Timeline of the History of PAC, Part II: 1981 – 1994

Part II: 1981- 1994

  • 1981: PAC sponsored efforts begin to raise money and materials to meet the needs of Poles suffering in an economy near collapse. The PAC Charitable Foundation initiates its work for Poland by delivering medical goods in short supply to Poland. In December, after Poland’s military suppresses Solidarity and proclaims martial law, the PAC backs American sanctions against the U.S.S.R. and the Polish state
  • 1982: The PAC in cooperation with Mr. Witold Plonski of Brooklyn wins substantial funding from the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities for its proposal to create a national “Consortium for Humanities and Arts Programming”. Over the next five years, Plonski’s Polish American Committee in the Humanities sponsors several hundred lectures, conferences and cultural exhibitions around the US dealing with the Polish and Polish American experience. This is the most successful effort in history to enlighten the American public and Polish Americans about Poland’s past, its culture and political experience.
  • 1984: President Reagan meets with PAC leaders at the White House on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. There he reaffirms his administration’s support for the policy known as the National Endowment for Democracy and endorses the creation of a Polish agricultural foundation proposed by the Catholic Church.
  • 1987: The PAC wins Reagan administration termination of economic sanctions against Poland, a position in accord with the thinking of Pope John Paul II and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
  • 1989: In November, the PAC greets Lech Walesa in Chicago where he receives a hero’s welcome. The PAC goes on record in lobbying for economic assistance proposals to Poland advanced by President Bush and the U.S. Congress. The first result of these efforts is passage of the “Support East European Democracy Act of 1989” which commits more than $800 million to help Poland in its transformation into a democratically governed society with a free market based economy.
  • 1990: PAC successfully lobbies President Bush for full U.S. support to international confirmation of the permanence of Poland’s western border with the reunited Germany, something that is crucial to the future stability of central Europe.
  • 1991: The disintegration of the Soviet Union follows upon a failed last-ditch attempt in August by old guard Communist leaders to reverse Gorbachev’s reforms, although Gorbachev himself is soon swept aside by Russia’s elected President, Boris Yeltsin. Poland, the vast Solidarity movement, and the Roman Catholic Church all played major roles in helping bring about this incredible international development
  • 1992: The PAC plays a leading role in the activities of an historic congress of Poles from more than fifty countries (including the states of the former Soviet Union) that takes place in Krakow, Poland under the auspices of the Wspolnota Polska association. The congress is among other things, a great family reunion occurring in a Poland at last free and independent. President Lech Walesa, Prime Minister Hanna Suchocka and Cardinal Jozef Glemp are among the Polish dignitaries who address the congress. An “American Agenda” is unanimously approved by the delegates to the eleventh national PAC convention in Washington in October. Accordingly, the Congress commits itself to giving renewed and vigorous attention to building broad knowledge and respect for Poland’s history and culture in this country and the advancement of worthy Polish American nominees to every level of government responsibility in America. The task before the PAC is to put this agenda into effect.
  • 1994: President Moskal, Vice President Wojcik, Treasurer Dykla and a delegation of Polish American Congress leaders play key roles in two meetings of Americans of Polish, Czech, Hungarian and Slovak heritage that are held with the top leaders of the United States government including President Bill Clinton and Vice President Albert Gore. The meetings held in Milwaukee and in Washington, D.C. are themselves the direct result of a massive and unprecedented PAC campaign aimed at mobilizing Polish Americans and their friends to pressure the Administration to back NATO membership for Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. More than 100,000 letters and postcards and countless thousands of telephone calls and telegrams deluge the White House in an unprecedented display of PAC strength and resolve.
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