A report on Polish United Workers' Party

Statute of the Polish United Workers' Party, 1956 edition
Władysław Gomułka, at the height of his popularity, on 24 October 1956, addressing hundreds of thousands of people in Warsaw, asked for an end to demonstrations and a return to work. "United with the working class and the nation", he concluded, "the Party will lead Poland along a new way of socialism".
First Secretary of PZPR Edward Gierek (left) with Speaker of the House of Representatives Carl Albert (right), Washington D.C., 1974
PZPR's newspaper "Trybuna Ludu" issue 13 December 1981 reports martial law in Poland.
Dom Partii building in Warsaw, former headquarters of PZPR

The communist party which ruled the Polish People's Republic as a one-party state from 1948 to 1989.

- Polish United Workers' Party

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Polish People's Republic

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

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

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

The Polish People's Republic was a socialist one-party state, with a unitary Marxist–Leninist government headed by the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).

Polish Workers' Party

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Communist party in Poland from 1942 to 1948.

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).

Citroën Traction Avant, a car commonly used by the UB

Ministry of Public Security (Poland)

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The secret police, intelligence and counter-espionage agency operating in the Polish People's Republic.

The secret police, intelligence and counter-espionage agency operating in the Polish People's Republic.

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 initial UB was headed by Public Security General Stanisław Radkiewicz and supervised by Jakub Berman of the Polish Politburo.

Polish T-55 tanks enter the town of Zbąszyń while moving east towards Poznań, 13 December 1981

Martial law in Poland

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Martial law in Poland (Stan wojenny w Polsce) existed between 13 December 1981 and 22 July 1983.

Martial law in Poland (Stan wojenny w Polsce) existed between 13 December 1981 and 22 July 1983.

Polish T-55 tanks enter the town of Zbąszyń while moving east towards Poznań, 13 December 1981
Polish T-55 tanks enter the town of Zbąszyń while moving east towards Poznań, 13 December 1981
Gierek in the White House with President Gerald Ford, 1974
A ration card for sugar, 1976
Edward Gierek (right) with President Jimmy Carter (left) during his state visit to Warsaw, 1977. The loans and Solidarity were among the chief topics discussed
General Jaruzelski was determined to suppress any opposition along with the Solidarity Movement
A censored regional newspaper that reported about the Bydgoszcz events, in which the militia abused Solidarity members. The censorship was to prevent the slander of state services
The Military Council of National Salvation (WRON), which was founded on 13 December and presided over the military junta. Its Polish abbreviation "WRONa" means a crow bird, and members of the council were known to the opposition as evil "Crows"
ZOMO squads with police batons preparing to disperse and beat protesters. The sarcastic caption reads "outstretched hands of understanding" or "outstretched hands for agreement", with batons ironically symbolizing hands
The former PZPR headquarters in Gdańsk (right). ZOMO machine-gunned demonstrators from the rooftop
An intercity travel pass, 1981
A censored telegram, 1982
Food, alcohol, and cigarettes rationing card
Students in Edinburgh, Scotland collecting signatures for a petition in support of Solidarity in 1981
Jaruzelski in a TV studio announcing the introduction of martial law
Units of the Citizens' Militia and ZOMO race to disperse crowds of protesters

The government of the Polish People's Republic drastically restricted everyday life by introducing martial law and a military junta in an attempt to counter political opposition, in particular the Solidarity movement.

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.

Bierut in 1950

Bolesław Bierut

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Polish communist activist and politician, leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1947 until 1956.

Polish communist activist and politician, leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1947 until 1956.

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

He was President of the State National Council from 1944 to 1947, President of Poland from 1947 to 1952, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party from 1948 to 1956, and Prime Minister of Poland from 1952 to 1954.

The commemorative plaque at the University of Warsaw for the students demanding freedom of speech in 1968

1968 Polish political crisis

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The commemorative plaque at the University of Warsaw for the students demanding freedom of speech in 1968
Władysław Gomułka with Leonid Brezhnev in Berlin on 17 April 1967
The Dziady theatrical event and its cancellation triggered student protests and violent response by the authorities
General Mieczysław Moczar initiated and led the widespread antisemitic campaign of 1968
Part of a permanent exhibition dedicated to the March events at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

The Polish 1968 political crisis, also known in Poland as March 1968, Students' March, or March events (Marzec 1968; studencki Marzec; wydarzenia marcowe), was a series of major student, intellectual and other protests against the communist regime of the Polish People's Republic.

Solidarity logo

Solidarity (Polish trade union)

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Polish trade union founded in August 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland.

Polish trade union founded in August 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland.

Solidarity logo
30th anniversary mural depicting the murdered priest Jerzy Popiełuszko who publicly supported Solidarity during the 1980s
The logo of Solidarność painted on an overturned Soviet era T-55 in Prague in 1990
Students in Scotland collect signatures for a petition in support of Solidarity in 1981
Solidarity, ETUC Demonstration—Budapest 2011

It meant a break in the hard-line stance of the Communist Polish United Workers' Party, which had bloodily ended a 1970 protest with machine-gun fire (killing over thirty and injuring over 1,000), and the broader Soviet Communist government in the Eastern Bloc, which had quelled both the 1956 Hungarian Uprising and the 1968 Prague Spring with Soviet-led invasions.

Dziennik logo (1980s)

Dziennik Telewizyjny

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Dziennik Telewizyjny (Television Journal; DT), commonly simplified to Dziennik (lit.

Dziennik Telewizyjny (Television Journal; DT), commonly simplified to Dziennik (lit.

Dziennik logo (1980s)
Telewizja Polska logo, 1952–1992
Poland's first satellite ground station in Psary-Kąty, 1975
The studio in the 1960s

It was Poland's second regularly televised newscast and the primary propaganda tool used by the Polish United Workers' Party during the Cold War.

Polish Socialist Party

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Socialist political party in Poland.

Socialist political party in Poland.

It was one of the most important parties in Poland from its inception in 1892 until its merger with the communist Polish Workers' Party to form the Polish United Workers' Party in 1948.