Polish October, also known as October 1956, Polish thaw, or Gomułka's thaw, marked a change in the politics of Poland in the second half of 1956. Some social scientists term it the Polish October Revolution, which, while less dramatic than the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, might have had an even deeper impact on the Eastern Bloc and on the Soviet Union's relationship to its satellite states in Eastern Europe.
For the People's Republic of Poland, 1956 was a year of transition. The international situation significantly weakened the hard-line Stalinist faction in Poland; Polish communist leader Bolesław Bierut died in March; it was three years since Stalin had died and his successor at the Soviet Union's helm, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced him in February. Protests by workers in June in Poznań had highlighted the people's dissatisfaction with their situation. In October, the events set in motion resulted in the rise in power of the reformers' faction, led by Władysław Gomułka. After brief, but tense, negotiations, the Soviets gave permission for Gomułka to stay in control and made several other concessions resulting in greater autonomy for the Polish government. For Polish citizens this meant a temporary liberalization. Eventually though, hopes for full liberalization were proven false, as Gomułka's regime became more oppressive. Nonetheless, the era of Stalinization in Poland had ended.