Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, Polish Democracy 1989

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On February 6, 1989, negotiations between the Polish Government and members of the underground labor union Solidarity opened officially in Warsaw. Solidarity was formed in August 1980 following a series of strikes that paralyzed the Polish economy. The 1981 Soviet-inspired imposition of martial law drove the organization underground, where it survived due to support from Western labor organizations and Polish émigré groups. The results of the “Round Table Talks,” signed by government and Solidarity representatives on April 4, included free elections for 35% of the Parliament (Sejm), free elections for the newly created Senate, a new office of the President, and the recognition of Solidarity as a political party. On June 4, as Chinese tanks crushed student-led protests in Beijing, Solidarity delivered a crushing electoral victory. By August 24, ten years after Solidarity emerged on the scene, Tadeusz Mazowiecki became the first non-communist Prime Minister in Eastern Europe.


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Polish Way to Freedom : Polish Way to Freedom SOLIDARITY

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Independent Poland 1918 : Independent Poland 1918

PowerPoint Presentation : Between Germany and Russia, Poland is under constant threat of invasion from the time of its Formation in the middle of the 10th Century. The country's borders expand and contract dramatically over the centuries as regions are either annexed by or won back from its neighbours . Following the First World War, Poland achieves an uneasy and short-lived independence that is shattered when Germany invades on 1 September 1939, starting the Second World War .

PowerPoint Presentation : Pola nd’ s Borders in 1939

PowerPoint Presentation : At the end of the war the country falls behind the Soviet Union’s 'Iron Curtain', becoming a satellite state of the superpower . A pro- Soviet communist government is installed . Popular dissent mounts as the Polish economy begins to falter . When the Soviet Union begins to break apart the Polish people seize the opportunity to again achieve their independence . Poland is changing borders 1945

PowerPoint Presentation : T he Soviet Union’s “ Iron Curtain“ Poland’s Borders in 1945 After the World War II

PowerPoint Presentation : There had been regular protests in Poland during Communist rule. These were due to a deepening internal crisis Soviet-style societies . Protests were centred around poor living conditions in relation to the West.

Polish Movement to Democracy : Polish Movement to Democracy

PowerPoint Presentation : The deteriorating economic conditions and the Poles ' overall exasperation with communism led the Polish working class to stage as series of demonstrations in 1956,1968,1970 and 1976 . However , these revolts were unsuccessful because the Poles weren't united in their fight to end communism.

The ups and downs of Communist rule : The ups and downs of Communist rule In December, 1970 there was a bloody clash with shipyard workers where Władysław Gomulka ordered soldiers to fire upon those entering the factories. Gierek replaced Gomulka and began a programme of reform. Using foreign loans, he modernised industry and increased availability of consumer goods. Edward Gierek

Economic crisis : Economic crisis Despite Gierek being hailed a miracle worker, the economy began to falter in 1970’s. 1976 price increases became necessary. High foreign debts, food shortages, and an outmoded industrial base compelled a new round of economic reforms in 1980. Food shortages in 1976

PowerPoint Presentation : The Solidarity movement stemmed from years of economic hardship resulting from communist rule . Communism was firmly established in Poland by 1948, only four years after the U.S.S.R. had invaded the country. Communist officials firmly believed that by government central planning , all goods and services would be shared equally .

Religion : Religion On 16 th October, 1978, bishop of Cracow, Karol Wojtyla , was elected Pope John Paul II. During his pilgrimage to Poland millions of people attended his masses. This flew in the face of the Polish United Workers Party authority. Millions cheer Pope John Paul II during his first visit to Poland, 1979.

PowerPoint Presentation : D emocracy , Poles came together to form " Solidarnosc ," or the Solidarity trade union , which fought for equal rights and better conditions for Poles . Although Solidarity faced opposition , it eventually led to the downfall of communism in Poland and also inspired other Soviet satellites to revolt . Thus , the uprisings in Gdansk served a frontier in the fall of the iron curtain throughout Eastern Europe.

PowerPoint Presentation : The Solidarity movement , which began in Gdansk , Poland, served as a frontier in the fall of Eastern European communism . Poland's poor economic and political situation , which had increased since the rise of communism, fueled this revolt .

Lech Walesa : Lech Walesa 17 th August, 1980 Walesa put forward his 21 demands. By end of the wave of strikes, over 600 factories had joined the committee under Walesa. They had brought the economy to a halt and forced the government to agree to their demands.

Solidarity : Solidarity As a result of the agreement there were several outcomes: Gierek was replaced. Representatives of the strike set up a nationwide trade union called “Solidarity” Walesa was elected its president. With its increasing popularity, Solidarity turned from being a mere trade union to becoming an entire social movement.

Strikes in Gdansk : Strikes in Gdansk In 1979, John Paul II , a Pole, was elected Pope . Returning to his homeland , he evoked a massive outburst of national pride , and encouraged a revolt to gain religious freedom . His speeches attracted thousands of Poles , encouraging them to revolt against communist rule .

Roundtable negotiations : Roundtable negotiations 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the Soviet Union. He carried out a number of reforms that were reflected in the politics of Soviets satellites . Round Table Talks were held in 1989 with the government, Solidarity and a number of other opposition groups. 1990 Solidarity was again legalised.

A strong-arm policy : A strong-arm policy The Polish United Workers Party seemed unsure what to do with increasing union action. In the end, due to pressure from Moscow to strengthen its position, General Wojciech Jaruzelski was made leader. He imposed Martial Law in 1981 General Wojciech Jaruzelski

PowerPoint Presentation : Polish government declared M art i al L aw in 1981 Trade unions were outlawed , Walesa and other leader were jailed . Strict rules were set in Poland . No one could leave town and everyone had to be in their house by six o'clock. However , solidarity went underground, and leaders continued to press for reform.

Breakdown of Solidarity : Breakdown of Solidarity Solidarity was de-legalised in 1982. Workers demonstrations were broken up by paramilitary units. They would shoot upon such demonstrations and a number were killed during 1981. Solidarity appeared crippled and strikes ceased. Paramilitary units

Underground Solidarity : Underground Solidarity Throughout mid-1980’s, Solidarity remained as an underground organisation supported by the Church and the CIA. 1982, Walesa was released and by 1983, Martial Law was lifted. 1984, Walesa won the Noble Peace Prize which his wife collected.

Walesa Nobel Prize Winner : Walesa Nobel Prize Winner 1984

Oppression of Solidarity : Oppression of Solidarity Despite the lifting of Martial Law members of Solidarity were still persecuted. 1984, popular pro-Solidarity priest, Jerzy Popieluszko , was murdered by three agents of the Ministry of Internal Security. 1985, three members of the underground Solidarity were arrested and sentenced to prison without being allowed consultation with their defence lawyers. Jerzy Popieluszko

Martial Law persisted for almost a decade. : M artial L aw persisted for almost a decade . T he communist party found that military rule could not revive Poland's failing economy . As the economic crisis worsened , public discontent increased . In August 1988 , the communist government , faced with the largest labor unrest since 1980, agreed to hold talks with Solidarity leaders

PowerPoint Presentation : Negotiations began in February 1989 . By April , representatives had agreed on the legalization of Solidarity and free elections for seats in the Sejm ( Polish Parliament ). Polish voters overwhelmingly supported Solidarity candidates . On August 25, 1989, the Polish parliament chose Solidarity leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki as the nation's first noncommunist prime minister. Thus , Poland was free from communist rule .

PowerPoint Presentation : The revolutionary changes in Poland sparked reforms throughout Eastern Europe. As in Poland, other Soviet satellites were faced with deteriorating economic conditions and oppressive communist governments . Inspired by the collapse of communism in Poland, radicals in Hungary opened its borders and dissolved its communist party. Demonstrations in Eastern Germany led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reinstatement of democracy . Communist governments also fell in Czechoslovakia and Romania. Because of the Solidarity movement , the iron curtain , which had cast its shadow on Eastern Europe since World War II, had finally been lifted .

PowerPoint Presentation : The revolutionary changes in Poland sparked reforms throughout Eastern Europe. As in Poland, other Soviet satellites were faced with deteriorating economic conditions and oppressive communist governments . Inspired by the collapse of communism in Poland, radicals in Hungary opened its borders and dissolved its communist party.

Lech Wałęsa : Lech Wałęsa The man who changed Poland

PowerPoint Presentation : In 1990 he became the President of Poland. He presided over Poland's transformation from a communist to a post-communist state.

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Collapse of the Berlin Wall : Collapse of the Berlin Wall Polish People were there.

PowerPoint Presentation : Milestones: 1989–1992 Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, 1989 On November 9, 1989, thousands of jubilant Germans brought down the most visible symbol of division at the heart of Europe—the Berlin Wall. For two generations, the Wall was the physical representation of the Iron Curtain, and East German border guards had standing shoot-to-kill orders against those who tried to escape. But just as the Wall had come to represent the division of Europe, its fall came to represent the end of the Cold War. In the White House, President George H. W. Bush and his National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, watched the unfolding scene on a television in the study, aware of both the historical significance of the moment and of the challenges for U.S. foreign policy that lay ahead.

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PowerPoint Presentation : Lech Walesa, 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

PowerPoint Presentation : Poland joined NATO in 1999 and since 2004 has been a member of the European Union.

PowerPoint Presentation : 2004 Poland in European Union

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NOW@ : NOW@ NOW 2014

PowerPoint Presentation : Bronisław Komorowski since 6 August 2010 The President of Poland

PowerPoint Presentation : Thank you for your attention Halina Ostankowicz- Bazan

Halina Ostankowicz- Bazan
M.A. Halina Ostańkowicz-Bazan , Experienced Language Teacher
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