One of the most famous and powerful images of the Solidarity campaign was the combination of this iconic American figure (Gary Cooper in the western movie, "High Noon") with Solidarity text and images. Note that the image as Cooper wearing a Solidarity badge on his chest and carrying Solidarity ballot in his hand. The attraction of this figure lies in its ability to combine an American image,….
A poster distributed by the Polish opposition party Solidarity, urging Poles to vote with them against the Communists in the election on June 4, 1989. Solidarity won the election in a landslide inaugurating the first non-communist government in East Central Europe in more than four….
Filmed just after Solidarity’s initial spectacular rise in 1980, Andrzej Wajda’s Man of Iron was won immediate global acclaim. Whereas Wajda’s earlier award-winning film, Man of Marble, had focused on the lonely struggle of an idealistic young film student to uncover the truth about the disillusionments and betrayals of the early communist era in Poland, the individual characters in Man….
This is probably the most famous image circulated by Solidarity in the run-up to the June 4 elections. Gary Cooper, the actor who starred in the film “High Noon,” is shown with a Solidarity insignia on his badge and a ballot in hand. In addition to playfully appealing to the popularity of American Westerns—and the popularity of American in general—the “High Noon” theme hammered home….
The flier above, directed at voters in the town of Żoliborz, illustrates the complexity of the elections held on June 4, 1989. Looking at the sample ballots from left to right, Polish voters faced: 1) a “national list” for the Sejm (Lower House of parliament) made up of leading dignitaries running unopposed; 2) candidates for those seats in the Sejm that were reserved….
In the fall of 1988, Alfred Miodowicz, the head of the official union OPZZ (All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions), challenged Lech Wałesa, the leader of the outlawed Solidarity trade union, to a televised debate. The offer signaled the growing willingness of many party leaders to compromise with opposition groups, but it was also a sign of the party’s continued self-confidence. Miodowicz, a….
In following letter, a Solidarity activist writes to Józef Cardinal Glemp, the head of the Roman Catholic church in Poland, to inform him of difficulties in setting up much-anticipated Round Table talks with the Communist regime. The correspondence provides some insight into the complicated relationship between Solidarity and the Catholic church. On the one hand, opposition leaders clearly saw….
A medieval historian by training, Bronisław Geremek had emerged by the 1980s as one of the Solidarity movement’s leading strategists. At the Round Table talks between Solidarity and the Communist leadership and in the critical months that followed, he was arguably Lech Wałęsa’s most influential advisor. In this interview, published in 1990, a young Solidarity-affiliated journalist asks….
Between February and April 1989 in Poland, Communist Party leaders and Solidarity activists engaged in negotiations during the historic roundtable talks. Several days after these talks commenced, Andrzej Slowik, a Solidarity activist in the city of Łódż who was not asked to participate in the talks, wrote this letter to Wladyslaw Findeisen, the roundtable chair for Solidarity. In this….
Minutes No. 64 from an Expanded Meeting of the PZPR CC [Central Committee of the Communist Party] Secretariat, June 5, 1989
The following are excerpts from a meeting of the leadership of Poland’s communist party held the day after the June 4, 1989 elections, when the magnitude of the party’s electoral defeat was just becoming clear. Particularly embarrassing was the fate of the 35 candidates on the so-called “national list,” well-known dignitaries who were running unopposed. Almost all were simply crossed….
President George H.W. Bush and Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa in Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters Following a Luncheon in Gdansk, 11 July 1989
The transition to a Solidarity-led government in Poland was closely associated with the introduction of market-oriented economic reforms. Many Poles hoped that this might lead to a dramatic improvement in the country’s economy, not only through the stimulation of domestic growth but also through the attraction of investment and outright financial aid from the West. In this brief exchange with….
In October 1989, the situation was growing dire for the Czechoslovak communists. Increasing unrest and change in other Eastern Bloc countries was quickly isolating conservatives and emboldening the domestic opposition. In the analysis presented here, Federal Minister of the Interior Frantisek Kincl details a number of domestic security threats. The first was the opposition's increased level of….
In early June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the inception of Communist Party rule in the post-World War II era. The elections resulted in a solid defeat of Communism and a sound victory for the Solidarity opposition. Following the election, at the advice of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, president Wojciech Jaruzelski, a Communist Party leader and president of Poland at….
Following the historic semi-free elections in Poland in June 1989, which resulted in a near total defeat of the Communist regime, Polish Communist and Solidarity leaders engaged in ongoing and significant negotiations in the hope of establishing stability in Poland. On August 24, 1989, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, journalist and Solidarity activist, became the first non-Communist prime minister in….
In early June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the inception of Communist Party rule in the post-World War II era. Poles indicated strongly their anti-Communist and pro-Solidarity sentiments, as evidenced by the solid defeat of Communism in this election. A few weeks after this historic election, the new pro-Solidarity parliamentary leaders formed the Citizens'….
In June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections in which the Communist Party was overwhelmingly defeated by opposition leaders. Following the election, U.S. officials were elated about the prospects of democratization in Poland as well as concerned about the potential response from the Soviet Union. Historically, Soviet officials had taken tremendous actions in Eastern Europe, even….
For the United States government, the rapid changes unfolding in Poland were a source of hope and excitement but also considerable anxiety. In principle, American diplomats could only welcome the prospect of pro-American, pro-market Solidarity politicians playing a key role in a new Polish government. And yet any change that seemed too much of a threat to Soviet interests held the risk of….
Poland's first semi-free elections in early June 1989 indicated Poles' strongly anti-Communist and pro-Solidarity sentiments, as evidenced by the solid defeat of Communism. Following this historic election, the newly elected pro-Solidarity parliamentary leaders formed the Citizens' Parliamentary Club, in which they debated about the future of Poland's political system. At a meeting of this….
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….