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Triggering Communism's Collapse: Perceptions and Power in Poland's Transition (The Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series)
Why was Poland the first communist regime to collapse? And yet why do many Poles see their peaceful transition away from communist rule as a sham, rather than a victory? To find answers to these questions Triggering Communism's Collapse examines the political dynamics of the Polish transition-a transition that stripped the communist party of its control...
Why was Poland the first communist regime to collapse? And yet why do many Poles see their peaceful transition away from communist rule as a sham, rather than a victory? To find answers to these questions Triggering Communism's Collapse examines the political dynamics of the Polish transition-a transition that stripped the communist party of its control of the government, thrust an opposition leader into the premiership, and set off the world-changing series of communist collapses in the Soviet Bloc.At a time when Poland's economy was deteriorating, the workers were striking, and the Soviets were vacillating, both the Polish communist regime and the Solidarity-led opposition formulated certain expectations and acted upon them. Both sides' expectations soon turned out to be mistaken, but the resulting choices shaped the course of events in surprising ways. Through elite interviews and archival records, Castle shows how mistaken expectations resulted in a sudden transfer of power away from the communist elite and created a new political arena full of surprises. Drastic changes in the capabilities of key political actors had radically altered the implications of negotiated rules. Yet these rules went on to change the political landscape itself.
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