Talk:Polish October

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Good article Polish October has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

More material[edit]

Piotrus, here is some material you may wish to include. I've adapted it from Paweł Machcewicz, "Social Protest and Political Crisis in 1956", which appears on pp.99-118 of Stalinism in Poland, 1944-1956, Ed. and tr. by A. Kemp-Welch, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1999, ISBN 0-312-22644-6. It also has material on the factional Puławy-Natolin struggle within the Party, and more on Poznań, if you're interested in more material.

After a scandal, the Ministry of Public Security was dissolved in December 1954; the number of employees of the Committee for Public Security, set up to replace the dissolved ministry, was cut by 30% in central headquarters and by 40-50% in local structures. The huge network of secret informers was also substantially reduced and the most implicated functionaries of the Ministry of Public Security were arrested. Surveillance and repressive activities were reduced; in the majority of factories, special cells of public security, set up to spy on workers, were secretly closed. Gomułka was released in December 1954, though this was not made public. Journalists started criticising "bureaucrats" and calling for "more democracy within the Party"; writers and artists abandoned socialist realism. Still, change was very restricted until the Secret Speech. Incidentally, Bierut died on March 12, 1956, while still on a visit to the 20th Party Congress, helping provide even more impetus for reforms.

In March 1956, the Soviet leadership sent copies of the speech to other Soviet bloc leaderships. One was sent to Bierut's successor Edward Ochab. On March 21, the Party Secretariat decided that the speech should have wide circulation in Poland, a unique decision in the bloc. Bierut's successors seized on Khrushchev's condemnation of Stalinist policy as a perfect opportunity to prove their reformist, democratic credentials, and their willingness to break with the Stalinist legacy. In late March and early April, thousands of Party meetings were held all over Poland, with Politburo and Secretariat blessing. The speech was read out, and non-Party members were allowed to attend these open sessions. In Łódź, some 10,000 took part in such meetings between March 21 and April 4. Łódź Party Committee activists participated in meetings at 60 large enterprises. In the Zielona Góra voivodship, 1,800 activists were engaged in the campaign to publicise the speech. In Białystok voivodship, the speech was publicly read at 420 meetings. Many questions were asked, so the meetings often lasted for hours. For instance, on March 26 at Szczecin Technical University, a meeting began at 5pm and ended at 2am; 110 questions were asked. Alarmed by the process, the Party Secretariat decided to withhold the speech from the general public. During this period, the whole political atmosphere changed and tough questions were asked about Polish communists' responsibility for Stalin's crimes, Gomułka, the Soviet Union (its continued presence in Poland, the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Katyn, the Warsaw Ghetto, etc.); a new Party Congress was demanded, as was a greater role for the Sejm and a guarantee of personal liberties.

Public meetings, demonstrations and street marches took place in hundreds of towns across Poland. The meetings were usually organised by local Party cells, local authorities and trade unions. However, official organisers tended to lose control as political content exceeded their original agendas. Crowds often took extremely radical action, in many cases resulting in unrest on the streets and clashes with police and other law-enforcement agencies. Political activity peaked during and immediately after the Plenum but continued until late in the year. For instance, demonstrators destroyed the militia headquarters and radio-jamming equipment in Bydgoszcz on November 18, and a crowd in Szczecin attacked public buildings including a prison, the state prosecutor's office, militia headquarters and the Soviet consulate on December 10.

People across the country expressed very strong hatred toward the security police and asked for the dissolution of the public security committee and the punishment of its guiltiest functionaries. Demands were made for the exposure of secret police collaborators, and suspected collaborators were frequently assaulted. In many localities crowds gathered outside the secret police headquarters, shouted hostile slogans and broke its windows. The concurrent upsurge in religious and clerical sentiment meant that hymns were sung, Cardinal Wyszyński's release and the reinstatement of suppressed bishops was demanded, as were the reintroduction of religious education and crucifixes in classrooms. Nationalism was the cement of mass mobilisation and dominated public meetings, where patriotic songs and the national anthem were sung, the return of the white eagle to the flag and traditional army uniforms were demanded, and Poland's dependence on the Soviet Union, along with its military occupation, were attacked. The return of the eastern territories was demanded, as were an explanation for the Katyn massacre and the elimination of Russian-language education. In the last ten days of October, monuments to liberation by the Red Army were desecrated, red stars from roofs of houses, factories and schools were pulled down, red flags were destroyed and portraits of Rokosovski were defaced. Mostly in Lower Silesia (home to many Soviet troops), attempts were made to force entries into the homes of Soviet citizens. However, unlike in Hungary and in Poznań, there was a self-limitation of political demands and behaviour, which were not purely anti-communist and anti-system. The communist authorities were not openly and uneqivocally challenged, as in June, and slogans such as "We want free elections", "Down with Communist dictatorship", or "Down with the Party" were much less prevalent. Party committees were not attacked.

The leadership's stance contributed to the relatively moderate political dimension of social protest in October. Also crucial, though, was the relative impact of nationalism and national emotions. They spurred social protest in June but dampened it in October, when the threat of Soviet invasion against Gomułka and his supporters tranformed the social image of Polish communists. In June, they were still treated as the puppets and servants of alien, anti-Polish interests, and hence excluded from the national community. In October, they became a part of the nation opposing Soviet domination. Gomułka was enthusiastically supported by the great majority of society not primarily as a communist leader, but as a leader of a nation, who by resisting Soviet demands, embodied a national longing for independence and sovereignty. For instance, leaflets found in Świdnica on October 22 read, "Red Army, go home. Long live Władysław Gomułka, First Secretary, Hero of the Polish Nation!" His name was chanted, along with anti-Soviet slogans, at thousands of meetings. While his anti-Soviet image was obviously mythical and exaggerated, it was justified in the popular imagination by his anti-Stalinist line in 1948 and years of subsequent internment. Thus Polish communists found themselves unexpectedly at the head of a national liberation movement, and the enthusiastic public support offered to Gomułka contributed to the legitimization of communist rule in Poland, which managed to incorporate mass national, anti-Soviet feelings into the prevailing power structures. In Hungary, social protest destroyed the political system; in Poland it was absorbed within it. Biruitorul 03:21, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Tnx - I will see about adapting it in the future, we certainly need articles on Puławy and Natolin factions. PS. What scandal?-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  04:14, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Very interesting article! I wonder whether one could add a paragraph (or perhaps even a separate section) at the end about the effects of the Polish October on Polish culture. For example, weren't great movies such as Ashes and Diamonds made possible by the (relative) liberalization of 1956? (I'm not sure though about Kanał, probably that was done beforehand.) Also, didn't these events allow Stanisław Lem and others to start writing more freely? This may all be explained elsewhere, but it may be worth telling the story here, briefly. After all, all those politicians come and go, but movies such as Andrzej Wajda's remain... Turgidson 03:35, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I think you are right, but our culture in modern Poland article is seriously underdeveloped. By all means, feel free to add material to it or enquire on its talk page.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  04:14, 13 April 2007 (UTC)


A question about layout: why put all images on the right? I would alternate them, right/left, for variety. Turgidson 16:26, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Be my guest.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  20:02, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, done that -- see how it loooks. BTW, the first sentence in that section, "Edward Ochab, the Polish Prime Minister, proposed the now-rehabilitated Gomułka to become as First Secretary of the Party" is not clear. Can the meaning be clarified, perhaps by dropping "as"? Turgidson 20:33, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Done.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:15, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


It is my proposal that the redirect from a search of "October 1956" be removed from this article. The October of 1956 was a time of widespread global occurance, and a person using these search words is more likely to be seeking information on the general time frame, rather than Polish politica. It isnt my intent to derrogate this topic, but to facilitate research.

Exemplar sententia 09:53, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

GA assessment – Symbol unsupport vote.svg[edit]

Thank you for nominating this article as one that may meet the Good Article Criteria. I understand that failure of a GA nomination can be a little frustrating but I urge you to continue with the article to get it to this status. I note that whilst the article read reasonably well it suffers at this stage from three main areas of concern which will require a good deal of rewriting before renomination: Specifically those three areas are as follows:

  1. I am concerned by many areas of the article that read more like an essay than an encyclopaedia article. There are a large number of such areas but to give you an example, paragraphs 2 and 3 in the section called Development, a particularly foundational area in terms of the article and require both a rewrite so as to remove or adjust numerous sentences such as - (When discussing Poland’s political shift of 1956, it is crucial to include the effect of Nikita Krushchev’s “Secret Speech” to the 20th Party Congress in February of 1956.), (Stalinism had affected Eastern Europe immensely, and Poland was no exception.) and (These sways towards reform were always within a communist framework, the idea was to improve life from within the system.) With respect I think a visit to Wikipedia:Words to avoid will assist.
  2. Secondly numerous areas suffer from lack on inline citations. This lack of citations couple with the essay style of writing noted above give the article an overall feeling of either Original Research or as I say above being an Essay. For example – the numerous important areas of content in the two paragraphs detailed above as an example have only a single reference at the end of the 3rd paragraph. I suggest that each and every contentious or important point should be referenced directly with an inline citations. Readers should not be simply asked to accept the facts as written but rather be presented with inline verification at every location. I should also note from a positive perspective that the section titled Aftermath does provide inline citations exactly as I suggest for the areas where it does not.
  3. Finally once the article is adjusted to meet at the very least the two issues above (although I note also there are grammatical errors on the document from time to time) editors should look at WP:Lead section and using that guideline reconstruct the lead so that it is capable of standing alone. Currently the lead in this document neglects to mention many parts of the body in any way. In addition the article can afford and probably requires a longer lead simply because it is quite large and content is complex in many areas.

I am sorry for being the bearer of bad news – but I hope my comments will assist editors in reaching GA status and I urge you to continue as further work on the article will get it to GA and there is no reason it could not also reach FA in time. Cheers--VS talk 08:51, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Good article nomination on hold[edit]

This article's Good Article promotion has been put on hold. During review, some issues were discovered that can be resolved without a major re-write. This is how the article, as of October 3, 2007, compares against the six good article criteria:

1. Well written?: Symbol wait.svg Mostly very well-written, but a minor thing needing improvement. Captions are solely for describing an image, not edification. The captions of the portrait in Political change and the lead image should be reduced.
Shortened the first and removed the second one (it was unreferenced).-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:44, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
2. Factually accurate?: Symbol wait.svg Generally the article does a great job of citing references. However, there are a few minor issues. Remember that, especially for large paragraphs such as those present in this article, a cite to the end of each paragraph and for quotations is the bare minimum. Any fact likely to be controversial should be directly cited.
  • The quotation "honest workers with legitimate grievances" in Development must have a direct inline citation at the end of the sentence.
  • The sentence that starts "People across the country expressed very strong hatred..." should have a direct citation, as any time you assert the opinion or feeling of a population segment it is likely to be challenged.
  • Again along these lines, the two sentences after "For instance, leaflets found in..." need direct citations. This is due to both the quoted content of the slogans and the claim of "thousands".
3. Broad in coverage?: Symbol support vote.svg Concisely covers all points.
4. Neutral point of view?: Symbol support vote.svg Neutral treatment, and includes all significant views on the subject.
5. Article stability? Symbol support vote.svg Not the subject of recent or on-going conflicts.
6. Images?: Symbol wait.svg Present and accounted for with licenses, however the image Gomulka speech.jpg has been tagged as possibly being under U.S. copyright still. This should be remedied. You might look to WP:IMAGES or WP:NFC for a solution.
  • I am afraid I cannot do much about this tag, it was added to all PD Polish images. Unless somebody can show that this image was published first in US, there are no copyvio problems, and as no such claims are made, I hope this is not an issue.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:45, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Oh, I guessed as much. If this was a batch adding of the template, it isn't indicative of a real problem with this particular image I think. It's more like Wikimedia covering its ass on copyright. Don't worry about it. VanTucky Talk 02:00, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Please address these matters soon and then leave a note here showing how they have been resolved. After 48 hours the article should be reviewed again. If these issues are not addressed within 7 days, the article may be failed without further notice. Thank you for your work so far. — VanTucky Talk 21:35, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

As an additional comment regarding GA status, there are some very long paragraphs in the article, almost "essay-like" and, though I will stop prior to blatant accusation because I have no proof, "copyvio-ish". If the material was copied word-for-word from the source, that is generally unacceptable. The only time information can be copied word-for-word is if it is enclosed in quotation marks; all other cases should be paraphrased. In this case, I would strongly recommend rewriting the long paragraphs and breaking them up into several shorter ones. This should be resolved prior to GA status. Dr. Cash 05:15, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
I definitely agree with Cash on this in terms of how the tone reads. However, keeping in mind that the nominator of the article is a very experienced writer of GAs and FAs, I just assumed good faith on this one. If that wasn't the case, then it most assuredly would be suspect. VanTucky Talk 22:21, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
The long paras are a relic of a merge I did some time ago; I spend some weeks copyediting them and adding refs, but never thought they could be copyvio. If they are, don't hestitate to remove them - the article was actually a passable GA candidate before the merge, so honestly, losing some of the long content wouldn't pain me that much.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:30, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
Unless copyvio can be proven, the paragraphs and length don't bother me at all. They don't stray from the central topic in any substantial way, so as long as the above issues in the review are dealt with, I'll be passing the article. VanTucky Talk 22:33, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Hold completed As all the issues of the hold have been dealt with, I am passing this article. Good work! VanTucky Talk 02:05, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Krushchev's speech: wording change[edit]

"...had wide implications outside the Soviet Union and in other communist countries."
"Outside the Soviet Union" and "other Communist countries" sound like two ways of saying the same thing. I changed it to "within the Soviet Union and in other Communist countries as well." If this is not consistent with the facts, please revert or let me know what was intended, and I will try to restructure the sentence accordingly. From the League of Copy-Editors, Unimaginative Username (talk) 07:01, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for c/e-ing; the sentence is fine.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:56, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
You're very welcome. Glad to have been of assistance. Unimaginative Username (talk) 03:56, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:TimeCover10Dec1956.jpg[edit]

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This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --13:59, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Improper paragraph breaks[edit]

One or more editors broke up a large number of properly cited paragraphs without duplicating the citations. I'm going to attempt to clean this up using the version of the page that received good article status. Expect to see a lot of tinkering to the article as I attempt to bring it back up to GA standards. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 05:53, 18 June 2016 (UTC)

Ok, I've cleaned the article up so that everything is properly cited. I removed some language about the Poles demanding that crucifixes be placed in schools again. This sounds completely plausible given the strong Catholic identity of Poland, but I was unable to verify it. Spirit of Eagle (talk) 06:19, 18 June 2016 (UTC)