POLAND TODAY AND IN 1956

Created: 3/21/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Intelligence Memorandum

POLAND TODAY AND6

8 No.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence8

INTELLIGENCE MEMORANDUM

Poland Today and6

Summary

There is so far little analogy between the events of the past few weeks in Poland and those56 which led to the election ofin6 as party first secretary. The events in Poland in recent days have fallen into their own unique pattern suggestive of one or another aspect56 but not indicativeimilar chain of development. Moreover, the political and economic pressures at work today, and the psychological atmosphere, are different than they wereears ago. ew generation is pushing onto the political stage and the goals of the dissatisfied are different.

Nevertheless, the political situation inis unstable and popular aspirations have been unfulfilled for too long. evolutionary situation could come into being. If it does, it will evolve in ways different from the developmenti5

The oneit isthe scene today and that ofecade ago is an implicit challenge to the USSR. Moscow cannot tolerate political unrest on its immediate borders or along its main communications line to

memorandum was produced solely by CIA. it was prepared by the Office of Currentand coordinated with the Office of Economic Research, the Office of National Estimates, and the Clandestine Services.

Germany. 6 it reacted by moving troopsWarsaw. Should the Soviets again losein the Polish leadership, they might react in somewhat the same way, but conditions in Poland have not so far reached the point of drawingdirect involvement.

Spontaneity of Demonstrations

1* The recent demonstrations in Poland have so far been largely spontaneous expressions ofdissatisfaction over genuine issues ofliberties and freedom. They are in response to ever more repressive policy affecting the arts, literature* thed personal rights. The students were clearly turned on by the almostevents in Prague and the resistance by the Warsaw Writers Union to regime dictates. Theseof feeling differ in one very significant way from what happened5 At that time similar demonstrations and calls for freedom of expression were largely carried out by partywho were the spearhead for change. Their party membership made them threatening,uch stronger sense than today's students, to the party .and thus guaranteed there would be some degree of favorable response. So far no such need to respond to the students has been evident in Poland. Rather the regime confidently, though probably ill-advisedly, has reacted by cracking skulls and jailing students.

Worker Support.

students have gained popularin Warsaw for their defiance. But thisenough to cause the regime much concern yet.

A key turning pointas, and probably would be again today* the joining in theby the industrial workers. So far there are only minor expressions of sympathy forstudents among some industrial workers; the large majority of the workers have sullenly submitted to party blandishments to avoid involvement with the students* This, of course, could change if the students can keep up the pressure and cause it to spreadPoland,evelopment which may be in train.

Role of the church

difference rests in thefar of the powerful Roman Catholic Church,unequivocally speak for the bulk of thethe peasantry. 6 the tacit and latersupport of the church for Gomulka wasrallying the people. Today, Poland's Private,

TiCgrT _

Cardinal Hyszynski, has taken no strong stand, he has shown clear sympathy with the student cause in two low-key sermons.

Anti-Russian Sentiment

6 the average Pole wasthat for all practical purposes hisrun by the Russians. All governmentwas known, had to be first approved by the They were the hated occupiers. Today,the cornerstone of Gomulka's policieswith the Russians and nationalism isfactor in the crisis, thes not theretrong motivating factor.

Popular Attitudes

ense of hopelessness wasaverage worker or student believed heto lose no matter what he did. He livedgrey world of nothing, empty of all but theamenities. Today, the average Pole ismaterially, if not spiritually, and thougharebynomeans satisfied, he does realize heto lose. He probably would be lessor certainly more hesitant, about goingthe streets in revolt.

Party Factions and Leadership

of the key factors in the6 was the existence in the Polisha powerful and daringPulawianwell-placed and under Gomulka'sthe members of this faction were able toman to power despite opposition from The Pulawian faction had the supportparty intellectuals, at thatatterimportance because the intellectuals were able

to promote and gain support from the industrial workers. The Pulawians also were able to count on support by the Polish military.

o such elaborate coalition exists today. The factionalism appears more fragmented. Themoreover, has adroitly forestalled anybetween the workers and the students, and the army has shown no inclination to withdraw itsto Gomulka.

6. DuringS snd until October6 the Polish party was in the handsaretaker Party First Secretary Beirut had died in5 and was replaced in May by Edward Ochab who never really put his heart into tha job. His leadership was weak and uncertain, providing ideal grounds for the development of plans to bring in Goirulka. In the present circumstances Polandeader who has been in office nearlyears and has maintained his predominant position through skillful manipulation of the different factions and cliques in his party.

The Threat Today

crisis is clearly being exploitedMinister Moczar'snationalistic faction, not to unseatto gain decisive influence within theGomulka's own anti-Semitic etatomontJuno, this faction has now seized theto blame the unrost on Zionists, intellectuals. These are elements whichlong sought to oust from the party andto his benefit. Certainly thein which the unrest has been handledpolice suggests that he is morehaving it run its course than nipping it in

Moczar's group now apparently high, there is no guarantee that he willto go beyond what initially may havegoals. If the factional strugglesgreat or Gomulka loses his ability toand control them, then his position incould deteriorate rapidly withfor his leadership and for Poland.

11. Despite the lack of direct parallels5 the political situation in Poland today is unstable, as it has been foryears. Even if Gaaulka successfully weathers the present stona* this does not ruleew and more dangerous outburst. Events in Poland may be moving toward* or into* that state of political volatility where rationality suddenly disappears and the paranoia born out of fear* hate and takes over.

Russian Concern

12i The only similarity*ostone* between the events of today in Poland and those6 is that both casus posed an challenge to the USSR. Cxtreste political unrest on its immediate borders and athwart its main lines of ccntmunication to Germany areconditions for Moscow. 6 Russianupon learning of the pending change in leadership in the Polish party was to begin troops toward the Polishmeasure of how sensitive an issue Polish leadership and stability is to the Russian leaders. ike loss of confidence again couldimilar So far* of course, conditions have notin Poland to any such threatening degree for the USSR.

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