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The Polish October 1956 in World Politics

The Polish October 1956 in World Politics

  • Jan Rowiński ( edited )
  • The Polish October 1956 in World Politics
  • Publication date: 2007
  • Pages: 354
  • Soft cover
  • Format: 16 x 24 cm
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This book strives to make a deeper analysis of the causes and driving forces that led to the October 1956 events in Poland, and to assess them in terms of foreign and domestic policy, from the perspective of half a century later. The articles collected here provide a considerable amount of new information about the reactions and attitudes of political leaders on both sides of the Iron Curtain, about how they viewed the events in Poland, and about what motives guided them in their decisions. This publication presents, for the first time in detailed fashion, the Chinese leaders' position on the October 1956 events. At the same time, this publication reveals how much remains to be discovered, how many important questions remain to be answered, and the degree of complexity with which scholars investigating these questions sometimes have to grapple. The articles in this book offer a real image of how the most important capitals in the opposing Cold War blocs reacted to the Polish October 1956. It was yet another lesson in Realpolitik not the first, after all, in Polish history.

Table of Contents:

- Jan Rowiński

The Polish October of 1956—Legends and Reality
- Andrzej Werblan

Poland in 1956 Seen from the Kremlin and the Old Square
- Alexander Orekhov

The Polish Crisis of 1956 and Polish-Chinese Relations Viewed from Beijing
- Shen Zhihua, Li Danhui

The Polish October and Hungary: Polish-Hungarian Relations from Kadar’s Assumption of Power to the Execution of Imre Nagy and His Comrades (4 November 1956–16 June 1958)
- János Tischler

The Dog That Didn’t Bark: Czechoslovakia and the 1956 Events in Poland
- Igor Lukes and Karel Sieber 

The Bulgarian Leadership and the Polish October of 1956
- Jordan Baev 

The GDR, the FRG and the Polish October 1956
- Bernd Schaefer

Resurrection of “Rollback”? The Eisenhower Administration and the Polish October 1956
- Douglas E. Selvage

British Responses to the Polish Events, June–November 1956
- Anne Deighton

France and the Polish October of 1956
- Maria Pasztor

NATO and the October 1956 Events in Poland
- Robert Kupiecki

The Polish October of 1956 from a Fifty-Year Perspective
- Andrzej Friszke

1956 As a Turning Point in Poland’s Foreign Policy
- Włodzimierz Borodziej


Notes about the authors

Jordan BAEV—doctor of political science; professor of international history and a scientific worker of the Rakovsky Defense and Staff College in Sofia; Deputy-Chairman of the Bulgarian Military History Society and coordinator of the Bulgarian Cold War Study Group; researcher of the cold war; author of Military & Political Conflicts after World War II and Bulgaria (1995) and The Greek Civil War: International Dimensions (1997).


Włodzimierz BORODZIEJ—professor at the Historical Institute of Warsaw University; manager of the Polish Diplomatic Documents project at the Polish Institute of International Affairs; his present scholarly interests include Polish history and 20th century world history; author of The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 (2006), Od Poczdamu do Szklarskiej Poręby. Polska w stosunkach międzynarodowych 1945–1947 (1990), and Terror i polityka. Policja niemiecka a polski ruch oporu w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie 1939–1944 (1985).


Anne DEIGHTON—doctor of history; scientific worker of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Wolfson College, Oxford University; her research interests include amongst other subjects, the Cold War, the history of European integration, European security following the Cold War, British foreign policy; she is the author of, amongst other works, The Impossible Peace: Britain, the Division of Germany and the Origins of the Cold War, 1945–1947 (1990, 1993).


Andrzej FRISZKE—professor of history; a scientific worker of the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences; since 1982, he has been the editor of the historical section of the monthly Więź and a member of that periodical’s management; in 1999-2006 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of National Remembrance; since 2000 he has been the Chairman of the Solidarność Archives Association; his most important works are: O kształt Niepodległej (1989), Opozycja polityczna w PRL 1945–1980 (1994), Oaza na Kopernika (1997), Życie polityczne emigracji (1999), Koło Posłów Znak w Sejmie PRL 1957–1976 (2002), and Polska. Losy państwa i narodu 1939–1989 (2003).


Robert KUPIECKI—doctor of history; director of the Department of Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; former assistant of the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland at NATO and WUE in Brussels; his research interests include recent history and international relations; he is the author of NATO u progu XXI wieku (2000), Od Londynu do Waszyngtonu. NATO w latach dziewięćdziesiątych (1998), NATO a operacje pokojowe. Studium Sojuszu w transformacji (1998), and Na zakręcie historii. Poznań 1956 (co-authored with J. Eisler, 1992).


LI Danhui—professor of history at the School of International Relations of the Beijing University; researcher and author of numerous publications in the field of history of the Cold War and post-war Sino-Soviet relations; editor-in-chief of the Chinese version of Cold War International History Studies published by the East China Normal University; editor of Beijing-Moscow: From Alliance to Confrontation (2002) and China and the Indo-China Wars (2000).


Igor LUKES—professor of international relations and history at Boston University; collaborator of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard University; researcher in contemporary history of Central and Eastern Europe; author and co-author of Czechoslovakia Between Stalin and Hitler: The Diplomacy of Edvard Beneš During the Crisis of the Thirties (1996), The Munich Crisis, 1938: Prelude to World War II (1999), Inside the Aparat: Perspectives on the Soviet Union (1990), and Gorbachev’s USSR: A System in Crisis (1990).


Alexander OREKHOV—an associate professor at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; his research interests include Polish history and Polish-Soviet relations with particular emphasis on the 1950s and 1960s; he participated in the realization of the multi volume project of the Russian and Polish academies of sciences Vosstanye 1863 goda. Materialy i dokumenty; he is the author of several monographs, including Sotsial-demokraticheskoe dvizhenye v Rosii i polskye revolutsyoneri, 1887–1893 gg. (1973), and Stanovlenye polskovo sotsialisticheskovo dvizhenya. Struktura, programmnye kontseptsii, deyateli (1874–1893) (1979); he is the co-author of Kratkaya istoryia Polshi. S drevneyshikh vremen do nashikh dney (1993); he is also the author of numerous articles concerning the Polish October 1956; member of the editorial board for the publication of documents from the 1950s and 1960s in the series Arkhiva Kremla.


Maria PASZTOR—professor of history at the Institute of International Relations of Łódź University; her research interests include French politics and French-Polish relations, and Polish history, especially following the Second World War; she is the author and co-author of numerous publications, such as Hugo Kołłątaj na Sejmie Wielkim 1791–1792 (1991), W krzywym zwierciadle. Polityka władz komunistycznych w Polsce w świetle plotek i pogłosek z lat 1948–1956 (1995), Polska woczach francuskich kół rządowych w latach 1924–1939 (1999), Z dziejów stosunków polsko-francuskich 1948–1953 (2001), Między Paryżem, Warszawą i Moskwą. Stosunki polsko-francuskie w latach1954–1969 (2003), Afera mięsna: fakty i konteksty (2004), and Conflits brűlants de la guerre froide. Les relations franco-polonaises de 1945 ŕ 1954 (2005).


Jan ROWIŃSKI—sinologist and political scientist; professor at Warsaw University and a scientific worker of the Polish Institute of International Affairs; he mainly researches recent Chinese history, Chinese diplomacy, international relations in the Far East and Polish-Chinese relations; he is the editor and co-editor of collected documents and other materials concerning the foreign policy of the Chinese People’s Republic and the Cultural Revolution; he is the author and co-author of many scholarly and popular publications in Chinese, Russian, English, and Polish, amongst them Morze Południowo-Chińskie: region potencjalnego konfliktu w Azji (1990), Chiny a Stolica Apostolska (1991), The Place of East-Central Europe in Japanese Foreign Policy (post-1945). A Lesson for the Future (1993), and  “Political Relations between Denmark and the People’s Republic of China 1949–1997” in: China and Denmark. Relations since 1647 (2001).


Bernd SCHAEFER—doctor of history; scientific worker of the German Historical Institute in Warsaw; a researcher of the Cold War, communism in East Asia and rivalry between the USA and the USSR in the 1960s and 1970s; he conducted research on the subject of the history of the German Democratic Republic and the role of the Church in the socialist system; he is the author of North Korean ‘Adventurism’ and China’s Long Shadow, 1966-1972 (2004), American Détente and German Ostpolitik, 1969–1972 (2004), and Stasi Files and GDR Espionage against the West (2002).


Douglas E. SELVAGE—professor of history at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida; researcher of the Cold War and of the post-Second World War history of socialist bloc countries; author of a doctor’s thesis at Yale University entitled Poland, the German Democratic Republic and the German Question, 1955–1967 (1998) and of The Treaty of Warsaw (1970), The Warsaw Pact Context (2004), Poland and the Sino-Soviet Rift, 1963–1965 (2004), and The End of the Berlin Crisis: New Evidence from the Polish and East German Archives (1999).


SHEN Zhihua—professor of history at the Department of History of Beijing University and the Hua Dong Pedagogical University in Shanghai; researcher of the history of the Soviet Union and the Cold War; he is the author of many monographs, including Mao Zedong, Stalin and the Korean War (1998), The Economic Background of the Sino-Soviet Alliance: A Historical Examination, 1948–1953 (2000), Stalin and Tito: the Origin and Consequence of the Conflict between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia (2002), Specjaliści radzieccy w Chinach (2003) and of numerous articles on the subject of his research interests; he is the first Chinese scholar who presented the position of the CPR toward the October 1956 events in Poland on the basis of declassified party and diplomatic documents.


Karel SIEBER—Czech historian of the younger generation (born in 1978); he works at the information archives of Czech Television; his research interests include the foreign policy of Czechoslovakia during the Cold War and the post-Second World War history of Third World countries; he is the co-author of the Czech internet site devoted to research into the history of the Cold War: PWSV


János TISCHLER—doctor of history; scientific worker of the Institute of History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in Budapest; in 1998–2001 he was Assistant-Director of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Warsaw; he is a researcher of 20th century Polish-Hungarian relations; he is the author of Hogy megcsendüljön minden gyáva fül. Lengyel-magyar közelmúlt [So That Every Cowardly Ear May Hear. Contemporary Polish-Hungarian History] (2003), 1956. Poznań-Budapeszt (co-authored with J. Karwat, 2006), and editor of the collection Rewolucja Węgierska 1956 w polskich dokumentach (1995).


Andrzej WERBLAN—professor of political sciences; activist of the Polish Socialist Party (1946–1948), the Polish United Workers Party (1948–1990), he was Director of the Education Department of the PUWP Central Committee (1960–1970); a secretary of the Central Committee (1974–1980); a Sejm deputy (1961–1984), Deputy-Speaker of the Sejm (1971–1982); Director of the Institute of Basic Problems of Marxism Leninism of the PUWP Central Committee (1975–1981); he is the author of 10 books, over 100 scholarly articles on contemporary Polish history and international relations, and several hundred popular articles.



  • Krzysztof Ruchniewicz, "Sprawy Międzynarodowe", nr 1/2007, s. 129
  • Jerzy Eisler, "Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość", nr 1 (11) 2007
  • Krzysztof Ruchniewicz, "The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs", vol. 16, no. 1/2007
  • Stanisław Parzymies, "Polski Przegląd Dyplomatyczny", nr 5 (39) 2007
  • Wanda Jarząbek, "Studia Polityczne", nr 20, 2007
  • ????? ?????, ??????? ???????, 10/2007, "??????????????", s. 171-175

  • ????????? ??????, "??????????????", 3/2007

ISBN 978-83-89607-21-8
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ISBN 978-83-89607-21-8
Rowiński Jan
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