Communism as Idea in European history.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, June 5, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Communism as Idea in European history.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

(Editor's note: After 72 years (1918-90) communism as new idea in Europe was given a second hard look. In mid-1991 the USSR had ceased to exist. Earlier the Berlin Wall fell and an electrician was freely elected president of Poland.)

LAST week President Bush traveled to Europe (Russia, Italy and France) to meet the world leaders and return the visit of old allies.

Mr. Bush was seen on world TV embracing and praising Vladimir Putin (the same first name as Lenin). At the NATO council meeting Putin also heaped praises on the world leaders. Russia had applied for membership in the NATO Club. In 1955, the USSR-dominated Warsaw Pact was signed. Theoretically, the Warsaw Treaty was initiated as a response to West Germany joining NATO in the same year.

Communism as a 20th century experiment in Europe lasted a full 72 years in the USSR - 1918 to 1990 - before it breathed its last.

A full decade before 1990 a strike at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk, Poland (on the Baltic Sea) had spread to other industries in August 1980.

The economically hardpressed communist government had accepted, for the first time in a Marxist state, the right of workers to organize independent unions.

From electrician to president

Lech Walesa, an electrician, founded a free union (Solidarity) that launched the workers' drive for liberty and improved working conditions.

Poland is 95 percent Catholic - about 75 percent are practicing members - all fiercely loyal to the Polish Pope John Paul II (born Karol Wojtyla, 1920). The Pope's visit to Poland in 1979 set the stage for the unusual events of the 1980s.

Solidarity members won a stunning victory in the 1989 elections: 99 of 100 Senate seats and 299 of 460 seats in the lower House (Sejm). The Communist Party in Poland voted to disband on Jan. 28, 1990.

In the 1990 presidential election, Lech Walesa was elected with 74 percent of the vote.

Poland has a border with then East Germany and Berlin is near this eastern boundary. (In March 1946, Churchill spoke of an iron curtain that separated eastern from western Europe from "the Baltic to the Adriatic.")

In the 1970s and 1980s, the East Germans had become the poorer kin or cousins in the German family. On TV East Germans noted how the West Germans were smartly dressed, driving shiny Mercedes cars and riding on new and airconditioned buses and trains.

Exodus and the Wall

While enjoying prestige within the Eastern bloc as an industrial power East German emigrants to West Germany told a different story. East Germans started leaving their "country" in hordes and their government responded by building the infamous Berlin Wall in 1961. The wall became a visible sign of both economic and political failure, but the emigration from east to west dropped to a trickle.

In the fall of 1989, East Germans, by the tens of thousands, fled to West Germany through Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Communism as Idea in European history.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?