Democratic Transition of Poland and Czechoslovakia

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Democratic Transition of Poland and Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia and Poland are two countries that share a similar past. Each country participated in WWII and both came under the leadership of Stalin and his socialist party system. These countries were ruled by the communist party for over three decades, but Czechoslovakia was ruled differently then Poland was. Each countries transition to democracy was plagued by some misfortune or another. Communist reforms, opposition to the regime and the violence of the transition to democracy played a critical role in the shaping of these two countries before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

By the 1980's Czechoslovakia was beginning to realize that they were not as well off as people in the west. Much of the economy was controlled by the communist party and much of trade occurred only between the soviet bloc countries. In the 80's Gustav Husak ruled Czechoslovakia with an iron fist. Husak followed the system of central planning and tried to implement communist ideas into Czech society. The plan relied heavily on the Soviet Union for support. Reforms were introduced by Husak to improve standards of living and the economy. Husak introduced perestroika, but did not implement it into Czech society. After the Soviet Union began to experience a collapse in the communist system, the Czech people started to organize against the communist regime.

Unlike Czechoslovakia, who experienced minor communist control of the country, Poland was worse off economically and politically. The country was still recovering from the devastation of the Second World War which destroyed much of the country during that time. Poland was struggling to keep the country together and the public were growing ever weary of the regime. In the early 80's Poland started to see some light with the introduction of trade unions. The Polish people thought this would be the start of the breakdown of communist control over the country. These unions...
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