Protests in the City and the Country: Social Reactions in Western Pomerania in Response to the Workers’ Revolt of 1970/1971 in Szczecin
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The text is an analysis of the socio-political situation in Western Pomerania during the political crisis in the Polish People’s Republic at the turn of 1971. Szczecin lay in the heart of the workers’ protests, however, it was the events in Gdańsk that received the most spotlight at that time and later on. The article aims to gather and analyse information from primary sources on how the inhabitants of the country learned about social unrest in big cities, how they interpreted and commented on it, and how it all translated into social sentiments. Such an approach to the problem also provides an opportunity to carry out an analysis based on the dichotomy between the ‘core’ and ‘peripheral’ areas. This is possible due to the accessibility of appropriate primary sources, which in the examined cases are constituted mostly by the documentation gathered by the Security Service, so far used to a small extent. It should also be stressed that the documents on the events of December 1970 in the context of the country in Western Pomerania were rather scant. The analysis of the documentation demonstrates how important Szczecin and Gdańsk were for social sentiments in 1970 and 1971. The incidents in ‘core’ cities were closely observed, and the patterns of protesting were then copied by the country. The scale of those ‘peripheral’ protests was smaller, and they usually did not turn into street fights, but their impact was felt, heard and seen. The methods of protesting in the country involved distributing leaflets, making inscriptions, conversing on related topics and, above all, sharing a desire to bring about a socio-political change expressed by strikes and public protests. These occurrences showed how much the ‘peripheral’ areas were inspired by the ‘core’ ones. There is no doubt that December 1970 left a lasting mark on the memory of the inhabitants of the country in Western Pomerania.
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