FREEDOM!

Soldarity

The 1980s brought about much change for the Soviet and Eastern Bloc countries. For Poland one of the big changes was Solidarity, a social movement that grew from underground resistance to the Soviet bureaucracy. Eventually this resistance grew into the form of a worker’s party when delegates from 36 trade unions across Poland met to discuss what they were going to do about the lack of support the workers they represented felt from the Polish Communist Party. Soon after the formation of Solidarity, the party gained massive support from the working class all across Poland. This angered the Soviet backed Polish government who, in 1981, began forcibly suppressing the movement which went underground. While underground, Solidarity continued to organize protests and strikes all across Poland. It was not until the free elections of 1989 that Solidarity reemerged publicly. They swept the ballots and won 99 of 100 seats in the senate and all 161 seats up for reelection in Congress. The true irony is that the Communist Party, who claimed to represent the workers of the world, lost all the support of the working class in Poland due to the rising costs of food and housing.

The Solidarity movement also received support for the CIA. After Ronald Regan announced economic sanctions against Poland for making Solidarity illegal, the CIA began funneling money and communications equipment into Poland to support the leaders of the movement. Congress authorized $10 million to be spend on programs to support Polish opposition to the Communist Party.

Sources:

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1980-2/solidarity-in-poland/solidarity-in-poland-texts/solidaritys-message-to-the-workers-of-eastern-europe/

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1980-2/solidarity-in-poland/

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1980-2/solidarity-in-poland/solidarity-in-poland-texts/letter-to-the-polish-united-workers-party/

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1980-2/solidarity-in-poland/solidarity-in-poland-texts/soviet-evaluation-of-polish-solidarity-crisis/

http://www.britannica.com/topic/Solidarity

Gregory F. Domber: What Putin Misunderstands about American Power

Picture:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity_%28Polish_trade_union%29#/media/File:Ostrowiec_Solidarnosc_20100815.jpg

 

A Cos for Concern

first cosmonaut

April 12, 1961- Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to travel into space. Across Russia, Soviets celebrated this triumph as being not only the first nation to launch something into orbit, but also the first nation to put a live human being into space. Vostok 1 became the first manned spacecraft mission, as it hurled Yuri Gagarin into orbit atop the seventh generation of a German V-2 clone. It seemed as though they had not only caught up to the west but had surpassed the west.

Although the Soviets were proud to have put the first man in space, the had also picked the perfect person to turn into a hero for the Communist cause. Yuri Gagarin was born on a collective farm in 1934. His father worked as a carpenter and his mother was a milkmaid. His family had suffered under Nazi occupation and was forced to live in a small mud hut after being evicted from their home. Yuri Gagarin’s older siblings were also forced into slave labor by the Nazis. Once the war had ended, Yuri Gagarin continued with his education at a vocational school and later joined an aviation club. Soon after being drafted, he was sent to pilot training and graduated at the top of his class. In 1959, he applied to become a cosmonaut and was selected to fly the Vostok 1 space mission.

Upon completion of his 108 minute orbit of the earth, Yuri Gagarin also became an instant international hero. Even American newspapers celebrated the first man in space. He met with many world leaders as an international celebrity.

Here is a clip of communications between Yuri Gagarin and Russian ground control before the launch.

Here is a dramatization of the launch:

Here is an example of the world tours and interviews he gave as the Soviets paraded him around as an international celebrity:

 

Sources:

Picture: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/5a/a3/5/5aa352fa991f43d7ec404e46469b6c27.jpg

Video 1:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyrj0ibxt8c

Video 2:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQMZ-emCG-M

Video 3:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSvAe7_GjJM

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1961-2/first-cosmonaut/first-cosmonauts-texts/the-capital-meets-its-hero/

17 Moments:http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1961-2/first-cosmonaut/first-cosmonauts-texts/a-familiar-smile/

Current Digest of the Russian Press:http://dlib.eastview.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/browse/doc/13793186

NASA:http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/sts1/gagarin_anniversary.html

Russian based online article:http://sputniknews.com/science/20110330/163289008.html

Russian based online article:http://www.russianarchives.com/gallery/gagarin/gagarin3.html