Communist authorities declared Martial Law in Poland 42 years ago

General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared war on his own citizens by imposing Martial Law on Poland on 13 December 1981. 

At that time, Poles were already fed up with the Soviet-backed corrupt rule of Jaruzelski and his fellow red bandits. Just a few years earlier, a whole nation started to genuinely believe in the possibility of ending Communism in Central Europe, with the election of Karol Wojtyła as Pope. That “wind of change” started to blow on the Old Continent. 

On 14 August 1980, a strike broke out in the Gdańsk Shipyard in which the protesters demanded an increase in wages and the return of several dismissed workers. The then-ruling Polish United Workers’ Party managed to end the conflict peacefully. 

The strike then moved from Gdańsk to Szczecin, and the miners in Jastrzębie also began to protest. Dozens of places across the country stopped working at once. The Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee was created, and the right to form trade unions independent of the authorities was demanded. The result of lengthy negotiations between the government and the workers was the establishment of the Founding Committee of NSZZ “Solidarność”.

The Polish population was informed about the imposition of Martial law on 13 December 1981 at 6.00 am. An iconic speech by General Wojciech Jaruzelski was broadcast on the radio and later on TV. Poland’s Communist leader warned about the alleged dangers associated with strikes and rebellion against the authorities.  

For nearly two years, Poland found itself in a situation of quasi-civil war, which finally ended on 22 July 1983.

Although the exact data are hard to verify, it’s safe to say that close to a hundred people were killed as a result of Martial Law, and thousands were arrested. 


Image: IPN

Author: Sébastien Meuwissen


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