Provisional Government of National Unity

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Republic of Poland
Rzeczpospolita Polska
Satellite state of the Soviet Union
1945–1947
Anthem: Mazurek Dąbrowskiego
Poland Is Not Yet Lost
Polish People's Republic during Cold War
Polish People's Republic during Cold War
Status Satellite state
Capital Warsaw (de jure)
Łódź (de facto)
Common languages Polish (official)
Silesian, Kashubian, German
Religion Catholic
Polish Orthodox
Demonym Pole, Polish
Government Unitary Marxist–Leninist provisional government
President  
• 1945–1947
Bolesław Bierut
Prime Minister  
• 1945–1947
Edward Osóbka-Morawski
• Establishment
28 June 1945
24 October 1945
19 January 1947
Area
1946 312,685 km2 (120,728 sq mi)
Population
• 1946
23930000
Currency Polish złoty
Calling code 48
ISO 3166 code PL
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland
Polish People's Republic
Today part of  Poland

The Provisional Government of National Unity (Polish: Tymczasowy Rząd Jedności Narodowej or TRJN) was a government formed by a decree of the State National Council (Krajowa Rada Narodowa, KRN) on 28 June 1945. It was created as a coalition between the Polish Workers' Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza, PPR; Communists) and Stanisław Mikołajczyk, former Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile.

Overview[edit]

Deputy Prime Minister Władysław Gomułka
Deputy Prime Minister Stanisław Mikołajczyk

When Poland was conquered by Germany in 1939, members of the government escaped to Britain, where they established a government-in-exile, which was recognized by the British government, and controlled the main Polish resistance force, the Armia Krajowa (Home Army).

In 1943, the PPR and some other left-wing resistance groups formed the KRN as a national government of Poland, in rivalry to the exile government. In July 1944, the KRN proclaimed the Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland (the "Lublin Committee") in territory liberated from Germany by the Soviet Army. The exile government denounced this, but was powerless to interfere, especially after the Armia Krajowa was largely destroyed in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.

The exile government was dependent on the support of the British and American governments, which did not grasp Communist intentions and pressured the exile government to cooperate with the KRN. By the time of the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Soviet forces had overrun nearly all of Poland, giving them and the KRN effective control. The US and Britain tacitly accepted this at Yalta, in return for Stalin's promise of free elections in Poland.

The Polish exile government still tried to hold out, but was ignored. A group including Stanisław Mikołajczyk, Prime Minister in 1943-1944, broke with the rest of the exiles and began seeking a deal with the Communists.

The TRJN was a result of the negotiations held in Moscow from 17 June to 21 June, 1945, between the PPR (Polish Communists), the Soviet Union, and Mikołajczyk, who had created the Polish People's Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe, PSL) as the political vehicle for his participation. The PSL was a centrist organization and continuation of the prewar Polish agrarian movement. The pre-war People's Party also supported Mikołajczyk.

The TRJN government was composed of:

Prime Minister: Edward Osóbka-Morawski (Polish Socialist Party)
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regained Territories: Władysław Gomułka ()
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture and Agricultural Reform: Stanisław Mikołajczyk (PSL)

The entire government was composed of:

The exile government did not recognize the TRJN.[1]

The Communists had no intention of giving the opposition any real power, or carrying out the promised 'free and fair' elections. The members of the opposition that received government positions were kept in check by their deputies and staff, loyal to the Communists, so they had little real power.

On 21 June, General Leopold Okulicki, former Commander of the Polish Home Army was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in Moscow for the alleged sabotage against the Soviet Army. Ten other Poles were given similar sentences in the staged Trial of the Sixteen. On 24 December 1946, Okulicki died in Butyrka prison.

The TRJN was already bound by the "Treaty of Friendship, Mutual Help, and Cooperation" with the USSR which the Provisional Government had signed on 21 April. This treaty formed the basis for Soviet interference in Poland's internal politics for the next 40 years.

On 5 July 1945, the TRJN was recognized by the United States. It was soon also recognized by the other major Allies, France and the United Kingdom. It was not recognized by the Vatican.

On 6 July, while the Polish government-in-exile maintained its existence, both the United States and the United Kingdom formally withdrew the recognition of it.

On 10 July, Osóbka-Morawski announced the expulsion of all Germans from Poland.

From 17 July to 2 August, a delegation from the TRJN attended the 1945 Potsdam Conference.

On 16 August, a Soviet-Polish border agreement was signed in Moscow. Before the end of August, Poland agreed to cede the eastern provinces to the Soviet Union and officially recognized the eastern border based on a slightly modified Curzon line.

On 16 October, delegates of the TRJN signed the United Nations Charter and Poland became a member of the United Nations.

The 'free and fair' elections promised by the TRJN were postponed until the Communists were sure they could control the election process. In the meantime, they increased repressions of opposition members, who were bribed, threatened, delegalised, or even murdered. In the words of Gomułka, the goal of the Communists was to be the "hegemon of the nation" and nothing would stop them. On 30 June 1946, they tested their control during the 3xTAK referendum, falsifying the results and claiming 68% support.

Two great reforms carried out by TRJN were the nationalization decree and the Three-Year Plan (of 1947–49), both issued in 1946. The nationalization decree gave the government control over every enterprise which employed more than 50 people; by the end of the year, 90% of the country's industry was controlled by the government.

Dissolution[edit]

The Communists rigged the Polish legislative elections of January 1947. The new parliament (Sejm Ustawodawczy) replaced the KRN; it named a new government headed by Józef Cyrankiewicz. On 19 January 1947, TRJN was dissolved and passed its prerogatives as the government of Poland to the new government.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Stachura The Poles in Britain 1940-2000 ISBN 0-7146-8444-9 Page 7