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4. A Line of Blood

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Chapter Summary

The events of 1968 weakened Wladyslaw Gomułka. Opposition to his rule was growing within the bureaucracy, even as discontent simmered below and the economy stagnated. Gomułka’s proposals to deal with economic stagnation meant that sacrifices had to be borne again by the already burdened workers in the form of longer hours and harder work. Expenditure for safer working conditions, sanitary installations and social facilities in factories virtually ceased. The line of blood these events drew between the workers and the Communist regime changed things forever. Through the killings, the regime lost standing as a moral entity. Never again would the government attempt to appeal to its population in moral or ideological terms. Gomułka, who had come to power in 1956 on the hopes of so many people, had now lost his last base of support and was unceremoniously dumped within a few days of the killings.

Keywords:Communist regime; economic stagnation; Wladyslaw Gomułka

10.1163/9789004252769_006
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