History Of The Cold War Glasnost, Perestroika, the fall of the Warsaw Pact and Malta Needs a Better Description Solidarity in Poland Poland (see Useful Notes On Poland for details) has its national consciousness tightly connected to the Catholic Church. It was one of the few countries behind the Iron Curtain where the Church had greater power than in the west. Poles are to this day maintaining that the church represents the nation more accurately than the state. The Communists did not like it, and they weren't subtle about it. In Stalin's times Cardinal Wyszynski- the leader of the Polish Church- suffered three years of house arrest, priests and bishops were sent to prisons, and even convents were raided by the police. Numerous strikes in Poland (Poznan in 1956, Bydgoszcz in 1976) were caused by rises in prices of staple food, the literal "bread and butter". Sometimes these increases would be as high as 50%. The Church attempted mediation, but ultimately nothing could be done. Then, in 1978 something changed. For the first time in history, a Pole had been chosen as
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