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Fear Management

Foreign Threats in the Post-War Polish Propaganda. The Influence and the Reception of the Communist Media (1944-1956)


Bruno Kamiński

The so-called ‘people's power’ – the communists – tended to make Poles afraid. At first – afraid of the Anglo-Saxon imperialists, then of the German revisionists, Zionist 5th column and ‘Kuroń and Michnik walking on the CIA’s leash’. The creation of the atmosphere of fear featuring Germans and their alleged ‘return’ lasted until 1970. In his Fear Management Bruno Kamiński reaches to the origins of this story. Based on a huge selection of sources this analytical study exhibits how in the first 15 postwar years Poles were threatened with the Western world. In the beginning, the Germans were chosen to play the role of the main enemy, dethroned later by the Americans. At the same time, the author proves that fear next to nationalism and ethnic hostility developed into one of the pillars legitimizing the communist system.

Marcin Zaremba, Polish Academy of Science, University of Warsaw

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II Greedy capitalists and aggressive neighbours. The local dimension of the German threat with the examples of Łódź and Szczecin (1945–1947)


As long as the world exists,

a German will not be a brother to a Pole

Polish proverb

The anti-German theme in the postwar communist media presented in a general context in the first chapter enables one to recognise the main methods and motifs which communist propaganda used in presenting the image of the foreign enemy and, consequently, foreign threat. The examination of the implementation of those methods in the specific social context of two cities: Łódź and Szczecin opens another level of the analysis. The discussion of the propaganda messages addressed to the communities living in different postwar circumstances offers the opportunity to trace the ways in which the communist propagandists were dealing with postwar fears within local contexts. What is no less important is that this comparison allows for the assessment of the popular reception of propaganda attempts to focus attention of two different communities on the vision of German dread.

1 Łódź and Szczecin – historical and sociological sketch

The choice of Łódź has been made given the particular character of that industrial centre and its socialist traditions. No less important is the fact that the new nineteenth century shape and image of the city was planned precisely with the intention of attracting Germans. Privileged as they were, Germans gained an important position in the city and played a significant role in shaping its modern character. Łódź as a town was established in 1423, but its...

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