However, I do have a question: you mention that Poland has led the way since WW2, how should I see this within the context of Hungary 1956 and Czechoslovakia 1968, perhaps even Berlin 1953?
The events you mentioned were revolutions against communism that caused a lot of ferment in the block and outside, indeed, but lasted too short and got suppressed by communists so successfully that they were never repeated.
Poland, on the contrary, was in constant revolution. The events described in this thread can be grouped in the following way:
Partisan war 1945-1948
Poznan rebellion and end of stalinism 1956
Students and intelligentsia`s protests 1968
Massacre of workers 1970
Workers` protests 1976
Pope`s election and first visit to Poland 1979
Workers` strikes and Solidarity 1980
Martial law and resistance 1981-1988
Strikes and protests 1988
Communism toppled in Poland ahead of all other countries 1989
I think, but I am not sure that this was what Shelley was aiming at last year when she said that the West sees CZ (the mentioned Spring in Prague) and especially Hungary
These events are seen as torch - bearers because both provoked a Soviet intervention on a mass scale. Of course, sth like that couldn`t go unnoticed. :):):)Ryszard Kowalczyk (born 20 February 1937) and his younger brother Jerzy Kowalczyk (born 1942) - Polish brothers who planted a bomb as a protest against the communist rule in Poland.
The Kowalczyk brothers were scientists at Opole University. They planted a bomb there on 6 October 1971 as a protest specifically against the violence perpetrated by the communist authorities against the workers' protest. A big celebration for the Służba Bezpieczeństwa and Milicja Obywatelska was to take place at the University in the morning of the following day. The big explosion literally destroyed the big university hall where the celebrations were to take place.
Splinter info on 1980s
An interview with a demonstrator who was intentionally run over by a riot militia truck in 1982:
Photos and videos from martial law 1981
1983, the communist police attack people in front of the cathedral, BBC coverage:
Those swines who beat and tear gased people, old women preferably, are probably normal Poles today. In 1981, for perks and priviliges, like flats, cars, higher salaries, they became the defenders of the falling system. Do they feel any remorse today?