O'Reilly logo

Poland in the Modern World: Beyond Martyrdom by Brian Porter-Sz̋cs

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

9

THE YEAR 1956 AND THE RISE OF NATIONAL COMMUNISM

In their battle for power in the PZPR in the late 1940s, Bolesław Bierut accused Władysław Gomułka of “right-wing and nationalist deviation.” It pains me to resuscitate the vocabulary of the Stalinists, but there was actually some merit to Bierut’s charge. Gomułka was a loyal and devoted communist, but his communism differed markedly from Bierut’s. He was, in fact, a national communist, with a distinctive blend of the ideas borrowed from both the left and the right. The policies and institutions he created after 1956 in Poland were similarly an amalgamation. Gomułka’s roots in the tradition of the European left are obvious and undeniable, but it is rarely acknowledged how deeply he was grounded in the nationalist right as well. Early 20th century activists from both the Endecja and the socialists would have found the PRL of the 1960s to be abhorrent (for very different reasons), but Gomułka borrowed from each of them. This is an important point, because the system he built ultimately failed, and afterwards many argued that socialism had been discredited in the process. Perhaps it was, but if you want to blame socialism for the inadequacies of the Polish People’s Republic, you have to blame nationalism in equal measure. I would argue that it is more accurate to acknowledge that Gomułka spawned a different beast altogether: national communism.

On March 5, 1953, Joseph Stalin died. Even the most tyrannical regime can never be reduced ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required