Eruption in East Europe:
A Myth Destroyed and a Revolution Betrayed
The “thaw” in Poland goes back at least to the fall of Beria in June of 1953. One consequence of this event was the defection to the West of a high official of the Polish security police named Josef Swiatlo. This man’s revelations on the misdeeds of his service, and on the scandals and intrigues in the highest political circles in Poland, which were widely used by Western broadcasting services and in the Free Europe Committee’s balloon-borne leaflets and pamphlets, undoubtedly helped the demoralization of the Polish leadership and stimulated opposition from within the party. The security police were generally downgraded, as in the Soviet Union. At the end of 1954 Radkiewicz, for ten years boss of the police, was transferred to the Ministry of State Farms. During 1955 pressure was gradually relaxed. In particular, there was considerably more cultural contact with the West, and it was noticed that delegates from Poland to international meetings spoke with surprising freedom.
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