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Lech Wałęsa

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Lech Wałęsa
Lech Walesa - 2009.jpg
2nd President of Poland
In office
22 December 1990 – 22 December 1995
Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
Jan Olszewski
Waldemar Pawlak
Hanna Suchocka
Waldemar Pawlak
Józef Oleksy
Preceded by Wojciech Jaruzelski
Succeeded by Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Chairperson of Solidarity
In office
14 August 1980 – 12 December 1990
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Marian Krzaklewski
Personal details
Born (1943-09-29) 29 September 1943 (age 80)
Popowo, Poland
Political party Solidarity (1970–1988)
Solidarity Citizens' Committee (1988–1993)
Nonpartisan Bloc for Support of Reforms (1993–1997)
Christian Democracy of the 3rd Polish Republic (1997–2001)
Civic Platform (2001–present)
Other political
Solidarity Electoral Action (1997–2001)
Spouse(s) Danuta Gołoś (1969–present)
Children Bogdan
Maria Wiktoria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Lech Wałęsa (/ˌlɛk vəˈwɛnsə/ or /wɔːˈlɛnsə/; Polish: [ˈlɛx vaˈwɛ̃sa];[1][2] born 29 September 1943) is a Polish politician, trade union organizer, philanthropist and human rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity (Solidarność), the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland from 1990 to 1995.[3]

Wałęsa was an electrician by trade. Soon after beginning work at the Lenin Shipyard (now Gdańsk Shipyard), he became a trade union activist. For this he was persecuted by the Communist authorities, placed under surveillance, fired in 1976, and arrested several times. In August 1980 he was instrumental in political negotiations that led to the ground-breaking Gdańsk Agreement between striking workers and the government. He became a co-founder of the Solidarity trade union movement. Arrested again after martial law was imposed in Poland and Solidarity was outlawed, upon release he continued his activism and was prominent in the establishment of the 1989 Round Table Agreement that led to semi-free parliamentary elections in June 1989 and to a Solidarity-led government.

In the Polish election of 1990, he successfully ran for the newly re-established office of President of Poland. He presided over Poland's transformation from a communist to a post-communist state, but his popularity waned. After he narrowly lost the 1995 presidential election, his role in Polish politics diminished. However, his international fame remains. Wałęsa continues to speak and lecture in Poland and abroad on history and politics.

Personal life

Wałęsa was born in Popowo, Poland.[3] His father, Bolesław, was a carpenter who was arrested by the Nazis before Lech was born and interned in a concentration camp at Młyniec. Bolesław returned home after the war but lived only two months before succumbing to exhaustion and illness – he was not yet 34 years old.[4] Lech's mother, Feliksa, born Kamienska,[5] has been credited with shaping her son's beliefs and tenacity.[6]

In 1961, Lech graduated from primary and vocational school in nearby Chalin and Lipno as a qualified electrician. He worked from 1961 to 1965 as a car mechanic, then embarked on his two-year obligatory stint of military service, attaining the rank of corporal, before beginning work at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk (Stocznia Gdańska im. Lenina), now called Gdańsk Shipyard (Stocznia Gdańska), as an electrician on 12 July 1967.[7]

On 8 November 1969 Wałęsa married Danuta Gołoś. The couple have eight children: Bogdan, Sławomir, Przemysław, Jarosław, Magdalena, Anna, Maria-Wiktoria, and Brygida.[8][9]

Solidarity movement

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From early on, Wałęsa was interested in workers' concerns; in 1968 he encouraged shipyard colleagues to boycott official rallies that condemned recent student strikes.[8] A charismatic leader,[10] he was an organizer of the illegal 1970 strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyard when workers protested the government's decree raising food prices; he was considered for chairman of the strike committee.[3][8] The strikes' outcome, involving over 30 workers' deaths, galvanized his views on the need for change.[8] In June 1976, Wałęsa lost his job at the Gdańsk Shipyards for his continued involvement in illegal unions, strikes and a campaign to commemorate the victims of the 1970 protests.[3][8][9] Afterwards, he worked as an electrician for several other companies, but was continually laid off for his activism and was jobless for long periods.[8] He and his family were under constant surveillance by the Polish secret police; his home and workplace were always bugged.[8] Over the next few years, he was arrested several times for participating in dissident activities.[3]

Lech Wałęsa during the strike at the Lenin Shipyard, August 1980

Wałęsa worked closely with the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR), a group that emerged to lend aid to individuals arrested after 1976 labor strikes and to their families.[3] In June 1978 he became an activist of the underground Free Trade Unions of the Coast (Wolne Związki Zawodowe Wybrzeża).[9] On 14 August 1980, after another food-price hike led to a strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk—a strike of which he was one of the instigators—Wałęsa scaled the shipyard fence and, once inside, quickly became one of the strike leaders.[3][8] The strike inspired some similar strikes, first at Gdańsk, then across Poland. Wałęsa headed the Inter-Plant Strike Committee, coordinating the workers at Gdańsk and at 20 other plants in the region.[3] On 31 August, the communist government, represented by Mieczysław Jagielski, signed an accord (the Gdańsk Agreement) with the Strike Coordinating Committee.[3] The agreement, besides granting the Lenin Shipyard workers the right to strike, permitted them to form their own independent trade union.[11] The Strike Coordinating Committee legalized itself as the National Coordinating Committee of the Solidarność (Solidarity) Free Trade Union, and Wałęsa was chosen chairman of the Committee.[3][9] The Solidarity trade union quickly grew, ultimately claiming over 10 million members—more than a quarter of Poland's population.[12] Wałęsa's role in the strike, in the negotiations, and in the newly formed independent trade union gained him fame on the international stage.[3][8]

Wałęsa held his position until 13 December 1981, when General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law.[3] Wałęsa, like many other Solidarity leaders and activists, was arrested; he would be incarcerated for 11 months at several eastern towns (Chylice, Otwock, and Arłamów, near the Soviet border) until 14 November 1982.[8][9] On 8 October 1982, Solidarity was outlawed.[13] In 1983 Wałęsa applied to return to the Gdańsk Shipyard as a simple electrician.[8] That same year, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[3] He was unable to accept it himself, fearing that Poland's government would not let him back into the country.[3][8] His wife Danuta accepted the prize on his behalf.[3][8]

Through the mid-1980s, Wałęsa continued underground Solidarity-related activities.[14] Every issue of the leading underground weekly, Tygodnik Mazowsze, bore his motto, "Solidarity will not be divided or destroyed."[15] Following a 1986 amnesty for Solidarity activists,[16] Wałęsa co-founded the first overt legal Solidarity entity since the declaration of martial law—the Provisional Council of NSZZ Solidarity (Tymczasowa Rada NSZZ Solidarność).[14] From 1987 to 1990, he organized and led the "semi-illegal" Provisional Executive Committee of the Solidarity Trade Union. In late summer 1988, he instigated work-stoppage strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyard.[14]

President Bush meets privately with Wałęsa, November 1989

After months of strikes and political deliberations, at the conclusion of the 10th plenary session of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR, the Polish communist party), the government agreed to enter into Round Table Negotiations that lasted from February to April 1989.[3] Wałęsa was an informal leader of the "non-governmental" side in the negotiations.[9] During the talks, he traveled the length and breadth of Poland, giving speeches in support of the negotiations.[3] At the end of the talks, the government signed an agreement to re-establish the Solidarity Trade Union and to organize "semi-free" elections to the Polish parliament (semi-free since, in accordance with the Round Table Agreement, only members of the Communist Party and its allies could stand for 65% of the seats in the Sejm).[3][12][17][18]

In December 1988, Wałęsa co-founded the Solidarity Citizens' Committee.[9] Theoretically it was merely an advisory body, but in practice it was a kind of political party and won the parliamentary elections in June 1989 (Solidarity took all the seats in the Sejm that were subject to free elections, and all but one seat in the newly re-established Senate).[19] Wałęsa was one of Solidarity's most public figures; though he did not run for parliament himself, he was an active campaigner, appearing on many campaign posters.[3] In fact, Solidarity winners in the Sejm elections were referred to as "Wałęsa's team" or "Lech's team," as all those who won had appeared on their election posters together with him.[20][21]

While ostensibly only chairman of Solidarity, Wałęsa played a key role in practical politics. In August 1989, he persuaded leaders of former communist-allied parties to form a non-communist coalition government – the first non-Communist government in the Soviet Bloc. The parliament elected Tadeusz Mazowiecki as prime minister – the first non-communist Polish prime minister in over four decades.[12]


Wałęsa (right) with former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum

Following the June 1989 parliamentary elections, Wałęsa was disappointed that some of his former comrades-in-arms were satisfied to govern alongside former Communists.[12] He decided to run for the newly re-established office of president, using the slogan, "I don't want to, but I've got no choice" ("Nie chcem, ale muszem.").[3][12] That year, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson encouraged Walesa to raise awareness to charitable giving and sent him a dollar bill that Walesa has kept in his wallet ever since.[22] On 9 December 1990, Wałęsa won the presidential election, defeating Prime Minister Mazowiecki and other candidates to become the first freely elected president of Poland in 63 years, and the first non-Communist president in 45 years.[8] In 1993 he founded his own political party, the Nonpartisan Bloc for Support of Reforms (BBWR – the initials echoed those of Józef Piłsudski's "Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government," of 1928–35, likewise an ostensibly non-political organization).

During his presidency, Wałęsa saw Poland through privatization and transition to a free-market economy (the Balcerowicz Plan), Poland's 1991 first completely free parliamentary elections, and a period of redefinition of Poland's foreign relations.[3][10] He successfully negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Polish soil and won a substantial reduction in Poland's foreign debts.[8]

Wałęsa, signing the Visegrád Group treaty in February 1991

Wałęsa supported Poland's entry into NATO and into the European Union. Both these goals would be realized after his presidency, in 1999 and 2004, respectively.[8] In the early 1990s, Wałęsa proposed the creation of a NATO bis as a sub-regional security system. The concept, while supported by right-wing and populist movements in Poland, garnered little support abroad; Poland's neighbors, some of whom (e.g., Lithuania) had only recently regained independence, tended to see the proposal as Polish "neo-imperialism."[12][23]

Wałęsa has been criticized for a confrontational style and for instigating "war at the top," whereby former Solidarity allies clashed with one another, causing annual changes of government.[10][12][15][24][25] This increasingly isolated Wałęsa on the political scene.[26] As he lost more and more political allies, he came to be surrounded by people who were viewed by the public as incompetent and disreputable.[15][26] Mudslinging during election campaigns tarnished his reputation.[3][27] The ex-electrician with no higher education was thought by some to be too plain-spoken and too undignified for the post of president.[10][12][28] Others thought him too erratic in his views[12][25][29] or complained that he was too authoritarian – that he sought to strengthen his own power at the expense of the Sejm.[12][25][26][28] Jacek Merkel, Wałęsa's national security advisor, credited the shortcomings of Wałęsa's presidency to Wałęsa's inability to comprehend the office of the president as an institution. Wałęsa was an effective union leader capable of articulating what the workers felt but as president he had a difficult time delegating power or navigating the bureaucracy.[30][clarification needed] Finally, Wałęsa's problems were compounded by the difficult transition to a market economy; while in the long run it was seen as highly successful, it lost Wałęsa's government much popular support.[25][26][31]

Wałęsa's BBWR performed poorly in the 1993 parliamentary elections; at times his popular support dwindled to some 10%, and he narrowly lost the 1995 presidential election, gathering 48.72% of the vote in the run-off against Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who represented the resurgent Polish post-Communists (the Democratic Left Alliance, SLD).[3][12][26] Wałęsa's fate was sealed by his poor handling of the media; in the televised debates, he came over as incoherent and rude; at the end of the first of the two debates, in response to Kwaśniewski's extended hand, he replied that the post-Communist leader could "shake his leg".[26] After the election, Wałęsa said he was going to go into "political retirement", and his role in politics became increasingly marginal.[24][32][33]

Later years

Wałęsa with Aleksander Kwaśniewski, 2005

Since the end of his presidency, Wałęsa lectured on Central European history and politics at various universities and organizations.[34][35] In 1996, he founded the Lech Wałęsa Institute, a think tank whose mission is to support democracy and local governments in Poland and throughout the world.[8] In 1997 he helped organize a new party, Christian Democracy of the 3rd Polish Republic;[14] he also supported the coalition Solidarity Electoral Action (Akcja Wyborcza Solidarność), which won the 1997 parliamentary elections.[12][14] However, the party's real leader and main organizer was a new Solidarity Trade Union leader, Marian Krzaklewski.[36] Wałęsa ran again in the 2000 presidential election, but received only 1% of the vote.[27] During Poland's 2005 presidential elections, Wałęsa supported Donald Tusk, saying that he was the best candidate.[37]

In 2006 Wałęsa quit Solidarity, citing differences over the union's support of the Law and Justice party, and the rise to power of Lech and Jarosław Kaczyński.[38] On 27 February 2008, at Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, in Houston, Texas, in the United States, Wałęsa underwent a coronary artery stent placement and the implantation of a cardiac pacemaker.[39] In the run-up to the 2009 European Parliament elections, he appeared at a rally in Rome to endorse the pan-European Eurosceptic party Libertas, describing it and its founder Declan Ganley as "a force for good in the world."[40][41] Wałęsa admitted that he had been paid to give the speech but claimed to support Civic Platform, while expressing the hope that Libertas candidates would be elected to the European Parliament.[40]

He is member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and a recipient of the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, along with Anna Walentynowicz and John Paul II.[42]

In 2009 Wałęsa condemned the Obama administration's abandonment of a long range missile defense agreement with Poland.[43] In 2011 he wrote an article claiming that only communism is a viable temporary solution for the poor African countries in the 21st century.[44] He also voiced support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.[45] Wałęsa endorsed Mitt Romney during the 2012 US presidential campaign, stressing the importance of the US restoring its leadership role.[46]

Allegations of being a collaborator

Over the years, Wałęsa has been accused of having been an informant for the Polish secret police Służba Bezpieczeństwa (SB) in the early 1970s, codenamed "Bolek". Although this was long before Wałęsa emerged as a hero of the Solidarity, questions remain whether it had an effect on his later decisions; for example, making him a probable target of blackmail. On 11 August 2000, the Warsaw Appellate Court, V Wydział Lustracyjny, declared that Wałęsa's lustration statement was true – that he had not collaborated with the communist regime.[47] Nonetheless, periodically the question resurfaces.

A 2008 book by historians from the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), Sławomir Cenckiewicz and Piotr Gontarczyk, presenting new evidence, received substantial coverage in the media, provoked a hot nationwide debate, and was noted by the international press.[48][49][50][51] The book is seen by some as very controversial; however, it contains over 130 pages of documents from archives of the secret police (which were inherited by the IPN) to support its claims, and Cenckiewicz defended his discoveries on a factual basis.[52] Janusz Kurtyka, president of the Institute of National Remembrance at the time, staunchly affirmed the thesis of the book while admitting that it does not contain a "hundred-percent" proof that Wałęsa was the agent Bolek, as some of the documents went missing during Wałęsa's presidency of Poland (1990–1995). He expressed hope the book would be subject to a wider debate.[53]

In his autobiography A Way of Hope, Wałęsa admitted that he did not come out clean from his interrogations in the aftermath of the December 1970 strikes and in subsequent conversations admitted that he and his family were threatened by security agents.[54] At times he has said that he tried to outwit his interrogators, although historians have observed it would have been an impossible self-delusion with more than a hundred agents assigned to dissident leaders. He has denied having been "Bolek"; or that he collaborated with the secret police, which seems to be the case after 1978 when he became a member of the Coastal WZZ [Free Trade Union].[55] His most dramatic refusal to cooperate with the regime came shortly after the introduction of martial law when he rejected the offer to head regime controlled Solidarity, which would have been a major blow to the popular dissident movement.[56]

Others have noted that the Polish secret police commonly falsified their own top secret reports (known as fałszywka in Polish) in order to ruin the good name of prominent individuals.[29][57] In November 2009 Wałęsa sued the then president of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, over his having repeated the collaboration allegations.[58]

On 15 April 2010, during a civil trial brought by Wałęsa against former fellow activist Krzysztof Wyszkowski over the collaboration allegations, a retired MO and Służba Bezpieczeństwa officer appeared in court and confirmed the fact of Wałęsa's collaboration in a sworn testimony.[59] The officer, Janusz Stachowiak, was in charge of keeping documentation on Wałęsa from December 1970 to 1974, although never met him in person. He stated that Wałęsa was convinced to cooperate by SB Capt. Henryk Rapczyński and SB Capt. Edward Graczyk, after a two-hour interrogation, albeit without the use of threats, and signed an agreement to keep his cooperation with SB in secret.[60] The officers asked him to "calm down" the atmosphere in the shipyard after protests were bloodily suppressed. Wałęsa kept meeting regularly with the secret police, reportedly receiving substantial sums of money,[60] but after about four months he started to "withdraw" (although it was not until June 1976 when he was unregistered, because of his "reluctance to cooperate").

Previously, in 2008, Capt. Edward Graczyk (long thought to be deceased and as such not summoned to testify in the 2000 trial) was interrogated by the IPN about his contacts with Wałęsa[61] and subsequently interviewed by Gazeta Wyborcza.[62] In the interview, which somewhat contradicts his earlier testimony, Graczyk recounted Wałęsa's cooperation, but denied his own actions had been "recruitment" of an agent. He also denied giving money to Wałęsa. The other of the two officers, Capt. Henryk Rapczyński, was never interrogated.

On 22 December 2011, it was reported that the prosecutor Zbigniew Kulikowski from the Białystok division of the IPN (National Remembrance Institute) determined that the SB (communist secret security) had forged documents in the 1980s that suggested Wałęsa was their agent during the 1980s.[63] Perhaps the most controversial act was the wanton destruction of government files, which occurred during the Wałęsa presidency, which some have argued have contributed to legal distortions and derailing of lustration in free Poland.[64]

Religious and personal views

Wałęsa receiving the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in Washington, D.C., May 2011

Wałęsa is a devout Roman Catholic.[12] He is a staunch opponent of abortion, and has said that he would rather have resigned the presidency twenty times than sign into law a bill permitting abortion in Poland.[65] In an interview for Polish television in 2012, Wałęsa said that, as a Catholic, he opposes in vitro fertilization and same-sex marriage. At a political campaign rally in 2000 he said regarding gay people, "I believe those people need medical treatment", continuing with "Imagine if all people were like that. We wouldn't have any descendants."[66] As part of the same interview in 2012, he said that if his son were a homosexual he would pray for him to "step down from the wrong way".[67]

Wałęsa has also said that he is interested in information technology and likes to use new developments in that field. He has stated that he has assembled several computers to find out how they work and takes a smartphone, a palmtop, and a laptop with him when traveling.[68] Early in 2006 he revealed that he is a registered user of the Polish instant-messaging service Gadu-Gadu, and was granted a new special user number – 1980 (A reference to the year Wałęsa cofounded Solidarity).[69] Later that year, he also said that he used Skype, his "handle" being lwprezydent2006.[70]


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Coat of arms Lech Wałęsa

Lech Wałęsa's coat of arms assigned by the Heraldic Authority of the Kingdom of Sweden on the occasion of his admittance into the Royal Order of the Seraphim. According to the intentions of the designer, Adam Heymowski, it refers to Polish national colors and the coat of arms of Gdańsk, of which one of the crosses was replaced by a fleur-de-lis, symbol of Our Lady of Częstochowa.

Apart from his 1983 Nobel Peace Prize,[71] Wałęsa has received many other international distinctions and awards.[9] He has been named "Man of the Year" by Time (1981),[72] the Financial Times (1980) and The Observer (1980).[9] He was the first recipient of the Liberty Medal, on 4 July 1989 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[73] and that same year received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[74] He is the only Pole to have addressed a joint meeting of the United States Congress (15 November 1989).[75]

On 8 February 2002, Wałęsa represented Europe, carrying the Olympic flag at the opening ceremonies of the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, in company with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Africa), John Glenn (the Americas), Kazuyoshi Funaki (Asia), Cathy Freeman (Oceania), Jean-Michel Cousteau (Environment), Jean-Claude Killy (Sport), and Steven Spielberg (Culture).[76][77] Two years later, on 10 May 2004, Gdańsk International Airport was officially renamed Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport to commemorate a famous Gdańsk citizen, and his signature was incorporated into the airport's logo.[78]

A month later, in June 2004, Wałęsa represented Poland at the state funeral of Ronald Reagan.[79] On 11 October 2006, Wałęsa was keynote speaker at the launch of "International Human Solidarity Day," proclaimed in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly.[80] In January 2007 Wałęsa spoke at a Taiwan event, "Towards a Global Forum on New Democracies," in support of peace and democracy, along with other prominent world leaders and Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian.[81]

On 25 April 2007, Wałęsa represented the Polish government at the funeral of Boris Yeltsin, former President of the Russian Federation.[82] On 23 October 2009, he spoke at a conference in Gdańsk of presidents of all European senates, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first free parliamentary elections in a former communist country – the 1989 elections to the Polish Senate.

On 6 September 2011, Wałęsa rejected Lithuania's Order of Vytautas the Great as a result of alleged discrimination on the part of the Lithuanian government towards its Polish minority.[83]

On 19 November 2014, Wałęsa was made Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Romania by His Majesty King Michael I of Romania, "for his unequaled contribution to the fall of Communism in Europe".[84]

Books written

Wałęsa has written three books: Droga nadziei (The Road of Hope, 1987), Droga do wolności (The Road to Freedom, 1991), and Wszystko, co robię, robię dla Polski (All That I Do, I Do for Poland, 1995).[14]

In popular culture

Wałęsa has been portrayed in numerous works of popular culture. In Volker Schlöndorff's film Strike, a character based on Wałęsa was played by Polish actor Andrzej Chyra.[85] He was portrayed by Bernard Hill in the 1984 TV production of Tom Stoppard's Squaring the Circle. Wałęsa played himself in Andrzej Wajda's 1981 Golden Palm-winning film about Solidarity, Man of Iron.[86] While this was perhaps his best-known movie appearance, he has played himself in some 20 other productions.[87]

In the 1990s two satirical Polish songs, "Nie wierzcie elektrykom" ("Don't Trust Electricians") by Big Cyc, and "Wałęsa, gdzie moje 100 000 000" ("Wałęsa, Where's My 100,000,000 [złotych]?") by Kazik Staszewski, were major hits in Poland, and another song about Wałęsa was composed in 2009 by Holy Smoke.[88] He also inspired U2's song "New Year's Day" on their War album.[89] Coincidentally the Polish authorities lifted martial law on 1 January 1983, the very day that this single came out.[90] Patrick Dailly's Solidarity, starring Kristen Brown as Wałęsa, was premiered by the San Francisco Cabaret Opera in Berkeley and Oakland, California, in September and October 2009.[91]

Wałęsa has been the subject of dozens of books and articles.[92][93][94][95][96]

On 1 December 2011, Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrzej Wajda began shooting the biographical film Walesa. Man of Hope. The off-Broadway playwright Janusz Głowacki wrote the screenplay. Robert Więckiewicz and Agnieszka Grochowska star as Lech Wałęsa and his wife Danuta Wałęsa. The film was released in September 2012.[97][98]

The documentary film Lech Wałęsa, Twenty Years Later (2003) by director Adam Kinaszewski shows the life and career path of Wałęsa.

See also


  1. Wałęsa. Merriam-Webster.
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  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  4. Pages 129–131. Walesa, Lech. "The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography". Arcade Publishing (1991). ISBN 1-55970-221-4.
  5. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  6. David C. Cook (22 February 2005), Mothers of Influence: The Inspiring Stories of Women Who Made a Difference in Their Children and Their World. New edition. ISBN 1562923684.
  7. Page 95. Walesa, Lech. "The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography". Arcade Publishing (1991). ISBN 1-55970-221-4.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 A Biographical Note, Lech Wałęsa Institute
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 ON THE FOUNDER at the Wayback Machine (archived February 3, 2008), Lech Wałęsa Institute.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Lech Wałęsa," Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
  11. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 Timothy Garton Ash, Lech Wałęsa, TIME magazine,"The Most Important People of the Century", 13 April 1998.
  13. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 (Polish) Wałęsa Lech, Encyklopedia WIEM
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Timothy Garton Ash, "Poland After Solidarity," The New York Review of Books, vol. 38, no. 11 (13 June 1991).
  16. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  17. "Half-free and far from easy: Poland's election," The Economist, 27 May 1989.
  18. Lewis Pauk, "Non-Competitive Elections and Regime Change: Poland 1989," Parliamentary Affairs, 1990, 43: 90–107.
  19. POLAND. Parliamentary Chamber: Sejm. Elections held in 1989. Inter-Parliamentary Union. Last accessed 28 January 2010.
  20. Grażyna Zwolińska, (Polish) Historyczne wybory 4 czerwca 1989: Zwycięstwo drużyny Lecha ("Historic Elections of 4 June 1989: Victory of Lech's Team"), Gazeta Lubuska, 6 June 2009.
  21. Jarosław Osowski, (Polish) "Warszawska drużyna Lecha Wałęsy" ("Lech Wałęsa's Warsaw Team"), Gazeta Wyborcza, 4 June 2009.
  22. Joseph Telushkin, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History. HarperCollins, 2014. Page 5
  23. Monika Wohlefeld, 1996,"Security Cooperation in Central Europe: Polish Views. NATO," 1996.
  24. 24.0 24.1 From "Walesa, Lech," Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 2001.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Jane Perlez, "Walesa, Once atop a High Pedestal, Seems to Stand on a Slippery Slope", New York Times, 6 July 1994.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 Voytek Zubek, "The Eclipse of Walesa's Political Career," Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 49, no. 1 (January 1997), pp. 107–24.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Wojtek Kosc, "Here He Comes Again: The Predicted Re-election of Kwaśniewski," Central Europe Review, vol. 2, no. 35, 16 October 2000.
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Lech Wałęsa (1943– )," A Guide to the 20th century: Who's Who, Channel 4.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  30. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  31. Danielle Lussier, "From Solidarity to Division: An Analysis of Lech Wałęsa's Transition to Constituted Leadership", working paper, UC Berkeley.
  32. Wojtek Kosc, "Here He Comes Again: Poland: Heating Up for the Presidency," Central Europe Review, vol. 2, no. 10, 13 March 2000.
  33. "Europe: Poland: Walesa In Polystyrene," New York Times, 17 December 2003.
  34. Etgar Lefkovits, Walesa: World needs to combat Iranian threat, The Jerusalem Post, 15 Jan 2008
  35. Jane Perlez, "Out of a Job, Walesa Decides to Take to the Lecture Circuit," New York Times, 29 February 1996.
  36. .Krzysztof Jasiewicz, "The 2000 presidential election in Poland," The National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, 2001.
  37. Judy Dempsey, "Warsaw Mayor Is Poised to Win Runoff in Poland," New York Times, 24 October 2005.
  38. "Lech Wałęsa Quits Solidarity," Wikinews, Tuesday, 22 August 2006.
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  41. Jarosław Walesa, Poland, One to watch – 25 May 2009, France 24
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  47. (Polish) Piotr Gontarczyk, Sławomir Cenckiewicz, "Jak lustrowano prezydenta Wałęsę" ("How President Wałęsa Was Lustrated"), rp. pl, 18-06-2008.
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  49. "Row over Lech Wałęsa's Alleged Collaboration with Communists Escalates," Wikinews, Friday, 20 June 2008.
  50. Michael Szporer, "SB a Lech Wałęsa: Przyczynek do biografii (review)," Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 11, no. 2, Spring 2009, pp. 119–121. Online
  51. Roger Boyes, "Lech Wałęsa was a Communist spy, says new book," The Times, 25 June 2008.
  52. "'Positive Proof' Lech Wałęsa Was a Communist Spy: Interview with Historian Slawomir Cenkiewicz," Der Spiegel, 23 June 2008.
  53. (Polish) "Kurtyka: Wałęsa był „Bolkiem”, brał pieniądze od SB – podpisuję się pod tymi tezami" (Kurtyka: "Wałęsa was Bolek, he took money from Służba Bezpieczeństwa – I subscribe to these statements"), RMF24, 18 June 2008.
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  58. Nicholas Kulish, EUROPE; Poland: Former Leader Sues President, New York Times, 25 November 2009.
  59. (Polish) Świadek w sądzie: Wałęsa był agentem "Bolkiem" (Witness in court: Wałęsa was the agent Bolek), Gazeta Prawna, 15 April 2010.
  60. 60.0 60.1 (Polish) Pełne zeznania w sprawie "Bolka" (Full testimonies in the "Bolek" case)
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  65. Former Polish president: I would have resigned the presidency rather than legalize abortion. Catholic News Agency, 21 May 2009.
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  74. Maureen Dowd, Envoy; BUSH GIVE WALESA MEDAL OF FREEDOM, New York Times, 14 November 1989.
  75. Foreign Leaders and Dignitaries Who Have Addressed the U.S. Congress, The Office of the Clerk.
  76. Carter B. Horsley, Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games: The Greatest Television Program Ever?
  77. Jean-Michel Cousteau (biography), Winter Park Institute, Rollins College.
  78. (Polish) Prezydent Lech Wałęsa patronem Portu Lotniczego Gdańsk (President Lech Wałęsa – patron of Gdańsk Airport), 10 maja 2004 r., Gdańsk Airport Website.
  79. Fast Facts: Who's Who at Reagan Funeral, Fox News, Friday, 11 June 2004.
  80. Lech Wałęsa Welcomes Launch of International Human Solidarity Day at UN, News Blaze, 11 November 2006.
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  82. FACTBOX: Dignitaries attending funeral of Boris Yeltsin, Reuters, Tue 24 Apr 2007.
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  85. Lua error in Module:WikidataCheck at line 28: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). Strajk – Die Heldin von Danzig at IMDb
  86. Lua error in Module:WikidataCheck at line 28: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value). Czlowiek z zelaza at IMDb
  87. Lech Wałęsa at the Internet Movie Database
  88. Anita Zabłocka, (Polish) "Lech Wałęsa w wersji heavy metal" ("Lech Wałęsa in Heavy Metal"), Wiadomości 24, 19 August 2009.
  89. New Year's Day,
  90. Mick Wall, Bono: In the Name of Love (London: Andre Deutsche, 2005), 92.
  91. Ken Bullock, SF Cabaret Opera Premieres ‘Solidarity’Ken Bullock, Berkeley Daily Planet, Thursday 24 September 2009.
  92. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
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  95. (Polish) Media o Lechu Wałęsie (Media on Lech Wałęsa), Lech Wałęsa Institute
  96. (Polish) Wywiady Lecha Wałęsy (Interviews of Lech Wałęsa), Lech Wałęsa Institute.
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Further reading

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External links



Political offices
Preceded by President of Poland
Succeeded by
Aleksander Kwaśniewski