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Postwar Poland Communist-Socialist strength in the government grew steadily during 1946 and 1947 In the 1947 parliamentary elections the two-party coalition won more than 85 percent of the vote Beginning in September 1948 the Polish Communist Party purged itself of many thousands of so-called national Communists who were accused of approving Yugoslavias defiance of the USSR Among those jailed in the purge was Wladyslaw Gomulka secretary general of the party and first deputy premier In December the Socialists and Communists merged to form the Polish United Workers Party in which pro-Stalin Communists were dominant Thereafter Poland appeared to be one of the most faithful satellites of the USSR During the postwar period Poland became an active member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact In 1952 Poland adopted a constitution modeled after that of the USSR but recognizing certain property rights Gomulka became the dominant figure in Poland steering a careful course between pro-Soviet and nationalist sentiments and introducing limited political reforms In the 1957 elections slates included some non-Communists and independents there were nearly twice as many candidates as there were jobs By the early 1960s Gomulka had tightened the partys hold on Poland and halted most of the reforms An economic crisis assumed major proportions late in 1970 Polish industry had fallen short of planning goals Bad weather again contributed to a poor harvest and resulted in the costly import of grain In addition the prices of coal food and clothing were drastically increased Outraged at the increases Polish workers mainly from the Baltic seaports of Gdansk Gdynia and Szczecin staged demonstrations that led to riots arson and looting A week-long state of emergency was declared and the protests were forcibly suppressed with considerable loss of life In the aftermath of the rioting party secretary Gomulka and other party leaders were removed from the the executive committee of the Communist Party Edward Gierek a prominent Politburo member from Silesia
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