Revolutions of 1989 POLAND

Route 2:
• Prescribed Subject 3:
Communism in Crisis
• The Fall of Communism: The
USSR and Eastern Europe
• Area # 2
– Gorbachev and His Impact on
Eastern Europe
Revolutions of
• Gorbachev’s Policies do have major impact,
– Long history of oppostion in E. Europe
– E. Berlin revolt 1953, Hungary 1956, Czech 1968
• Causes
– Economic backwardness in E. Eur.
• Lag behind West do to lack of innovation
• Becomes worse as high tech explosion emerges 1970’s- ‘80s
– East bloc gov’ts are Soviet puppets imposed on the
states they govern by the USSR
• No legitimacy
• No elections
• Several Soviet invasions
– Repressive gov’ts
• Secret Police systems in all E. Bloc states
– E. Ger. STASI has files on 1/3 of population (smell jars for
blood hounds)
• Polish Army crackdowns 1970, ‘76, ‘81, Martial
Law 1981-83
• Why the collapse in 1989
Revolutions of
– Economies worsen in 1980’s
• Huge debts in Poland (40 bi.), Czech (4 bi.), DDR (7.6 bi.)
– Ruling Communists split over reforms
• Some try to be more inclusive but fail to get cooperation
– Gorbachev reforms encourage mimicry and
opposition groups
– Gorbachev says socialism can vary state to state
– Gorbachev won’t intervene in E. Eur. Militarily
– Gorbachev spokesman says Brezhnev Doctrine no
longer in place
• Initially Gorbachev is not believed (Khrushchev example)
• East Bloc is too costly to maintain
• Doesn’t want to damage links to the West
– Gorbachev doesn’t realize it will be so fast or
• Assumes reforms will occur but not overthrow of regimes
– Media Impact (can’t keep events secret anymore)
• TV, Radio create multiplier effect (Jamming ends with
• Why won’t Gorbachev Intervene?
Revolutions of
– Buffer zones useless with Nuclear weapons so East
Bloc no longer justified
– East Bloc is huge financial drain (Warsaw Pact,
Stationing Troops, aid to debtors like Poles)
– Fears he will look like a fool if he cracks down in
East Bloc while reforms at home
– Solidarity Role is key
– 1980-81 huge strikes
Martial law declared 1981 and Solidarity Union is Banned
Gov’t trie to reform when Martial law ends 1983
Hopes to split opposition with moderate reforms
Need to raise prices due to debt, but fear riots (1970, 1976,
1980-81 due to price increases)
• Negotiate with Catholic Church
– Fails due to Murder of Father Popieluszko a reformer
– Pope JP II visits and supports Solidarity
• 1983 Solidarity is weakened
Revolutions of
– One leader Michnik wants 30% of Assembly seats
freely elected
– Gov’t negotiates but can’t wait on reform of prices
– Other Solidarity leaders oppose Michnik
– No progree til 1986 and debt increase 35%
– 1986 demand amnesty for arrested Solidarity (SD)
– Jaruzelski can’t wait and holds referendum on econ. and
political reforms 1987 “Referendum on Reform”
• Backfires, SD boycotts vote and can’t get 50% to pass it
– Jaruzelski goes ahead anyway raises prices 40-50%
• More increase to follow
• Strikes in May and August and SD steps in, negotiates end to
strikes and shows its power with workers
– Analysts “The Group of Three” offer new reforms in
1988 and Jaruzelski accepts their report
• Proposal is an elected Senate and Parliament in which 40% of the
seats would be freely elected
• Takes five months to open negotiations
Revolutions of
“The Group of Three” (con’t)
– Delay caused by threat of Communist hardliner coup
and Solidarity demans that union be made legal
– Jaruzelski has to threaten to resign to get hardliners to
accept talks
– “Round Table” Talks finally approved Jan. 1989
• Communist goal is reform w/o loss of Party control
• SD represented by T. Mazowiecki, B. Geremek, W.
• April Accords are the result
– Free Senate Elections
– 35% of Parliament freely elected
– Office of President to be elected by Senate and
– The June Elections
• Gov’t overestimates its support in free elections
• First round SD gaets 92 of 100 open senate seats
and 160 of 161 Parliament open seats
• Second round they get 99 senate and all parliament
Revolutions of
Jaruzelski elected President
– cautious SD members fear a Soviet invasion or Hard liner coup if he
is ousted
• Aug. to Sept. 1989
– More aggressive SD like Michnik now demand an SD
Prime Minister (“Your President our PM” formula)
– Jaruzelski offers cabinet posts only but caves in a month
– Mazowiecki (SD) made PM
– Reason is communist allies United Peasants and
Democrats shift to SD side
– Lech Walesa the founder of SD brokers the deal with
the other parties
• Doesn’t fear a coup as communists are weak
– Walesa elected resident Dec. 1990 and replaces
– Economic problems remain but European Union gives
aid to new democracy
• Hungarian revolution bloodlesslike Poland
Revolutions of
1989 Hungary
– Had actually begun reforms before Poles
– Private Enterprise like NEP permitted in early 1980’s
– Also have Multi-candidate elections since 1985
(candidate does have to be approved by the gov’t)
• Revolution begins due to Communist Party
– Janos Kadar (Pres.) appoints Karoly Grosz as PM
– Grosz is aided by reformer Imre Posgay and ousts
– Grosz and Posgay argue
• Posgay wants to end Party’s lead role and acknowledge 1956
Soviet invasion as a crime
• Eventually rehabilitate Imre Nagy who was arrested and executed
by Soviets in 1956
– National Round Table talks modeled on Poland
Multi-party elections Mach 1990 communists get only 10%
Democratic Forum and Alliance of Free Democrats win
No open borders which helps bring on East German collapse
E. Ger. Can enter Hungary, cross to Austria the enter West
Revolutions of
1989: East
• East Germany (DDR/GDR) is most prosperous
East Bloc state
– Debt however is 27 bi. in 1989
– Party Leader Eric Honecker is tough and willing to use
– Problem is USSR reforms and Poland and Hungary
revolutions undermine DDR
– TV and Radio from West Germany (FRG) can be seen
in DDR
– 1989 500,000 flee through Hungary
– Protests in Berlin and Leipzeig causes Honecker to
close DDR borders
– SED (Communists) feel reforms are their only hope
– Gorbachev now visits
• Won’t support violence
• Implies Honecker ought to be fired and he is forced out
• Egon Krenz new leader
Revolutions of
1989: East
• Krenz wants Gorbachev style reforms
– Promises free travel ‘in the future”
– Spokesman incorrectly gives impression free travel
begins immediately
– 100’s of 1000’s arrive at Berlin Wall and outnumbered
border guards stand aside
– Start to knock it down (catalyst for rapid change)
– Mar. 1990 censorship ends
– SED now investigated for corruption and news
coverage forces whole Politburo to resign Dec. 1990
– Gysi the new leader negotiates multiparty elections
March 1990
• Collapse is rapid 200,000 leave in two months
• Reunification (NOT ON EXAM)
– FRG PM Kohl offers currency union and visits 6 times
– March Elections Center-Right (favor immediate
unification wins) 48% SPD 25% SED only 16%
Revolutions of
1989: East
• Reunification (NOT ON EXAM) (con’t)
– Gorbachev stunned as 300,000 Soviet troops in DDR
– Proposes neutral reunified Germany (leave NATO)
– Backs off and agrees to Ger. In NATO in no troops in
Eastern Germany
– 4 Powers give up authority in Germany
– May 1990 currency unified
– Sept. 4 Powers approve unity
– Oct. Reunification
– Dec Kohl wins 1st united Germany elections
Revolutions of
The Velvet
• Czech Communist Leader Gustav Husak placed
in charge by USSR 1968
– Replaced by Milos Jakes 1977
– Charter 77 a dissident group forms 1977
Vlacav Havel playwright is leader
Demand Helsinki Accords rights
Catalogue Husak’s abuses
Many members key figures in 1989 revolt
– Domino effect is in play
• Party united seems secure
• TV, Radio coverage destabilizes regime as other East Bloc states
– Protests begin Nov. 1989
• Secret Police respond violently equals more protests
• Civic Forum (CF) created with Havel as leader
» Coordinates protests and persuades others to support
the Party
• General strike Nov. 27 and other groups like VPN
• Nov. 24 Dubcek released
Revolutions of
The Velvet
New PM Adamec trys to negotiate short strike
Shouted down
Strike forces gov’t to introduce concession
Propose 15 Communists 5 non-communists in the cabinet
– Protests follow Adamec resigns
• “Oblong Table” talks
– Dubcek a communist Chairs Assembly
– Havel is President
– Elections June 1990
Non-communists win
Gorbachev takes troops out 1991
Slovakia leaves Jan 1993 ½ the size of Czech population
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