Mikołajczyk’s Escape, January to November 1947
This chapter covers the period of British withdrawal from Poland following the Polish elections in January 1947. The chapter argues that Bevin moved towards complete disengagement partly because the Polish opposition had been seriously diminished over the course of the election campaign, leaving Britain without a viable political force to support. Above all, however, it was at this point that the problem of Germany eclipsed any remaining British resolve to influence the political settlement in Poland. The fuel crisis of early 1947 meant that Bevin urgently needed to finalise the plans for the merger of the Anglo-American occupation zones in Germany and restore the region to self-sufficiency. Soviet objections made this impossible unless the pretence of four-power cooperation was abandoned. At this diplomatically delicate moment, Bevin was particularly anxious to avoid interference in the Soviet sphere in Eastern Europe.