More on Polish defiance:
1980, one year after Pope`s visit to Poland, workers of shipyards went on strike. They decided to lock themselves inside their workplaces as they still remembered the massacre of 1970 when the communist police and army had shot them like ducks in streets.
The biggest Polish shipyard in Gdańsk, at that time called Lenin Shipyard.
Striking workers were led by Lech Walesa.
Workers` families gathered at the fence of the locked shipyard every day. People feared another massacre similar to one in 1970.
What struck foreign journalists and observers was the religiousness of workers.
Workers vowed to stand by each other. The idea of Solidarity was born.
Count on me.
After attempts to break workers`s determination, the communist authorites sent a representative to run negotiations which took place in this room. Lenin bust on the right.
The members of the Strike Comittee. Their main postulate was the right to an independent trade union, not subjected to authorities control.
Triumph. The government gave in, workers were allowed to register their independent trade union called Solidarity and gained the legal right to strike (in communist countries strikes were illegal).
Signing the pact. Walesa is using a giant pen. :):):)
In this way Solidarity became another milestone in Polish history.
The communist answer was typical: PropagandaCommon road, common aim
In December 1980 Poland avoided the Soviet invasion similar to the one in 1968 in Czechoslovakia. It is said that Soviet leaders were intent on implementing the invasion but eventually changed their mind, apparently after American president and others` warnings.
The next 12 months were very stormy. Poland`s economy ruled by communists was falling apart. The foreign debt amounted to incredible 26 billion $, with crushing interest rates to be paid. The export of goods to earn hard currency deprived Polish internal market of many nessecities. The authorities introduced rationing: meat, sweets, flour, fats, pasta (sugar was already rationed in 1976). Later on vodka, cigarettes, petrol, etc etc.
Meat rationing card
10 million Poles joined Solidarity (even socialist militiamen and other regime services tried to set up Solidarity cells in their work places but to no avail as they were immediately fired). Party members gave up their membership en masse.
People demanded more political freedom but also expected that the government would introduce some sane measures to improve the tragic economic situation. They didn`t realise that the condition of inefficient economy was hopeless.
Inside the butcher`s at the time.
People got tired by shortages and hard conditions. Also they got tired by communists` resistance to give more freedom to people. Concessions that communists had already made (e.g., less strict censorship in the press, journalists could write about many things which had been banned before) were not enough, e.g, T.V. still was controlled by the regime, and spread lies and misinformation, making people really angry.
Solidarity members organized strikes, marches, protests.
Free political prisoners!
Communist regime organised dirty provocations, e.g, Solidarity members were beaten by the police.
But nobody predicted what it was planning to do:
to be cont...