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Additional resources for Communism, Nationalism and Ethnicity in Poland, 1944-50 (BASEES Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies)

Sample text

Further material was collected at the Polish Institute and General Sikorski Museum, London, the Polish Underground Movement (1939–45) Study Trust, London and the National Archives in Kew, London, allowing the source material in Poland to be compared and contrasted with data sources in Western archives. This was important in order to understand the changing relationships between the principal agents – the British Government, Polish Government in Exile (based in London), the PPR, PPS and PZPR, as well as to verify and check varied factual claims, compare propaganda strategies of the various protagonists, and to understand the interpersonal relationships of the main actors.

In other words, population movement and programmes of assimilation to mainstream Polish norms would make the Polish nation-state a reality. In this vision, tolerance of minority communities as minority communities had no place. Domestic nationality policy was viewed as a crucial part of Poland’s foreign policy, especially its eastern policy – a perspective long recognized by many officials in the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and important practitioners such as Henryk Józewski. The policy to be followed in relation to minority communities was seen to be dependent on those minorities’ relationships with the USSR.

It argues that the PPR and PZPR treated the Church relatively liberally up until late 1947, as the Church played a significant role in identifying who was Polish and who was not. After late 1947 a much harder state policy was imposed. The ‘totalitarian’ model which dominates discussion of Church–state relations during the immediate post-war period is challenged. The chapter highlights how the Church in Poland was able to benefit from the state’s sustained hostility to the Vatican, and analyses how the Church in Poland made use of its freedom from close Vatican supervision.

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