Thursday, December 12, 2019

Polish Solidarity Essay Example For Students

Polish Solidarity Essay The Solidarity Movement in PolandThe Solidarity movement in Poland was one of the most dramatic developments in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. It was not a movement that began in 1980, but rather a continuation of a working class and Polish intelligentsia movement that began in 1956, and continued in two other risings, in 1970 and 1976.The most significant of these risings began in the shipyards of the Triple City, Gdansk, Sopot and Gdyniain 1970. The first and by far the most violent and bloody of the workers revolts came in June of 1956, when at least 75 people died in the industrial city of Poznan. The third uprising took place in 1976 with workers striking in Warsaw, and rioting in the city of Radom. What made the Solidarity movement peaceful and far more successful in comparison to that of the previous three? The Solidarity movement originated in the working class, but unlike the previous three risings it also worked with and was involved with the Polish intellectual commun ity. Was this the reason behind its success? Or was it instead the result of the U.S.S.R. losing its hold in the eastern bloc, and the fledgling economy of Poland that made such a movement inevitable? While everyone of these points was a factor, the strongest and most compelling argument can be made for the unification and working together of Polands most influential social classes, the Polish intelligentsia, the workers, and the Church. This strategy eventually led to the infamous roundtable talks and the collapse of communism itself in Poland. The Polish October of 1956 did not begin with Stalins death in 1953, in fact Poland was quite calm, in stark contrast with other Eastern bloc countries. While demonstrations took place in Plzen, Czechoslovakia, and a revolt was taking place in East Germany in mid-June, Poland was slow to follow the New Course that was being offered by neighboring countries. This was a result of a much slower relaxation than the other countries experienced. Regardless, social and intellectual unrest began building up, with collectivisation being slackened and censorship showing cracks, the nation had a sense that a new start must be made. The Polish intelligentsia was one of the most important groups to emerge during this period. The Polish intelligentsia is, and remains, a distinct social class that is composed of those with a higher education, or those who at least share similar tastes. The Polish intelligentsia originates in the nineteenth-century, when Polish nobility moved to the cities to occupy itself with literature, art, and revolutionary politics, due to its loss of estates and land. This distinct social group was feared and recognized by both Stalin and Hitler, 50 percent of Polish lawyers and doctors and 40 percent of Polish university professors where murdered in World War II. The re-emergence of this group leading to the Polish October is significant in that it would play a crucial role 25 years later. Unfortunately for Poland, the Polish intelligentsia and the working class often led separate uprisings, and had trouble connecting in the causes that they were fighting for. Many events and reasons, many similar to that of 1980 culminated to the uprisings in October, and the crackdown that followed. The focus has to be put primarily on the fact that it was only in part a workers rebellion, because the workers movement in Poznan had no central structure or leadership. It was instead a rebellion of the intelligentsia, which was in a system that denied them access to th e elite. The intelligentsia did not put both movements together, the different social classes were divided in what they wanted. It is incredulous that the intelligentsia did not look to make a concerted effort with the workers, as it would not do in 1970 or 1976. The New PowerThe following events were the prelude to 1980, and they are tragic. On the twelfth of December 1970, a series of unexpected price changes were announced. Consumer goods only rose a small percentage in price, but certain foods had huge price increases. Flour rose by sixteen percent, sugar rose by fourteen percent, and meat cost seventeen percent more. On the next morning three thousand workers from the Lenin shipyard at Gdansk marched on the provincial party headquarters. The workers were ordered back to work, the maddened workers incited a riot. With fires started and stones thrown, the city militia could not hold the masses back. On Tuesday, December fifteenth, the workers at the Paris Commune Shipyard in Gdynia stopped work and demonstrated in the main streets. A general strike was announced in Gdansk, and the police opened fire on demonstrators. Men on both sides were killed. In the fighting the Party building and the railway station was burned down. The next day the rebellion spread to the towns of Slupsk and Eblag, and the workers at the Warski Shipyards in Szczecin were preparing to strike. Reports were coming in of supportive strikes in other cities. Meaning Of Life EssayNo one realized what this would set off. By the next day strikes began to spread throughout the Triple-City. The demands were far bigger now, even asking for the right to establish free trade unions. The leaders began to negotiate with Gniech, but what they had not realized was that the whole city basically gone on strike. The strike committee agreed on a 1,500 zloty pay raise, and was ready to return to work. Walesa went outside and announced the news, to his surprise he was jeered. He had misread the mood. Instantaneously he changed his mind and went around the shipyard pleading everyone to continue striking. The strike continued and it spread. One of the biggest developments in the history of Polish strikes and uprisings happened soon after. Intellectuals came in to help out the workers in drafting documents and demands. They began what eventually led to the legalization of trade unions. They played for the high stakes, they issued ultimatums that said that they would not negotiate until all political prisoners were freed. These were demands that previously would not have been made. With both groups working together, both benefited. The government, having no choice, complied. The rest, as they say, is history. The Solidarity Union would soon have ten million members, one-third of the Polish workforce. The changes that ensued promised the downfall of socialism in Poland. Although martial law slowed down the process in 1981, Solidarity was working in the underground. Solidarity forced the roundtable talks that led to free elections in 1989, and the eventual fall of communism, not only in Poland, but in all the Soviet bloc countries. The work of the Polish worker, and that of the Polish intellectual accomplished what many thought would never happen. Poland is a country with a history of uprisings, all of which failed, except for this one. No other movement connected the Polish intelligentsia and the Polish worker. Would Polish insurrections have worked earlier in history if this was also the case? One can always second guess, but it is clear the changes that occurred in Poland, occurred because of the intellectuals working with the workers. They had the vision, the workers had the mass to dem and that vision to become a reality. Bibliographic ReportLamb, Matthew. Solidarity with victims: Towards a Theology of Social Transformation. New York: Crossroad, 1982. -deals with Sociology and Christianity. The role of the church during the solidarity movement and why it helped to make it more of a successful and peaceful demonstration. Lockwood, David. The problem of disorder in Durkheimian and Marxist Sociology. Oxford; Claredon Press, 1992. -Sociology and Philosophy. Durkheimian school of sociology is discussed as well as an insight into the Marxian School of Sociology. Some discussions on social conflict. Persley, Stan. The Solidarity sourcebook,Vancouver; New Star Books, 1982. -details labour unions. Discusses the working class in Poland and political activities. Polands politics and government in 1980. Touraine, Alain. The analysis of a social movement: Poland, 1980-81. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1983. -Outlines Polands social conditions in 1945 and then Polands Politics and government in 1980. Weschler, Lawrence. Poland in the season of its passion. New York; Simon and Schuster, 1982. -Information on Labour organisations and their inner workings. Details on Polands industry from 1945-1980. Zagajewski, Adam. Solitude: essays. New York: Ecco Press, 1990. -Some details on the intellectual life in Poland between 1945-1980. University system, students and educators. What kind of society was developing. Polish author so the essays are bias. Microsoft Encarta 96 (1996). . Microsoft Corporation. -details on times, dates and places of protests. Polish Solidarity MovementKonrad SzczepanikStudent ID # 0058658Prof. John L. PratschkeHUMN 1050Emergence of a United EuropeHistory Essays

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