Polish T-55 tanks enter the town of Zbąszyń while moving east towards Poznań, 13 December 1981
Poland's old and new borders, 1945
The Polish People's Republic in 1989
Polish T-55 tanks enter the town of Zbąszyń while moving east towards Poznań, 13 December 1981
Map showing the different borders and territories of Poland and Germany during the 20th century, with the current areas of Germany and Poland in dark gray
Poland's fate was heavily discussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Joseph Stalin, whose Red Army occupied the entire country, presented several alternatives which granted Poland industrialized territories in the west whilst the Red Army simultaneously permanently annexed Polish territories in the east, resulting in Poland losing over 20% of its pre-war borders - areas primarily inhabited by ethnic Belarusians or Ukrainians. Soviet-backed Polish communists came to power and oversaw the country's entry into the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
Gierek in the White House with President Gerald Ford, 1974
Destroyed Warsaw, January 1945
Border changes of Poland after World War II. The eastern territories (Kresy) were annexed by the Soviets. The western territories, referred to as the "Recovered Territories", were granted as war reparations. Despite the western lands being more industrialized, Poland lost 77,035 km2 (29,743 sq mi) and major cities like Lviv and Vilnius.
A ration card for sugar, 1976
The PKWN Manifesto, officially issued on 22 July 1944. In reality it was not finished until mid-August, after the Polish communist Moscow group was joined by the late-arriving Warsaw group, led by Gomułka and Bierut.
The 1970 Polish protests were put down by the Communist authorities and Citizens' Militia. The riots resulted in the deaths of 42 people and over 1,000 injured.
Edward Gierek (right) with President Jimmy Carter (left) during his state visit to Warsaw, 1977. The loans and Solidarity were among the chief topics discussed
Postwar Polish communist propaganda poster depicting "The giant and the putrid reactionary midget", meaning the communist People's Army soldier and the pro-Western Home Army soldier, respectively
Queues waiting to enter grocery stores in Warsaw and other Polish cities and towns were typical in the late 1980s. The availability of food and goods varied at times, and the most sought after basic item was toilet paper.
General Jaruzelski was determined to suppress any opposition along with the Solidarity Movement
ORMO paramilitary police unit during street parade at the Victory Square, 9 June 1946, Warsaw
The new Warszawa Centralna railway station in Warsaw had automatic doors and escalators. It was a flagship project during the 1970s economic boom and was dubbed the most modern station in Europe at the time of its completion in 1975.
A censored regional newspaper that reported about the Bydgoszcz events, in which the militia abused Solidarity members. The censorship was to prevent the slander of state services
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
Lech Wałęsa co-founded and headed the Solidarity movement which toppled Communism. He later became the President of Poland.
The Military Council of National Salvation (WRON), which was founded on 13 December and presided over the military junta. Its Polish abbreviation "WRONa" means a crow bird, and members of the council were known to the opposition as evil "Crows"
The show trial of Captain Witold Pilecki, sentenced to death and executed May 1948
The 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard Strike and subsequent Summer 1981 Hunger Demonstrations were instrumental in strengthening the Solidarity movement's influence.
ZOMO squads with police batons preparing to disperse and beat protesters. The sarcastic caption reads "outstretched hands of understanding" or "outstretched hands for agreement", with batons ironically symbolizing hands
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, initially called the Stalin's Palace, was a controversial gift from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
The former PZPR headquarters in Gdańsk (right). ZOMO machine-gunned demonstrators from the rooftop
Avenue of the Roses, Nowa Huta
Władysław Gomułka and Leonid Brezhnev in East Berlin, 1967
An intercity travel pass, 1981
1951 East German stamp commemorative of the Treaty of Zgorzelec establishing the Oder–Neisse line as a "border of peace", featuring the presidents Wilhelm Pieck (GDR) and Bolesław Bierut (Poland)
An abandoned State Agricultural Farm in south-eastern Poland. State farms were a form of collective farming created in 1949.
A censored telegram, 1982
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, Primate of Poland
Łódź was Poland's largest city after the destruction of Warsaw during World War II. It was also a major industrial centre in Europe and served as the temporary capital due to its economic significance in the 1940s.
Food, alcohol, and cigarettes rationing card
Władysław Gomułka
Female textile workers in a state-run factory, Łódź, 1950s
Students in Edinburgh, Scotland collecting signatures for a petition in support of Solidarity in 1981
The Fourth Congress of the Polish United Workers' Party, held in 1963
Supersam Warsaw, the first self-serve shopping centre in Poland, 1969
Jaruzelski in a TV studio announcing the introduction of martial law
The Polski Fiat 125p, produced in Poland from the late 1960s, was based on technology purchased from Fiat
Pewex, a chain of hard currency stores which sold unobtainable Western goods and items
Units of the Citizens' Militia and ZOMO race to disperse crowds of protesters
Standard-bearers of the 27 Tank Regiment, mid-1960s
Ration cards for sugar, 1977
Dziady, a theatrical event that spawned nationwide protests
Bar mleczny, a former milk bar in Gdynia. These canteens offered value meals to citizens throughout Communist Poland.
Demonstrators in Gdynia carry the body of Zbigniew Godlewski, who was shot and killed during the protests of 1970
Trybuna Ludu (People's Tribune) was a government-sponsored newspaper and propaganda outlet
Edward Gierek
Andrzej Wajda was a key figure in Polish cinematography during and after the fall of communism
Queue line, a frequent scene at times of shortages of consumer goods in the 1970s and 1980s
Allegory of communist censorship, Poland, 1989. Newspapers visible are from all Eastern Bloc countries including East Germany, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
Millions cheer Pope John Paul II in his first visit to Poland as pontiff in 1979
The 237-meter Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, constructed in 1955. At the time of its completion it was one of the tallest buildings in Europe
Lech Wałęsa speaks during the strike at the Gdańsk Shipyard, August 1980
Smyk Department Store, 1960s
25th anniversary of Solidarity, summer 2005 in Gdańsk
Polish university students during lecture, 1964
General Wojciech Jaruzelski led the People's Republic during its final decade and became one of the key players in the systemic transition of 1989–90
One of many schools constructed in central Warsaw in the 1960s
Apartment block residences built in People's Poland loom over the urban landscape of the entire country. In the past administratively distributed for permanent use, after 1989 most were sold to residents at discounted prices.
Jerzy Popiełuszko was a Roman Catholic priest who supported the anti-communist opposition. He was murdered by the Security Services "SB" of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Adam Michnik, an influential leader in the transformation of Poland
A demographics graph illustrating population growth between 1900 and 2010. The highest birth rate was during the Second Polish Republic and consequently under the Polish People's Republic.
A typical socialist apartment building in Warsaw representing the style of functionalism, built due to the ever-growing population and high birth rate at the time
Konstantin Rokossovsky, pictured in a Polish uniform, was Marshal of the Soviet Union and Marshal of Poland until being deposed during the Polish October in 1956.
Poland's old and new borders, 1945

The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 spans the period of communist rule imposed over Poland after the end of World War II.

- History of Poland (1945–1989)

The government of the Polish People's Republic drastically restricted everyday life by introducing martial law and a military junta in an attempt to counter political opposition, in particular the Solidarity movement.

- Martial law in Poland

The growing strength and activity of the opposition caused the government of Wojciech Jaruzelski to declare martial law in December 1981.

- History of Poland (1945–1989)

On 13 December 1981, Jaruzelski proclaimed martial law, suspended Solidarity, and temporarily imprisoned most of its leaders.

- Polish People's Republic

During the Gierek era, Poland borrowed large sums from Western creditors in exchange for promise of social and economic reforms.

- Polish People's Republic

After the fall of Communism in Poland in 1989, members of a parliamentary commission determined that martial law had been imposed in clear violation of the country's constitution, which had authorized the executive to declare martial law only between parliamentary sessions (at other times the decision was to be taken by the Sejm).

- Martial law in Poland

5 related topics with Alpha


Jaruzelski in 1981

Wojciech Jaruzelski

2 links

Jaruzelski in 1981
Jaruzelski in 1968
Jaruzelski (right) with Fidel Castro (left) in Poland, May 1972
Jaruzelski in a television studio, preparing to announce the imposition of martial law, 1981
Jaruzelski meeting with Yuri Andropov in Moscow, 1982
Jaruzelski (second from right) with other communist leaders and members of the Warsaw Pact, Berlin, 1987
Jaruzelski with Nicolae Ceaușescu
Jaruzelski in 2006
Jaruzelski's grave at Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw

Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski (6 July 1923 – 25 May 2014) was a Polish military officer, politician and de facto leader of the Polish People's Republic from 1981 until 1989.

Fearing a Soviet intervention similar to those in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968), Jaruzelski imposed martial law in Poland on 13 December 1981 to crush the anticommunist opposition.

This question, as well as many other facts about Poland in the years 1945–1989, are presently under the investigation of government historians at the Instytut Pamięci Narodowej (IPN), whose publications reveal facts from the Communist-era archives.

Solidarity logo

Solidarity (Polish trade union)

1 links

Polish trade union founded in August 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland.

Polish trade union founded in August 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland.

Solidarity logo
30th anniversary mural depicting the murdered priest Jerzy Popiełuszko who publicly supported Solidarity during the 1980s
The logo of Solidarność painted on an overturned Soviet era T-55 in Prague in 1990
Students in Scotland collect signatures for a petition in support of Solidarity in 1981
Solidarity, ETUC Demonstration—Budapest 2011

Solidarity's leader Lech Wałęsa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and the union is widely recognised as having played a central role in the Historyend of Communist rule in Poland.

Government attempts in the early 1980s to destroy the union through the imposition of martial law in Poland and the use of political repression failed.

The survival of Solidarity was an unprecedented event not only in Poland, a satellite state of the USSR ruled in practice by a one-party Communist state, but the whole of the Eastern bloc.

Gierek in 1980

Edward Gierek

1 links

Polish Communist politician and de facto leader of Poland between 1970 and 1980.

Polish Communist politician and de facto leader of Poland between 1970 and 1980.

Gierek in 1980
Gierek and wife contribute on Party Volunteer Labor Day
First Secretary Edward Gierek (second from left)
Gierek participated in hundreds of field trips and visitations, meeting ordinary people and seeking their feedback
Katowice Steelworks, Gierek's major industrial project
1973 Polish Fiat 126p, nicknamed maluch (tiny)
Edward Gierek personally made the official opening of the new Warszawa Centralna railway station on 5 December 1975.
Gierek with President Jimmy Carter
1976 food ration card
Gierek with East German leader Erich Honecker
Grave of Edward and Stanisława Gierek in Sosnowiec

Gierek replaced Władysław Gomułka as First Secretary of the ruling Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) in the Polish People's Republic in 1970.

The next first secretary of the PZPR, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, introduced martial law in Poland on 13 December 1981.

According to sociologist and left-wing politician Maciej Gdula, the social and cultural transformation that took place in Poland in the 1970s was even more fundamental than the one which occurred in the 1990s, following the Hpolitical transition.

Citroën Traction Avant, a car commonly used by the UB

Ministry of Public Security (Poland)

0 links

Citroën Traction Avant, a car commonly used by the UB
The PKWN Manifesto, issued on 22 July 1944
Jakub Berman
Józef Światło, born Izaak Fleischfarb, defected to the West and spoke publicly of UB's brutal actions
Ministry office in Warsaw (current Ministry of Justice)
Office of Public Security regional location in Szczecin, Poland
Ministry of Public Security organization for 1953, (Organizacja Ministerstwa Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego na rok 1953, M Malinowski)
Ministry of Public Security field organization, 1953
Stamp of the Committee for Public Security, 1954–1956

The Ministry of Public Security (Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego), commonly known as UB or later SB, was the secret police, intelligence and counter-espionage agency operating in the Polish People's Republic.

The SB functioned as the chief secret service until the fall of Communism in Poland in 1989 and was disbanded in 1990.

Throughout the martial law (1981-1983), SB played a key role in wiretapping telephones in public areas and institutions.

Emblem worn by LWP soldiers; the "Piast eagle" without the crown

Polish People's Army

0 links

Emblem worn by LWP soldiers; the "Piast eagle" without the crown
Polish troops, 1943
The Polish First Army on their way to Berlin, 1945
Polish flag raised on the top of Berlin Victory Column on 2 May 1945
T-55A tanks of the Polish People's Army (Martial law in Poland)

The Polish People's Army (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie, LWP) constituted the second formation of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in 1943–1945, and in 1945–1989 the armed forces of the Polish communist state (from 1952, the Polish People's Republic), ruled by the Polish Workers' Party and then the Polish United Workers' Party.

Martial law in Poland (13 December 1981 – 22 July 1983)