According to the Polish American Guardian Society:

NBC-TV's ripping up a picture of the Polish Pope was DEFINITELY DONE DELIBERATELY by NBC-TV and was typical of the attempts by NBC-TV to bash Polish people, even if the person was a Polish pope.


As for the actual introduction of degrading "Polish jokes" into the US:


Right before NBC-TV INTRODUCED into the US Subhuman intelligence type Polish Jokes in the 1960s, NBC-TV boss George Schlatter said that WHATEVER ethnic group he puts into his "comedy" bits and is the target of degrading ethnic humor, the IMAGE OF THAT ETHNIC GROUP WILL BE DEGRADED IN THE EYES OF the millions of viewers who watch that show. Especially when its repeated over and over and over again.

After he launched shows such as "Laugh In", LO AND BEHOLD Subhuman intelligence Jokes about Polish people became "popular" with the American public. This is the POWER OF NATIONAL NETWORK TV AT ITS MOST MALICIOUS

In the 1970's, when the Polish American Guardian Society surveyed parts of the United States that HAD NO Polish people, interestingly they said they has low opinions of Polish people. The surveyor then said HOW CAN YOU HAVE A LOW OPINION OF POLISH AMERICANS if YOU DO NOT KNOW ANY??

The surveyed respondent would then say "OH ITS BECAUSE I SEE THOSE POLISH JOKES ON TV!!!!!"

In so many words the surveyed person continued and said:

"Polish people can't be intelligent if the TV SHOWS ME THAT NEGATIVE IMAGE OF POLISH PEOPLE"

Thus the Subhuman intelligence joke about Polish people was given birth on American soil in the 1960's, hatched in the production rooms of the anti-Polish bigots in NBC-TV/Hollywood studios.
Polish American Guardian Society says NBC-TV pushed anti-Polish Hate jokes for decades to malign Polish people 
 
Many Polish Americans felt NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" broadcast of a picture of the Polish Pope being ripped up, symbolized NBC's decades of anti-Polish Hatred. The Polish American newspaper "Post Eagle" condemned it as blatant anti-Polish/Catholic Bigotry and Hatred typical of NBC's decades of slurs against Polish people and Catholics.

The producers of "Saturday Night Live" claimed they didn't know the Pope picture would be ripped up, but some say the Saturday Night Live producers DEFINITELY KNEW ahead a time the Polish pope picture would be ripped up and was meant as another one of NBC-TV's infamous "Polish jokes"

On October 3, 1992 NBC-TV displayed a picture of the Polish Pope being RIPPED UP. Many Polish Americans were not suprised this happened on NBC-TV.
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Excerpts from “The Devil’s Playground” by Piotr Wrobel:

After BOTH Nazi Germany AND the Soviet Union invaded Poland together in September 1939…

On both sides of the Ribbentrop-Molotov line, the most savage and devastating attack organized by the invaders was against the elite of Polish society. Both the Germans and the Soviets were determined to kill "the best and the brightest" and, to a large extent, they succeeded in doing this. During World War II, the Polish nation was decapitated: the most promising youth, the most patriotic intelligentsia, and the most outstanding intellectuals were killed. Two months after the outbreak of the war, at the beginning of November 1939, all the professors of Cracow's Jagiellonian University and the Mining Academy were invited by the Germans for a meeting. Most of them, one hundred and sixty-seven, were arrested and sent to the concentration camp of Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen. One hundred and three survived and returned to Cracow, but some died immediately after their release. Similar treatment was applied by the Germans to the professors of other Polish universities. Eighty per cent of Polish intellectuals fell into deep poverty and after the war many of them never returned to their pre-war intellectual activities.

The Soviets were killing "the best and the brightest" too. In March 1940, Stalin decided to execute about 22,000 Polish war prisoners, including over 15,000 officers from the three POW camps in Kozielsk, Starobielsk, and Ostaszkow. The Poles were executed in April and May 1940 in Katyn, near Kharkov and near Tver. Most of the victims were reserve officers, the elite of the Polish nation. In Katyn alone, 21 university professors, 300 physicians, and hundreds of lawyers, teachers, and engineers were killed. Altogether, during World War II, Poland lost 45 per cent of her physicians and dentists (both Christian and Jewish), 57 per cent of her lawyers, over 15 per cent of her teachers, 40 per cent of university professors and over 18 per cent of her clergy………..

In destroying the elite of the Polish nation, the occupiers waged war on Polish culture. "The Poles," announced Hans Frank, the Governor of the General government, "do not need universities or secondary schools; the Polish lands are to be changed into an intellectual desert."9 In order to do this, the Germans closed all Polish scientific, artistic, and educational institutions with the exception of simplified primary schools. The Germans destroyed many historical buildings, scientific and art collections, and libraries. Most museums, public and private art collections, archives, and scientific laboratories were pillaged. Many outstanding German professors and scholars were involved in the robbery of the cultural heritage of Poland. The German struggle against this heritage included as well a carefully planned destruction of the monuments to Polish kings, heroes, writers, and scholars. The publication of Polish books was forbidden and the Polish press, numbering over 2,200 periodicals before the war, was reduced – leaving aside the underground press – to a few dozen titles fully controlled by the Germans.

The Germans also initiated a propaganda war against Poland. The best known element of this propaganda war is the legendary Blitzkrieg in Poland. The Allies gladly accepted Goebbels' version of the "quick war" because it justified their betrayal. After the war, many outstanding western historians, such as John Wheeler-Bennett in his The Nemesis of Power, used the Blitzkrieg interpretation. Several documentary film directors took as authentic material the scenes Goebbels staged for his propaganda film, "Feldzug in Polen." As a result, many people in the West believed that the Poles did not really fight in 1939, and that the Poles sent the cavalry against the German tanks.


http://www.warsawuprising.com/paper/wrobel1.htm
CUTTING OFF THE HEAD OF POLAND by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union....and their attempts to make Nazi-Soviet propaganda about "inferior intelligence Poles"/"Polish jokes" stereotype of Poles a "reality".
NAZI GERMANS AND SOVIETS MURDER POLAND'S BEST AND BRIGHTEST FIRST TO DESTROY POLAND'S ABILITY TO RESIST OCCUPATION AND MAKE POLAND ONLY "INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO DO SLAVE LABOR" FOR ITS OCCUPIERS 
Ironically, Left-wing Hollywood and the TV Networks (like NBC-TV) pushed these racist Polish “jokes” even though they claimed to hate Nazis. Hollywood and NBC-TV evidently hate Nazi propaganda but not when its applied to Poles. Hollywood and Network-TV (NBC) have a deep hatred for Anti-communist, Pro-American, Pro-Catholic Poland.

The recent movie “Katyn” shows the German Nazis and Soviets killing the educated Polish class in Poland in order to make Poland “intellectually inferior” and easier to rule. This was during the time Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were collaborating with each other to destroy Poland as per their Molotov-Ribbentrop pact to destroy Poland together.

Polish jokes (in terms of Polish people having subhuman intelligence) did not predate the 20th Century since it was introduced in America by left-wing bigots in Hollywood and TV networks like NBC-TV in the late 1960’s and 1970’s with anti-Polish “shows” such as “Laugh In”

Up until the 1960's the jokes about Polish people were basically about Poles being stubborn, having thick accents. having hard to pronounce last names and eating too many kielbasas and pierogis. There wasn't an emphasis on Polish people having inferior intelligence. Other ethnic groups in the early 1900's were degraded with jokes about having inferior intelligence far worse then Polish people. The Irish were targeted with anti-Irish jokes constantly about how they only "had the minds of dogs" and "Irish and dogs need not apply" and "Irish think and look like white monkeys". Italians were targeted with anti-Italian jokes about how they "only had the intelligence to do crude low class work" and "were greaseballs with grease in their brains". Although there was some Hollywood/TV media afterwards that portrayed Irish and Italians along these lines, these OPINION MAKERS in Hollywood and the TV media didn't have a prejudice against Irish and Italians the way they had against Polish people.

As the book "Hollywood's War with Poland" has documented, Hollywood was filled with Soviet sympathizers that were gradually conditioning the American public to see Poland and Polish people as being "backward" and having inferior intelligence. This was meant to prompt little sympathy from the American public for Poland and all the hell went Poland went through under Nazi German occupation and then Soviet occupation.
Michael Preisler - Polish Christian Auschwitz prisoner #22213 - reported hearing and seeing Nazi German guards degrading Polish people with "Polish jokes".
"Polish jokes" in Nazi German Death Camps
Although there are still people in the US who say so called "Polish Jokes", they are mostly low class fringe Americans. Most Americans today.....especially public figures, apologize after telling a joke against Polish people, if they want to maintain their dignity and not look like a bigot
http://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/123916/wait-wait-don-t-tell-me-apologizes-for-polish-joke
http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2012/01/13/gee-apologizes-for-polish-joke.html
http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/83536,University-president-apologizes-for-Polish-army-joke
http://lubbockonline.com/stories/021999/ent_021999004.shtml
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/12/17/Specter-apologizes-for-Polish-jokes/UPI-44361229547951/
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-11-01/news/ct-talk-wbez-apology-20131101_1_joke-npr-bulb
People who tell jokes about Polish people being "ignorant and dumb", only make themselves look ignorant and dumb
Hitler's sense of Humor - Adolf Hitler, who was also known by Nazi Germans as being a popular Stand up Comic Comedian - makes a joke about his adversaries like President Roosevelt - video
"Polish Jokes" origin is Nazi German Propaganda Part 2C - video

Hitler makes one of his famous Nazi German propaganda "Polish jokes" that his Nazi German audience LOVES to Laughs at!
The FIRST people/victims to be sent to Nazi German Death camps like Auschwitz in June 1940 were NOT Jews, but Polish CHRISTIANS. Jews were not sent to Nazi German death camps until mid 1942, TWO YEARS after Polish Christians were sent to these Nazi German camps......to be MOCKED with ethnic anti-Polish slurs and "jokes" about how Polish people have "subhuman intelligence". These Polish Christian victims were mocked and insulted by Germans transporting them to the German death camps and by Nazi German guards at the Nazi German Camps as these Polish Christians were being tortured and killed. See 5:19 of this video to see just the TIP OF THE ICEBERG Polish Christian victims who suffered from this Nazi German abuse .
Polish CHRISTIANS are sent to Nazi German death camps 2 years before Jews are sent there. During that time these Polish Christian victims were abused, tortured and killed while being subjected to "jokes" about how they have "subhuman intelligence"....by the Nazi Germans.
"Polish Jokes" origin is Nazi German Propaganda Part 2D - video Anti-Polish Bigotry jokes go from Nazi Germany to Hollywood
"POLISH JOKES" ORIGIN IS NAZI GERMAN PROPAGANDA
The FIRST VICTIMS of Auschwitz were approximately 200,000 Polish CHRISTIANS. The sign at Auschwitz "ARBEIT MACHT FREI" which means... "Work will make you free"... was meant as a Nazi German "Polish joke" to DEGRADE and RIDICULE the FIRST victims of Auschwitz who were of POLISH CHRISTIAN heritage.
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By (PAR) Adam Kursinski
Hitler Laughing at Nazi German subhuman intelligence jokes about Polish people

PolishAmericanReview

It has been a Hollywood and "American" TV MYTH that Hitler and his Nazi Germans had "No sense of humor". On the contrary, one of the reasons why most Germans loved Hitler was that he made them laugh.....at Jews, Polish people and other "enemies of the German people". Hitler in his speeches, made jokes/ethnic humor about Jewish people "Looking and Acting LIke Rats" and Polish people having "subhuman intelligence".
Disgusting Leftist Anti-Polish "American" TV networks import Nazi German "Polish jokes" to America