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Upheaval in Europe
The end of the 20th century

The last big upheaval in Europa was the decline of the communsim.
In the 50's and 60's rebellions in the GDR and Czechoslovakia were put down bloody. But the communism began to dissolve in 1980

The fall of communism, founded by Lenin and staged by Stalin, was coined by two words above all - Solidarnosc and Perestroika.

When the employees called a strike in the Lenin shipyard of Danzig in 1980, this action had unforeseen consequences to later incidents. It was forbidden in Poland to strike, yet the workers mounted the barricades.

One of the strikers was Lech Walesa, who already lost his job before the strike began because he was conspicuous as a troublemaker. But during the strike he was at hand.
Lech Walesa tried to work his way through to the strikers who entrenched in the shipyard but the company guard didn't let him pass. Walesa climbed over the wall and eventually took the lead of the strike movement.

The desire of the strikers was "merely" more wages. At this time the economic situation in Poland was chaotically, the shelves were empty, huge linesformed in front of stores, there was need.

The strike was successful and the employees of the Lenin shipyard got more wages. During the meeting of the success the people applauded but suddenly not involved employees of other companies called in the hall:

"And what about us? Where is the solidarity?"

This was the first time that the word "Solidarnosc" was mentioned. The first independent trade union in a communistic country was called into being, more than 80'000 workers from Danzig and environs adjoined it.
They drafted 21 points. But now it wasn't only a question of more wages but of politic. The demand comprised among others: Admission of free trade unions, freedom of opinion and of the press.
The state was challenged.

Pope John Paul II had a great influence on the beginning of the movement (formerly Cardinal Woytjla), who travelled to Poland in 1979 and became a symbolic figur and a white hope for the population because of his political speech for freedom and respect for human rights. His words produced the new self-confidence of the Poles und was regarded as breeding ground for the outbreak of the strike one year later. The movements were accompanied with pictures of the church head time and again.

But in the population also raged fear. Fear of the marching in of the Sovjet Union.
Lech Walesa led the workers through this hard time. On the 10th strike day an unexpected sensation happened. The Polish government gave way and Walesa got all 21 points through. This was the beginning of the end of a totalitarian system.

During the next 16 months there was peace but than the government rebelled once more. Die nächsten 16 Monate war Fireden im Land, doch dann begehrte der Staat nochmals auf. The law of war was proclaimed, there were first dead men. 5'000 members of Solidarnosc, among them Walesa, were arrested. From now on Walesa lived in internal exile.

But in 1990 Lech Walesa triumphed again and reaped the fruits of his efforts. He was elected as President of Poland and with it he climaxed his career which already experienced a first height in 1983 with the award of the Noble Peace Prize.
 
 


As mentioned before, the former cardinal Karel Woytjla and later pope Johannes Paul II played an important part for the fight for freedom in Poland. Perhaps not so much as an active fellow-combatant but indisputable as a symbolic figur which he represented on the basis of his function, and brought this into play.

When Karel Woytjla was voted for pope in 1978 there were already premonition of the communists that this pope could interfere with the politic. A report from the Politburo expressed among others:

"The pope will compete with an ideological offensive against the Soviet Union.".

During his visit in Poland in 1979 the pope confirmed these fears. His speech became the igniter of the rebellion.

The year 1981 was the year of assassinations. A maniac shot at US President Ronald Reagan and pope Johannes Paul II was shot down and very serious wounded by Ali Agca in Rome. Soon speculations aroused about the background of the assassination. The fact is that Ali Agca fired the shots and that the Turkish terror organisation "Graue Wölfe" was behind it. But there started other rumours. On a videotape, which was tape-recorded during a mass three days before the assassination, they could identify Ali Agca. For this mass it was necessary to possess an obligatory seat reservation. The Vatican employee Orlandi was responsible for the allocation. Two years later his 15-years-old daugther was kidnapped and the kidnappers demanded the exchange against Ali Agca. The exchange never came off and the daughter of Orlandi never appeared again. Orlandi himself refused any statement.

This is only one of many trails concerning the pope assassination but it could never cleared up.
 
 


The most important part concerning the upheaval in Europe was given to Michail Gorbatschov.

Gorbatschov was born on 3rd April 1931 in Priwolnoje. He earned his living as a plain worker before he decided to do an agrarian study. He joined  to the KPdSU in 1952 and made a meteoric career. Between 1966 and 1968 he was party secretary of the city Stawropol, afterwards he became a member of the supreme Sovjet and a member of the central committee in 1971. On entering upon his office for agriculture as secretary of the central committee in 1980 he was also approved as a real member of the Politburo.
After the death of Tschernenko in 1985 Gorbatschev was elected as the new secretary-general of the KPdSU at the suggestion of Gromyko. He got involved in reforms and he tried to democratize the system.His motto was Glasnost and Perestroika, translated as openness and freedom.

He also emphasized important renewal in the foreign politics. Together with President Ronald Reagen he propagated the "double zero solution" and finally got Reagan's agreement for the abolition of all nuclear medium-range missiles. This time it weren't the "bad" Russians who put up resistance against a complete disarment but the "honourable" Americans, in front of all Reagen who wasn't willing to give up the star program.

The power of Michail Gorbatschov grew on and he became the new chairman of the supreme Sovjet. One year later he was appointed in a secret voting for President. Gorbatschov was at the height of his power. In the same year he got the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment for the end of the cold war.

Gorbatschov let the history ride during the movement in Europe, complete different compared with the past political outlook of the Kremlin. He didn't step in with bloody interventions in the communistic countries, when they revolted. And when the notorious wall in Berlin fell Gorbatschov gave his consent for the German reunion - a "wonder" of the 20th century.
This political revolution could have ended extreme bloody but instead the reunion went off smoothly without an exchange of shots.

In 1991 there arose the question concerning the existence of the Sovjet Union itself. The people of Russia supported politician Boris Jelzin. And Europe too hoped for a further opening and democratization of the Sovjet Union through Boris Jelzin. Only later Boris Jelzin turned out to be corrupt and a drinker.

In order to bring Jelzin into power they had to bring down Gorbatschov. During Gorbatschov's vacation they revolted against him. He was isolated from the environment in his holiday home, the phone lines were cut.

The reform President Gorbatschov had already lost the heads of the Perestroika one year before, the unit of the KPdSU was broken. Jelzin left the party. The party turned against Gorbatschov too and invaded in Lithuania when they tried to come off of the Sovjet Union. But the fall couldn't be stopped.
The putschists drove to Gorbatschov and he was faced with the choice of either to proclaim the state of emergency or put up with his deposition. Gorbatschov refused. The cou d'état was carried out. But the Perestroika wasn't depending on Gorbatschov any longer, it has become a part of the population. The KPdSU gave way to the resistance, Gorbatschov returned from his isolation. But a renewed effort to offer his services as a President candidate failed.