New Book Publishes Key Documents on 25th Anniversary of Crackdown on Solidarity

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Twenty-five years after Polish authorities, on December 13, 1981, declared martial law and cracked down on the Solidarity movement, the Washington DC-based, non-governmental National Security Archive is publishing, through Central European University Press, a collection of previously secret documentation entitled "From Solidarity to Martial Law," edited by Andrzej Paczkowski and Malcolm Byrne. The documents from inside Solidarity, the Polish leadership, the Kremlin as well as the White House and CIA provide a vivid new perspective on one of the most dramatic episodes in the Cold War.

Among many important details, the new collection shows that although a crackdown of some kind against the union had long been feared and anticipated (ever since Solidarity's founding in August 1980), it nonetheless took most observers outside of Poland, especially the United States, by surprise. U.S. officials also misread the Polish leadership, concluding earlier in 1981 that they would use martial law only as a way to "maximize deterrence" against Moscow, whereas internal Polish and Soviet records make clear that Poland's leaders were intent on reasserting control over society, a goal they fully shared with the Kremlin.

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