Solidarity logo
Poland's old and new borders, 1945
30th anniversary mural depicting the murdered priest Jerzy Popiełuszko who publicly supported Solidarity during the 1980s
Map showing the different borders and territories of Poland and Germany during the 20th century, with the current areas of Germany and Poland in dark gray
The logo of Solidarność painted on an overturned Soviet era T-55 in Prague in 1990
Destroyed Warsaw, January 1945
"High Noon, June 4, 1989." Solidarity Citizens' Committee election poster by Tomasz Sarnecki.
Students in Scotland collect signatures for a petition in support of Solidarity in 1981
The PKWN Manifesto, officially issued on 22 July 1944. In reality it was not finished until mid-August, after the Polish communist Moscow group was joined by the late-arriving Warsaw group, led by Gomułka and Bierut.
Solidarity, ETUC Demonstration—Budapest 2011
Postwar Polish communist propaganda poster depicting "The giant and the putrid reactionary midget", meaning the communist People's Army soldier and the pro-Western Home Army soldier, respectively
ORMO paramilitary police unit during street parade at the Victory Square, 9 June 1946, Warsaw
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
The show trial of Captain Witold Pilecki, sentenced to death and executed May 1948
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, initially called the Stalin's Palace, was a controversial gift from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
Avenue of the Roses, Nowa Huta
1951 East German stamp commemorative of the Treaty of Zgorzelec establishing the Oder–Neisse line as a "border of peace", featuring the presidents Wilhelm Pieck (GDR) and Bolesław Bierut (Poland)
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, Primate of Poland
Władysław Gomułka
The Fourth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party, held in 1963
The Polski Fiat 125p, produced in Poland from the late 1960s, was based on technology purchased from Fiat
Standard-bearers of the 27 Tank Regiment, mid-1960s
Dziady, a theatrical event that spawned nationwide protests
Demonstrators in Gdynia carry the body of Zbigniew Godlewski, who was shot and killed during the protests of 1970
Edward Gierek
Queue line, a frequent scene at times of shortages of consumer goods in the 1970s and 1980s
Millions cheer Pope John Paul II in his first visit to Poland as pontiff in 1979
Lech Wałęsa speaks during the strike at the Gdańsk Shipyard, August 1980
25th anniversary of Solidarity, summer 2005 in Gdańsk
General Wojciech Jaruzelski led the People's Republic during its final decade and became one of the key players in the systemic transition of 1989–90
Apartment block residences built in People's Poland loom over the urban landscape of the entire country. In the past administratively distributed for permanent use, after 1989 most were sold to residents at discounted prices.
Adam Michnik, an influential leader in the transformation of Poland

Solidarity's leader Lech Wałęsa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and the union is widely recognised as having played a central role in the Historyend of Communist rule in Poland.

- Solidarity (Polish trade union)

Not all parliamentary seats were contested, but the resounding victory of the Solidarity opposition in the freely contested races paved the way to the end of communist rule in Poland.

- 1989 Polish legislative election

The 1989 round table talks between the government and the Solidarity-led opposition produced agreement for the 1989 legislative elections, the country's first pluralistic election since 1947.

- Solidarity (Polish trade union)

In early August 1980, a new wave of strikes resulted in the founding of the independent trade union "Solidarity" (Solidarność) led by Lech Wałęsa.

- History of Poland (1945–1989)

The 1989 Round Table Talks led to Solidarity's participation in the 1989 election.

- History of Poland (1945–1989)
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2 related topics with Alpha


The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989

Revolutions of 1989

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The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond.

The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in Red Square, Moscow, 1988
An animated series of maps showing the fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which later led to conflicts in the post-Soviet space
The 20–21 March 1981 issue of Wieczór Wrocławia (This Evening in Wrocław) shows blank spaces remaining after the government censor pulled articles from page 1 (right, "What happened at Bydgoszcz?") and from the last page (left, "Country-wide strike alert"), leaving only their titles as the printers—Solidarity-trade-union members—decided to run the newspaper with blank spaces intact. The bottom of page 1 of this master copy bears the hand-written Solidarity confirmation of that decision.
Queue waiting to enter a store, a typical view in Poland in the 1980s
Solidarity Chairman Lech Wałęsa (center) with President George H. W. Bush (right) and Barbara Bush (left) in Warsaw, July 1989
Magyars demonstrate at state TV headquarters, 15 March 1989
Otto von Habsburg, who played a leading role in opening the Iron Curtain
Erich Honecker lost control in summer 1989.
Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate, 10 November 1989
Berlin Wall, October 1990, saying "Thank You, Gorbi"
Protests beneath the monument in Wenceslas Square, in Prague
Memorial of the Velvet Revolution in Bratislava (Námestie SNP), Slovakia
Armed civilians during the Romanian Revolution. The revolution was the only violent overthrow of a Communist state in the Warsaw Pact.
Ethnic groups in Yugoslavia in 1991
Mikhail Gorbachev and President George H. W. Bush on board the Soviet cruise ship Maxim Gorky, Marsaxlokk Harbour
Tanks in Moscow's Red Square during the 1991 coup attempt
Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War
Baltic Way was a human chain of approximately two million people demanding independence of the Baltic states from the Soviet Union.
Photos of 9 April 1989 victims of the Tbilisi massacre on a billboard in Tbilisi
Following Georgia's declaration of independence in 1991, South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared their desire to leave Georgia and remain part of the Soviet Union/Russia.
Chechen women praying for Russian troops not to advance towards Grozny during the First Chechen War, December 1994.
Georgian Civil War and the War in Abkhazia in August–October 1993
Current military situation in separatist Nagorno-Karabakh
Eritrean War of Independence against Ethiopia ended in 1991
Global effect of 1988-1992 Revolutions.
Russian GDP since the end of the Soviet Union (from 2014 are forecasts)
NATO has added 13 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.
The facade of the Grand Kremlin Palace was restored to its original form after the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. The State Emblem of the USSR and the embedded letters forming the abbreviation of the USSR (CCCP) were both removed and replaced by five Russian double-headed eagles. An additional restoration of the coat of arms of the various territories of the Russian Empire were placed above the eagles.

On 4 June 1989, the trade union Solidarity won an overwhelming victory in a partially free election in Poland, leading to the peaceful fall of Communism in that country.

Jaruzelski in 1981

Wojciech Jaruzelski

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Polish military officer, politician and de facto leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1981 until 1989.

Polish military officer, politician and de facto leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1981 until 1989.

Jaruzelski in 1981
Jaruzelski in 1968
Jaruzelski (right) with Fidel Castro (left) in Poland, May 1972
Jaruzelski in a television studio, preparing to announce the imposition of martial law, 1981
Jaruzelski meeting with Yuri Andropov in Moscow, 1982
Jaruzelski (second from right) with other communist leaders and members of the Warsaw Pact, Berlin, 1987
Jaruzelski with Nicolae Ceaușescu
Jaruzelski in 2006
Jaruzelski's grave at Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw

The declining living and working conditions triggered anger among the masses and strengthened anti-communist sentiment; the Solidarity union was also gaining support which worried the Polish Central Committee and the Soviet Union that viewed Solidarity as a threat to the Warsaw Pact.

This question, as well as many other facts about Poland in the years 1945–1989, are presently under the investigation of government historians at the Instytut Pamięci Narodowej (IPN), whose publications reveal facts from the Communist-era archives.

These negotiations "radically altered the shape "of the Polish government and society", and resulted in an agreement which stated that a great degree of political power would be given to a newly created bicameral legislature. It also restored a post of president to act as head of state and chief executive. Solidarity was also declared a legal organisation. During the ensuing partially-free elections, the Communists and their allies were allocated 65 percent of the seats in the Sejm. Solidarity won all the remaining elected seats, and 99 out of the 100 seats in the fully elected Senate were also won by Solidarity-backed candidates. Amid such a crushing defeat, there were fears Jaruzelski would annul the results. However, he allowed them to stand. Jaruzelski was elected by parliament to the position of president.