Empowering Revolution

America, Poland, and the End of the Cold War

By Gregory F. Domber

416 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 10 halftones, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2981-0
    Published: August 2016
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1852-4
    Published: October 2014

New Cold War History

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As the most populous country in Eastern Europe as well as the birthplace of the largest anticommunist dissident movement, Poland is crucial in understanding the end of the Cold War. During the 1980s, both the United States and the Soviet Union vied for influence over Poland’s politically tumultuous steps toward democratic revolution. In this groundbreaking history, Gregory F. Domber examines American policy toward Poland and its promotion of moderate voices within the opposition, while simultaneously addressing the Soviet and European influences on Poland's revolution in 1989. With a cast including Reagan, Gorbachev, and Pope John Paul II, Domber charts American support of anticommunist opposition groups--particularly Solidarity, the underground movement led by future president Lech Wałęsa--and highlights the transnational network of Polish émigrés and trade unionists that kept the opposition alive.

Utilizing archival research and interviews with Polish and American government officials and opposition leaders, Domber argues that the United States empowered a specific segment of the Polish opposition and illustrates how Soviet leaders unwittingly fostered radical, pro-democratic change through their policies. The result is fresh insight into the global impact of the Polish pro-democracy movement.

About the Author

Gregory F. Domber is associate professor of history at University of North Florida.
For more information about Gregory F. Domber, visit the Author Page.


"[Empowering Revolution] is beyond a doubt the single best work on the subject currently available in English, and it is among the best new

studies of international politics behind the Iron Curtain to appear in years."--Jeff Engel, Passport

“Domber properly places in context the respective roles of the reform policies of the Reagan administration and the Gorbachev government.”--Choice

"[A] richly detailed work of history."--International Affairs

“A tour de force of new diplomatic history.”--Journal of Slavic Military Studies

"Empowering Revolution will lead to fundamental revisions in history. . . . The book . . . teaches us about present-day international politics: the failures of intelligence, the power of civil society, and the lesson that the efficiency of soft diplomacy remains relevant in the twenty-first century.” --Idesbald Goddeeris, Leuven University

"An example to many graduate students of how to do contemporary international history.”-- Sarah Snyder, American University