"OUR WAYTO FREEDOM -
FROMTOTALITARIANISM
TO DEMOCRACY"
TOPIC 2
 From 1944 to 1989 Poland remained
under the influence of the Soviet
Union and was ruled by one
dominant communist party....
 The Poznan June was the first protest against
the Soviet-imposed communist government
that was established at the end of...
 Poland in March 1968 had a political crisis
connected with the major student and intellectual
protest action against the...
 OnWednesday the 16th December 1970 there
was a general strike in the north of Poland,
near the coast of the Baltic Sea.T...
 The protests started in major factories in
Silesia in the south-west of Poland and
on the coast of the Baltic Sea in the...
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POLISH PROTESTS AGAINST THE COMMUNIST REGIME

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OWTF 2012-2014.

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POLISH PROTESTS AGAINST THE COMMUNIST REGIME

  1. 1. "OUR WAYTO FREEDOM - FROMTOTALITARIANISM TO DEMOCRACY" TOPIC 2
  2. 2.  From 1944 to 1989 Poland remained under the influence of the Soviet Union and was ruled by one dominant communist party. Its representatives did not respect the dissatisfied voice of the Polish society.  It led to numerous protests against the ruling government throughout the whole peroid.The most important events and uprisings took place in Poznan in 1956, in 1968 in Warsaw, in 1970 in Pomerania and in 1980 in Gdansk. All the resistance movements were the sign of the Polish society’s disagreement with the imposed regime and they gradually led to the fall of communism in 1989.
  3. 3.  The Poznan June was the first protest against the Soviet-imposed communist government that was established at the end of the 2nd WorldWar in Poland.  On June 28 in 1956, workers began demonstrations at Poznan Cegielski Factories demanding better conditions at work as well as better pay and protesting against a recent rise in taxes and higher work quotas.  Over 100,000 people gathered at the Imperial Castle in Poznan where the communist city officials and the secret political police had their headquarters. However, a peaceful protest soon turned violent.Tanks, armoured cars, field guns and lorries full of militia troops surrounded the city and began to take detainees for often brutal interrogations which would leave 746 people detained until August.The regular fights between the armed protestants and the communist military forces lasted for two days on the streets of Poznan.  In the end, the rebellion was brutally crushed, with estimated casualties between 57 and 100 dead and 500 to 600 wounded.
  4. 4.  Poland in March 1968 had a political crisis connected with the major student and intellectual protest action against the existing communist government.  At the end of January 1968 the performance of a classic play by Adam Mickiewicz “Dziady” written in 1832 was banned from being played at the PolishTheatre in Warsaw on the grounds that it contained russophobic and anti-socialist references. The play had only been performed 14 times, the last time in January 1968.  As a result of this, a crowd of 1500 students protesting at Warsaw University on March the 8th was met with attacks by the riot police (ZOMO). Within four days the protests spread to other Polish academic centers all over Poland. Despite the fact that different communist militia forces kept attacking the students at the university halls, mass student strikes continued to take place in the next days and even a call for a general strike in Poland was issued fromWarsaw on 13th March.  However, the government cut off the possibility of any negotiation and further student protests, strikes and occupations of university halls were met with mass academic expulsion of thousands of participants. At least 2 725 people were arrested for participating.
  5. 5.  OnWednesday the 16th December 1970 there was a general strike in the north of Poland, near the coast of the Baltic Sea.The protest turned really violent, its participants were brutally bitten by the riot police.  The communist authorities got worried about the chaos in the city. On the 17th December in the morning, when the workers were commuting to the Gdynia Shipyard, riots broke out again in a train station near the shipyard. Soon after that, a march of protestants was formed in the centre of Gdynia.The militia forces intervened and the fights started.The march dispersed but it quickly gathered again.That time, they were carrying the body of a dead worker – 18-year- old Zbyszek Godlewski on a door.Thousands of protestants joined the march and they continued fighting with the police and other armed troops.  The army used its full power and the riots ended with many casualties – 16 people dead and many injured.
  6. 6.  The protests started in major factories in Silesia in the south-west of Poland and on the coast of the Baltic Sea in the north.  The leader of the strike in Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk was Lech Walesa, an electrician. Unlike before, this time the negotiations with the pro-communist Polish government were taking place all the time and no fights emerged. As a result, a Polish trade union federation called Solidarity was founded under the leadership of Lech Walesa. In the 1980s Solidarity became the first independent labour union in a soviet-bloc country.  Solidarity movement gave rise to a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social activity all over the country and in contributed greatly to the fall of communism in 1989 in Poland.

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