The Czechoslovak Communist Party faced some unpleasant realities on November 28. The previous day's general strike had seriously weakened its hand. That day's negotiations with opposition leader Civic Forum forced it to accept several devastating conditions, including the removal of its constitutionally-guaranteed domination of state and society. Party members had not yet resigned themselves to….
Speech by Premier Ladislav Adamec at an extraordinary session of the CPCz CC, stating his preference for a political solution to the crisis
Only days after November 17 a growing number of Czechoslovak communists were becoming convinced that the conservative leadership's hardliner approach to the growing public unrest was failing. This sea change in official opinion began to crystallize on November 24 at the extraordinary session of the Czechoslovak Communist Party's Central Committee, which foreshadowed the ascendancy of younger….
Several of the previous documents (for example doc. 492, 508 and 510) have dealt with the Czechoslovak Communist Party's attempts to control public opinion in the early days of the Velvet Revolution. The party's strategy for the first week or so consisted of isolating the opposition and using ideological arguments to convince the general public of the harmful consequences of the protesters'….
Teleprint from the Presidium of the CC CPCz to the Secretaries of Regional Committees of the CPCz and CPS and the Party Municipal Committees in Prague and Bratislava
Czechoslovak communist leaders reacted to the first protests after November 17 with the same uncompromising attitude towards opposition they had held for twenty years. This November 21 Central Committee directive, calling on local communists to create a uniform front against the protests, illustrates some of the leadership's initial arguments and strategies. Denying that the public outcry….
Teleprint from CC CPCz to First Secretary CC CPS and Secretaries of Regional and District Committees
The Velvet Revolution was named for the remarkably non-violent end to communism in Czechoslovakia. Yet as Milos Jakes and his conservative government scrambled to respond to the aftermath of November 17, they were considering all options. In this November 19 directive to local party committee leaders, Jakes demonstrated his belief that the communists could maintain power with force if….
In June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the beginning of Communist Party rule following World War II, in which Communism was soundly defeated by Solidarity activists. Shortly after this election, the newly elected leaders of the opposition formed the Citizens' Parliamentary Club through which they debated potential government structures and the future road for Poland. One….
In the mid- to late 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on a new path for the Soviet Union by introducing significant changes to his country’s domestic and foreign policies, which eventually led to the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the end of the Cold War. Gorbachev’s glasnost resulted in a crucial shift toward more open dialogue not only within the Soviet Union but also with….
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….
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….
During the developing economic and political crisis in Poland in the early 1980s, Polish and Soviet leaders communicated regularly to discuss the situation in Poland. Following a telephone conversation in June 1981 with Stanislaw Kania (first party secretary of the Communist Party in Poland [PZPR]), Leonid Brezhnev (first party secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU])….
As the economic and political crisis in Poland continued to worsen in the early 1980s, Soviet officials regularly and secretly met with Polish leaders to provide support, advice, and criticism. In April 1981, for example, a delegation of Soviet representatives traveled to Warsaw, Poland, to meet with Polish Communist Party officials. At the following meeting of the Communist Party in the Soviet….
In the midst of the ongoing economic and political crisis in Poland in the early 1980s, Soviet leaders frequently communicated with top Polish officials. At a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CC CPSU) on April 16, 1981, Leonid Brezhnev, then first party secretary, recounted his recent telephone conversation with Stanislaw Kania, first party secretary….
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'….
During the economic and political crisis in Poland in the early 1980s, Polish officials often met with Soviet leaders to discuss the crisis and to determine how best to approach the situation in Poland. Following a meeting with representatives from Poland, the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union discussed the negotiations that took place between Soviet and Polish….
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….
On October 30, 1980, two Polish officials, Stanislaw Kania (first secretary of the Communist Party) and Josef Pinkowski (prime minister), visited the Soviet Union to engage in discussions with the Soviet leadership about the ongoing critical situation in Poland. The next day, at a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union (CPSU), Soviet leaders met to talk….
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,….
In Bulgaria, the Communist Party led the movement toward democratic change. Following the legalization of several other political parties, and the formation of the Union of Democratic Forces, the Bulgarian Communist Party Secretary, Petur Mladenov, announced a further set of reforms. The following is an official report from the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria about Mladenov's rally on 13 December….