Inconvenient Anniversary: October Revolution Day in the Polish People’s Republic, 1957–67

Bartłomiej Gajos



This article shows how the leaders of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) tried to incorporate the October Revolution into the Polish culture of remembrance. The author concentrates his attention on two round anniversaries (in 1957 and 1967) and describes the limits, zig-zags, and paradoxes of the official politics of memory conducted by the PZPR. He argues that although the Soviet leaders conceived the anniversaries of the October Revolution as a means of strengthening the friendship between the nations, in the case of Poland, they created an opportunity to advance arguments for easing Soviet domination. The author also points out that both the Soviet and Polish cultures of remembrances shared one feature in common: by the late 1960s, the theme of the Second World War started to overshadow all other events from the past, including first and foremost the October Revolution.


politics of memory; Polish People’s Republic; October Revolution; memory studies; Soviet Union; Gomułka

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