Poland DBQ

Decent Essays
Diego Lopez Liranzo
22 September 2014
AP European History
Form VI
Analyse the factors that contributed to the emergence of a workers’ opposition movement in Communist Poland in the period 1956-1981.
After World War II, the official communist party dominated all aspects of Polish politics, which soon became an issue with not only the working class of the country, but also the intellectual and educated Polish community. Between 1956 and 1981, there was an emergence of workers’ opposition against the communist party in Poland due to the blatant oppression and desperate living conditions of many of the Polish workers and their families. Workers demanded rapid change in policy from the party because the workers believed the government had
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(Doc 4) The intellectual and party member support helped the workers’ movement gain serious momentum. A major factor in the emergence of the workers’ opposition movement also was the support of the Catholic Church and the Pope specifically. In September of 1976, the bishops of the Catholic Church in Poland called for the government and party to “fully respect civil rights and conduct a real dialogue with society” while also demanding that they stop all repression of workers involved in the protests of June 1976. (Doc 5) The fierce and somewhat scolding tone in which the demands are made show the Catholic Church’s unwavering support for the Polish workers’ opposition. It is not surprising, however, that a group of Catholic bishops would demand better treatment for the Polish workers because, as members of the church, they would naturally be in favour of social justice. The value of having the Catholic Church support the movement manifests itself in the fact that the Polish communist party begins to require all teachers to tell students that the pope is “an enemy” and “dangerous” man who only wishes to charm the crowd. (Doc 7) This response to the pope’s support demonstrates that the party itself realised that the church could have tremendous impact on the turnout of the opposition. By the 1980s, a coalition of independent trade unions, known as Solidarity, was established in Gdansk. The photograph of Lech Walesa and other
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