BBC Online Network
Poland
1982 - 1983
Keeping the fire burning: the underground movement
The crackdown put hundreds behind bars. Economic conditions continued to disintegrate and Communist Party propaganda blamed the Solidarity strikes. Solidarity would never regain the same momentum it had built in the first 500 days. Nevertheless, the hardship did not entirely crush the spirit of the movement.

In place of the mass Solidarity movement grew a vibrant group of underground publishers and activists. As the political scene seemed to calm, General Jaruzelski gained confidence but continued the militarisation of mines and factories. In October, a new law was passed that allowed unions to strike, though not for political reasons. It also forbade them to set up national organisations for two years.

In late 1982, Solidarity was weak and disorientated. With things apparently under control, the government began to relax martial law. Lech Walesa was released from prison. But he was prevented from returning to work, investigated for alleged tax irregularities and barred from speaking at rallies. A conciliatory visit from the Pope in June 1983 also led to government amnesty to political prisoners.

Bronislaw Geremek
Walesa's arrest
General Jaruzelski