Revolution and Counterrevolution in Poland, 1980-1989

Revolution and Counterrevolution in Poland, 1980-1989

Solidarity, Martial Law, and the End of Communism in Europe

Andrzej Paczkowski

Translated by Christina Manetti


University of Rochester Press



Examines the 1980 Solidarity revolution in Poland, the government's subsequent establishment of martial law in response, in 1981, and the eventual transition to democracy in 1989.
The 1980 general strike in Poland and the establishment of the independent Solidarity movement, which sought to create a state based on civic freedom, were symptoms of a crisis of the communist system. On December 13, 1981, General Wojciech Jaruzelski on behalf of the ruling Communist Party imposed martial law, effectively quashing Solidarity. Jaruzelski won the battle, but Solidarity continued its revolution in secret and Poland remained politically destabilized. Elections held in June 1989 ended with the defeat of the Communists and the establishment in September of a coalition government in which half of the parliamentary seats went to Solidarity, whose representative was also appointed prime minister. The revolution inaugurated in 1980 by the dockworkers of Gdansk had come to fruition.

Revolution and Counterrevolution in Poland, 1980-1989: Solidarity, Martial Law, and the End of Communism in Europe recounts and analyzes the events of this formative decade in Polish history, with particular emphasis on the martial law period. Drawing on extensive archival research, Andrzej Paczkowski examines the origin and form of the Solidarity revolution, the course of the Communist counterrevolution, and the final victory won by Solidarity along with its international repercussions.

Andrzej Paczkowski is professor of political studies at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw. Christina Manetti, PhD, is a translator and independent researcher of Polish history.


December 2015
404 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in East and Central Europe
ISBN: 9781580465366
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS010010, HIS037070, POL005000
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Table of Contents

Poland - "The Weakest Link"
The Solidarity Revolution: Act One, 1980-81
"Defend Socialism as If It Were Poland's Independence"
The Last Days Before
"Night of the General" and Day One
Reprisals and the Public Mood
The World Looks On
Battle Over
Operation "Renaissance" and Lech Walesa
Civil Resistance
"The Anesthetic Has Worn Off"
The End of the Campaign and Walesa's Release
The Church between Eternity and Solidarity
Independent Society
The Party Returns to the Ring
The End of Martial Law
Solidarity's Revolution: The Finale, 1988-89
Escape from the Soviet Bloc and the Fall of the Empire
Conclusion: The Decade of Struggle and Its Legacy
Selected Bibliography


A welcome event for English-speaking scholars of East Central Europe. JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY HISTORY

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