How Warsaw I was fortunate to be able to

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How did the Soviet takeover of Poland affect the Polish Economy in
between 1945 – 1950?

 

 

Methodology

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24th January
2018

Matteu Andrea Motyl

 

Mm79842

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.    
Abstract

I have chosen to raise the intriguing question: how did the Soviet
communist order, a Socially and Culturally alien system to that of the Poles
affect the Polish economy?

 

My first step was to read a part of Adam Zamoyski’s book, “Poland: a
History”. This gave me an intimate understanding of the History of Poland
during this time period

 

fundamental history books in order to get an understanding of the context,
from Norman Davies to Adam Zamoyski. Living in Warsaw I was fortunate to be
able to interview one of the leading Polish historians specializing in the period
in question. Professor Alexander Pawlicki guided me to further sources, which
represented quite diverse opinions. Furthermore he attracted my attention to
the controversy surrounding this issue. The exchange with Mr. Pawlicki lasted a
whole morning and was conducted in Polish with the support of a translator. Once
I had read four books, numerous articles and had the interview with Mr.

Pawlicki, I was ready to write the paper.

 

What did I learn?

The Soviets had chased away the Nazi evil in 1945 and used the weakness
of the decapitated nation as an advantage to gain support from those who had
lost everything. The Russian communists were the real masters of the country
given the presence of the red army and the NKVD (Soviet Secret Service). The
Redistribution of the confiscated land among the landless and poor peasants
along with declaring the new system a workers state seduced the peasants and
workers to support or at least tolerate it. With these “carrots” and a
merciless repertoire of oppressive means they managed to push into submission
essential segments of the society from 1945 to 1950.

 

Table of Contents

 

1.    
Abstract…………………………………………………………………..2

2.    
Table of Contents……………………………………………………….3

3.    
Introduction………………………………………………………………4

4.    
Decapitation and Disorientation of the Polish
Society………………4-7

3.1
War time…………………………………………………………4-5

3.2
Post war………………………………………………………… 6-8

5.    
International Aspect: the “Selling Out” of Eastern
Europe (Allies

accepted
in Yalta that Poland and other European Nations would

be
part of a soviet influence zone.)……………………………………8-9

6.    
Sovietization (enforcement, respectively
manipulative introduction

of
soviet order.)………………………………………………………….9-13

7.    
Heroism, Fatalism, Opportunism and the Role of the Church……..

13-16

8.    
Conclusion……………………………………………………………….15-18

9.    
Bibliography………………………………………………………………19-20

10.  Appendices……………………………………………………………….21-22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.     Introduction

 

While 26 years ago, it
seemed to be self-evident, that the fall of the iron curtain was the end of an
oppressive Soviet communist hegemony over satellite states, this topic has
reemerged as the subject of ideological warfare: In Putin’s Russia, state
historians have reintroduced the thesis that the Soviet system, while having
some lacunae, stood for the liberation of East European nations from fascism
and introduced them to a progressive economic and social system. This viewpoint
is largely challenged by an overwhelming majority of academia in western
democracies and witnesses from the concerned Eastern and Southeastern European
states. This paper has the ambition to review this debate by studying the often
surprisingly contradictory related perspectives of different Polish political
and social strata and diverse interest groups.

 

3.    
Decapitation
and disorientation of the Polish Society

3.1 
War
time

During the Nazi
and Soviet occupation of Poland, the conquerors engaged
in systematic oppression and extermination of specific ethnic groups and the
countries’ elites.1
Lawyers, doctors, professors, priests, members of local authorities were massively
imprisoned or routinely killed.2
This could be called the second holocaust. The entire Krakow university faculty,
for instance, was sent to concentration camps.3
According to Adam Zamoyski, 1 in 3 priests and doctors and more than half of the
lawyers had been murdered in the country.  Over 3 million Polish Jews were murdered.4

While the Nazis are more
notoriously known for the massacre of Polish people, and were responsible for
many more deaths, the Soviets also spilled a lot of Polish blood. It is
estimated that approximately 5.57 million Polish
citizens died at the hands of the Nazis but also 150 thousand Poles were
selected to disappear by the Soviet Oppressive Agencies.5 The
Soviets did not only kill astonishing numbers of Poles, but also displaced or
imprisoned many more in the USSR. 1,700,000 inhabitants were shipped to Russian
and Siberian gulags and 400,000 Poles were displaced from their homes.6 Such was
the result of the annihilation and divide and rule
strategy by the Soviets and Nazis, that the traditionally strongly multiethnic
Poland was mutilated after the war to become a single ethnic entity. The most
notorious example of mass murder by the USSR was the massacre of 20,000 Polish
army officers in the forest of Katyn in the spring of 1940.This demonstrates
how Moscow was systematically cutting off Poland’s head, starting by completely
destroying the army’s chain of command – which was traditionally patriotically
oriented and highly distrustful of foreign, particularly German and Russian/Soviet
Influence.

 

Not all inhabitants of Poland
opposed the Nazi and the Soviet occupation. The ethnically German population welcomed
the German occupiers and became “Volksdeutsche” with great privileges.

Ukrainian nationalists in the initially Soviet occupied and later German
overrun east, also collaborated with the Germans, hoping to get an Ukrainian
homeland.7
Byelorussians bet on Soviet support for their own aspirations.

 

 

 

3.2  Post
War

 

To answer the question, how
the Poles perceived the Soviet inspired system after the war, we need first to
understand the condition or the state in which the Polish nation found itself
the aftermath of the war.

The multiethnic Poland, as it
had existed before the war, had been obliterated.  Its legitimate former government, which had
escaped to and functioned from London, was after the war hindered by Stalin
from returning.8 Its
economy was in shambles. The ethnic German Inhabitants had been forcibly
transferred behind the new western border, and Poles from the east, who found
themselves in the new Soviet republics,  were moved into the space left by the
displaced German minority, into an area completely strange to them.9
Most of Polish elites were either dead, in Soviet gulags or had emigrated. In a
nutshell, the Polish nation was in complete disarray and traumatized.

After the Occupation the
government escaped to London.  Throughout
the war it was internationally recognized as the official Government, but when
the Soviets took Poland from the Germans they installed by manipulation and
force an administration of their sympathizers, controlled and dictated by
Stalin’s Secret Services.10
The Poles found themselves yet again governed by alien forces and, as it will
be shown in the coming paragraphs, were ultimately unable to resist.

Poland’s economy had been
largely destroyed, due to fighting and occupiers “cannibalization”. Poland was
the most heavily affected by the war. The whole of Poland lost 38% of all
assets, and countless individuals had lost everything that they had owned. In
Warsaw up to 85% of the city’s assets were lost.11
The comprehensive destruction did not only concern government buildings, banks
and factories, but as importantly also educational facilities, museums,
scientific laboratories and libraries and most importantly again, the whole
intellectual segments of the Population.12
Poland had been robbed of its material wealth but also of its culture and
heritage, leaving the Polish populace alienated within their own country,
completely disoriented and concerned mainly with bare survival.

 

The deracination is well
illustrated by the transfer of approximately 4 million Poles from the former
eastern Poland (after the war part of Soviet Union) to the west, where all the
ethnic Germans had been ethnically cleansed. It was a nationwide movement of
people, leaving millions in unfamiliar settings, completely disorientated.

Since the Germans and Soviets had systematically and intentionally exterminated
the Polish elites, there were few national, local, political, academic or
economic leaders left to start to reassemble the broken nation.13
Most people had lost faith in very basic rules of governmental or inter-human
behavior, since under the Nazi and Soviet rule there was no more generally
shared codex of ethical values left. The People of Poland had witnessed and
suffered a complete meltdown of the rule of law, and of any elements of moral
order. (Refer to appendix 2)

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Applebaum,
Anne. Iron Curtain: The Crushing of
Eastern Europe, 1944-1956. New York: Doubleday, 2012. Print.

Davies,
Norman. God’s Playground: A History of
Poland. New York: Columbia UP, 1982. Print.

Douglas,
R. M. Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion
of the Germans after the Second World War. New Haven: Yale UP, 2012. Print.

Douglas,
R.M. “The Expulsion Of The Germans: The Largest Forced Migration In
History.” The Huffington Post.

TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 June 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

 

1 Interview with Dr. Alexander Pawlicki

2  Zamoyski, 338

3Interview with Dr. Alexander Pawlicki

4 Marek Galezowski, (German Genocide towards Polish
Jews)

5 Polish experts lower nation’s WWII death toll (30th
August 2009)

6 Zamoyski,
316

7 Zamoyski,
341

8 Filip Musial (The refugee Government in London)

9 R.M. Douglas, (The Expulsion Of The Germans: The Largest Forced Migration
In History)

10 Norman Davies, 413/414

11 Zamoyski 338

12 Interview with Dr. Alexander Pawlicki

14 Timothy Snyder:
Bloodlands