Poznań protests of 1956

Article

July 1, 2022

The Poznań Protests of 1956 (also known as the Poznań Uprising of 1956 or June Poznań; in Polish, Poznański Czerwiec 56) were the first of several mass protests carried out by the Polish people against the communist government of the People's Republic. from Poland. Workers' demonstrations calling for better conditions began on June 28, 1956 at the Cegielski factories in Poznan and were met with violent repression. A crowd of about 100,000 people gathered in the city center near the building of the Polish secret police (the Urząd Bezpieczeństwa). 400 tanks and 10,000 soldiers of the Polish People's Army (Ludowe Wojsko Polskiey) and the internal security corps (Korpus Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego), under the orders of the Polish-Soviet general Stanislav Poplavski, were in charge of quelling the demonstration and during said containment they fired to civil protesters. The number of victims was placed at 57[1] deceased persons,[2][3] which included a 13-year-old boy, Roman Strzałkowski; In addition, hundreds of people were injured. Still, the Poznań protests were an important milestone on the way to installing a Polish government with less Soviet control.

Background

After Stalin's death, the de-Stalinization process opened up debates on fundamental issues throughout the Eastern bloc. Nikita Khrushchev's speech On the cult of personality and its consequences had wide repercussions outside the Soviet Union and in other communist countries. In Poland, in addition to criticism of the Stalin cult, other popular topics of debate centered around the right to choose a more independent path of 'local, national socialism', instead of following the Soviet model down to the finest detail. Such views became apparent in the discussion and criticism expressed by many members of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) over the execution of former members of the Communist Party of Poland, ordered by Stalin during the Great Purge.[4] Anti-communist resistance in Poland was also strengthened and a group of opposition leaders and cultural figures founded the Klub Krzywego Koła (Crooked Wheel Club) in Poznan, where they promoted discussions on Polish independence, the failings of the economy controlled by the State (hardship economy) and government contempt and even persecution of the Polish armed forces in the West and the actions of Armia Krajowa during World War II. While the intelligentsia expressed their disagreement through discussions and publications, the workers took to the streets. Living conditions in Poland were not improving, which contradicted government propaganda, and the workers found that they had less and less power compared to the Party bureaucracy (nomenklatura).[4] The city of Poznań was one of the largest urban and industrial centers in the People's Republic of Poland. There, tensions were growing, particularly since the fall of 1955. Workers at the city's largest factory, Joseph Stalin (or "Cegielski") Metal Industries, complained about higher taxes for the most productive workers ( udárnik) affecting several thousand workers. Local directors were unable to make any significant decisions because higher ranking officials closely supervised public management. For several months petitions, letters and delegations were sent to the Polish Ministry of Mechanical Industry and the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party in vain. Finally, a delegation of about 27 workers was sent on June 23, 1956. The delegation returned to Poznan on the night of June 26, p