Browse Primary Sources

First Conversation between M.S. Gorbachev and Chancellor of FRG H. Kohl

On June 12, 1989, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev began a four-day visit to West Germany, just two weeks after a similar visit to West Germany by United States President George H. W. Bush. Gorbachev had by the summer of 1989 become a popular figure and expectations were running high in West German society over the summit.

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Record of the First Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and FRG President Richard von Weizsäcker

On June 12, 1989, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev began a four-day visit to West Germany, just two weeks after a similar visit to West Germany by United States President George H. W. Bush. Gorbachev had by the summer of 1989 become a popular figure and expectations were running high in West German society over the summit.

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Minutes of Meeting of the PZRR CC Secretariat after Elections

In early June 1989, Poland held its first semi-free elections since the inception of Communism following the Second World War. In the first round of these elections, Poles exhibited strong anti-Communist and pro-Solidarity sentiments, surprising both sides.

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Warsaw Embassy Cable, Election '89: Solidarity's Coming Election

In the following report, the American Ambassador to Poland (John R. Davis, Jr.) outlines possible outcomes of June 4 elections and what consequences might follow from each. Although the analysis reveals a general expectation that the regime would perform poorly, considerable uncertainty remains over whether this will translate into a clear mandate for Solidarity.

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Czecholslovak Description of "Vltava-89" Exercise

Czechoslovak Defense Minister Milan Vaclavik wrote this report on the "Vltava-89" military training exercise conducted by Warsaw Pact forces in May 1989. The Warsaw Pact was the Eastern Bloc regional security organization founded in 1955 as a challenger to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

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National Security Directive in Response to Polish Roundtable Agreement

Officials in the United States watched closely the historic roundtable talks that took place between Communist Party leaders and the opposition in Poland from February to April 1989. During these sessions, participants agreed to numerous changes, including the initiation of economic reform measures. In response to the roundtable agreements that focused on Poland's economy specifically, U.S.

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Warsaw Embassy Cable on the Election of 1989

One of the most important agreements made by Communist officials and opposition leaders in Poland at the roundtable talks that took place in February through April 1989 was the decision to hold, for the first time, semi-free elections, in which half of the parliamentary seats would be freely contested. In this confidential cable, the American Embassy in Warsaw reported to the U.S.

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Report of Vadim Zagladin on his conversation with Chairman of the Czechoslovak

International relations specialist and key Gorbachev advisor Vadim Zagladin made this report to the Soviet Politburo in early April 1989. In it, Zagladin recounts his conversation with Jan Pudlak, a high-ranking Czechoslovak official, about the situation in Pudlak's country.

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CIA Intelligence Assessment: Rising Political Instability Under Gorbachev

As President George H. W. Bush took office in January 1989, factions within his administration disagreed concerning the approach to take with regard to US-Soviet relations.

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Legalization versus Re-legalization of NSZZ "Solidarity"

Formed in September 1980 in Poland and recognized as a legal union by Communist officials in November, Solidarity was formally dissolved by Communist leaders on October 8, 1982, and forced to function illegally and underground.

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