21 Gdańsk Demands – a Political Monument

Aleksander Bobko


In the history of European civilisation there have been several documents of particular cultural weight and symbolic meaning. From Magna Carta Libertatum of 1215 to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 we can trace the development of political ideas which, while being rooted in religious and philosophical thought, have had a strong impact on the lives of whole societies. In this article I attempt to look at the famous 21 Gdańsk demands from that perspective. The document, signed in August 1980 kindled a peace process which culminated in the collapse of communism in Europe. I would like to infer a relation between the possibility of signing such a document and the election of Karol Wojtyła as Pope. It also seemed interesting to compare the content of the 21 Gdańsk Agreement with that of the less well-known Rzeszów-Ustrzyki Dolne Protocol signed several months later.


Gdańsk Agreement 1980; Monuments to ideas; Human rights; John Paul II

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John Paul II, Gdańsk homily, 12.06. 1987, « L’Osservatore Romano » (1987), p. 8.

Magna Carta Libertatum The Western Tradition, vol. I, From the Ancient World to Louis XIV, Ed. E. Weber, Boston 1965, p. 218.

Wielkie mowy historii, t. 1: Od Mojżesza do Napoleona, Wyd. Polityka, Warszawa 2006.

United States Declaration of Independence.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Tischner J., Etyka solidarności, Kraków 1981.

Strajki Ustrzycko-Rzeszowskie, IPN, Rzeszów 2014.

Copyright (c) 2019 Aleksander Bobko