From totalitarianism to democracy the case of Poland, controversies and heritage of communism
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Poland's transition from totalitarianism to democracy began in the late 1970s and brought the staged end of the communist system by 1989. The strikes by Polish workers in 1976 against increasing food prices, backed by a dissident intelligentsia, sparked a chain of events that, barely thirteen years later, led to the first non-communist government in Poland in over forty years. Although this change of political system was conducted in a peaceful manner, there has always been a camp who has posed the question of why Polish democracy had to be based on compromise with the old regime, and whether compromise was really the only possible solution. After eighteen years, Poland still faces issues of lustration and decommunization that were avoided in 1989, when secret police agents and collaborators were allowed to remain on the political scene and influence many aspects of life in Poland. This thesis examines how Poland's peaceful revolution happened as it did and discusses how to handle collaborators with the communist regime. It also probes the new debate about decommunization and lustration, launched after the election of 2005, which gave victory of the vehemently anti-communist Peace and Justice Party.
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Nielsen, Alexandra Kathryn (Monterey, CaliforniaNaval Postgraduate School, 2008-06);Poland was the first East Central European nation to transfer from totalitarian rule to democracy. Although resistance to the communist regime existed since 1956, it was not until 1980 that this transition began to ...
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