Browse Items: Solidarity
Prior to the historic roundtable talks between Polish Communist officials and leaders of the opposition that eventually took place from February to April 1989, Solidarity activist Andrzej Stelmachowski secretly met with Secretary Jozef Czyrek, a member of the Polish Politburo. While their occasional meetings to discuss the content, structure, and composition of the upcoming talks were….
Andrzej Stelmachowski, a Solidarity activist, engaged in secret negotiations between the opposition and communist party and state leaders in Poland regarding the preparations for the historic Roundtable Talks that eventually took place in February through April 1989. In this document, he reported to Lech Walesa, the leader of the Solidarity Movement, about his discussion with Secretary Jozef….
In September 1988, Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's Solidarity Movement and later president of Poland following the collapse of communism (1990-1995), wrote this document a few months prior to the historic Roundtable Talks between party and state officials and the opposition that eventually took place in February to April 1989. Walesa presented what the opposition viewed as the most important….
Prior to the historic Roundtable Talks between the opposition and the communist party and state officials in Poland, negotiations occurred on many levels, as shown in this document. Not only were participants in the opposition negotiating with communist leaders, but they were also negotiating among themselves. Leaders of the opposition held numerous meetings in the fall of 1988 to discuss the….
Pessimism prevailed in this report prepared by the Polish Council of State assessing the general welfare of the country seven years after the national strikes that led to the Gdansk Agreements and four years after the lifting of martial law. The authors of this report note contempt among the general populace for the government's attempted economic reforms, as well as widespread dissatisfaction….
Poland was unique among Warsaw Pact countries in the degree of influence retained by the Catholic Church. But the church was also viewed as a powerful competitor to the state, and its leaders were among the first to be monitored and harassed during periods of social unrest. It is for this reason that the meeting transcribed in this document is so remarkable: Church officials proposed church….
Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's Solidarity Movement and outspoken critic of the communist party and state, a shipyard worker in the city of Gdansk, and later president of Poland following the collapse of Communism (1990-1995), wrote this note prior to the Roundtable Talks that eventually took place in February to April 1989. During the historic Roundtable Talks, Polish communist leaders met….
Prior to the historic roundtable talks that took place between February and April 1989 in Poland, preparations took place on many levels. In this letter dated January 20, 1989, a couple of weeks before the beginning of the roundtable talks, Andrzej Stelmachowski, a Solidarity activist, provided suggestions to Solidarity leader Lech Walesa on how to prepare for the upcoming discussions. In….
This electoral poster invites readers to attend a meeting on May 1, 1989 to discuss the upcoming election. A tentative translation of the poster is: "Solidarity's Struggle. We invite you to a public meeting on the free balloting at Constitution Place on May 1 at 9:00 am." This sort of poster is an interesting artifact of the campaign for the first free election in Poland since the….
After Solidarity assumed the political leadership of Poland, the new government issued these stamps to commemorate the student protests in Tiananmen Square in China in the Spring of 1989. Postage stamps may be part of everyday life and the images here served an important political purpose. Unlike the recent peaceful transition to a post-Communist government in Poland, not only was China still….
Description/Annotation still required. Please refer to Anastasia Mikheeva’s translation of text:
“Vote for Grazyne Staniszewska, Candidate for Sejm”….
This campaign poster for the Polish Solidarity movement shows Polish voters what was at stake in the upcoming elections in June 1989. Under the terms of the arrangement negotiated with the Communist party, 35% of the seats in the Lower House of the parliament (Sejm) were to be freely contested. However, voters could also vote "no" on candidates for the other seats and if a candidate….
This report, from September 1, 1988, details the meeting of a diverse coalition of Polish opposition members, consisting of trade unionists, academics, journalists and representatives of the Solidarity movement. They agreed that their major priorities were for talks with the government regarding the status of unions, pluralism, and economic and political reforms. They agreed to the….
By 1986, reforms associated with Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union had begun to affect political and economic life in Poland. Lech Wałesa, leader of the Polish trade union movement Solidarity, and a veteran organizer of illegal strikes and demonstrations, wrote to the Polish Council of State (the most powerful branch of government in the Republic of Poland) requesting the end of martial….
In the spring and summer of 1989, Chinese protestors occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing in order to achieve some political concessions from the Chinese Communist Party. At the same time, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev continued to follow along their path of political reforms with glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). In September 1989, Prime….
In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions. Imports from the Soviet Union and the West failed to improve the economy, with more strikes becoming endemic throughout 1980 and 1981. Fearing a Soviet military invasion to restore….
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a founder of Solidarity, who became Poland’s first noncommunist prime minister in forty years, visited Washington for three days of meetings in March 1990 as European and American diplomats were engrossed in negotiations to devise a plan for German reunification that would be acceptable to all nations involved. The Polish government feared that a powerful reunited Germany….
President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary in July 1989 after June elections in which Solidarity candidates won 160 of the 161 seats in the Sejm that were available to them and 92 of the 100 seats of the Polish Senate. In addition, many leaders of the Communist Party failed to secure enough votes to be elected to the parliament they had controlled for four decades. Pursuing….
During the spring of 1989, the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union, George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, issued contrasting visions for the future of Europe. In a series of speeches during April and May, Bush called for a Europe “whole and free” and envisioned a shift “beyond containment,” the fundamental strategy of preventing Soviet expansion that had guided US….