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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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List of Figures


Picture 1: An effigy of a Nazi soldier exposed on the street of Warsaw in June-July 1946; L. Wysznacki, Warszawa od wyzwolenia do naszych dni, Warszawa 1977, p. 66

Picture 2: A poster by Zenon Wasilewski suggesting that the Werwolf troops are still hiding in the Polish woods, spring 1946; Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie, Pl.917/1

Picture 3: An excavation of bodies of victims in the Nazi prison at Lublin’s castle, July 1944. A photo from the documentary movie Vernichtungslager Majdanek - Cemetery of Europe by Aleksander Ford

Picture 4: An excavation of remains of prisoners’ bodies in the Majdanek extermination camp, July 1944. A photo from the documentary movie Vernichtungslager Majdanek - Cemetery of Europe by Aleksander Ford

Picture 5: A drawing by Henryk Tomaszewski illustrating a Nazi massacre of animals at the ZOO in Poznań in March 1945; ‘Szpilki’, 06.03.1945

Picture 6: A drawing by Jan Lenica summarizing a set of threats that in his view disturbed Polish press readers, ‘Szpilki’, 21.05.1946

Picture 7: A communist poster prepared for the People’s Referendum in July 1946 exposing the alleged Nazi-like character of the NSZ troops; Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie, Pl.7963/1

Picture 8: A poster by Boris Yefimov circulated in Poland in 1951 presenting the consequences of American investments in Europe; Muzeum Plakatu w Wilanowie, Pl.8720/1,

Picture 9: An anonymous poster from 1952 criticizing the Schuman Plan as a pro-Nazi initiative; Muzeum Plakatu...

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