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    [Solidarity Banner]. Solidarnosc. During the 1970s, the Communist government of Poland raised the price of food while workers' wages remained static. The people protested and formed illegal trade unions and, in response, the government cracked down. By 1979, the economy of Poland shrank and foreign debt had reached the billions. On August 7, 1980, Anna Walentynowicz was fired from her job at the Gdansk Shipyard for participating in one such labor union. Her termination led to a solidarity strike of the shipyard and, on September 17, with the merger of twenty trade unions, the non-violent, anti-Soviet political movement, the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union "Solidarity," or Solidarnosc (Polish for solidarity) for short, was born. Over the next decade, unable to eliminate Solidarity, the Communist government was forced to negotiate and Poland held her first semi-free elections in 1989, leading to a coalition government headed by Solidarity.

    This historic banner hung in the entranceway to Solidarity's Gdansk headquarters and consists of a piece of weathered white cloth, measuring approximately 53" x 25.75", adorned with the logo of the movement, the word Solidarnosc in red with a Polish flag flying from the "N". The banner has been mounted to a piece of white foam board to an overall size of 57.75" x 35.75". Above the logo are the signatures of ten Cold War-era world leaders including British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who signed on October 30, 1999; U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; President Václav Havel, the tenth president of Czechoslovakia and, later, the first president of the Czech Republic; U.S. Secretary of State George P. Schultz, who signed on October 30, 1999; Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who signed in Polish; President Lech Walesa, the co-founder of Solidarity, 1983 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and second president of Poland who signed on September 23, 1999; U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who signed on October 30, 2001; Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union who signed on January 11, 2001; and U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, who signed on October 30, 2001. In addition, a Polish 100-zlotych banknote signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan has been attached. President Reagan was unable to sign due to his failing health. A matted portrait of each signer is mounted to the foam board surrounding the banner.

    Accompanying the banner are nine original color photos of each of the signers (excluding Reagan). The photographs with Quayle, Thatcher, Bush, Schultz, and Gorbachev show each of them in the process of signing the banner. Also included are several newspapers containing articles on the signing of the banner and other related ephemera. This is a truly unique piece of Cold War history.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,550

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