Wladyslaw Gomulka was a key player within Polish politics for over four decades and one of the most influential of the East European Communist Party leaders. As the architect of the 'Polish road to socialism', he claimed for Poland the right to define its own model of economic and political development, yet he was nevertheless committed to Poland's membership of the Soviet bloc. Anita Prazmowska here traces Gomulka's progression from a poorly educated worker in the Krosno district of Poland, to his election as First Party Secretary in 1956 and finally to his forced resignation in 1970. She considers Gomulka's pivotal role in building a communist-led resistance in occupied Poland during World War II as well as the critical part he played in post-war Polish politics and the 'de-Stalinization' process. Incorporating recently released and previously unpublished sources, this book provides a vivid picture of how Communism functioned in Poland and an original analysis of Poland's international role in the Cold War era.
About the Author
Anita Prazmowska is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics, UK. Her publications include Civil War in Poland, 1942-1948; Poland and the Eastern Front; Britain and Poland 1939-1943: The Betrayed Ally and Poland: A Modern History (I.B.Tauris).
Table of Contents
1. Family and Early Childhood
2. Political Maturing
3. The 1930s and Entry into National Politics
4. The Reconstruction of the Polish Communist Party during the Second World War
5. From Conspiracy to Power in Post War Poland
6. The Establishment of Communist Power in Poland 1944-48
7. 1948-56 The Dark Years
8. The People's Secretary
9. The Polish Road to Socialism