Polish People's Republic

The Polish People's Republic in 1989
Poland's fate was heavily discussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Joseph Stalin, whose Red Army occupied the entire country, presented several alternatives which granted Poland industrialized territories in the west whilst the Red Army simultaneously permanently annexed Polish territories in the east, resulting in Poland losing over 20% of its pre-war borders - areas primarily inhabited by ethnic Belarusians or Ukrainians. Soviet-backed Polish communists came to power and oversaw the country's entry into the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
Border changes of Poland after World War II. The eastern territories (Kresy) were annexed by the Soviets. The western territories, referred to as the "Recovered Territories", were granted as war reparations. Despite the western lands being more industrialized, Poland lost 77,035 km2 (29,743 sq mi) and major cities like Lviv and Vilnius.
The 1970 Polish protests were put down by the Communist authorities and Citizens' Militia. The riots resulted in the deaths of 42 people and over 1,000 injured.
Queues waiting to enter grocery stores in Warsaw and other Polish cities and towns were typical in the late 1980s. The availability of food and goods varied at times, and the most sought after basic item was toilet paper.
The new Warszawa Centralna railway station in Warsaw had automatic doors and escalators. It was a flagship project during the 1970s economic boom and was dubbed the most modern station in Europe at the time of its completion in 1975.
Lech Wałęsa co-founded and headed the Solidarity movement which toppled Communism. He later became the President of Poland.
The 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard Strike and subsequent Summer 1981 Hunger Demonstrations were instrumental in strengthening the Solidarity movement's influence.
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
Władysław Gomułka and Leonid Brezhnev in East Berlin, 1967
An abandoned State Agricultural Farm in south-eastern Poland. State farms were a form of collective farming created in 1949.
Łódź was Poland's largest city after the destruction of Warsaw during World War II. It was also a major industrial centre in Europe and served as the temporary capital due to its economic significance in the 1940s.
Female textile workers in a state-run factory, Łódź, 1950s
Supersam Warsaw, the first self-serve shopping centre in Poland, 1969
Pewex, a chain of hard currency stores which sold unobtainable Western goods and items
Ration cards for sugar, 1977
Bar mleczny, a former milk bar in Gdynia. These canteens offered value meals to citizens throughout Communist Poland.
Trybuna Ludu (People's Tribune) was a government-sponsored newspaper and propaganda outlet
Andrzej Wajda was a key figure in Polish cinematography during and after the fall of communism
Allegory of communist censorship, Poland, 1989. Newspapers visible are from all Eastern Bloc countries including East Germany, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
The 237-meter Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, constructed in 1955. At the time of its completion it was one of the tallest buildings in Europe
Smyk Department Store, 1960s
Polish university students during lecture, 1964
One of many schools constructed in central Warsaw in the 1960s
Jerzy Popiełuszko was a Roman Catholic priest who supported the anti-communist opposition. He was murdered by the Security Services "SB" of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
A demographics graph illustrating population growth between 1900 and 2010. The highest birth rate was during the Second Polish Republic and consequently under the Polish People's Republic.
A typical socialist apartment building in Warsaw representing the style of functionalism, built due to the ever-growing population and high birth rate at the time
Konstantin Rokossovsky, pictured in a Polish uniform, was Marshal of the Soviet Union and Marshal of Poland until being deposed during the Polish October in 1956.
Poland's old and new borders, 1945

Country in Central Europe that existed from 1947 to 1989 as the predecessor of the modern Republic of Poland.

- Polish People's Republic

500 related topics


Eastern Bloc

The group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America under the influence of the Soviet Union that existed during the Cold War .

Communist states in Europe before the Tito–Stalin split of 1948
Soviet Union stamp of 1950, depicting the flags and peoples of the Eastern Bloc.
The Big Three (British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Premier of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin) at the Yalta Conference, February 1945
World War II Polish Prime Minister Stanisław Mikołajczyk fled Poland in 1947 after facing arrest and persecution
Political situation in Europe during the Cold War
Germans watching Western supply planes at Berlin Tempelhof Airport during the Berlin Airlift
Countries which once had overtly Marxist–Leninist governments in bright red and countries the USSR considered at one point to be "moving toward socialism" in dark red
Communist countries and Soviet republics in Europe with their representative flags (1950s)
Trybuna Ludu 14 December 1981 reports martial law in Poland
Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, once the most dominant landmark in Baku, was demolished in the 1930s under Stalin
Berlin Wall in 1975
Prominent examples of urban design included Marszałkowska Housing Estate (MDM) in Warsaw
During World War II, 85% of buildings in Warsaw were destroyed by German troops
A line for the distribution of cooking oil in Bucharest, Romania in May 1986
Reconstruction of a typical working class flat interior of the khrushchyovka
Propaganda poster showing increased agricultural production from 1981 to 1983 and 1986 in East Germany
A Robotron KC 87 home computer made in East Germany between 1987 and 1989
Per capita GDP in the Eastern Bloc from 1950 to 2003 (1990 base Geary-Khamis dollars) according to Angus Maddison
GDP per capita of the Eastern Bloc in relations with GDPpc of United States during 1900–2010
East German Plattenbau apartment blocks
Czechoslovaks carry their national flag past a burning Soviet tank in Prague
The Cold War in 1980 before the Iran–Iraq War
Otto von Habsburg, who played a leading role in opening the Iron Curtain
Erich Honecker
Changes in national boundaries after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc
European countries by total wealth (billions USD), Credit Suisse, 2018
A map of communist states (1993–present)

In Western Europe, the term Eastern Bloc generally referred to the USSR and its satellite states in the Comecon (East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania).

Polish People's Army

Emblem worn by LWP soldiers; the "Piast eagle" without the crown
Polish troops, 1943
The Polish First Army on their way to Berlin, 1945
Polish flag raised on the top of Berlin Victory Column on 2 May 1945
T-55A tanks of the Polish People's Army (Martial law in Poland)

The Polish People's Army (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie, LWP) constituted the second formation of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in 1943–1945, and in 1945–1989 the armed forces of the Polish communist state (from 1952, the Polish People's Republic), ruled by the Polish Workers' Party and then the Polish United Workers' Party.

Ministry of Public Security (Poland)

Citroën Traction Avant, a car commonly used by the UB
The PKWN Manifesto, issued on 22 July 1944
Jakub Berman
Józef Światło, born Izaak Fleischfarb, defected to the West and spoke publicly of UB's brutal actions
Ministry office in Warsaw (current Ministry of Justice)
Office of Public Security regional location in Szczecin, Poland
Ministry of Public Security organization for 1953, (Organizacja Ministerstwa Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego na rok 1953, M Malinowski)
Ministry of Public Security field organization, 1953
Stamp of the Committee for Public Security, 1954–1956

The Ministry of Public Security (Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego), commonly known as UB or later SB, was the secret police, intelligence and counter-espionage agency operating in the Polish People's Republic.


Country in Central Europe.

A reconstruction of a Bronze Age, Lusatian culture settlement in Biskupin, 8th century BC
Poland under the rule of Mieszko I, whose acceptance of Christianity under the auspices of the Latin Church and the Baptism of Poland marked the beginning of statehood in 966.
Casimir III the Great is the only Polish king to receive the title of Great. He built extensively during his reign, and reformed the Polish army along with the country's legal code, 1333–70.
The Battle of Grunwald was fought against the German Order of Teutonic Knights, and resulted in a decisive victory for the Kingdom of Poland, 15 July 1410.
Wawel Castle in Kraków, seat of Polish kings from 1038 until the capital was moved to Warsaw in 1596.
King John III Sobieski defeated the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Vienna on 12 September 1683.
Stanisław II Augustus, the last King of Poland, reigned from 1764 until his abdication on 25 November 1795.
The partitions of Poland, carried out by the Kingdom of Prussia (blue), the Russian Empire (brown), and the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy (green) in 1772, 1793 and 1795.
Chief of State Marshal Józef Piłsudski was a hero of the Polish independence campaign and the nation's premiere statesman from 1918 until his death on 12 May 1935.
Polish Army 7TP tanks on military manoeuvres shortly before the invasion of Poland in 1939
Pilots of the 303 Polish Fighter Squadron during the Battle of Britain, October 1940
Map of the Holocaust in German-occupied Poland with deportation routes and massacre sites. Major ghettos are marked with yellow stars. Nazi extermination camps are marked with white skulls in black squares. The border in 1941 between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union is marked in red.
At High Noon, 4 June 1989 — political poster featuring Gary Cooper to encourage votes for the Solidarity party in the 1989 elections
Flowers in front of the Presidential Palace following the death of Poland's top government officials in a plane crash on 10 April 2010
Topographic map of Poland
Morskie Oko alpine lake in the Tatra Mountains. Poland has one of the highest densities of lakes in the world.
The wisent, one of Poland's national animals, is commonly found at the ancient and UNESCO-protected Białowieża Forest.
The Sejm is the lower house of the parliament of Poland.
The Constitution of 3 May adopted in 1791 was the first modern constitution in Europe.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located in Warsaw
Polish Air Force F-16s, a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft
A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter patrol van belonging to the Polish State Police Service (Policja)
The Old City of Zamość is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
PKP Intercity Pendolino at the Wrocław railway station
Physicist and chemist Maria Skłodowska-Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes.
Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th century Polish astronomer who formulated the heliocentric model of the solar system.
Population of Poland from 1900 to 2010 in millions of inhabitants
Dolina Jadwigi — a bilingual Polish-Kashubian road sign with the village name
John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyła, held the papacy between 1978-2005 and was the first Pole to become a Roman Catholic Pope.
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
The Polish White Eagle is Poland's enduring national and cultural symbol
All Saints' Day on 1 November is one of the most important public holidays in Poland.
Lady with an Ermine (1490) by Leonardo da Vinci. It symbolises Poland's cultural heritage and identity.
Selection of hearty traditional comfort food from Poland, including bigos, gołąbki, żurek, pierogi, placki ziemniaczane, and rye bread.
Traditional polonaise dresses, 1780–1785.
Andrzej Wajda, the recipient of an Honorary Oscar, the Palme d'Or, as well as Honorary Golden Lion and Golden Bear Awards.
Headquarters of the publicly funded national television network TVP in Warsaw
The Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw, home of the national football team, and one of the host stadiums of Euro 2012.

As a member of the Eastern Bloc, the Polish People's Republic proclaimed forthwith was a chief signatory of the Warsaw Pact amidst global Cold War tensions.

East Germany

State that existed from 1949 to 1990 in middle Germany as part of the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War.

The territory of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from its creation on 7 October 1949 until its dissolution on 3 October 1990
On the basis of the Potsdam Conference, the Allies jointly occupied Germany west of the Oder–Neisse line, later forming these occupied territories into two independent countries. Light grey: territories annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union; dark grey: West Germany (formed from the US, UK and French occupation zones, including West Berlin); red: East Germany (formed from the Soviet occupation zone, including East Berlin).
West Germany (blue) comprised the Western Allies' zones, excluding the Saarland (purple); the Soviet zone, East Germany (red) surrounded West Berlin (yellow).
GDR leaders: President Wilhelm Pieck and Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl, 1949
SED First Secretary, Walter Ulbricht, 1960
Erich Honecker, head of state (1971–1989)
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) Helmut Schmidt, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) Erich Honecker, U.S. president Gerald Ford and Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky signing the Helsinki Act
Karl Marx monument in Chemnitz (renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt from 1953 to 1990)
Demonstration on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin on 4 November 1989
SED logotype: the Communist–Social Democrat handshake of Wilhelm Pieck and Otto Grotewohl, establishing the SED in 1946
GDR flag at the United Nations headquarters, New York City, 1973
The Palast der Republik, seat of the Volkskammer
Poster with the inscription "Berlin – Hauptstadt der DDR", 1967
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation Emblem (13 December 1948 – August 1990)
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation Parade
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation uniform
Emblem of the Free German Youth
FDJ Organisation Parade
East Berlin: XII Parliament of the FDJ During the opening in the Great Hall of the Palace of the Republic.
Pioneer choir "August Bebel" Zwickau of the pioneer house "Wilhelm Pieck" in Zwickau (Schwanenschloß)
Uniform of the FDJ
Members with the uniform of the FDJ
A woman and her husband, both medical students, and their triplets in East Germany in 1984. The GDR had state policies to encourage births among educated women.
Districts of the German Democratic Republic in 1952
Uni-Riese (University Giant) in 1982. Built in 1972, it was once part of the Karl-Marx-University and is Leipzig's tallest building.
East German Nationale Volksarmee changing-of-the-guard ceremony in East Berlin
Angola's José Eduardo dos Santos during his visit to East Berlin
Map of the East German economy
The Trabant automobile was a profitable product made in the German Democratic Republic.
A 1980 meeting between representatives of the BEK and Erich Honecker
Katholikentag, Dresden, 1987 (left to right) Bishop Karl Lehmann and Cardinals Gerhard Schaffran, Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) and Joachim Meisner
The Oktoberklub in 1967
Pop singer Frank Schöbel (center) giving autographs in 1980
Playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956)
The East German football team lining up before a match in June 1974
Karin Janz
Gerhard Behrendt with character from the stop-animation series Sandmännchen
Percentage of Zweitstimme for Die Linke in the 2017 federal election
Provisional coat of arms of the GDR
Provisional coat of arms of the GDR
Coat of arms of the GDR
Flag of the GDR
Commercial flag
Flag of the GDR
President Standard 1951–1953
President's Standard 1953–1955
Standard of the President 1955–1960
Standard of the Chairman of the Council of State 1960–1990
Service flag of the National People's Army
Service flag for combat ships and boats of the People's Navy
Service flag for auxiliary ships and boats of the People's Navy
alt=Service flag|Deutsche Post (1955–1973)
Service flag for ships and boats of the Border Brigade Coast
Service flag of the border troops
Flag of the Ministry of State Security (Stasi), East Germany, until 1990
Emblem of the Ministry of State Security (MfS) (Stasi) of the GDR (until 1990)
Coat of arms of National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic (from 1956 until 1990)
Emblem of the Ground Forces of National People's Army (1956-1990)
The coat of arms of the People's Navy with the Order of Karl Marx (between 1956 and 1990)
Emblem of Air Force of the National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic before 1959 (until 1956 the People's Police Air of the GDR)
Emblem of aircraft of National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic (1959–1990)
Emblem of the Grenztruppen used for vehicles (1949–1990)
The national ensign of the GDR Volkspolizei-Bereitschaften (from 1962 to 1990)
Combat Groups of the Working Class coat of arms of the fighting groups of the working class, without oak leaves (between 1953 and 1990)
Logo of the Organization of the Warsaw Pact (14 May 1955)
Emblem of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (1950–1990)
Flag of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (1950–1990)
Emblem of the Free German Youth
Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation Flag (13 December 1948 – August 1990)

Geographically, the GDR bordered the Baltic Sea to the north, Poland to the east, Czechoslovakia to the southeast and West Germany to the southwest and west.

Milicja Obywatelska

Militia shields from 1980s, display at the European Solidarity Centre
An actor dressed in a militiaman's uniform
FSO Warszawa MO car
Restored Polski Fiat 125p and Nysa 522 RSD Milicja Obywatelska vehicles
FSO Polonez MR'78 militia car in Poznan 2011
Restored FSO Polonez MR'83 and Nysa 522 RSD of Citizens' Militia of Polish People's Republic (from the reenactment group milicja.waw.pl)
Nysa 522 RSD
Star 200 truckbus

Milicja Obywatelska, in English known as the Citizens' Militia and commonly abbreviated to MO, was the national police organization of the Polish People's Republic.

Władysław Gomułka

Polish communist politician.

Gomułka in recaptured Warsaw, 1945
Gomułka's speech on 24 October 1956 in Warsaw
Gomułka (left) greeted by members of the Ernst Thälmann Pioneer Organisation in East Germany.
Gomułka's now abandoned retirement home in Konstancin-Jeziorna
Gomułka's grave in Powązki Military Cemetery

He was the de facto leader of post-war Poland from 1947 until 1948.

Senate of Poland

Upper house of the Polish parliament, the lower house being the Sejm.

A leaf from the Łaski Statute depicting the Polish Senate in 1503
The 1661 session of the Senate in Jasna Góra
In 1791, the "Great Sejm" or "Four-Year Sejm" of 1788–1792 and Senate adopt the May 3rd Constitution at the Royal Castle in Warsaw
Unrealised (1765) plans for a new senate chamber at the Royal Castle in Warsaw
The first session of the reestablished Senate in 1922 after its 127-year hiatus
A debate taking place in the Senate, December 9, 1930
The Senate Agricultural Committee, 1925
The Senate Building at the Sejm complex in Warsaw
The iconic spiral staircase in the Senate building's main hall

Following a brief period of existence under the Second Polish Republic, the Senate was again abolished by the authorities of the Polish People's Republic.

Polish Socialist Party

Socialist political party in Poland.

The party was re-established in 1987, near the end of the Polish People's Republic.

Polish government-in-exile

The government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, which brought to an end the Second Polish Republic.

Władysław Sikorski, first Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile.
Standard of the President in exile.

After the war, as the Polish territory came under the control of the communist Polish People's Republic, the government-in-exile remained in existence, though largely unrecognised and without effective power.