December 13, 2011 5:54 AM Subscribe
On December 13, 1981, Poland awoke to an announcement by Premier Wojciech Jaruzelski declaring a "state of war" (stan wojenny
). Martial law
would last until July 22, 1983.
Jaruzelski: "... Citizens! ... I declare, that today the Military Council of National Salvation has been formed. In accordance with the Constitution, the State Council has imposed martial law all over the country. I wish that everyone understood the motives of our actions. A military coup, military dictatorship is not our goal. ... I appeal to all the citizens. A time of heavy trials has arrived. And we have to stand those in order to prove that we are worthy of Poland. Before all the Polish people and the whole world I would like to repeat the immortal words: Poland has not yet perished, so long as we still live!" (video
Early that morning, security police
rounded up Solidarity leaders
, political dissidents
, and others perceived to be a threat to the regime.
The Mililtary Council of National Salvation (Polish acronym: WRON) initiated curfews, strengthened censorship, and delegalized all independent organizations, including the Solidarity trade union
Jaruzelski, now 87, is dying of cancer. Yesterday he issued an apology
for martial law, calling it a "lesser evil" than an invasion by the Soviet Union (a possibility many dismiss
More news on the anniversary: NYT
, Sac Bee
, Warsaw Business Journal
. In Polish: 13grudnia81
, Gazeta Wyborcza
For more about Jaruzelski, I really recommend The Haunted Land
by Tina Rosenberg.