Saturday, April 23, 2016
20th Anniversary of the Peoples Republic of Poland 15.4.1964
The Polish People's Republic (Polish: Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa, PRL) was the official name of Poland between 1952 and 1989. The name was given by the Constitution of 1952 which was based on the 1936 Soviet Constitution. Between 1947 and 1952, the name of the Polish state had been simply Rzeczpospolita Polska (the Republic of Poland) in accordance with the temporary Constitution of 1947. At the time of its founding during final stages of World War II, the new Soviet-controlled Poland was regarded as a puppet entity set up from outside the State concerned, and over time, it developed into a satellite state of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union had much influence over both internal and external affairs, and Red Army forces were stationed in Poland (1945: 500,000; until 1955: 120,000 to 150,000; until 1989: 40,000). In 1945, Soviet generals and advisors formed 80% of the officer cadre of the Polish Armed Forces. The Polish United Workers' Party became the dominant political party, officially making the country a Communist state.
At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Stalin was able to present his western allies, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, with a fait accompli in Poland. His armed forces were in occupation of the country, and his agents, the communists, were in control of its administration. The USSR was in the process of incorporating the lands in eastern Poland which it had occupied between 1939 and 1941.
In compensation, the USSR awarded Poland German territories in Pomerania, Silesia and Brandenburg east of the Oder–Neisse line, plus the southern half of East Prussia. These awards were confirmed at the Tripartite Conference of Berlin, otherwise known as the Potsdam Conference in August 1945 after the end of the war in Europe. Stalin was determined that Poland's new government would become his tool towards making Poland a Soviet puppet state controlled by the communists. He had severed relations with the Polish government-in-exile in London in 1943, but to appease Roosevelt and Churchill he agreed at Yalta that a coalition government would be formed. The communists held a majority of key posts in this new government, and with Soviet support they soon gained almost total control of the country, rigging all elections.