Republic of Poland (1944-1952) and Polish People’s Republic (1952-1989)


Hello dear reader! This nation page is intended only as a placeholder before a proper, in-depth one can be produced

At the Yalta Conference in 1945, Joseph Stalin agreed to create a government in Poland that would include politicians from the government-in-exile, created in the aftermath of the 1939 invasion. As a result, in 1945, the Provisional Government of National Unity was created, and the Allies officially withdrew their recognition of the Polish Government in Exile. After the forged referendum and election in 1946 and 1947, the Communist government led by the Polish Workers’ Party seized full power in the country and almost all opposition was eliminated. In 1955, the Polish People’s Republic along with seven other Eastern Bloc countries formed the Warsaw Pact, a USSR-controlled collective defense treaty created in response to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Polish People’s Army was a continuation of the Polish Armed Forces in the East, established during World War II. Many of the first armored vehicles would be WWII veterans, such as the IS-2 and SU self-propelled gun series, which saw service until the 1960s. In the T-34/85’s case, service would last until the 1980s. Other types of tanks were also purchased, such as additional IS-2 tanks, PT-76 light amphibious tanks, and two experimental IS-3 tanks.

Many of the Soviet designs would also see licensed production in Poland, done mainly by Mechanical Works “Bumar-Łabędy”, which produced various licensed versions of existing Soviet designs, such as the T-34/85 (1952-1956), T-54 (1958-1964), T-55A (1968-1981), and T-72 (1981-1991).Some of the tanks also received domestic upgrades, such as the T-34-85M1 and T-34-85M2, experimental modifications of the T-54 and T-55 tanks, and the T-55AM “Merida” – a thorough modernization of the T-55 produced between 1986 and 1989.

Apart from tanks, the Polish Army also used various armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, such as the MT-LB, SKOT, TOPAS, BMP-1, some of which were purchased and some of which were produced domestically. The Army also had its own domestically produced engineering and recovery vehicles, such as the WPT-34, CW-34, WZT-1, etc.

Various armored fighting vehicles of the Polish People’s Army saw service in the role of suppressing protests, for example in June 1956 in Poznań, December 1970 in Gdańsk, and during the Martial Law (1981-1983). They were also deployed during the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Because the Polish People’s Republic was a member of the Warsaw Pact, it was considered a potential threat to the Western Bloc and was monitored by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The agency would produce various reports on the Polish People’s Army. While the accuracy of some of these documents remains dubious, they do bring to light otherwise unknown vehicles, such as the T-34/SU-76 Hybrid, T-34-100, or the possible Polish use of T-44 tanks.

Communist rule in Poland would finally come to an end after the first partially free elections in June 1989 and the change in the constitution on December 31, 1989, which renamed the country the Republic of Poland as it is still known today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *