From High Cold War to Early Détente, 1948–1956

  • Andrea Mason
Part of the Security, Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World book series (SCCCW)


This chapter considers the longer-term consequences of British policy for Poland, as the country underwent a process of Sovietisation in the late 1940s, which left it virtually cut off from Britain and the West. In the mid-1950s, a process of liberalisation followed by the October 1956 revolution prompted a review of British policy towards Poland and the other satellite states, sparking renewed British interest in Poland as the strategic entry point for the reintroduction of Western influence into Eastern Europe—and even potentially to undermine Soviet control over the satellite states. The British capacity to encourage Warsaw to assert its independence from Moscow was limited by Britain’s perpetual scarcity of resources and by its diminished global influence but also by the consequences of British compromises over Poland’s territorial and political sovereignty during and immediately after the war, which left Poland strategically vulnerable in the Cold War context, entirely dependent on the Soviet Union for its security.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Mason
    • 1
  1. 1.LSE Department of International HistoryLondonUK

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