"Dzieje Najnowsze", ISSN 0419-8824, nr 4/1997

Henryk Lisiak,
Propaganda obronna w Polsce w rozstrzygającym okrwsie wojny polsko-sowieckiej 1920 r., s. 3-25

In the summer of 1920, the renascent Polish Republic faced the threat of an onslaught on the part of Bolshevik Russia. A sequence of defeats and the sudden withdrawal of the Polish forces, especially along the northern fragment of the front, questioned the further independent existence of the state. The situation appeared to be even more hazardous owing to the fact that the army did not enjoy the support of the Polish society, which did not attach great significance to combat waged in the distant borderland territories and became accustomed to easily won victories. The authorities, on the other had, did little to create a bond between the army and its natural hinterland. This state of things changed radically when the Soviet forces reached Polish ethnographic boundaries - the State Defence Council revealed the dramatic situation and called upon the entire Polish population to participate in repelling the enemy.
The patriotic appeal of the Council led to a defensive propaganda which encompassed the whole country and assumed assorted forms and contents. The ensuing campaign, spontaneously supported by all social, professional, and political environments, soon reached enormous proportions, and turned into a highly effective measure.
Basic instruments of the defensive propaganda included the press, leaflets, announcements, posters, meetings, demonstrations, marches, and processions. Dominating appeals called for inner mobilisation, the cessation of disputes and conflicts, universal unification, and sacrifices, both of material possessions and life, for the sake of the homeland. Another motif concerned overcoming Bolshevik ideology and presenting the assailants in darkest hues.
The two months-long defensive propaganda campaign, which contained not only patriotic motifs but also religious, informative, and educational currents, met the expectations associated with it. Internal conflicts died down, defensive stands multiplied, self-sacrifice grew, and a great patriotic deed was set free, creating a link between the country and the army. Soon, an internal front came into being. Its eloquent symbol was the over 100 000-strong "Voluntary Army". The revived morale of the troops meant that fear was replaced by a will to fight. The 1920 defensive propaganda campaign undoubtedly became the source of a great "resurrection" of the Polish spirit and a key to victory along the Vistula and the Niemen.

Michał Gnatowski,
Radziecka polityka na ziemiach północno-wschodnich Rzeczypospolitej (wrzesień-grudzień 1939 r.), s. 27-46

Upon the basis of Soviet sources, heretofore unavailable to historians, the author delineates the background of Soviet assault against Poland on 17 September 1939. Particular attention is drawn to programme documents (Directive no. 1 of the Belorussian Front of 16 September 1939 and a Resolution of the Political Bureau of the All-Russian Communist Party [Bolsheviks] of 1 October 1939), which contain a detailed scenario for the Sovietisation and Russification of the eastern Polish territories.
It follows unambiguously from the Soviet documents that the prime target was the annexation of the eastern territories of Poland, their Sovietisation and Russification, as well as the ensuing subjugation of the local population. These goals were pursued under the cover of lofty slogans calling for a "social revolution", "national unification", and the equal rights of all nations. Nonetheless, the Polish nation was deprived of rights to an independent state, and Poles in the incorporated terrains were regarded as "colonisers" or "Polonised" Belorussians and Ukrainians. The "colonisers" were doomed to annihilation and elimination, while the "Polonised" population was offered opportunities for survival under the condition of renouncing its Polishness, condemning the Polish state, and agreeing to full Sovietisation and Russification. Even scarce Polish communists, ready to cooperate with the Soviet authorities, were treated instrumentally.
An important element of the article is a depiction of the provisional authorities, organised in 1939 by the Soviet army, whose activity and character negated the theses about the "liberation" and "revolutionary" nature of the introduced changes, proclaimed in Soviet historiography. The author also focuses attention on the fact that contemporary Belorussian historiography still supports such theses. A considerable number of Belorussian historians treat Soviet aggression of 17 September 1939 as a "progressive process of revolutionary transformations" aimed at restoring Belorussian national unity. In this manner, they deny the borderland character of the territories in question and obliterate the anti-Polish, annexionist nature of the Soviet policy as well as the true attitude of the Soviet authorities to Poland and Poles during the period under examination.

Łukasz Kamiński,
Strajki robotnicze w Polsce 1945-1948. Próba bilansu, s. 47-56

At least 825 workers' strikes took place in Poland from April 1945 to December 1948. Their greatest intensity occurred in 1946, when 34,2 strikes were held on the average a month. The strike movement was much lower in 1945 (15,8), 1947 (14,9), and 1948 (7,8). The largest number of strikes (a total of 80%) was recorded in the Łódź, Katowice, Kraków and Kielce voivodeships - highly industrialised regions unaffected by mass-scale migrations. The smallest number of strikes was noted in the newly adjoined terrains where the social fibre was barely assuming shape and the atomisation of society facilitated control over it. The most frequent strikes were organised by the employees of the textile and mining industries (a total of 56,5%). In 1945-1948, large strikes involving several thousand people declined systematically, while small-scale protests (table no. 2) grew. Strikes lasting more than one day were also on the rise (table no. 3); 82,5% of all protests was economic while the remaining ones consisted of political demands. Table no. 4 presents six of the most popular economic protests concerning supplies, wage rises, term payments, bonuses, excessive norms, and work shoes and protective clothing. Political protests were dominated by solidarity strikes with other workplaces, as well as frequent strikes in the name of detained or dismissed employees. In 1945-1948, the frequency of strikes declined as did their duration and the number of strikers. This process was caused by a gradual stability of the country, growing control over society, and the exhaustion of a potential for social resistance.

Czesław Lewandowski,
Początki likwidacji niezależności szkoły polskiej po wyborach sejmowych w 1947 r., s. 57-71

The "victory" won by the Polish Workers' Party (PPR) during the parliamentary election held in January 1947 enabled it to embark upon the subjugation of the Polish school system, a target carefully disguised up to then. From the very beginning, the accompanying "democratisation" of the educational system was pursued in two directions. In the first place, it set into motion a campaign of a thorough verification and selection of the school administration workers and, almost simultaneously, initiated a system of ideological-political training intended for teachers.
The article presents select undertakings and methods used for the realisation of both goals. These steps came down (or led) to:

1. the establishment in each inspector general's office of a concealed political body, the so-called threesome, whose purpose was to carry our purges of the school administration staff;
2. the work of the "threesomes", headed by members of the PPR, lasted from spring to autumn 1947;
3. the criteria for personnel selection and exchange used by the "threesomes" were of a political nature;
4. the ideological training of teachers organised by the PPR party school in the summer of 1947 was, judging by its programme and the atmosphere prevalent during the courses, envisaged as an instrument of indoctrination and, with time, as an important test of loyalty.

Eugeniusz Duraczyński,
PZPR w kryzysie - kryzys w PZPR (lato 1980-lato 1981), s. 73-92

In the summer of 1980, and subsequently, the Polish workers and their supporters among the majority of intellectuals openly opposed single-party rule in the name of political pluralism, and questioned the leading role of the communist party in the state. This step was not only an attack launched against the constitutional order imposed by the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) but comprised a campaign which undermined the foremost pillar of the real socialist system, whose architect and guard was Moscow and the Brezhnev doctrine, formulated in August 1968. Although at the end of the Edward Gierek decade Poland was no longer a totalitarian state, and the PZPR was not a totalitarian party, the largest and most extensive crisis in the history of the member states of the bloc was brought about by a powerful anti-totalitarian movement, whose organisational framework was the "Solidarity" trade union movement, headed by Lech Wałęsa.
The entire PZPR, led from September 1980 by Stanisław Kania, sought a solution to the spreading crisis. Already in the autumn of that year, hopes for finding a suitable remedy were associated with the ninth extraordinary Party congress. This event disclosed the existence of assorted inner-Party currents: pro-reform, concentrated in so-called horizontal structures, dogmatic and fundamentalist - the so-called concrete trend, personified by Tadeusz Grabski, Andrzej Żabiński, Stefan Olszowski and Stanisław Kociołek, as well as a pragmatic-realistic tendency, represented by Kania, Wojciech Jaruzelski, Kazimierz Barcikowski, and Mieczysław Rakowski. The ninth congress (July 1981) produced a new Party elite and a victory for the pragmatists. The pro-reform trend failed, sharing the fate of the diehards. Kania received a sui generis remission for his term in office as First Secretary of the Central Committee. The targets of his policy from the summer of 1980 to the summer of 1981 could be summed up as: 1. to face the onslaught of spontaneous forces; 2. to withdraw, but not in a state of panic, and to concede, but without giving up the most important assets: the army, the militia, the economy, and the media; 3. to conduct personnel changes in the hope that they would put a halt to a rapidly declining social concession to the leading role of the PZPR within the state; 4. to prevent a split within the Party; 5. to declare a constant readiness for dialogue and compromise solutions in the conflict with "Solidarity" in the hope that by retaining the latter within the framework of the constitutional order it would, with time, become part of the system; 6. to prevent the domination within the state leadership of forces ready to resolve the conflict with "Solidarity" as quickly as possible and by resorting to violence, but simultaneously to prepare a plan of such a campaign to be carried out in case of supreme necessity and at a time recognised by the Party leadership as most suitable and realistic; 7. to retain proper relations with the Catholic Church hierarchy; 8. to incessantly test the limits of Moscow resilience. Kania, Jaruzelski, Rakowski, Barcikowski and their adherents regarded Soviet intervention as the greatest evil that could befall Poland, albeit they envisaged it as realistic and feasible at almost every moment.
At least some of the above listed intentions were pursued successfully; nonetheless, the sources of the conflict remained, the confrontation with "Solidarity" did not cease, and the prognosis of a relatively stable coexistence remained extremely blurred and, for all practical purposes, never became clearly outlined.

Zygmunt Zieliński,
Przemieszczenia ludnościowe w Europie Środkowowschodniej po II wojnie światowej. Próba bilansu historiograficznego, s. 93-118

Andrzej Werblan,
Rozmowy Władysława Gomułki z Zhou Enlaiem w 1957 r., s. 119-144