Studia Politicae Universitatis Silesiensis, T. 13 (2014), s. 25-43
The article is an attempt to assess some of the key aspects of the Polish breakthroughof 1980–1989 in the context of the many years of discussion about the nature andconsequences of the events that took place during that period. The main considerations includeresolving the still valid dilemma of whether it is justified to define this breakthrough as a revolution.The text contains a presentation and evaluation of the main arguments made for andagainst such a conclusion. In methodological terms, the discourse involves confronting thecharacteristic features relating to the genesis, goals, process and results of the Polish experimentof 1980—1989, with the theoretical knowledge on the phenomenon of the revolutionbased on historical analyses and contemporary experience.In science, the term “experiment” is usually used to describe cognitive processes involvingan intentional interference of the researcher in the real world in order to acquire cognitive data.It happens, however, that certain unique phenomena and processes characterised by an objectivecourse of events, which scientists can analyse in similar terms to a conventional inducedexperiment, enter the scope of this concept. In certain circumstances, a systematic observationof events which have not been induced by the researcher, but are exceptional and important inthemselves, can provide the key to discovering the sense, regularities, and mechanisms of thereal world. This is significant for social and political studies in particular, in which the spacefor utilising the classical, natural sciences‑basedexperiment, is very limited.The Polish political events of 1980—1989 made way for further disintegration of thecolonial‑imperialdivision of the world by initiating the fall of the Eastern Bloc. It turned out to be not just an episode, but an effective initiation of a powerful and extensive process thatled to a total change in the global geopolitical system. The fact that it happened in the centreof Europe, rather than in its peripheries, exacerbated the surprise of such a course of events,and of its final result in particular.