[2], Ł. Jastrząb, "Rozstrzelano moje serce w Poznaniu. President Eisenhower handled it by choosing not to intervene militarily on the side of the Hungarians, fearing that it might start a war with the Soviet Union. He was executed in 1958 What happened on the 23rd of October, 1956? [16][17], Eventually, when Khrushchev was reassured that Gomułka would not alter the basic foundations of Polish communism, he withdrew the invasion threat and agreed to compromise, and Gomułka was confirmed in his new position. "Dethroning Stalin: Poland 1956 and its Legacy". The negotiations were tense; both Polish and Soviet troops were put on alert and engaged in "manoeuvres" that were used as thinly-veiled threats. Hungarian Revolution, popular uprising in Hungary in 1956, following a speech by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in which he attacked the period of Joseph Stalin ’s rule. [24] History professor Iván T. Berend claims that while the effects of the Polish October on the Eastern Bloc may be disputed, it set the course for the eventual fall of communism in the People's Republic of Poland. Wages were raised by 50%, and economic and political change was promised. [4], In Poland, in addition to criticism of the cult of personality, popular topics of debate centered on the right to steer a more independent course of "local, national socialism", instead of following the Soviet model in every detail. However, unlike the protesters in Hungary and Poznań, activists limited their political demands and behaviour, which were not purely opposed to communist and the system. For example, many members of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) criticised Stalin's execution of older Polish communists during the Great Purge. In the next several months—despite a series of internal party disputes, a visit by Nikita Khrushchev and a Soviet delegation to Warsaw (October 19–20, 1956), and the threat of a Soviet invasion of Poland—the Central Committee elected Gomułka first secretary of the party (October 21, 1956). After the death of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (March 1953), the rigidly authoritarian communist regime in Poland relaxed some of its policies. This decision was made despite Moscow's threats to invade Poland if the PZPR picked Gomulka, a moderate who had been purged after losing his battle with Bierut. 1956 Polish and Hungarian Crises. The power in Warsaw, after the negotiation stiffened, and favored the use of the army to brutally silence this popular movement in 1956 in Poznan. Thus, both countries held crucial power in different facets. On November 4, 1956, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to crush, once and for all, the national uprising. [8], Information about events in Poland reached the people of Hungary via Radio Free Europe's news and commentary services between 19 October and 22 October 1956. The death of Joseph Stalin in 1953 and the resulting destalinization and the Khrushchev Thaw prompted debates about fundamental issues throughout the entire Eastern Bloc. Soon, however, the party hierarchy recognised that the riots had awakened a nationalist movement and reversed their opinion. The following day the minister of defense, Konstantin Rokossovsky (a former Soviet officer), ordered the local military commander to suppress the uprising, and within a few days nearly 60 people were killed, more than 200 were wounded, and order was restored in Poznań. A new Party Congress was demanded, as were a greater role for the Sejm and a guarantee of personal liberties. Poznań Riots, (June 1956), uprising of Polish industrial workers that caused a crisis among the Polish communist leadership as well as in the Soviet bloc and resulted in the establishment of a new Polish regime headed by Władysław Gomułka. Although the spontaneous uprising remained localized and could not be sustained, it convinced the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) that significant policy changes had to be undertaken. It abolished the powerful and tyrannical Ministry of Security, demoting or arresting many of its chief officials, and declared an amnesty for 100,000 political prisoners. October Crisis in Poland 1956. [1][4], The leadership's stance contributed to the relatively-moderate political dimension of social protest in October. The political atmosphere in Poland shifted as questions were increasingly asked about taboo subjects like the Polish communists' legitimacy; responsibility for Stalin's crimes; the arrest of the increasingly-popular Władysław Gomułka, and issues in Soviet–Polish relations, such as the continued Soviet military presence in Poland, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, the Katyn massacre and the Soviet failure to support the Warsaw Uprising. The enthusiastic public support offered to Gomułka contributed to the legitimisation of communist rule in Poland, which incorporated mass nationalist, anti-Soviet feelings into the prevailing power structures. The revelations may even have contributed to the Polish uprising in June 1956 and the Hungarian revolution of October 1956. The majority of the Polish leadership, backed by both the army and the Internal Security Corps, brought Gomułka and several associates into the Politburo and designated Gomułka as First Secretary. Khrushchev's speech worked against him. In addition, the unexpected death in Moscow in 1956 of Bolesław Bierut, the PZPR First Secretary (known as the "Stalin of Poland"),[6] led to increased rivalry between various factions of Polish communists and to growing tensions in Polish society, which culminated in the Poznań 1956 protests (also known as June '56). Europe Poland marks 50 years since 1968 anti-Semitic purge. Transcription & mark-up by Einde O’Callaghanfor ETOL. [20], In the aftermath of the October events, Rokossovsky and many other Soviet "advisers" left Poland, signaling that Moscow was willing to grant Polish communists slightly more independence. Polish Crisis, Warsaw, Poland,... ️Best Price Guaranteed ️Simple licensing. Omissions? Workers' delegations met to consider the return of a former leader, ousted and … On the afternoon of 23 October 1956, approximately 20,000 protesters convened next to the statue of József Bem—a national hero of Poland and Hungary. Poland and Hungary. Vicious street fighting broke out, but the Soviets’ great power ensured victory. Riots broke out that left dozens dead by the time the military suppressed the uprising.…. Brandishing slogan-laden banners demanding bread and freedom, 30,000 demonstrators marched through the city. 1956 Hungarian events as moving in the direction of proletarian political revolu­ tion. Poland in 1956 - New Interpretations of the Social Protest and Political Crisis. Gruson, Sydney. In the last ten days of October, monuments to the Red Army, despised by Poles, were attacked; red stars were pulled down from roofs of houses, factories and schools; red flags were destroyed; and portraits of Konstantin Rokossovsky, the military commander in charge of operations that drove the Nazi German forces from Poland, were defaced. The 1956 Hungarian Uprising, often referred to as the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, is considered by many as the nation's greatest tragedy. By mid-November, Gomułka had secured substantive gains in his negotiations with the Soviets: the cancellation of Poland's existing debts, new preferential trade terms, abandonment of the unpopular Soviet-imposed collectivization of Polish agriculture, and permission to liberalize policy towards the Roman Catholic Church. [7], Gomułka, in his public speeches, criticized the hardships of Stalinism and promised reforms to democratize the country; this was received with much enthusiasm by Polish society. ", 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, On the Personality Cult and Its Consequences. That integration made any reform, whether political or economic, in country inevitably have a great impact on the other. Crowds often took radical action, which often resulted in unrest on the streets and clashes with police and other law enforcement agencies. Posted by Miss Cust at 10:50 No comments: Email This BlogThis! [citation needed]. Also, party committees were not attacked. The Soviet Union directed the products that Poland manufactured, bought the products and exported goods to Poland that were no longer produced in it. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... …heads; a violently suppressed workers’ strike in Poznań in June 1956 shook the whole country. The Hungarian Crisis 1956. [1] Gomułka insisted to be given real power to implement reforms. The demonstrations were suppressed but they did afford reformist Communists the opportunity to advance an agenda that included significant concessions to … Tens of thousands took part in such meetings. [7], Gomulka's pledge to follow a "Polish road to socialism" more in harmony with national traditions and preferences caused many Poles to interpret the dramatic confrontation of 1956 as a sign that the end of the dictatorship was in sight. They spurred social protest in June but dampened it in October, when the threat of Soviet invasion against Gomułka and his supporters transformed the social image of Polish communists. This essay will compare the events of 1956, drawing on recently declassified materials from Hungarian, Polish and Russian archives.While the recently accessible archival sources do not call for a radically new interpretation of events, they do yield For several decades, scholarship on the Polish crisis of 1956 focused on high politics: the post-Stalin ‘thaw’, factional struggles within the communist Party (PZPR) and the return to power of Władysław Gomułka. The country had been forced to rely on the Soviets for so long that breaking away completely would prove disastrous. In 1968, the Polish Communist party declared thousands of Jews enemies of the state and forced them to leave Poland. If it was a threat or not, it was seen as one by some government officials in America. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Even before learning the details of and securing a summary or copy of Khrushchev’s speech, the U.S. began to position itself to take advantage of the revelations. Prague Spring 1968. Soviets put a brutal end to Hungarian revolution A spontaneous national uprising that began 12 days before in Hungary is viciously crushed by Soviet tanks and … After the death of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (March 1953), the rigidly authoritarian communist regime in Poland relaxed some of its policies. [2], Society became more liberal (as seen, for instance, in the achievements of the Polish Film School and the creation of such controversial movies as Ashes and Diamonds), and a civil society started to develop, but half-hearted democratization was not enough to satisfy the Polish public. These changes stimulated a popular desire for more-radical reforms, but the Polish leadership, which included a substantial number of conservative Stalinists, was reluctant. In June 1956, workers in the Polish city of Poznan demonstrated against cuts in wages and the insensitivity of local authorities to their grievances. In October, they became a part of the nation opposing Soviet domination. Gomułka's thaw was caused by several factors. With the more exotic visitors, Poles also socialised in private apartments all around the city. Journalists and foreign party members, including Italy's communist leader Togliatt, were not allowed to attend. In June, protests by workers in June in Poznań had highlighted the people's dissatisfaction with their situation. The communist authorities were not openly and unequivocally challenged, as they had been in June, and anticommunist slogans, which had been prevalent in the June uprising, such as "We want free elections", "Down with Communist dictatorship" or "Down with the Party", were much less prevalent. Kemp-Welch, Tony. Download Now ️ On November 18, rioters destroyed the militia headquarters and radio jamming equipment in Bydgoszcz, and on December 10, a crowd in Szczecin attacked public buildings, including a prison, the state prosecutor's office, militia headquarters and the Soviet consulate. Hymns were sung, and the release of Stefan Wyszyński and the reinstatement of suppressed bishops were demanded. The Polish government initially responded by branding the rioters as "provocateurs, counterrevolutionaries and imperialist agents". Dallin, Alexander. During Stalinism, the Soviet Union had placed Moscow-friendly Poles or Russians themselves in important political positions in Poland. "Khrushchev's 'Secret Speech' and Polish Politics: The Spring of 1956". People across the country criticised the security police and asked for the dissolution of the public security committee and the punishment of its most guilty functionaries. "The Soviet Stake in Eastern Europe". The meetings were usually organized by local party cells, local authorities and trade unions. Also crucial were the impacts of nationalism and nationalist emotions. [2], For the People's Republic of Poland, 1956 was a year of transition. How to explain, however, the longevity of the Polish crisis in the early 80s while the earlier protest movements have … Attempts were made to force entries into the homes of Soviet citizens, mostly in Lower Silesia, which was home to many Soviet troops. Therefore, any reform in the Polish government would have to concede to some Soviet demands, but the Soviets concurrently would have to concede to a vital partner.[14]. However, the real attractions for the Polish people were the foreigners, many of whom were from Western Europe and contrasted starkly with local Poles because they shared a similar culture but were much richer and more open. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Poznan-Riots, The New York Times - Rioting Over Hard Life in Poland Led to ‘Golden October’ of 1956. The demonstrations were suppressed but they did afford reformist Communists the opportunity to advance an agenda that included significant concessions to … Poland, 1956. Polish October (Polish: Polski październik), also known as October 1956, Polish thaw, or Gomułka's thaw, marked a change in the politics of Poland in the second half of 1956. Untouched by the scandals of Stalinism, Gomułka was acceptable to the Polish masses but at first was viewed with much suspicion by Moscow. 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