Czechoslovak Ministry of Interior Memorandum, "Information Regarding the Development of the Security Situation During the Period of the 17 November Anniversary"


Despite the growing pressure for change in the autumn of 1989, Czechoslovak officials did not automatically view the November 17 commemoration as a major security risk. Unlike the other politically-charged anniversaries that had increasingly become beacons for protest, this date did not ideologically threaten communism. In fact, it had been officially recognized since World War II and in 1989... Read More »

Czechoslovak Ministry of Interior Memorandum, Information on the Security Situation in the CSSR


In October 1989, the situation was growing dire for the Czechoslovak communists. Increasing unrest and change in other Eastern Bloc countries was quickly isolating conservatives and emboldening the domestic opposition. In the analysis presented here, Federal Minister of the Interior Frantisek Kincl details a number of domestic security threats. The first was the opposition's increased level of... Read More »

Czechoslovak Ministry of Interior Memorandum, The Security Situation in the CSSR in the Period Before 28 October


October 28 holds a special place on the Czechoslovak political calendar because on that day the First Czechoslovak Republic was established in 1918. This liberal bourgeois state, symbolized by its founding father and President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, was a powerful counter-example to socialist Czechoslovakia and a magnet for anti-communist protest. This 1989 report from the Ministry of the... Read More »

Czechoslovak Secret Police Memorandum, "Information on the Security Situation . . "


This Secret Police (StB) memorandum from 21 August details the plans of independent and opposition groups to commemorate the politically-sensitive anniversary of the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion, and the police's "extraordinary security measures" to prevent the commemorations from taking place. The memorandum presents a striking picture of the scale and diversity of the repressive measures... Read More »

Czechoslovak Secret Police Memorandum, "Information Regarding the Situation in the CSSR"


As a result of the intensifying public demonstrations in the first half of 1989, the Czechoslovak Communist Party increased its surveillance and suppression of independent and opposition groups, particularly in anticipation of politically-charged anniversaries. This Secret Police (StB) memorandum details preparations by various groups to commemorate the August 21st anniversary of the 1968... Read More »

Damiens’s Testimony to Parlement


During the course of his trial Damiens was interrogated over fifty times by the magistrates of the Parlement of Paris and by the King’s prosecutors. The interrogators were concerned above all to determine if Damiens had accomplices and if so, what group was behind the attack. In this passage, Damiens testifies that his action had been prompted by "preachers of the Parlementary party," meaning... Read More »

Debating the Participation in the Roundtable Talks


Prior to the historic Roundtable Talks between the opposition and the communist party and state officials in Poland, negotiations occurred on many levels, as shown in this document. Not only were participants in the opposition negotiating with communist leaders, but they were also negotiating among themselves. Leaders of the opposition held numerous meetings in the fall of 1988 to discuss the... Read More »

Deciding Poland's Fate


In August 1980, a worker's strike in Poland led to a compromise known as the Gdansk Agreement, in which the Communist government agreed to several compromises with the strikers, including the legal formation of a worker's union -- which became Solidarity. While this initially brought stability in Poland, it set shockwaves through the Warsaw Pact from the emerging danger of "antisocialist... Read More »

Decisions of the Polish Leadership


As the economic and political crisis in Poland continued to worsen in the early 1980s, Soviet officials regularly and secretly met with Polish leaders to provide support, advice, and criticism. In April 1981, for example, a delegation of Soviet representatives traveled to Warsaw, Poland, to meet with Polish Communist Party officials. At the following meeting of the Communist Party in the... Read More »

Image of Robertsons Statement re Aboirigines to Alfred Stephen, 1833.  It is Document 32A under Original Documents on Aborigines and Law, 1797-1840

Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Legal records are a key resource in gaining access to the voices of the non-elite, providing a rich repository of the details of life in the period. The subject index is particularly useful in drawing themes together for teaching.