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9. The Solidarity Revolution

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Chapter Summary

The strikes of August 1980 were the beginning of a social-revolution. The nation emerged from those strikes transformed. Workers had beaten a Communist government - something never before accomplished. During the sixteen months of the union’s legal existence, power moved from the Party and the nomenklatura to Solidarity. This shift resulted from the titanic political struggles that took place not just between the Communist Party and Solidarity, but also within their respective circles. In Poland, both the strike victory and the solidarity that made it possible helped to create a sense of hope and personal self-confidence that armed people for future conflicts. One of the critical changes was that people became more self-assertive. To use a term frequently employed when discussing this matter, the people crossed the ‘barrier of fear’. Poles now became very protective of democracy in all realms of life, especially within Solidarity.

Keywords:Communist Party; Poland; Solidarity Revolution



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