Collapse of Communism - Uprisings 1989

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  • Collapse of Communism - Uprisings 1989
    • Poland - 10 years
      • Solidarity started strikes in 1979 over increasing food prices and demanded politcal and economic rights
        • Warsaw Pact army surround Poland
        • Januzelski imposed martial law and solidarity outlawed
      • Pressure for Change so great that by 1989 the Com govt agreed to hold elections
        • Solidarity won 99/100 seats - Lech Walesa became President
    • Hungary - 10 months
      • Major political reforms following the replacement of Kadar with Grosz and General Secretary
        • The Parliament adopted a "democracy package" which included
          • Trade union pluralism
          • Freedom of association
          • Freedom of assembly
          • Freedom of the press
          • New electoral law
          • Radical revision of the Constitution
      • It was ruled that the 1956 revolution had been a popular uprising and not a foreign-instigated attempt at counter-revolution
        • In June the Communist Party admitted that Imre Nagy had been illegally executed after a show trial - given a state funeral
      • Mass demonstrations on the 15th March (National Holiday) convinced govt to begin talks with other political movements
        • Round table talks with non-Communists began 22 April - 18 of September
      • 2nd May - began dismantling its 150 mile long border fence with Austria
        • Destabilied GDR and Czech. - Thousands crossed illegally via the Hungarian border into W.
      • Communist Party held its last session in October which laid legilation for free multi-party elections --> March 1990
        • Soviet military presence that had been there since 1945 left in 1991
    • East Germany - 10 weeks
      • The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig - attracted 1200-1500 demonstrators
        • By 2nd October - 10,000 protestors - Honecker planned a "shoot and kill" suppression on the 9th
          • 70,000 demonstrators turned up on the 9th October - Authorities on the ground refused to open fire.
        • Gorby visited East Ger. 6th and 7th October for 40th Anniversary celebrations and urged Honecker to reform
      • East Germans escaping to West through border with Hungary and Czech. -- over 30,000 - nothing govt could do about it
      • Honecker deposed by SED and replaced by more moderate Krenz
        • Authorised demonstration in Berlin
          • 500,000 demonstrators
            • Authorities allowed E. Germans to cross existing borders into W. Germany and W. Eur.
      • Berlin Wall came down 9th November
        • Germany Reunified - 1990
    • Czechoslovakia - 10 days
      • 17th November 1989 - police suppressed a peaceful student proteset in Prague
        • Sparked a series of demonstrations known as the "Velvet Revolution" - 19th Nov - late Dec
          • By 20th Nov, numbers had swelled fro 200,000 the previous day to 500,000
      • 24th November all Communist leadership resigned
        • 2hr general strike was held by every Czeckoslovakian citizen
        • Barbed wire obstructions to West Germany and Austria were removed in early December
      • Vaclev Havel elected President 28th December 1989
        • June 1990 - first Democratic elections
        • June 1991 - last Soviet troops withdrawn
    • Romania - 10 hours
      • Series of riots and demonstrations starting in Timisoara - spread throughout the country
      • Ceausescu abandoned power and fled with his wife
        • Captured and tried in a show trial for genocide, damage to the economy and abuse of power for execution of the military for use against the Romanian people
        • Found guilty of all charges and executed (the last people ever to be execute in Czechoslovakia
      • National Salvation Front took over while waiting for a new political order


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