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317 WŁODZIMIERZ BORODZIEJ VICTORY AND ENSLAVEMENT “THE INFLUENCE OF the Soviet Union in all spheres of cultural life in Poland and Czechoslovakia increases daily, in line with the consolidation in these countries of the new system of people’s democracy and appreciation of the leading role of communist parties in state government.” That sentence, written by a mid-level staffer at the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1949, opens one of the most important compilations of source materials on the subject in question, translated into Polish. It originated in the middle of the postwar decade and accurately reflects the fundamental trend of that period: Moscow’s growing domination over its satellites and an increasing willingness by the latter to transfer models developed in and by the Stalinist Soviet Union into their states. The first signs that the direction of development was changing did not appear until 1955, so practically this entire text on the postwar decade deals with a period when the curve of Soviet domination was rising. Thanks to the relative (periodic) openness of the Russian archives and the full accessibility of the Polish ones, research during the period from 1990 to 2010 has made enormous advances. It is mainly thanks to Polish historians that we know so much today about the mechanisms by which the Soviet center steered and controlled the Polish periphery. Polish academics have received significant support from their Russian colleagues; without them, we would not have the key source publications, without which the present state of knowledge would be hard to imagine. Polish historians also made use of studies that did not focus on Polish issues but treated them as a component of the history of Stalinism and the Cold War. The role of historians from other countries was less significant. The most important international, USsponsored project on the Cold War—the International Cold War History Project—has focused on wars and crises; hence, the “period of the rising curve” was not the primary focus of interest of the researchers involved. Its various aspects have been addressed occasionally by historians of psychol- 318 WŁODZIMIERZ BORODZIEJ ogy, propaganda, or science. Still, the current state of research primarily reflects the condition of historiography in Poland and Russia, or more precisely , Warsaw and Moscow. The ascertainment of qualitative progress does not contradict the opinion that “a vast field of research still awaits the willing (and the courageous).” Andrzej Paczkowski made that observation in reference to substantial gaps in research on the transitional period (1945–47) and the years of Stalinism. That somber assessment largely applied to studies in economic history, in which the unfavorable situation persists to this day. Meanwhile, two monographs have appeared that significantly broaden our knowledge of the immediate postwar years and put in perspective the achievements of Polish and Russian historians concerning the whole decade. The intentions behind the present essay are similar: I wish to recapitulate the state of research regarding the subject in question. I will not attempt a fundamentally new approach but encourage reflection on the body of facts available and means of interpretation. General Observations During the decade after World War II, dependence on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a constitutive and permanent trait of the Polish state established in 1944 and, from 1952, called the Polish People’s Republic . Certain forms of dependence and the main themes of the relationship between Moscow and Warsaw underwent changes between the end of the Potsdam conference and the establishment of the Warsaw Pact, that is, the period I consider in this text. The years 1945–47 can be described as a transitional period during which the Polish Workers’ Party (PWP), relying on diverse assistance from the Moscow center, eradicated the opposition and introduced a single-party dictatorship and hegemony of MarxismLeninism -Stalinism behind a double façade (elements of parliamentary democracy , gradually evolving into a “people’s democracy”). In the area of external relations, the rejection of the Marshall Plan symbolized Poland’s severance from the West, which extended far beyond the economic sphere. The year 1948 marked the culmination of these processes and a turning point in the history of the Stalinist state: while the less-visible foundations had been laid in the preceding period, after that year the time came to raise the walls of the first floor—something that had to be obvious from any distance. The seven years since the end of the 1940s, roughly coinciding with the SixYear Plan, were (with the...


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