The 1980s in Poland remain fundamental to understanding the end of the Cold War. That decade started with the rise of Solidarity as an independent trade union and social movement 10 million strong, spinning upward through 1981 on a heady wave of communitarian idealism. The movement was brutally ended in December 1981 with the imposition of a martial law regime that in practice outlasted its formal abolition in 1983. This was followed by years of political trench warfare until the power-sharing agreement of early 1989, the holding of partly free elections, and the installation of Eastern Europe's first government led by non-Communists in over 40 years. A few months later, the other dominoes in the Soviet bloc toppled, and the Berlin Wall opened.

In 2008 one of Poland's most distinguished contemporary historians, Andrzej Paczkowski, worked with Malcolm Byrne to present English-speaking readers with a valuable book of translated documents on...

You do not currently have access to this content.