The fall of communism A case study of the Polish experience, 1980-1990

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The fall of Communism across Eastern Europe, and the subsequent break-up of the USSR with the liberation of its various satellite states (including Poland) was one of the most remarkable sequence of events in modern history. It was remarkable in two basic ways.


While some violence did occur in Poland, it was mostly sporadic in nature, and power passed out of Communist hands without the full-scale bloody revolution that had been predicted.
This dissertation will consider the fall of communism from a number of viewpoints. While its ultimate crash occurred quite quickly, the stresses and strains that led to its demise had been building up for a number of years. From the economic woes that started to spread across the Communist bloc in the late 1970's onwards to the million person masses with the new Pope John Paul II in 1979 (Brittanica, 1991) to the renewed arms race created by President Reagan's policies, the Communist Bloc, and Poland in particular was pushed nearer and nearer to the breaking point. Ultimately the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev to power tipped the balance.
Any analysis of the fall of Communism between 1980 and 1990 must take into account Polish history as a whole. For the fall of communism did not occur within a vacuum, and the various manners in which different countries dispensed with the system stem as much from deeper (and longer) historical currents as from the particular circumstances of the 1980s.
Poland is situated in what may be regarded as an unfortunate position within Europe. ...
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