After October 1956, first with Wł. Gomułka and then with E. Gierek, Polish politics went through alternating phases and subsequently experimented with different models of development. After the renovation of 1956-59 and the settlement of the early 1960s, the country entered a new and long phase of instability, marked by student unrest in Warsaw in 1968, by workers unrest in the Baltic cities and other industrial centers. in 1970 and 1976. The changes in the internal situation, on the other hand, were matched by the continuity of foreign policy, inspired by the confidence of an effective coincidence between state interests and commitment to the socialist community, and dictated by the evaluation of the Soviet alliance as a necessary guarantee for the maintenance of the positions recovered in the West.
As soon as he returned to power, Gomułka defined relations with the USSR with the agreement of November 18, perfected by a military convention of December 17, 1956. Subsequently, the international initiatives of Poland developed in harmony with diplomatic action. of the Soviet Union, although they were designed with a particular security objective in mind. The plan of Foreign Minister A. Rapacki for the denuclearization of the two Germanies, of Poland and of Czechoslovakia, presented to the UN in October 1957 and officially supported by the USSR in March 1958, was in line with Soviet policy, in what was aimed at preventing the atomic armament of the Federal Republic; on the other hand, a collective security system, even if limited to central Europe, it would have loosened ties with the USSR and allowed Poland greater freedom of movement in Europe. During the second Soviet-Yugoslav controversy, following the Hungarian events, the Polish Unified Workers’ Party (POUP) carried out mediating action, ultimately following the line of the CPSU; support for the Soviet Union was constant in the crises of Congo, Berlin, Cuba and in all phases of the controversy with China. The solidarity with the Arab countries, expressed during the 1967 Six Day War, nevertheless aroused the opposition of large sectors of Polish opinion. Assessing that Dubček’s new course could change the balance of forces in Europe, break the solidarity of the socialist countries on the German problem and open up new spaces for economic and political influence of the Federal Republic, Gomułka declared himself in favor of intervention in Czechoslovakia (Warsaw conference of the five communist parties, July 1968). Subsequently, meeting with the Ostpolitik Chancellor W. Brandt, the Polish initiative finally obtained the recognition of the Oder-Neisse line; but the expectations of a German loan for 500 million dollars were disappointed, while the signing of the German-Polish treaty (7 December) was postponed and subordinated to that of the German-Soviet treaty (12 August 1970). Diplomatic success was significantly diminished and did not serve to raise Gomułka’s prestige, already severely tested by internal developments. His successor Gierek played a role in the negotiations for European security, but the Gierek-Schmidt talks, during the Helsinki conference and the subsequent visit of the Polish secretary to the Federal Republic, did not quell the controversy against the Bonn government, if in the early 1977 the Polish press launched another anti-German campaign,
In domestic politics, the essential innovation introduced by Gomułka after October concerned the peasant world. While the exit from agricultural cooperatives was allowed, accepting the reality of a temporary crisis in the socialized sector, discrimination against private companies in the allocation of fertilizers, agricultural machinery and financial means was eliminated; compulsory delivery quotas were also reduced and storage prices increased. At the same time, the debate on the new economic model, for the first time in a socialist country, brought attention to the role of the market and decentralization. The theses put forward insisted on material incentives, on the fixing of the indices according to the value rather than according to the overall quantity produced, on a certain autonomy of the company. But the Economic Advisory Council that stirred up these requests was immobilized by the contrast between its members: President O. Lange did not take a firm position, while the proposals of the innovative academics were blocked by economic bureaucrats and by the perplexities that arose about the effectiveness of the mechanisms of market in concrete conditions. This first attempt at reform, therefore, fell away, while symptoms of stagnation were also manifested in other sectors, such as the extinction of the spontaneous movement of workers’ councils and divorce with youth intelligentsia (deletion of the magazine Po prostu). Towards 1960 the system of strictly centralized planning, which had appeared vacillating a few years earlier, could be considered restored with minor changes. A subsequent phase was inaugurated in agriculture with the plenumof the Central Committee of June 1959: the socialization program returned, this time supporting it with indirect means such as stopping the production of animal-powered machines, accessible to the family business, and increasing the production of tractors, reserved for cooperatives of various types. The search for alternative economic strategies was resumed after 1962, when the national income increased by only 2% due to the poor harvest. Indeed, the Polish countryside was blaming the deterioration of the demographic structure (in the decade 1950-60 the share of the agricultural population over sixty had increased from 12 to 18% and that of farms without adult male workers had reached 28%); moreover, the level of mechanization of the Polish countryside remained low; and finally, political power fed the peasant’s feeling of insecurity (in the autumn Gomułka had declared that the future of national agriculture belonged to the socialized sector) and hampered the establishment of companies of optimal size. Aplenum of the Central Committee, in September 1967, decided to pursue the socialization of the land through the extension of state farms, thus inaugurating the last phase of Gomułka’s agricultural policy.
The industrial reform was relaunched in July 1965, taking into consideration points already widely debated both in Poland and in other socialist countries (indicate production objectives in terms other than gross product, introduce the principle of “economic calculation”, broadly encourage production). Rather than corporate autonomy, the reform emphasized the functions of trusts, or industrial unions; unlike the Hungarian and Czechoslovakian projects, it did not make room for the market and rather reaffirmed the principle of centralized planning. S. Je ??? drychowski, member of the Political Bureau and planning executive, declared that the innovations should not disturb the direct control of the center over the distribution of national income, the destination of investment funds, the total production of industrial sectors., the basic commodity balances, the wage fund and the price ratio. While the progress of the economic debate revealed the existence of differences in the management group, even at the political level the apparent solidarity around the person of Gomułka showed signs of decline. According to the same Polish opinion, two main currents were at that time: that of the “Muscovites” who had spent the years of conflict in the Soviet Union (the name of Je ??? drychowski, responsible for planning, was mentioned); and that of the “partisans” who had chosen, instead, to fight at home. The latter was led by General M. Moczar, purged in 1948 for nationalist deviation and re-emerged at the same time as Gomułka; author of significant acts of conciliation towards the militants of purged in 1948 for nationalist deviation and re-emerged at the same time as Gomułka; author of significant acts of conciliation towards the militants of purged in 1948 for nationalist deviation and re-emerged at the same time as Gomułka; author of significant acts of conciliation towards the militants ofArmia Krajowa (the internal army that had gathered the liberal-national resistance), these maintained contacts both with elements already compromised with Stalinism, and with the extreme wing of nationalism, represented by the Pax association of B. Piasecki.