2004
Volume 126, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

The Polish independent trade union Solidarność appeared in a time of rising tension between East and West. This created a dilemma for Western left-wing movements: maintain solidarity with the Polish workers or continue the détente policy of the 1970s? The Dutch social democratic party PvdA and the largest trade union confederation FNV both dealt with this dilemma in their own way. In the PvdA the events caused a fierce debate between ‘solidarists’ and ‘détentists’. In the FNV on the other hand solidarity and détente were not seen as mutually exclusive. Both organisations, however, did not want to harm the détente dialogue with those in power in Eastern Europe, seeing this as a necessary basis for the disarmament talks between East and West. Détente considerations were very similar in both organisations, but the process and outcome were not. The FNV sought to maintain its position as an institutionalised, well-regulated organisation. In this way it could organise contacts and provide useful help, but mainly during the months that Solidarność was legal. The PvdA acted spontaneously in a more ad hoc fashion, with little success in Poland, but better outcomes elsewhere.

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2013-11-01
2021-12-03
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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