Browse Items: Solidarity
President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary in July 1989, following a series of speeches he had made that defined the direction his administration would take in its relations with the Soviet Union. On April 17, at Hamtramck, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit heavily populated by Polish-Americans, Bush had devoted a speech—referred to in the excerpt below—to the future of Eastern….
This report analyzes the peculiar dilemma that Solidarity leaders faced in the aftermath of their landslide election victory in June. Their success had been based on opposition to the communist regime, but the framework that had allowed that success was based on a compromise with that regime. The practical issue that best highlighted the apparent incompatibility of those two commitments was the….
In early June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the inception of Communism following the Second World War. In the first round of these elections, Poles exhibited strong anti-Communist and pro-Solidarity sentiments, surprising both sides. Immediately after the first round of these elections, the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR, i.e., Communist….
In the following report, the American Ambassador to Poland (John R. Davis, Jr.) outlines possible outcomes of June 4 elections and what consequences might follow from each. Although the analysis reveals a general expectation that the regime would perform poorly, considerable uncertainty remains over whether this will translate into a clear mandate for Solidarity. The cable underscores two….
One of the most important agreements made by Communist officials and opposition leaders in Poland at the roundtable talks that took place in February through April 1989 was the decision to hold, for the first time, semi-free elections, in which half of the parliamentary seats would be freely contested. In this confidential cable, the American Embassy in Warsaw reported to the U.S. Secretary of….
Formed in September 1980 in Poland and recognized as a legal union by Communist officials in November, Solidarity was formally dissolved by Communist leaders on October 8, 1982, and forced to function illegally and underground. During the historic roundtable talks between Communist officials and leaders of the opposition that took place in February through April 1989, participants revisited the….
In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise to resolve the strike, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions as the shortages failed to improve. Imports from the Soviet Union and the West failed to improve the economy, with more strikes becoming endemic throughout….
Following the first congress of Solidarity held in September 1981 in which Solidarity leaders adopted "An Appeal to the Peoples of Eastern Europe," Leonid Brezhnev (first party secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU]) secretly called Stanislaw Kania (first party secretary of the Communist Party in Poland [PZPR]) to discuss the ramifications of both the congress and the….
In September 1981, Solidarity held its first Congress in which it adopted a document, "An Appeal to the Peoples of Eastern Europe," a message geared toward working-class people in other Soviet bloc countries. Leaders in the Soviet Union, not surprisingly, viewed this message as dangerous, having the potential to spread the Polish unrest throughout the region. During a meeting of the Central….
Polish and Soviet leaders met on numerous occasions to discuss the ongoing critical situation in Poland. On August 14, 1981, for example, Leonid Brezhnev (first party secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU]) met secretly with Stanislaw Kania and Wojciech Jaruzelski (leaders of the Communist Party in Poland [PZPR]) in the Crimea following Poland's Ninth Extraordinary Congress….
In April 1981, Polish officials Stanislaw Kania (first secretary of the Communist Party in Poland) and Wojciech Jaruzelski (then prime minister of Poland) secretly met with two Soviet leaders, Yu. V. Andropov (a secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CC CPSU]) and D. F. Ustinov (the minister of defense). During a meeting of the CC CPSU that followed,….
Adam Michnik is among the most influential figures in Poland. Part of the Communist Party in Poland in the 1960s, he was persecuted for his Jewish origins in 1968, and subsequently became part of the dissident movement for political change. In 1976, he was among the founding members of the Committee for the Defense of Workers (Komitet Obrony Robotników), which focused on providing….
In August 1980, a worker's strike in Poland led to a compromise known as the Gdansk Agreement, in which the Communist government agreed to several compromises with the strikers, including the legal formation of a worker's union -- which became Solidarity. While this initially brought stability in Poland, it set shockwaves through the Warsaw Pact from the emerging danger of "antisocialist….
Deeply concerned about the ongoing economic and political crisis in Poland in the early 1980s, Soviet leaders regularly communicated with Polish officials, providing advice, support, and criticism. These meeting notes from April 2, 1981, of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union convey Soviet leaders' dissatisfaction, frustration, and even anger with Polish leaders'….
Leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) grew increasingly concerned about the strength and growth of the Solidarity Movement as well as the largely unsuccessful actions of Poland's Communist Party against the opposition in Poland. These meeting notes of the Central Committee of the CPSU from January 1981 indicate that Soviet leaders recognized that the Polish Communist….
In January 1981, Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity Movement in Poland, along with other participants in the opposition, traveled to Italy. In response to this visit, the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union sent a telegram to the Soviet ambassador in Italy instructing him on how to handle the visitors. The instructions advised the ambassador to meet with the leader….
In August 1980, a worker's strike in Poland led to a compromise known as the Gdansk Agreement, in which the Communist government agreed to allow democratic changes within the government, including the legal formation of a worker's union—which became Solidarity. This agreement may have brought stability inside Poland, but created a strong reaction from the Soviet Union. The following is a….
In the summer of 1980, strikes erupted among workers in Poland, making Communist leaders throughout the Soviet bloc uneasy. The Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union met in October 1980 to discuss and endorse a report compiled by some of its members about a forthcoming visit of two Polish officials, Stanislaw Kania and Josef Pinkowski. In their discussions, they agreed….
In response to another rise in prices, for meat products in particular, strikes erupted in the summer of 1980 in Poland among workers throughout the country, especially in the cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Szczecin. Strikers listed a total of twenty-one demands, including higher pay, more openness in media, less censorship, and the formation of free trade unions. To quell the situation,….