3 POLAND, HUNGARY, AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA: 1956-1989

POLAND

This brings us to a discussion of some of the historical factors 1 that characterized the crisis 2 of protracted legitimacy, which plagued the Communist regime through the 1980s, eventually culminating in its downfall in June, 1989. One such important historical factor was the partitioning of Poland in the eighteenth century, and her disappearance from the map of Europe until 1918. During those 150 years, Polish political culture was based on resistance to government authority and insistence upon personal freedom and liberty, which the Communists were never able to extinguish. 3 A second important factor in explaining the inability of the Communist regime to gain legitimacy was that over the centuries, the Catholic Church in Poland was closely identified with Polish nationalism. The Church served as an organized focal point for the resistance to the Communist regime. The selection of a Polish Pope in June, 1979 further encouraged the Polish masses to challenge the legitimacy of the Communist regime. In addition, Lech Walesa, the charismatic leader of Solidarity who would go on to become president of the country, shrewdly benefited

-31-

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Change in Eastern Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Part One - The Rise and Fall of Communism 1
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • 2 - Takeover, Stalinism, and De-Stalinization 17
  • 3 - Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia: 1956-1989 31
  • Part Two - The Post-Communist Transition 71
  • 4 - Poland 73
  • 5 - Hungary 89
  • 6 - The Czech and Slovak Republics 99
  • 7 - Bulgaria 109
  • 8 - Romania 119
  • 9 - The Former Yugoslavia 133
  • 10 - Albania 145
  • 11 - Foreign Policy 153
  • 12 - Conclusion 163
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 167
  • Index 177
  • About the Author 184
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