Historical Context of Sowa’s Growing Up: Part 1

In the book Marzi by Marzena Sowa, Poland is trapped in a chaotic wartime era. But how did it get there?

The Soviet Union took over Poland (with permission form the Allied Forces) in 1945, at the end of World War II. According to negotiations between Allied leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt (US President from January of 1929 to December of 1932), Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister from May of 1940 to July of 1945, then again from October of 1951 to April of 1955), and Joseph Stalin (Soviet General Secretary from April of 1922 to October of 1952), there were two accords that were written in order to keep some sort of regulation over the takeover of Poland. Seeing as the Soviet Union’s Red Army were victorious in Poland at the end of World War II, the Allies agreed that Poland, and 100,000 square kilometers of previously-German territory was to be given to the Soviet Union in the Potsdam accord. As a result, 3 million Poles were removed from formerly-Polish territory and resettled in German lands.

In the Yalta accords, the Allies “sanctioned the formation of a provisional Polish coalition government composed of communists andleba52-02s
proponents of western democracy” (Polish Academic Information Center, University at Buffalo). The Yalta accords favoured communists, who were proclaimed to enjoy “the advantages of Soviet support, superior morale, control over crucial ministries, and Moscow’s determination to bring Eastern Europe sedurely under its thumb as a strategic asset in the emerging Cold War”. Essentially, they were using Poland to try to expand into the entirety of Eastern Europe, so that if the USA attacked during the Cold War years, Russia would have a much higher population from which to pull soldiers and resources.

The first parliamentary election in Poland was in 1947; however, it only allowed candidates from an insignificant and widely unsupported political party called the Polish Peasant Party to run against the leading communist parties. During the two years since Russia’s takeover of Poland, the Polish Peasant Party, or PPP, was harassed into ineffectiveness by the new form of government. At the election, communist party members won 417 out of 434 parliamentary seats, effectively ending all other opposing parties.

Within two years of this first election, the communist party assured their ascendancy to power by restyling the Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza (which translates to the Polish United Workers Party) (U of Buffalo) or PZPR as new holders of a monopoly power over what was now the Polish Peoples’ Republic. The PZPR was a communist party that was founded in 1948 that merged the Polish Socialist Party with the Polish Workers’ Party, but only after the existing government carried out purges within the parties’ ranks.

To Be Continued…

Post by Jess



The Historical Setting: The Polish People’s Republic. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/classroom/longhist6.html


2 thoughts on “Historical Context of Sowa’s Growing Up: Part 1

  1. This definitely gives a good background of Poland and it’s interesting to see how much they’ve gone through as a country. I was intrigued when you mentioned the first elections in 1947 so I looked it up and found this short video that contains real footage from the election!


  2. I was reading an article on Poland’s free election in the 1989 an it really was difficult to predict how it was going to turn out for the people. Solidarity was one of the most popular movements in history, but because nobody could trust the information being given to them, it was a nervous time for all. After all, the government cheated society for years, so why wouldn’t they do it at the ballot box?
    Here’s an article to read further into this particular moment in history.


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