The Polish People's Republic (Polish: Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa, PRL) covers the history of Poland under communist control between 1952 and 1989. The name was defined by the Constitution of 1952 which was based on the 1936 Soviet Constitution. Between 1947 and 1952, the name of the Polish state was the Republic of Poland (Rzeczpospolita Polska), in accordance with the temporary Constitution of 1947. At the time of its founding during final stages of World War II, Poland was regarded as a puppet entity set up and controlled by the Soviet Union, and over time, it developed into a satellite state of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union had much influence over both internal and external affairs, and Red Army forces were stationed in Poland (1945: 500,000; until 1955: 120,000 to 150,000; until 1989: 40,000). In 1945, Soviet generals and advisors formed 80% of the officer cadre of the Polish Armed Forces. The Polish United Workers' Party became the dominant political party, officially making the country a Communist state.
In March 1956 Bolesław Bierut died and was replaced with Edward Ochab. In June, workers in the industrial city of Poznań went on strike, in what became known as Poznań 1956 protests. Voices began to be raised in the Party and among the intellectuals calling for wider reforms of the Stalinist system. Eventually, power shifted towards Władysław Gomułka, who replaced Bierut as party leader. Hardline Stalinists were removed from power and many Soviet officers serving in the Polish Army were dismissed. This marked the end of the Stalinist era. However, by the mid-1960s Gomułka's reformist veil had long since fallen off, and Poland was starting to experience economic as well as political difficulties.
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