Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tadeusz Mazowiecki (born April 18, 1927 in Płock) is a Polish author, journalist, social worker and politician, formerly one of the leaders of the Solidarity movement, and the first non-communist prime minister in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
Shortly after World War II Tadeusz Mazowiecki graduated from the Warsaw University, faculty of law. Until 1955 he was a member of a Catholic organization, Pax; he was later removed from its membership list. In 1958 he was one of the founding members of Więź monthly, one of the few relatively democratic newspapers in Poland at that time. Between 1961 and 1971 Mazowiecki was a member of the Polish sejm as a member of Znak Christian democratic movement.
In 1970, after peaceful demonstrations of workers were brutally suppressed by the Communist authorities he voted to establish a commission to investigate the matter. Re-election now being impossible, Mazowiecki joined the anti-communist opposition. In August 1980 he became the head of the Experts Commission (Komisja Ekspertów), a group of advisors for the Solidarity movement and its leader Lech Wałęsa. After the August Agreement was signed with the regime, Mazowiecki founded the Solidarność weekly, the only newspaper not controlled by Communists in Central and Eastern Europe.
After martial law was imposed in Poland on December 13, 1981, Mazowiecki was interned, at first in Strzeblinek, then in Jaworz and Darłówek. He was one of the last members of Solidarity released from an internment camp for political prisoners, on December 23, 1982. In 1987 he left the country and started to round up support for Solidarity and the democratic opposition in Poland. He returned in 1988 and took part in secret talks with the Communist regime in Magdalenka . He became one of the leaders of the opposition at the Round Table talks between February 6 and April 5, 1989.
On August 25, 1989 he was chosen Prime Minister of Poland, the first non-Communist Prime Minister in all Central and Eastern Europe after World War II. The Mazowiecki government, although partially controlled by the PZPR, started a peaceful transformation of the Polish political system. Among its most important accomplishments were:
- liberalization of life in Poland
- dissolution of the Służba Bezpieczenstwa (secret political police) and ZOMO (paramilitary riot police)
- restoration of private property, free market and competition
- dissolution of the centrally-controlled economy
- abolition of censorship and restoration of freedom of the press
- economic reforms supervised by Leszek Balcerowicz
- restoration of freedom of speech and freedom of religion
Mazowiecki was often criticized (mostly by right-wing politicians) for co-operating with former PZPR members and starting the gruba kreska policy (Polish for thick line). He also opposed the marginalization of former Communists in public life. In 1990 he took part in the presidential elections and lost. After his defeat, he gave up his post as a Prime Minister on December 14 and was succeeded by Jan Krzysztof Bielecki.
After the dissolution of the OKP , Mazowiecki became one of the founding members (together with Jan Maria Rokita, Aleksander Hall and Hanna Suchocka) of the Unia Demokratyczna party. In 1990 he became its leader. He was criticized by the left-wing part of the party for his policies and was often found too conservative. In 1995 he gave up his post.
Between 1989 and 2001 Mazowiecki was a member of Polish sejm. In 1992 he was elected the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations and its representative in former Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav Wars. In 1995 he gave up his post as a protest against the policies of European countries and of the USA that did nothing to help the nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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