December 17, 1989
Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the leader of the Polish Communist Party, was a curious phenomenon, even to those who worked closely with him: a man with dictatorial powers at his disposal but an odd reluctance to employ them. Under Jaruzelski, it was common for a weekly Politburo meeting convened at 10 a.m. to still be going 12 hours later. Any of the dozen or so men in attendance could carry an argument as far as he wanted, for as long as he wanted.
December 17, 1989
Two days after the vote, virtually everyone in a key political position in Poland, on either side of the political divide, knew that the country was moving into uncharted territory. The results of the vote became fully known to insiders by Monday night, June 5, although official results were not to be released for another day. On June 6, Rakowski met over breakfast with his inner circle, and they had just been hit with the full scale of the disaster.
December 6, 1989 |
For the past two decades, Antoni Potocki has been daring, deep inside, to harbor dreams about the Polish Miracle--the time when Poland would burst forward into economic prosperity the way West Germany did in the 1960s and Hungary is beginning to do today. Now that Poland's new Solidarity government is preparing to shift from a Communist-style economy toward a market-oriented system, Potocki may finally be about to get his chance.
November 15, 1989 |
Poland's Lech Walesa on Tuesday finally got to take up the invitation he received eight years ago to address the American labor movement, and--judging by his tear-streaked smile--how sweet it was. The emotional moment--shared by an overflow crowd of 1,100 AFL-CIO delegates who interrupted with applause about 29 times--would have strained a seasoned diplomat, let alone the spiritual father of Eastern Europe's democratic revolution.
November 14, 1989 |
There will be no dissenting cries when union representatives from across the United States tumultuously cheer Polish union leader Lech Walesa as one of their own today at the national AFL-CIO convention.
November 11, 1989 |
"Sometimes I am ashamed that my nation is represented by such a simple guy," a Polish political commentator said the other day of Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. "But at other times I think he's a genius." Throw in a touch of professional jealousy, a pinch of hero worship and a drop of political theater and you begin to see an image, through Polish eyes, of the electrician who next week will be the third non-government foreigner in history to address a joint session of Congress.
October 25, 1989 |
Poland's Solidarity leader, Lech Walesa, said in Gdansk that he is canceling a trip to Chile because the two exiled union leaders he had planned to see there have been pardoned. In a surprise move Monday, President Augusto Pinochet pardoned Manuel Bustos and Arturo Martinez only four days before Walesa's scheduled visit.
October 14, 1989
This country' Communist-led labor unions staged their first demonstration Friday against the Solidarity-led government. Union leader Alfred Miodowicz and about 150 supporters demonstrated in drizzling rain outside Parliament to protest an "avalanche of price rises" under the month-old government of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Miodowicz, whose unions claim 7 million members, said supporters were tired of "paper protests" and wanted action.
October 13, 1989 |
Poland's Solidarity-led government Thursday announced a radical economic program in which it will start closing unprofitable factories and selling off state property this year. The program includes an emergency anti-inflation campaign and structural changes to switch from a centralized Communist system to a free-market economy. Implementation of all major structural changes will be completed by early 1991, according to details of the program issued by the official news agency PAP.
October 5, 1989 |
On the day in December, 1981, that Poland's Communist authorities imposed martial law, hoping to crush the Solidarity independent trade union movement, the Moscow movie theater in downtown Warsaw was showing the film "Apocalypse Now." Last month, as one of the Solidarity advisers imprisoned during that earlier crackdown became the East Bloc's first non-Communist prime minister in more than four decades, the same theater featured another American film--"Moonstruck."