Lech Walesa was and is a very important politician and people’s activist in the country of Poland. He has a history of being a defender for the rights of the people and has a very significant reputation for doing good in the world. Here are some interesting facts about Lech Walesa.
1. He grew up in a poor family and area of Poland after his father died, shortly after World War II. He and his brothers were all raised by their mother and other relatives. They lived under Soviet the rule after the Russians occupied Poland , following World War II; the communist government imposed by the Soviets controlled almost every aspect of their life. It was in these circumstances that Lech Walesa grew up and learned about the difficulties of life.
2. Lech was trained as a mechanic and an electrician. He was sent to work for the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk. His training as an electrician and mechanic qualified him for positions in the labor yard that he had not been in before; this allowed him to be very influential and outspoken in his distaste for the shipyards.
3. One of the reasons Lech Walesa is so famous is that he was involved with the shipyard strike in 1970 and protested the ideas and ideals of those running the country and the shipyard. He helped organize and orchestrate the strikes at the shipyards over the next decade and inspired others to protest as well. In 1976, he was fired from the yard for his political activities but still remained active in his organization of unions and protested against harsh working conditions for the working Polish.
4. He continued his activities as a protester and organizer of the people and in 1980, he helped found the group Solidarity, which was the first independent trade union ever formed in the Eastern Bloc. A series of strikes all over the country required that the government recognize Solidarity, but the success was only temporary. Solidarity called for free elections and was outlawed by the government
5. The courage and skill of Walesa was recognized worldwide and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for his actions and determination to help the people of Poland. He is recognized the world over for his independent ideas and his ability to organize people to accomplish great things.
6. When Mikhail Gorbachev took power in the Soviet Union, he was clear that he wouldn’t intervene with the communist regimes that were still present in Eastern Europe. More protests forced the communist government to have free elections and Solidarity formed a coalition government. This was a very important step in the freeing of Poland from communist government and Walesa was directly involved.
7. In 1990, Walesa was elected to a 5 year term as President of Poland. He was never re-elected after his first term was over, but he established himself as a very important name in the history of free Poland.
8. Walesa was very successful in his campaigns to get better working conditions for the employees of the shipyards in Gdansk before he was fired in 1976. Many people believe that he was never able to accomplish much until after communism was defeated, but his career was still quite successful.
9. Lech Walesa is considered to be a very influential person. He is listed on the TIME 100 list of the 100 most influential people of the last 100 years.
10. Walesa has received many honorary degrees from various universities all over the world. One is from Harvard University and another from the University of Paris. He also received the honor of the Medal of Freedom, the Award of Free World and the European Award of Human Rights. He is still active in politics and comments regularly on current situations and problems with the European Union.