europa Publications Limited, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Routledge, 1998), p. 571

[41] Adam Bromke, Derry Novak, The Communist states in the era of détente, 1971-1977 (Mosaic Press, 1978), p. 84

[42] Grzegorz Ekiert, Jan Kubik, Rebellious Civil Society: Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, 1989-1993 (University of Michigan Press, 2001), p. 37

[43] Ibid., p. 38

[44] George Weigel, The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism (Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 149

[45] Grzegorz Ekiert, Jan Kubik, Rebellious Civil Society: Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, 1989-1993 (University of Michigan Press, 2001), p. 38

[46] Lee Trapenier et al., The Solidarity movement and perspectives on the last decade of the Cold War (Krakowskie Towarzystwo Eduk, 2010), p. 17

[47] Ibid.

[48] Grzegorz Ekiert, Jan Kubik, Rebellious Civil Society: Popular Protest and Democratic Consolidation in Poland, 1989-1993 (University of Michigan Press, 2001), pp. 38-39

[49] Lee Trapenier et al., The Solidarity movement and perspectives on the last decade of the Cold War (Krakowskie Towarzystwo Eduk, 2010), pp. 70-71

[50] Steven Saxonberg, The fall: a comparative study of the end of communism in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland (Routledge, 2001), pp. 186-187

[51] Ibid., p. 174

[52] Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, The Withering Away of the Totalitarian State... and Other Surprises (American Enterprise Institute, 1992), p. 74

[53] Minton F. Goldman, Russia, the Eurasian republics, and Central, Eastern Europe (Dushkin Pub. Group, 1996), p. 176

[54] Ibid.

[55] Marek Jan Chodakiewicz et al., Poland's transformation: a work in progress (Transaction Publishers, 2006), p. 92

[56] Ibid p. 94

[57] Ibid pp. 96-97

[58] Arista Maria Cirtautas, The Polish solidarity movement: revolution, democracy and natural rights (Routledge, 1997), p. 215

[59] Leszek Balcerowicz, Socialism, capitalism, transformation (Central European University Press, 1995), p. 164

[60] US Department of State, Background Note: Poland (retrieved on 22 Feb, 2012:

[61] BBC News, Walesa leaves Polish politics (15 Oct, 2000):

[62] Office of Aleksander Kwasiniewski. Biography (retrieved on22 Feb, 2012):

[63] US Department of State. Background Note: Poland (retrieved on 22 Feb, 2012:

[64] Warsaw Business Journal. Civic Platform almighty (17 Dec, 2010):



  • About 2 million persons suffered from Communist repressions in Poland
  • The Soviet army occupied eastern regions of Poland on September 17, 1939