Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Let Poland be Poland
by Kinstetter, Gregory A., M.A., University of Wyoming, 2012, 134; 1510007
Abstract (Summary)

There are many different aspects to studying U.S. foreign policy towards Poland from 1980 to 1989, as well as the Polish Solidarity movement. Many Cold War history books look at US/USSR relations and the key agreements that were signed, such as the INF Treaty in 1987. When looking at the rise of Solidarity, many researchers look internally, specifically at the role of networks of opposition and the role of the Polish Catholic Church. However, few scholars provide an in-depth analysis of U.S. President Ronald Reagan's policy towards Poland. This thesis argues that Reagan made a conscious decision to help the Polish people push for more freedom and rights within the communist controlled government. Through the use of both public and private diplomacy, the Reagan Administration contributed to the liberalization process of opening up Polish society and encouraging national reconciliation that occurred in Poland in the 1980s.

The Reagan Administration used western radios, such as the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe to promote liberalization and freedom in Poland. These programs encouraged Poles to peacefully resist the government to reform the Polish People's Republic. Along with funding these radio programs, the Reagan Administration enacted economic sanctions on Poland and the Soviet Union in response to martial law being declared in December 1981. The President also suspended Poland's Most Favored Nation status for trade and denied the Polish application to the International Monetary Fund. Reagan also provided funds to support underground Solidarity through the National Endowment for Democracy and covertly through the Central Intelligence Agency. President Reagan recognized the importance of the Vatican to Poland and also established formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See. All of these policies contributed to increased liberalization in Poland by 1989.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Poblete, JoAnne
Commitee: Garner, Andrew, Messenger, David
School: University of Wyoming
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Wyoming
Source: MAI 50/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: European history, American history, Modern history, International Relations
Keywords: Cold War, John Paul II, Pope, Poland, Reagan, Ronald, Voice of America
Publication Number: 1510007
ISBN: 978-1-267-32396-5
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