History Sourcework

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Paper 2, 2010.

1) No source B
2) Source D is a speech given by Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, about his trade union and its aims. He states that their goal was never to reach for power but to create a union “founded and shaped by the working people themselves.” He describes Solidarity as a powerful movement for social and moral ‘liberation’. Furthermore, Walesa states that Solidarity never turned against the ruling government and that it was a peaceful movement. He later claims that the problems which Poland is facing can only be overcome by dialogue between the government and the people. This speech contrasts sharply with source C, which is material created by the Polish Government. The source contradicts the points which Walesa claims in his speech. For example, source C says that an anti communist opposition will be established in the form of a “free and independent trade union,” referring to Solidarity. However, Walesa claims that the union was not an opponent to the government in any way. Source C also says that political chaos will be created through strikes and demands for higher wages, aimed at disrupting and weakening the economy. Solidarity was formed when strikes were held demanding, along with other things, higher wages. The source further claims that strikes organized by the union are aimed at applying political pressure to the government, reducing and eliminating the power of the party. Source D, on the other hand, says that Walesa believed that the solution to Poland’s problems lay in cooperating with the government, not working against it. He clearly stated that Solidarity did not “turn against the established constitutional order.” However, neither source is entirely reliable. Source C is biased against the trade union because it was created by the Polish government, who opposed Solidarity. The speech is also not entirely true. Solidarity did begin its own political agenda, not long after its establishment. It was seen as a movement liberating people from communism, with supposed evidence emerging that Solidarity wanted to create a provisional government as an alternative to the communist government. Although the evidence was not strong, Solidarity certainly had an anti communist view shortly before it was banned by the government. In conclusion, source D does make source C seem rather surprising. It contradicts every statement made against the free trade union, Solidarity. Whereas source C creates the image of an anti government movement, aiming to sabotage the economy and eliminate the power of the communist party, source D claims that the movement was a peaceful one, with no intention of turning against the government. There is no common ground between the two sources. However, in reality Solidarity did weaken the communist party to a certain extent. Its strikes and support forced the government to cooperate with them, leading to reforms. These reforms were not tolerated by the USSR, who pressured Jaruzelski into introducing martial law and making Solidarity illegal in December, 1981. Therefore, Solidarity was actually anti communist to a certain extent as source C suggests- it was Solidarity who took over Poland following the collapse of communism in the country. The actual sources show no common ground and contradict each other in all aspects.

3) The source is a propaganda poster against the communist party in Poland. It shows a skull with a knife and fork in place of crossbones, the knife and fork representing food. It was published in protest against a cut in food rations introduced at the party congress. It was published in 1981, possibly by Solidarity, who had at the time gained massive support. Its membership reached its peak of over 9 million, in January 1981. The economy was in chaos around this period of time, with prices rising and wages falling. This would explain why the food ration cuts would have been met with protest. The poster is protesting ration cuts which...
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