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.