Browse Items: Poland
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,….
The Helsinki Declaration of August 1, 1975 was a turning point in Cold War relations inside European borders. The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries celebrated the acknowledgment of their national boundaries; a desired goal since the end of World War II. West European democracies celebrated the Warsaw Pact countries' willingness to adopt ten major points of international diplomacy. One….
In this December 22 telegram, Romanian ambassador to Moscow Ion Bucur reported to Deputy Foreign Minister Constantin Oancea in Bucharest on his discussions with Soviet officials concerning the situation in Eastern Europe, particularly the backlash against communist authorities. Interestingly, Bucur writes that the Soviets were aware of the growing hostility towards the former leaders in the….
By the spring of 1990, the future of the individual countries in Eastern Europe was still open for debate. While Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary seemed to be transitioning toward Western-styled democracies, Romania and Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania were following a different course. The former had experienced violent uprisings, and in the latter the Communists seemed to be more….
Once in power, Mikhail Gorbachev began a reform process that followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe. In both 1986 and 1987, Gorbachev proposed army reductions in summit meetings with….
In this letter to Mikhail Gorbachev dated October 6, 1988, Georgy Shakhnazarov, Gorbachev's adviser and a champion of reform in the Soviet Union, revealed his views about the urgency of perestroika (reform) in socialist countries worldwide. Shakhnarazov acknowledged not only that each country had unique problems in need of some country-specific reform measures but also that some problems….
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….
The Warsaw Pact was based around the principle of cooperation and mutual assistance for its member states, though primarily it was a military alliance led by the Soviet Union. Therefore, Mikhail Gorbachev's arms reduction plan affected all of the member states of the Warsaw Pact by reducing all of the men under arms in Eastern Europe. In this meeting from July 1988, the Defense Ministers of the….
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States was closely watching the events unfolding in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s, and this secret service document reveals the extent of that interest. As exhibited in this source, under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union embarked on a program of reform both within the Soviet bloc and in its relationships….
At a March 10, 1988, Politburo meeting, Mikhail Gorbachev (leader of the Soviet Union) delineated his concerns about the growing influence of Western goods on Eastern bloc countries. He recognized that there existed minimal economic trade within Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and indicated the importance of rebuilding trade within COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) to ensure….
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 February 1989 report by the Bogomolov Commission analyzes the current situation in Eastern Europe for Alexander Yakovlev, key foreign policy advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev. The Bogomolov Commission was the largest Soviet think tank conducting research on the East European countries. This document can be compared with the memorandum by the International Department of the CC CPSU (document….