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….
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 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….
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….
Following the historic roundtable talks that took place in Poland from February to April 1989 between Communist and opposition leaders, Polish Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow to discuss the unfolding events in Poland and Polish-Soviet relations. The tone of this document is not one of dissatisfaction on the part of the Soviet leader but….
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….
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,….
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'….
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….
On November 3, 1988, Margaret Thatcher became the first British Prime Minister to make an official visit to Poland. In her toast given at a state diner in the Radziwill Palace in Warsaw, Thatcher highlighted the long historical relationship between Poland and the United Kingdom, especially the cooperation between the two powers during the Second World War. Along with offers of assistance and….
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….
After Poland formed a new coalition government in August led by the noncommunist Catholic intellectual and longtime Solidarity adviser Tadeusz Mazowiecki, factions within the Bush administration hotly debated an aid policy to help stabilize the faltering Polish economy. The new government faced a foreign debt of $40 billion and hyperinflation running at nearly 1,000 percent. The rising budget….
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….