Courtesy Reuters

The Fate of Polish Socialism

IN Soviet eyes, Poland is the most important of the satellites. Even after her enormous losses in the war years, she has by far the largest population of any member of the group. She is the largest in area; she is the greatest producer of food and coal; and she has in the Dabrowan-Silesian basin an industrial area potentially capable of playing the part of an Eastern European Ruhr.

Of even greater importance, however, Poland is the bridge to Germany. Having served alternately as the channel through which Lenin hoped to reach the German working class in order to touch off the world revolution, and the obstacle which prevented the realization of that aim, today Poland offers an open road over which men, materials and ideas roll westward into Germany from the Soviet Union.

Thus what Lenin attempted, Stalin has been able to achieve: Poland today is on the way to sovietization. She has been won for Communism methodically and relatively quietly. There have been no "February days," there has been as yet no Mindszenty trial, and incipient Polish "Titoism" has been effectively knocked on the head.[i]

The end of effective and open political opposition to the process of sovietization was signalized by the defeat of Stanislaw Mikolajczyk's Polish Peasant Party in the rigged elections of January 19, 1947. Mikolajczyk had not been alone, of course, in his attempt to ward off absolute Communist control. A majority of the prewar membership of the Polish Socialist Party stood with him on this issue, and so did many of its post-1944 leaders. The relative ease of the success of the Communists in Poland was the result of their ability to keep Mikolajczyk and the Socialists from forming a common front against them. The destruction of the Socialist Party followed soon after Mikolajczyk's disappearance from the scene. This ended all hope that Poland might manage her own affairs in a fashion divergent in even the slightest measure from that ordained by her "big brother" to the

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