Polish Opposition Network Analysis

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About the Project

Between Stalin’s demand that Poland be forced behind the Iron Curtain and the 1989 Round Table Talks, the Communist USSR controlled nearly all facets of political and social life in Poland. Simultaneously, an opposition movement formed, most famously represented by the independent, self governing Trade Union “Solidarity”. The opposition dispersed banned books, led strikes, and joined workers, academics and journalists together under their shared experience of Communist repression. Beginning on February 6th, 1989, members from the Communist government and the opposition movement convened in Warsaw for the “Round Table Talks”. These meetings represented a significant compromise on the part of the Communist government, namely that the opposition would be allowed to set the parameters for semi-free elections, and ultimately establish Poland’s first non-communist government since 1945. The Revolutions of 1989, which witnessed the entire Eastern Bloc switch from Communism to democratic capitalism, had begun.

Our goal is to discover which individuals or groups were most central in the development of the Polish Opposition movement during the Communist Period (1945-1989). In doing so, we hope to:

1. Confirm historical consensus using quantitative methods.

2. Uncover new trends unavailable to the qualitative historical paradigm.

Our analysis is made possible by an original historical dataset pulled from archival records in Poland. 


  • Riley Sanders, History and Statistics
  • Dr. Kelly Bodwin, Statistics
  • Dr. Gregory Domber, History