Political History

Civil War in Poland, 1942–1948 by Anita J. Prażmowska (auth.)

By Anita J. Prażmowska (auth.)

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23 Any attempts to overcome the peasant communities’ apprehensions about closer cooperation with the AK had in the first place to tackle that community’s hostility which had been aroused by the Pil´sudski coup d’état and the militarization of political life that followed. In a report addressed to Mikol´ajczyk in March 1942 the leadership of the SL in occupied Poland made it quite clear that all activities directed by the military would automatically be distrusted. This attitude was encouraged by the conviction within the peasant movement that the military had still to make a commitment to supporting the Sikorski government.

At the time of the outbreak of the war the movement was still deeply divided by unresolved conflicts relating to the inter-war period. The ‘Piast’ faction led by Wincenty Witos had tended towards cooperation with the right wing. Once war broke out that section tried to continue this line, but was rebuffed. During the spring of 1940 Maciej Rataj, the leader of the democratic section of the Peasant Alliance, tried to bring all peasant organizations together. 13 The Peasant Alliance formulated its outline of the post-war programme during this period and this outline brought the Peasant Alliance closer to the socialist underground movement, WRN.

Thus throughout the war couriers and emissaries continued to make their way from occupied Poland to neutral states from where, with the aid of the Polish consular services, they would proceed to Britain. 2 The distinction between couriers and emissaries was that couriers were merely carriers of messages, whereas emissaries carried information between the government and the parties which supported it in London. 3 In March 1941 regular radio links between Poles in Britain and the occupied territories were established.

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