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Poverty in Auvergne

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The difficulty of life in rural regions led some to leave home and seek a better life elsewhere, particularly in the growing cities. Such migration worried some observers, who feared villages would be emptied and no one would be left to work the land. In the excerpt below, a local government official in the Auvergne region comments on the causes and effects of emigration.

Poverty Observed!: Journal of a Country Priest

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Village priests served as community leaders in a variety of respects, including keeping a register of births, marriages, and deaths. One such curate, the abbé Lefeuvre, also included in his register impressions of life during the severe winter of 1709, which give a sense of the difficult and fragile lives of the poor in rural towns in the eighteenth century.

Preparing for Martial Law in Poland

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In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise to resolve the strike, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions as the shortages failed to improve. Imports from the Soviet Union and the West failed to improve the economy, with more strikes becoming endemic throughout... Read More »

President Bush Grants Hungary Most-Favored-Nation Trade Status

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In July 1989, President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary, the two countries in Eastern Europe in which substantial political and economic reforms seemed most likely to occur first. Pursuing a new US policy he referred to as “beyond containment,” Bush wished to show US support for a movement toward the integration of Eastern Europe into the “community of nations.” During a speech on... Read More »

President Bush's Remarks at a Symposium on Eastern Europe

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In July 1989, President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary, the two countries in Eastern Europe in which substantial political and economic reform seemed most likely to occur first. In a series of speeches during the spring, Bush had set out his hope for a Europe “whole and free.” In April, at Hamtramck, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit heavily populated by Polish-Americans, Bush had... Read More »

President Bush's Remarks at the Solidarity Workers Monument

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President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary in July 1989 after June elections in which Solidarity candidates won 160 of the 161 seats in the Sejm that were available to them and 92 of the 100 seats of the Polish Senate. In addition, many leaders of the Communist Party failed to secure enough votes to be elected to the parliament they had controlled for four decades. Pursuing a new... Read More »

President Bush's Remarks to the Polish National Assembly

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President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary in July 1989 after June elections in which Solidarity candidates won 160 of the 161 seats in the Sejm that were available to them and 92 of the 100 seats of the Polish Senate. In addition, many leaders of the Communist Party failed to secure enough votes to be elected to the parliament they had controlled for four decades. Pursuing a new... Read More »

President George H.W. Bush and Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa in Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters Following a Luncheon in Gdansk, 11 July 1989

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The transition to a Solidarity-led government in Poland was closely associated with the introduction of market-oriented economic reforms. Many Poles hoped that this might lead to a dramatic improvement in the country’s economy, not only through the stimulation of domestic growth but also through the attraction of investment and outright financial aid from the West. In this brief exchange with... Read More »

President Reagan Discusses the crisis in Poland

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In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions. Imports from the Soviet Union and the West failed to improve the economy, with more strikes becoming endemic throughout 1980 and 1981. Fearing a Soviet military invasion to... Read More »

President Reagan Proposes a Missile Defense System

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Since 1949, when the Soviet Union first successfully tested an atom bomb, the national security policies of both the US and the Soviets derived from a doctrine of deterrence rather than one of defense against attack. By deploying enough weapons to insure the destruction of the country that launched a nuclear strike, the Cold War rivals adopted a policy of mutual assured destruction (MAD) to... Read More »

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