Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448 17 Mar 2015 #1Last night there was a programme on Władysław Gomułka on TV (TVP1). It portrayed him as a person of limited intellectual horizons but a true believer. He believed socialism was the onły viable option for Poland but was also a realist. In 1956 when Khrushchev flew to Poland in the wake of the Poznań Bread & Freedom riots, Gomułka begged for Soviet support without which socialism could not survive in Poland. He realised socialism was not popular in Poland and believed in time it would prove its worth and win the the Polish nation over. He also opposed large-scale collectivisation, allowed small-scale private entrepreneurship and a measure of cultural autonomy and tolerated a certain amount of religious freedom. That ran counter to what was happening the remaining far more hard-line Soviet-bloc countries. He called it "the Polish road to socialism". After he had settled into his leadership role, he turned the screw a bit, but the net result was far more liberal than elsewhere in the bloc. Maybe that's why it was said that "Poland is the jolliest barracks of the socialist camp!"