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Chapter Summary

Despite the civil war, the fight with the peasantry over land, and the battle with the Church, the insurrection in Poznań in 1956 was a shock to Poland’s rulers. The student and worker disruptions of 1968 and 1970 discredited the authorities among the new post-war generation that would be of central importance to the nation’s future: it became the generation that made Solidarity. It is clear from the evidence presented in this chapter that this is a story of the organised working class, aided by KOR, Catholic priests and the Polish Pope, having carried out a lengthy struggle that finally ended Soviet domination and Communist rule in Poland. The chapter argues that it is sometimes as important to focus on the political opportunity structure in which the state has to operate and make choices of action, as it is to do so with respect to social movements.

Keywords:Communist rule; Poland; political opportunity structure; solidarity; Soviet Union



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