Uniting ten million Polish workers, peasants and intellectuals, and led by future Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa, Solidarnosc was a global earthquake.

During its 16 months of legal existence, the first free trade union in the communist world kept public opinion on its toes and mobilized international political players in Washington, Moscow, Bonn and even the Vatican. Thanks to their action, the men and women of Solidarnosc exposed the ideological, political, economic and even military weaknesses of the Eastern bloc, becoming in just a few months a genuine counter-power feared by the Kremlin.

The threat of a Soviet invasion of Poland loomed large on several occasions. Dissolved in December 1981 after the proclamation of martial law by General Jaruzelski, the union continued to work underground with the support of Pope John Paul II, the CIA and the White House, before taking part in the first semi-free elections in the Communist bloc in June 1989.

The model of a fearless, peaceful civil society was to set an example in the Eastern bloc, where one regime after another was to fall.

A film by Barbara Necek

A film by Barbara Necek
A production: 13 Productions
French boradcaster: Histoire TV
International sales: CLPB Rights


FIGRA 2021 - Official selection (section Terre(s) d’Histoire)