Kniefall ohne Aufstand : Erinnerungen an den Dezember 1970 in der VR Polen

In December 1970 two events of importance for European history occurred
in Poland: On December 7, West-German Chancellor Willy
Brandt knelt down in front of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial,
thus publicly apologizing for the crimes committed by Germans during
World War II, and signed the Treaty of Warsaw in the aftermath. One
week later, on December 14, workers inside the Lenin Shipyard in
Gdańsk protested against the increase in food prices announced by
the Polish government. Their uprising, which was joined by many other
workers in the weeks and months that followed, and which was bloodily
suppressed by the state, ultimately resulted in the fall of the government.
While in 2020 the fiftieth anniversary of the ‘kneeling of Willy
Brandt’ and the signing of the Treaty of Warsaw received widespread
coverage in German mass media, the uprising of the shipyard workers
seems to have been forgotten. The author discusses the immediate
relation between the two events and emphasizes the significance of the
workers’ protests in December 1970 for the emergence of Solidarność
and the subsequent historical developments.

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