A report on 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

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Overall

Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War

Cold War

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Period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II.

Period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II.

Allied troops in Vladivostok, August 1918, during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War
The "Big Three" at the Yalta Conference: Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, 1945
Post-war Allied occupation zones in Germany
Clement Attlee, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, 1945
Post-war territorial changes in Europe and the formation of the Eastern Bloc, the so-called "Iron Curtain"
Remains of the "Iron Curtain" in the Czech Republic
C-47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade
President Truman signs the North Atlantic Treaty with guests in the Oval Office.
Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin in Moscow, December 1949
General Douglas MacArthur, UN Command CiC (seated), observes the naval shelling of Incheon, Korea from USS Mt. McKinley, 15 September 1950
US Marines engaged in street fighting during the liberation of Seoul, September 1950
NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1959
From left to right: Soviet head of state Kliment Voroshilov, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev and Finnish president Urho Kekkonen at Moscow in 1960.
The maximum territorial extent of Soviet influence, after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961
Western colonial empires in Asia and Africa all collapsed in the years after 1945.
1961 Soviet stamp commemorating Patrice Lumumba, assassinated prime minister of the Republic of the Congo
The United States reached the Moon in 1969.
Che Guevara (left) and Fidel Castro (right) in 1961
Soviet and American tanks face each other at Checkpoint Charlie during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
Aerial photograph of a Soviet missile site in Cuba, taken by a US spy aircraft, 1 November 1962
NATO and Warsaw Pact troop strengths in Europe in 1973
US combat operations during the Battle of Ia Drang, South Vietnam, November 1965
A manifestation of the Finlandization period: in April 1970, a Finnish stamp was issued in honor of the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin's birth and the Lenin Symposium held in Tampere. The stamp was the first Finnish stamp issued about a foreign person.
The invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968 was one of the biggest military operations on European soil since World War II.
Suharto of Indonesia attending funeral of five generals slain in 30 September Movement, 2 October 1965
Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat with Henry Kissinger in 1975
Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet shaking hands with Henry Kissinger in 1976
Cuban tank in the streets of Luanda, Angola, 1976
During the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot, 1.5 to 2 million people died due to the policies of his four-year premiership.
Mao Zedong and US President Richard Nixon, during his visit in China
Leonid Brezhnev and Jimmy Carter sign the SALT II treaty, 18 June 1979, in Vienna
Iranian people protesting against the Pahlavi dynasty, during the Iranian Revolution
Protest in Amsterdam against the deployment of Pershing II missiles in Europe, 1981
The Soviet invasion during Operation Storm-333 on 26 December 1979
President Reagan publicizes his support by meeting with Afghan mujahideen leaders in the White House, 1983.
President Reagan with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a working luncheon at Camp David, December 1984
The world map of military alliances in 1980
US and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2006
Delta 183 launch vehicle lifts off, carrying the Strategic Defense Initiative sensor experiment "Delta Star".
After ten-year-old American Samantha Smith wrote a letter to Yuri Andropov expressing her fear of nuclear war, Andropov invited Smith to the Soviet Union.
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty at the White House, 1987.
The beginning of the 1990s brought a thaw in relations between the superpowers.
"Tear down this wall!" speech: Reagan speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate, 12 June 1987
Otto von Habsburg, who played a leading role in opening the Iron Curtain.
Erich Honecker lost control in August 1989.
August Coup in Moscow, 1991
The human chain in Lithuania during the Baltic Way, 23 August 1989
Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War
Since the end of the Cold War, the EU has expanded eastwards into the former Warsaw Pact and parts of the former Soviet Union.
A map showing the relations of Marxist–Leninist states after the Sino-Soviet split as of 1980:
The USSR and pro-Soviet socialist states
China and pro-Chinese socialist states
Neutral Socialist nations (North Korea and Yugoslavia)
Non-socialist states

Polish People's Republic (19 January 1947)

Bierut in 1950

Bolesław Bierut

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Bierut in 1950
Bierut in around 1927
Bolesław Bierut in 1933, after his arrest by Polish Police
After World War II, based in part on the Potsdam Conference Allied determinations, the Polish authorities ordered the remaining Germans to leave Poland.
Bolesław Bierut inspecting members of the Union of Polish Youth, 1946
Bierut decorating the most productive workers on the rebuilt Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw, 1946
Bierut in 1948
Bolesław Bierut, President of Poland and General Secretary of the PZPR
1951 East German stamp commemorative of the Treaty of Zgorzelec, which established the Oder–Neisse line as a "border of peace"; presidents Wilhelm Pieck (GDR) and Bolesław Bierut are featured shaking hands over the border
Bierut was often photographed with children, which was meant to contribute to his cult of personality
Bierut reading Trybuna Ludu ('The People's Tribune'), the official newspaper of the Polish United Workers' Party
Bierut's funeral bier attended by Józef Cyrankiewicz, Edward Ochab and Aleksander Zawadzki
Bierut's tomb at Powązki Military Cemetery
Bolesław Bierut and Józef Cyrankiewicz during the opening of the Warsaw W-Z Route, 2 July 1949

Bolesław Bierut (18 April 1892 – 12 March 1956) was a Polish communist activist and politician, leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1947 until 1956.

East Germany

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

State that existed from 1949 to 1990 in east 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)
Volksbühne
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.

Silesia

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Historical region of Central Europe that lies mostly within Poland, with small parts in Czechia and Germany.

Historical region of Central Europe that lies mostly within Poland, with small parts in Czechia and Germany.

Silesia in the early period of Poland's fragmentation, 1172–1177, Lower Silesia with Lubusz Land in orange, Upper Silesia in green and yellow
Battle of Legnica (1241) during the First Mongol invasion of Poland
Lands of the Bohemian Crown between 1635 and 1742, before most of Silesia was ceded to Prussia
Typical Silesian baroque architecture in Wrocław
First map of Silesia by Martin Helwig, 1561; north at the bottom
Bolesław Śmiały Coal Mine, Łaziska Górne
Polish names of Silesian cities, from a 1750 Prussian official document published in Berlin during the Silesian Wars
Confessions in the German Empire (Protestant/Catholic; c. 1890). Lower Silesia was mostly Protestant, while Glatz (Kłodzko) and Upper Silesia were mostly Catholic.
Coat of arms of the Prussian province of Upper Silesia (1919–1938 and 1941–1945)
Coat of arms of the Silesian Voivodeship
The coat of arms of the Opolskie Voivodeship
Henryk IV's Probus coat of arms
Coat of arms of Austrian Silesia (1742–1918)
Prussian province of Lower Silesia (1919–1938 and 1941–1945)
Coat of arms of the Lower Silesia Voivodeship
Coat of arms of Czech Silesia
Flag of Prussian Upper Silesia province (1919–1938 and 1941–1945)
Flag of Silesia Voivodeship
Flag of the Austrian Silesia (1742–1918), and Czech Silesia
Flag of Prussian Lower Silesia province (1919–1938 and 1941–1945)
Flag of Lower Silesia Voivodeship
Churches of Peace, Świdnica and Jawor
Centennial Hall, Wrocław
Historic Silver Mine, Tarnowskie Góry
Muskau Park, Łęknica and Bad Muskau<ref>Łęknica and Bad Muskau were considered part of Silesia in years 1815–1945.</ref>

In 1945, after World War II, most of the German-held Silesia was transferred to Polish jurisdiction by the Potsdam Agreement between the victorious Allies and became again part of Poland, although with a Soviet-installed communist regime.

Jaruzelski in 1981

Wojciech Jaruzelski

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Jaruzelski in 1981
Jaruzelski in 1968
Jaruzelski (right) with Fidel Castro (left) in Poland, May 1972
Jaruzelski in a television studio, preparing to announce the imposition of martial law, 1981
Jaruzelski meeting with Yuri Andropov in Moscow, 1982
Jaruzelski (second from right) with other communist leaders and members of the Warsaw Pact, Berlin, 1987
Jaruzelski with Nicolae Ceaușescu
Jaruzelski in 2006
Jaruzelski's grave at Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw

Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski (6 July 1923 – 25 May 2014) was a Polish military officer, politician and de facto leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1981 until 1989.

Emblem worn by LWP soldiers; the "Piast eagle" without the crown

Polish People's Army

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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.

Second Polish Republic

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Country in Central and Eastern Europe that existed between 1918 and 1939.

Country in Central and Eastern Europe that existed between 1918 and 1939.

The Second Polish Republic in 1930
Coat of arms of Poland, 1919-1927
The Second Polish Republic in 1930
Polish defences at Miłosna, during the decisive Battle of Warsaw, August 1920
Marshal Józef Piłsudski, Chief of State (Naczelnik Państwa) between November 1918 and December 1922
The May Coup d'État (1926)
Ignacy Mościcki, President of Poland (left), Warsaw, 10 November 1936, awarding the Marshal's buława to Edward Rydz-Śmigły
The PZL.37 Łoś was a Polish twin-engine medium bomber.
Polish pavilion at Expo 1937 in Paris
Polish pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City
Poland's MS Batory, and MS Piłsudski, at the sea port of Gdynia, 18 December 1937
The Eastern Trade Fair in Lwów, 1936
Gdynia, a modern Polish seaport established in 1926
Industry and communications in Poland before the start of the Second World War
The CWS T-1 Torpedo was the first serially-built car manufactured in Poland.
Ciągówka Ursus was the first Polish farm tractor, produced from 1922 to 1927 in the Ursus Factory.
Prime Minister Kazimierz Bartel, also a scholar and mathematician
The National Museum in Warsaw (Polish: Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie), popularly known as the MNW, opened in 1938.
Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, Polish mathematicians and cryptologists who worked at breaking the German Enigma ciphers before and during the Second World War
Poland's population density in 1930
Contemporary map showing language frequency in 1931 across Poland; red: more than 50% native Polish speakers; green: more than 50% native language other than Polish, including Yiddish, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian and less frequent others
Officers from the Second Mountain Brigade of the Polish Legions in the First World War establishing the Polish-Czechoslovak border; they are pictured near the summit of Popadia in Gorgany during the formation of the Second Republic, 1915.
Physical map of the Second Polish Republic
Polish infantry marching, 1939
Polish soldiers with anti-aircraft artillery near Warsaw Central Station during the first days of September, 1939
Polish 7TP light tanks
ORP Orzeł was the lead ship of her class of submarines serving in the Polish Navy during the Second World War.

After the Second World War and the establishment of the later states of the Polish People's Republic and the Third Polish Republic, the state was referred to as the Second Polish Republic.

Citroën Traction Avant, a car commonly used by the UB

Ministry of Public Security (Poland)

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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.

Draft of the Polish constitution, with revisions and annotations hand-written by Bolesław Bierut

Constitution of the Polish People's Republic

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Supreme law passed in communist-ruled Poland on 22 July 1952.

Supreme law passed in communist-ruled Poland on 22 July 1952.

Draft of the Polish constitution, with revisions and annotations hand-written by Bolesław Bierut
A meeting of the Polish Council of State during the 1960s

The 1952 constitution introduced a new name for the Polish state, the Polish People's Republic (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa, PRL), replacing the previously used Republic of Poland (Rzeczpospolita Polska).

The first Sejm in Łęczyca. Recording of laws. A.D. 1180

Sejm

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Lower house of the bicameral parliament of Poland.

Lower house of the bicameral parliament of Poland.

The first Sejm in Łęczyca. Recording of laws. A.D. 1180
In 1791, the "Great Sejm" or Four-Year Sejm of 1788–1792 and Senate adopted the May 3rd Constitution at the Royal Castle in Warsaw
Tadeusz Rejtan tries to prevent the legalisation of the first partition of Poland by preventing the members of the Sejm from leaving the chamber (1773). Painting by Jan Matejko
Stanisław Dubois speaking to envoys and diplomats in the Sejm, 1931
Józef Beck, Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivers his famous Honour Speech in the Sejm, 5 May 1939.
The Sejm building in Warsaw
The Sejm's main hall
Sessions chamber in the Sejm
Sessions chamber viewed from the rostrum
Sejm cross
Column hall in the Sejm

The Sejm has been the highest governing body of the Third Polish Republic since the transition of government in 1989.