Polish martial law the crisis of communism
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In the summer of 1980, Polish workers revolted against Communist corruption and Poland's failed economic system. In a wave of solidarity unprecedented in a Communist state, citizens challenged the government's authority as the legitimate decision making body. Striking workers throughout the country created the Solidarity Union. They demanded personal freedom, legalization of Solidarity, and an input into the government. Polish Communist leaders faced the choice of either executing the wishes of their citizens or preserving its Marxist-Leninist ideology. With the aid and coercion of the Soviet Union, as well as other fraternal states, the government secretly planned military action against its citizens. Within eighteen months of the beginning of strikes and several changes in Polish leadership, General Wojciech Jaruzelski imposed Martial Law, which forced an end to the strikes, imprisoned Solidarity's leaders, and restored the status quo. This thesis describes the conditions that led to the Martial Law crisis. In addition, it examines General Jaruzelski's claims that implementing Martial Law saved the Polish economy, and that it prevented civil war along with foreign invasion. Finally, the theory of securitization examines how the Polish leadership used a desperate situation to legitimize the use of special powers for political reasons.
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