In 1956, on this fateful day in the Polish Politburo, Władysław Gomułka was designated First Secretary of the Party.
Conjoined Crisis Part 6
Gomulka's thawSix months earlier, a period of de-Stalinization had begun after the death of Stalinist Prime Minister Bolesław Bierut. Then in June an insurrection began in Poznan where workers rioted to protest shortages of food and consumer goods, bad housing, decline in genuine income, shipments of commodities to the Soviet Union and poor management of the economy. The Polish government initially responded by branding the rioters "provocateurs, counterrevolutionaries and imperialist agents". Security forces killed and wounded scores of protesters. Soon, however, the party hierarchy recognized the riots had awakened nationalist sentiment and reversed their opinion. The rioters became "honest workers with legitimate grievances". Wages were raised by 50% and economic and political change was promised.
As a precondition to accepting the leadership, Gomułka insisted that the Soviet Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky, who had ordered troops against the Poznan workers, be removed from the Polish Politburo and Defense Ministry. Of course the Soviet leadership viewed events in Poland with alarm. Simultaneously with troop "maneuvers" on the Soviet-Polish border, a high-level delegation of the Soviet Central Committee flew to Poland. It was led by Nikita Khrushchev and included Mikoyan, Bulganin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Marshal Konev and others. Gomułka made it clear that Polish troops would resist if Soviet troops advanced, but reassured the Soviets that the reforms were internal matters and that Poland had no intention of abandoning Communism or its treaties with the Soviet Union. The Soviets yielded. Gomułka was confirmed in his new position.
A period known as Gomułka's Thaw now began. Of course this era might have been brief-lived however the quickly developing events in the Hungarian Uprising soon gave the Soviet Leadership reason to deeply regret that they had yielded in Poland . An article from the Conjoined Crisis thread.