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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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III The threat of spies, conspirators and internal enemies in the communist propaganda in Poland (1945–1953)


In times of terror, when everyone

is something of a conspirator,

everyone will be in a situation

where he has to play detective.

Walter Benjamin

The issue of ‘spy mania’ and the general problem of hostile activity of spies have always been and still are important and popular motifs in the cultural and political discourses. On the one hand the international career of the famous American novelist James F. Cooper started with the publication of the bestseller romance ‘The Spy’429 from 1821, which presented the fictional story of the activity of an intelligence agent during the American Revolutionary War. On the other hand, one of the most famous political events that focused the attention of a large part of the French public between 1894 and 1899 was the deeply anti-Semitic Dreyfus Affair, where a French officer of Jewish descent was accused of spying on France for Germany.430 Both these cases are only two examples of a wider tendency. They illustrate the fact that at least from the nineteenth century societies on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean were attentive to the issue of threat standing behind foreign conspiracy.

The subversive actions taken by spies were also among the integral elements of various types of conspiracy theories. In the twentieth century one may indicate at least several moments when the fear of spies and conspirators hidden within the given society evoked serious dread or even natural or...

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