Instytut Pamięci Narodowej

Polish Months

June 1989



Poles resisted Communism many times. Massive protests in the years 1956, 1968, 1970 and 1976 did not yield results, apart from tactical concessions of the leaders of the Polish United Workers’ Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza). However, the resistance of the society caused that in Poland, the only such country of the Soviet bloc, agriculture was not collectivised and the Catholic Church preserved its independence.


The revolution which broke out on 23 October, 1956, was a turning point in the post-war history of Hungary. Within a few days, democracy was restored and the government headed by Imre Nagy withdrew from the Warsaw Pact. However, hopes were wrecked by the second intervention of the Soviet Army, started on 4 November.

German Democratic Republic (GDR)

Since the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was one of the most stable Eastern European dictatorships. German Communists owed the stability primarily to the omnipotent political police, the infamous Stasi (an acronym of Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, Ministry for State Security).


Czechoslovakia in late 1980s was still overshadowed by the events of 1968. Great expectations of the Prague Spring were crushed by tanks of the Warsaw Pact. Initial common resistance broke down. The politics of “normalisation”, i.e. reinstituting the communist party’s control over all spheres of life, was growing increasingly successful.


The Bulgarian dictator, Todor Zhivkov, held the post of the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party continuously from 1954. After a few years, this power was absolute and Zhivkov skilfully adapted himself to the changes of policy in the Kremlin. In particular, he closely joined up with Brezhnev, to whom he offered to join Bulgaria to the Soviet Union.


Romania in late 1980s was one of the most peculiar Central European dictatorships. By the decision of Nicolae Ceauşescu, who was the leader from 1965, a few districts of Bucharest were destroyed in order to build monumental public edifices (some of them are not finished till today). A similar plight was shared by hundreds of villages, which were destroyed within the “systematisation” programme.

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