The Solidarity Movement came into being 40 years ago exactly.
It started out as a labor movement which aspired to freedom and independence and, gradually, turned into a political movement
that greatly contributed to the downfall of the Communist regime in Poland.
In the early 80s Solidarity set out as the first Polish non-governmental trade union established by workers at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk.
Eventually, in spite of reprisals and harassment on the part of the Polish authorities, the movement was recognized and, at its height, in 1981, it numbered around 10 million members.
Its leader was Lech Walesa and he played a major role in the dismantling of the Communist system in Poland. In 1983, Walesa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the late 80s talks between the government and the Solidarity-led opposition resulted in the first free elections in Poland since 1947.
In December 1990, Lech Walesa won a sweeping election victory and was elected President.