Eryk Krasucki: Distrust – an unavoidable and destructive characteristic of conspiracy. The case of the Polish Communist Party (1918–38)

Abstract

In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2016. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 113–130.

Suspicion, mistrust, scepticism – these are the features which make a good conspirator. In conditions of illegality these attributes can help prevent denunciation and arrest; but they can also turn into paranoia, which makes it difficult recognise reality. It is a matter of an individual’s psychological constitution; yet a conspirator is constantly influenced by their working environment. In the communist movement suspicion was regarded as a virtue. Party members were vetted in different ways. This owed to suspicions that the party could be penetrated from ‘outside’, but also reflected fears that any weakening of revolutionary vigilance could destroy the party. This article describes the psychological impact of suspicion using the example of the Polish Communist Party (1918–38). It analyses changes in the language of politics and the influence of “Bolshevisation”, which was enforced by the Comintern from the middle of the 1920s. In 1937 these suspicions culminated in the disbanding of the Polish Communist Party.

Über den Autor

Eryk Krasucki, Ph.D., geb. 1977. Assistant Professor am Institut für Geschichte und Internationale Beziehungen der Universität Szczecin, Polen und Forscher am Institut des Nationalen Gedenkens. Forschungsschwerpunkte: Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts, insbesondere Probleme der Ideologie und Praxis des Kommunismus. Autor zahlreicher Publikationen u. a.: Międzynarodowy komunista. Jerzy Borejsza – biografia polityczna [Der Internationale Kommunist Jerzy Borejsza – eine politische Biografie], Warszawa 2009; Przesilenie. Szczecińskie społeczeństwo i władza w styczniu i lutym 1971 r. [Wendepunkt. Die Stettiner Gesellschaft und die Mächtigen im Januar/Februar 1971], Szczecin 2010. In Vorbereitung: Auswahl von Dokumenten zum Thema: »Die Komintern und Polen (1919–1943)«; außerdem ein Kollektivporträt über die Elite der polnischen Kommunisten der Zwischenkriegszeit.