Solidarity to Martial Law
consider From Solidarity to Martial Law a highly successful
effort at depicting the events of 25 years ago. These documents
... enable us to perceive the path we have traversed since that
time when, prior to Gorbachev and prior to Reagan, we created the
first fissure in the system of communist captivity."
-- Lech Walesa, former Solidarity leader and President
important and very revealing contribution to a better understanding
of a particularly critical phase in the Cold War. The documents
[in this book] provide a sense of intimacy to the complex interactions
between American and Soviet decision makers as well as an insight
into the internal Communist debates."
-- Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security
D.C., December 11, 2006 - Twenty-five
years ago this week, at 6:00 a.m. on December 13, 1981, Polish
Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski appeared on national TV to
declare that a state of martial law existed in the country.
Earlier in the night, military and police forces had begun securing
strategic facilities while ZOMO special police rounded up thousands
of members of the Solidarity trade union, including its celebrated
leader, Lech Walesa.
A quarter-century later, the George Washington University-based
National Security Archive is publishing, through Central European
University Press a collection of previously secret documentation
Solidarity to Martial Law, edited by Andrzej
Paczkowski and Malcolm Byrne (Walesa provided the volume's foreword).
The documents, many of
which have never been published in English, are from inside
Solidarity, the Polish communist party leadership, the Kremlin
as well as the White House and CIA. They provide a vivid history
of the Solidarity period, one of the most dramatic episodes
in the Cold War.
While martial law was highly effective in suppressing the
union and restoring communist party control in Poland, the authorities
could not eradicate the political movement that had been awakened,
and that Solidarity both led and symbolized. In 1983, Walesa
would win the Nobel Peace Prize and before the end of the decade,
Poles would elect Eastern Europe's first non-communist government
since World War II.
Although a crackdown of some kind against the union had long
been feared and anticipated (ever since Solidarity's founding
in August 1980), when it came it nonetheless took most observers
outside of Poland by surprise. For over a year, Jaruzelski's
patrons in the Kremlin had been applying extraordinary political
pressure on Warsaw to crush the opposition, but Jaruzelski did
not inform them that he was finally ready to act until approximately
two days before.
In the United States, observers and policy-makers were also
caught off-guard despite having had a highly-placed spy in the
Polish Defense Ministry until just weeks before the crackdown.
Part of the explanation was that senior officials focused on
the possibility of a Soviet invasion, not an internal "solution."
An invasion, especially after the Red Army's move into Afghanistan
two years earlier, would have created a major international
But U.S. officials also misread the Polish leadership, including
Jaruzelski, documents show. In evaluating the possibility of
an outside invasion earlier in 1981, State Department and CIA
analyses concluded that even the Polish communist party would
resist a Soviet move, along with the rest of the population,
and would use martial law as a way to "maximize deterrence"
against Moscow. In fact, internal Polish and Soviet records
make clear that Jaruzelski and his colleagues were intent on
imposing military rule for purposes of reasserting control over
society, a goal they fully shared with the Kremlin.
The documents include:
- Internal Solidarity union records of leadership meetings
and strategy sessions
- Transcripts of Polish Politburo and Secretariat meetings
- Transcripts of Soviet leadership discussions
- Detailed accounts of one-on-one meetings and telephone conversations
between Leonid Brezhnev and Polish leaders Stanislaw Kania
- White House discussions of the unfolding crisis and a possible
- CIA analyses
- Communications from CIA agent Col. Ryszard Kuklinski who
fed the U.S. highly classified information on Poland's plans
for martial law
- Materials from the Catholic Church including Pope John Paul
- A page from the notebook of key Soviet adjutant Gen. Viktor
Anoshkin showing that Jaruzelski pleaded with Moscow to be
prepared to send in troops just before martial law -- shedding
rare light on the unresolved historical and political question
of Jaruzelski's motives regarding a possible Soviet intervention
The new book contains 95 documents in translation, representing
sources from the archives of eight countries, and thus providing
a multi-dimensional, multi-national perspective on the key aspects
of the Solidarity crisis. The documents are accompanied by descriptive
"headnotes" explaining the significance of each item,
along with a lengthy chronology of events and other research
aids. A major overview by the editors describes and locates
the events in their historical context.
samples in From Solidarity to Martial Law
The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe
Acrobat Reader to view.
document descriptions appear at the top of each document]
1: Message from Ryszard Kuklinski on Impending
Warsaw Pact Invasion, December 4, 1980
2: Memorandum from Ronald I. Spiers to the Secretary
of State, "Polish Resistance to Soviet Intervention,"
June 15, 1981
3: CIA National Intelligence Daily, "USSR-Poland:
Polish Military Attitudes," June 20, 1981
4: Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs, "Supplement
No. 2: Planned Activity of the Ministry of Internal Affairs,"
November 25, 1981
5: Solidarity NCC Presidium, "Position Taken
by the Presidium of the National Coordinating Commission and
Leaders of the NSZZ," December 3, 1981
6: Protocol No. 18 of PUWP CC Politburo Meeting,
December 5, 1981
7: Transcript of CPSU CC Politburo Meeting, December
8: Notebook Entries of Lt. Gen. Viktor Anoshkin,
December 11, 1981