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Albert Gates

Stalin’s “New” Poland

(2 July 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 27, 2 July 1945, pp. 1& 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

As was expected, the negotiations between the Warsaw Polish government and representatives of the London Poles, the “democratic” Poles, resulted in the reorganization of the Stalin-appointed government and the inclusion in the new set-up of former Premier Mikolajczyk and former head of the Miners Union, Jan Stanczyk, member of the Socialist Party. Also added to the “new” government as members of the Presidential Council were Wincenty Witos from inside Poland and Stanislaw Grabski from London.

This development in Polish affairs is credited to the mission of Harry Hopkins, personal representative of President Truman, who flew to Moscow to obtain Stalin’s agreement to broaden the Warsaw government in line with the Yalta decisions. Stalin agreed to “broaden” the government although he protested that he was carrying out the Yalta agreements and, from one point of view, that is exactly what he had been doing.

The Yalta Sell-Out

The Yalta agreement conceded to Stalin his chief demands on Poland, a shifting of its borders and the recognition of the Lublin government, which he created with Polish Communists and fellow travelers, under the supervision and surveillance of the GPU. British-American demands for a broadening of the government were insisted upon in order to make the Polish sell-out look more palatable. They had already accepted in principle Stalin’s right to have a Polish government completely subservient to Russian interests and demands.

In granting the concession to Hopkins and including the aforementioned Poles in the government, Stalin conceded very little. Poland is firmly in his grasp economically and politically. The important opposition forces, the independent organizations and their leading elements have been uprooted. Thousands have been liquidated in the purges which followed the establishment of the Lublin government. Other thousands have been arrested and deported to Russian prison camps.

A real commentary on this phase of world power politics is the change in British-American policy with respect to the exiled Polish government in London. This government, invited to London by the Churchill Cabinet after the defeat of Poland by Germany and its joint partition with Russia in accordance with a prior agreement contained in the Hitler-Stalin pact, awaits its death. London and Washington are now preparing to withdraw their recognition of this body, as well as the money which has kept it alive, and through it, to a considerable degree, the underground struggle against the Germans.

Naturally, this government will not abdicate but will go on fighting for what it calls the “independence of Poland.” Moreover, it will continue to find widespread support inside of Poland, where the desire for independence is powerful. It will not be easy to suppress this fundamental urge of the Polish masses who no more want the domination of Russia than they did Germany.

Nothing Really Changed

The mere inclusion of the London Poles in the “broadened” Warsaw government will not fundamentally alter things. As Clifton Daniel wrote from London in the New York Times of June 24: “Their presence in the Cabinet, however, cannot be expected to have any profound effect on the foreign policy and domestic social and economic policies of the Warsaw government.”

The “leniency” of the sentence of the sixteen Poles in the Moscow trial for organizing “diversions” against the Russian army is a result of the agreement reached by Great Britain, the United States and Russia on the Polish question.

These Poles were arrested and convicted on the charge of continuing the struggle for the independence of Poland after Russian occupation on orders from the London government, then headed by the same Mikolajczyk who has just become a member of the Warsaw regime. This is their real crime. But Stalin will never permit the existence of any genuine free and independent Poland. That is why, in the first place, he has purged the revolutionary working class fighters. In his counter-revolutionary program for Poland he has received the firm support of the United States and England.

Thus, five years after the Second World War broke out over the violation of the independence of Poland by Germany and Russia, and a few weeks after the defeat of Nazi Germany, Poland has been sold down the river by Allied powers who plunged into the war in her behalf. This fact alone testifies that freedom, security, peace and the national independence of nations were not the things for which the war was fought.

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