Poland in the Eastern Bloc

December 27, 1967

Report Outline
Strains on Poland' Political System
Poland's Fate Between East and West
Future of Poland in the Soviet System

Strains on Poland' Political System

Poland, a bastion of Soviet influence since World War II, is being swept by the same winds of dissent that have been felt across the rest of Eastern Europe. Unlike some of the other Soviet bloc nations, however, Poland's Communist leaders have failed to respond with any sense of urgency to the pressures for social, economic and political change. The result is a potentially explosive situation that threatens to keep the nation in a state of ferment in the months ahead.

Growing unrest in Poland is evidenced by such events as the Dec. 18 letter read from Roman Catholic pulpits throughout Poland. Congregations were told that the state was trying to “liquidate religious life” by forbidding construction of new churches. Poland's Communist party showed signs of internal strain when Trybuna Ludu, the party newspaper, announced on Dec. 20 the retirement of its editor in chief, Leon Kasman. The paper said Kasman retired at his own request and would take up a post in Poland's “economic apparatus.” But Western observers said that Kasman, who is Jewish, had been under fire for more than a year by the “hard line” faction of the Polish Communist party.

Reprisals Against Critics of Gomulka Regime

Reacting to domestic criticism resulting from worsening economic conditions, the Gomulka regime has intensified its efforts to silence opposition. The party has attributed the opposition to “a monstrous apparatus to combat our policy and ideology” by spreading anti-Communist propaganda into Poland from the West.

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