In this world, every society has certain goals to reach. A strong economy, good social and political contacts, and a better way of living are some of these goals. These factors are also true about Polish society. Up until the time when communism died, Poland was facing tragic situations, as well as its people lived miserable lives. The government cut off communication with the West. Priests were imprisoned. Kids in schools (including kindergarten) were thought about communists ideas. In stead of the president Poland had a Council of State which consisted of 15 members. In addition law called “forced labor” was passed and every guilty worker was sentenced to force labor in remote areas. Agricultural production dropped. As well as Poland was short in food supplies, and consumer goods. But there had to be an end to this tragic story and the communism some day. So now the Polish society has changed for the better since the death of communism in . (Kowalski,33).
Poland is a country placed in central Europe. This country was he first among many others which was liberated from the Communist domination which they endured for about forty- five years. These years were a nightmare to the Polish society , and it also affected many other structures of todays economic situation. The Soviet Republic influenced all political and economic life in Eastern Europe. All marked-produced products were exported to Russia to help people out during their so- called difficult time. In Poland during that time , people were forced to use special coupons to purchase simple products such as sugar, flour, butter, or even shoes and cigarettes. People were upset knowing that not very far away in W Germany people never had such a problems and could buy whatever they wanted. New limitations were set on travel. Only important politicians and international airline pilots and cruise line workers could travel to the West. Why? Well, because the Government did not want anyone to know how real life could be arranged. Straight working hours salary and everything available. Freedom. Poland did not have that. (Kowalski 31,33).
Poles were controlled by other people who were of a higher society. Peasants would work for nobles, and get little fees. Food was expensive. Government was tore apart. As well as the fact that people didnt have freedom of speech and press. If they did something against the governments will they would be imprisoned. People were told to learn and believe in communism as much as they can. In other words they had to follow rules and live by those rules.Following the demise of World War 2, Polish society had to go through resocialization. It was a process of being socialized over again. In particular, it was discarding values and norms. A considerable amount of resocialization happens naturally over a lifetime and involves no formal training, but in case of Poland, communists took control over our country and everybody had to follow their new values. (Kowalski p.31,32).
The program that was used by the Communists was very specific and designed in a certain way so the people would believe that there is no God. Members of the Catholic Church were persecuted, then everybody was forced to work. Unemployment did not exist. It was not important what kind of proffesion or experience you had. The main idea was to work and believe in Communism and noncommunist, were the first group forced the noncommunist using force to convince them that only the communists go the right way. (Milewska, 163.164).
There was one good aspect of this resocialization education. Before World War 2, Poles could attend elementary school for free, but the higher level of education starting from high school had to be paid for. The new system brought a law where whole school systems, starting with elementary school through high school ending with universities were free and available to everyone.
The communists led the country in a certain way so no outsider could see and find out that people in Poland were persecuted, that there was a regime and not only criminals were killed. This type of acting is called staging behavior. Just as the theater has a font stage and a back stage, so does everyday life. The whole idea of communism was to make a nice impression on Western Europe so they could get a good loan.Thank God he had radio program called Free Europe that informed the world about any violence in Poland in that time. (Jarosiewicz,67).
As I mentioned before, the Catholic Church in Poland was persecuted by the Government at that time and since adherence to religion is important to Poles. The image of God that during holidays brings people together, gives them the necessary strength to fight all the difficulties in life. That kind of situation took place in Poland around 1979, when people, tired of communistic regime, had only one place where they could ask for help-this was the Catholic Church. Ninety percent of Poles were Catholics and priests were also interested in abolishing communism in Poland. One of the most influential individuals of the church at the time was Pope John Paul the Second. He was a Polish cardinal chosen to be a new pope in 1978. Since that time he really wanted to help Poles.
Tad Szulc wrote:
Since the mid-1970s, an increase in religious attitudes has been observed. It reached the apogee after the election of Cartol Wojtyla and during the social political crises of the 1980s. This phenomenon emerged particularly among the intelligentsia, especially among persons with higher education. This indicated in the result of studies in 1978 where private prayer at home was declared to be 25% and in 1983 was 51.2% (Szulc 187-188).
Since that time the Pope was a permanent feature of Polish life.
In 1981, Poland was going through a breakdown in relations between Solidarity and the Polish Government, which ended with the announcement of martial law on December 13. As early as April, the commission considered the possibility of a trade embargo on the Ussr in the event of Soviet moved against Poland. John D. Less started that:
Reagans approach to the Polish situation was conditioned by two separated factors: first, by this evident desire to see further importance in domesticU.S. politics of the Polish- Americans vote that supported him against Carter in 1980. (Szulc 54-55).
Following the Polish declaration in martial law, Reagan announced in an televised address on December 23 further action unless: The rights of the Polish people to free speech and association were restored.(Less 38). Reagan blamed the Soviet Union for the Polish military takeover. It provided that the United States was not happy about what was happening to the Polish society.
A men who led to the Polish peoples freedom was Lech Walensa. He was a good Catholic and strongly believed that God was going to help Poland. He was meeting his friends from Solidarity, every Sunday after the mass. He thought that only fighting together makes it possible to change the bad reality. Walensa believed that only the society as a whole system that want to live in. On August 14,1980, during more antigovernment protests, Walensa urged the workers to strike. On August 31, the government agreed to permit the formation of independent country. The strike committee was transformed onto Solidarity. After the government martial law in 1981, solidarity was outlawed and most of its leaders arrested. Walensa was detrained for nearly a year.
Neal Ascherson said the following words to people in tragic situations and bad moments of their lifes.
I shall recall just one phenomenon, a verbal one, but also connected with an emblem. I am thinking of Poland Has Not Perished Yet, sung by shipyard workers and intoned by Lech Walesa. This singing became a regular practice, particularly in dangerous situations and at difficult moments. (Less,69).
In 1989 government after government collapsed in Eastern Europe and politically transformed not only Poland, but also East Germany, Hungary, Czechoslowakia, Bulgaria, and other countries within Soviet Union. In December 1990 Lech Walensa was elected president of Poland succeeding Gen.W.Jaruzelski. General Wojciech Jaruzelski wa made premier of Poland in 1981 to stop the liberal Solidarity labor movement, Wojciech Jaruzelski (1923), a general, held the country in a tight grip until Mikhail Gorbachevs glasnost policy (1989), when Jaruzelski became the first East European Communist leader to permit free elections. (Turner 112-115).
As we can see , the Polish way to freedom was not easy. Abolition Communism in Poland was not only a credit to the leaders of Solidarity, but also the workers of all Polish industries and factories as mainly representatives of Polish society. Since in Communism, there were no individual privacy, after the end of communism privacy was more openly taken which means that people had freedom of speech, they could make their own decisions, and deal with their daily lives on their own. People were allowed to speak their mind, write different kinds of art works, etc. After the fall of communism the things that were under government have fallen apart , and private businesses were taken over. After the fall of communism people were allowed to keep their passports at home and not in the police department, and they were allowed to travel any where they wanted. Democracy has been mainly adopted. No one was forced to be in government. If they wanted they couldve joined it but nothing happened if they didnt. In other words, every part of the society of Poland and its environment have been an individual organization. Poland has really improved its way of living economically, and socially.