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hoping that our nerves will fail.
In this situation a special vigilance and self-control is essential so it will not lead to their (the enemies'] coming in the other countries, to the isolation of the socialist community and to an increasing danger of military conflict.
5. We are looking for ways to find a political solution. There is still a possibility to prevent disaster. The PUWP must find ways to alter developments.
The tasks facing our party:
1) To strengthen the connection with the working class, to lead a decisive struggle against failures.
2) To increase awareness, not to permit deviations from the policy of the party.
3) Our line towards Poland is correct. The support of the healthy forces and working with the leadership of the PUWP and the country.
4) The USSR will make use of its influence in the international arena so as not to allow an escalation of Polish events in other countries.
The plenary session of the CC fully approved the political line and the practical action of the Politburo of the CC CPSU relating to the crisis situation in Poland.
“The Problems of Polish Market”, “Unfortunate Consequences of Strikes”, “Conflicts That Will Not Multiply Bread”, Rudé právo, 5 January, 18 February, 6 March 1981.
8 Preserved only in the archive of the SED in German, published in Michael Kubina and Manfred Wilke, eds. “Hart und kompromisslos durchgreifen.” Die SED contra Polen 1980/ 81. Geheimakten der SED-Führung über die Unterdrückung der polnischen Demokratiebewegung, (Berlin: Akademie, 1995), pp. 178-187 and 280-282.
' SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 12/1981, 19 June 1981.
10 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, record of 18th session of the CC CPCz, 7 to 9 October 1980, p. 55.
" SÚA, A ÚV KSC, record of 4th session of the CC CPCz, 28 and 29 October 1981, p. 33.
12 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 148/80, 19 September 1980– Husák's speech in Moscow, Hart und kompromisslos, pp. 186187; Husák argued in a similar way in an interview with Stefan Olszowski in Prague, 15 September 1980 (SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 148/80, 19 September 1980).
13 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 164/1981, 19 March 1981 - see doc. 3 below.
SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV164/1981, 19 March 1981 - see doc. 3 below
For example János Kádár in an interview with Husák, 25 November 1980 (SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 155/80, 28 November 1980) or Günther Sieber during a meeting with Bilak, 8 October 1981 (SÚA, A ÚV KSC, unsorted materials file Husák) Doc. 1 and 5 below - the records of which are deposited in the CC CPCz archive.
16 General Jaruzelski also remembers awkward situations when his Czechoslovak comrades during the 70s always felt obliged to express their thanks for the “fraternal help" of 1968. Cf. Wojciech Jaruzelski, Stan wojenny dla czego... (Warszawa: BGW, 1992), p. 110.
17 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 147180, 12 September 1980—letter of the chairman of the government of the PPR, Józef Pinkowsky, to Lubomir Strougal.
18 Ibid. According to the same document the leaders of the GDR behaved in a similar way. The Hungarian leaders, on the other hand, answered very evasively and promised no extraordinary aid.
19 The suggestion was for a reduction of 600 thousand tons in 1981. SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 154/80, 14 November 1980. Se also Jaruzelski, Stan wojenny, p. 34.
20 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 28/1982, 8 January 1982.
22 Ibid. 23 Ibid.
Martin Malia, The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991 (New York: Free Press, 1994).
2 Státní ústrední archiv (SÚA), A ÚV KSC, D-1, box 10, VI 23 (12 August 1980), p. 10.
3 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, D-1, box 11, VI 30 (12 December 1980), p. 3 and 31 (9 January 1981), p. 4.
4 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, D-1, box 11, VI 31 (9 January 1981), p. 5 and VI 36 (1 April 1981), p. 6. One piece of data from November 1980 might perhaps, find a honorable place in any textbook of history of the labor movement: “... under the influence of events in the PRP (People's Republic of Poland] demands are appearing among the miners in the Sokolov mines in West Bohemia for new safety aids, because the old ones are worn out.” SÚA, A ÚV KSC, D-1, box 11, VI 29 (26 November 1980), p. 3.
'E.g. Rudé právo, 22 and 28 October 1980; 5, 25, 28 and 29 November 1980; 2 and 15 December 1980; 3 and 29 January 1981; 9 February 1981; 10, 13, and 23 March 1981; 12 May 1981, and many others.
Rudé právo, 4 November 1980; 13, 27, and 31 January 1981; 17 March 1981. This type of interpretation is represented also in some subsequently published brochures, e.g., Milan Matouš, Spiknutí proti Polsku (Praha, 1982), and J. Kobr, Vývoj Nemeché demokratické republiky a Polské lidové republiky v letech 19441984 (Praha: Svoboda, 1985), esp. pp. 137-221.
2. Tost 6 in 771
E.g. A MV, Kanice, 0, 1-1, Fund KS SNB Ostrava, Internal political situation in Poland, box 24, inventory unit 8.
25 The bulk of the original documents concerning “Krkonoše” were liquidated in 1982!
26 See Wilke/Kubina, eds., Hart und kompromisslos, esp. doc. nos. 19-30.
27 One member of this was also the later first post-November 1989 Minister of Defense, Gen. Miroslav Vacek.
28 Wilke/Kubina, eds., Hart und kompromisslos, p. 207.
29 Anatoli Gribkow, Der Warschauer Pakt. Geschichte und Hintergründe des östlichen Militärbündnisses (Berlin: edition 9 1995), pp. 181-5.
30 This account of “Operation Krkonoše” is drawn from copies of some original documents assembled during the activities of the investigation commission of the House of Representatives of
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the Czech Republic (notably the report of General Blahník on the meeting in Moscow – see doc. 2 below, the order of Minister of National Defense Dzúr to conduct the “Krkonoše" exercise from December 5, the report of Gen. Gottwald on the reconnaisance mission to Poland, the minutes of the meeting of the Advisory Council of the Minister of National Defense on December 8), from expert reports for the use of the same commission (notably the report prepared by Lieut. Col. Antonín Kríz) and from several interviews conducted by the author in 1997 (with Lieut. Col. Antonín Kriz, Lieut. Col. Jiri Horák, and Gen. Stanislav Procházka).
31 A MV, Praha, Order of the Minister of the Interior no. 46/80 pronouncing the extraordinary security alert of the third level (5 December 1980).
32 A MV, Kanice, 0 1-1, inventory unit 8, fund KS SNB Ostrava, Operational plan of the Regional Department of the Corps of National Security Ostrava in relation to the third level extraordinary security measures in response to the development of the situation in Poland, 1980. Emergency security measures were declared in various situations, if there were an imminent danger of so-called “mass anti-socialist behaviors.” In accordance with Decree no. 1/79 of the Minister of the Interior (A MV, Praha), a uniform system was set up of such measures that had earlier been declared on an ad hoc basis. The system included seven levels of emergency security measures. Levels five to seven presupposed an impending disturbance or one already in progress on a large scale and was never declared. Level four was declared only once, in January 1989 in anticipation of protests on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Jan Palach's death by self-immolation. Level three (and the measures corresponding to it before the decree was issued in 1979) was declared in more than a dozen instances between 1970 and 1989, although prior to 1988 in the main as prevention. The third level involved a rather extensive activation of the security apparatus: the setting up of central and regional or local operational staffs, an emergency alert and the Availability of on duty members of the police force and of the Interior Ministry troops, the setting apart of special order units, etc., etc.
A MV, Praha, Order of the Minister of the Interior no. 46/ 80, his decision from 9 December and order no. 49/80 (16 December 1980).
*4 A MV, Kanice, 0 1-1, box 24, inventory unit 8, minutes of the operational staff. The CC PUWP held its 7th Plenum on 1-3 December 1980.
35 Wilke/Kubina, eds., Hart und kompromisslos, pp. 136-137.
36 Contemporaneous Western sources spoke about 15 or even 30 divisions; see Wojciech Jaruzelski Mein Leben für Polen (Munchen-Zürich: Piper, 1993), p. 235 and/or Strategic Survey 1980-1981, p. 74.
37 Jaruzelski, Mein Leben für Polen, p. 239.
38 Stanisław Kania, Zatrzymacac konfrontacje (Wrocław: BGW: 1991), p. 91.
39 On the general discussion concerning the threat of a Warsaw Pact invasion of Poland in 1980 see, e.g., Mark Kramer, "Soviet
Policy during the Polish Crisis, 1980-1981," Cold War International History Project Bulletin 5 (Spring 1995), pp. 1, 116-126.
40 SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 156/80, 8 December 1980.
41 BArch, Abt. GDR, Ministerrat DC 20, 1/4-4684, 192. Sitzung, 10 December 1980.
42 Wilke/Kubina, eds., Hart und kompromisslos, p. 139.
46 A MV, Kanice, fund KS SNB Hradec Králové, bundle 15, Security situation in Poland.
47 A MV, Praha, Order of the Minister of the Interior no. 29/81.
48 A MV, Kanice, 0 1-1, fund KS SNB Ostrava, box 24, inventory unit 8. - Telegram from the Ministry of Interior from 31 December 1981.
Documents from 8 August 1980, 14 December 1980, 10 January 1981, 7 and 30 January 1982. See V. Prečan, ed., Charta 77 1977-1989 (Bratislava: Cs. stredisko nezaviste literatury: Archa, 1990), pp. 403-408.
50 Wilke/Kubina, eds., Hart und kompromisslos, pp. 282-283.
s! He played an important role in safeguarding the intervention in August 1968, was a CPCz CC Presidium member from 1971 to 1989, and was head of the Czechoslovak trade unions from 1971 to 1989.
136-138. 53 Held 6 to 10 April 1981.
54 Gierek, since late 1970 PUWP First Secretary, resigned in August 1980.
55 Polish foreign minister from 1976 to August 1980, then CC Secretary. As CC emissary, he informed the Hungarian leadership on the Gdansk Agreement on 12 September 1980.
56 Correctly Stechbarth.
58 During Kania's visit to Prague, 15 February 1981. For the minutes see SÚA, A ÚV KSC, PÚV 162/1981, 19 February 1981.
59 Editor's note: Following the expulsion of Solidarity and other union leaders from the provincial assembly building in Bydgoszcz, beatings of Solidarity members by police and the security service occurred. Tensions between the regime and Solidarity rose dramatically.
Editor's note: In July 1981 Porembski became a member of the PUWP Politburo.
61 The 4th Plenum of the CC PUWP was held 16-18 October 1981.
62 Telephone conversation between Brezhnev and Jaruzelski, 19 October 1981.
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The Hungarian Party Leadership and the Polish Crisis of
1980-1981 By János Tischler
|he beginning of the 1980-1981 crisis in Poland coincided with the beginning of the decline of the
Kádár regime in Hungary. János Kádár-who had come to power with the backing of Moscow by quelling the Hungarian Revolution in 1956—had long tried to preserve social law and order and to establish political legitimacy for himself, following the bloody repression after the revolution, by not interfering with people's private lives, by providing greater freedom within the framework of the existing political regime, and most importantly, by guaranteeing a constant increase in the living standard, thus creating an atmosphere of safety. From 1979 on, the Kádár regime subordinated other priorities to this latter aspect. Hoarding decreased to a minimum level and virtually all foreign loans served as subsidies of consumer prices and of unprofitable companies (which ensured full employment in return). However, an ever-growing part of the budget had to be spent on the repayment of loans and their interest.
While publicly emphasizing the solidarity of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (HSWP) with Polish Communists and assuring Poland all possible economic and political assistance, Kádár believed from the very outset of the Polish crisis that the leadership of the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP) had to overcome its difficulties by political means and in a “socialist way." This latter phrase implied that Poland was expected to remain a socialist country and a member-state of the Warsaw Pact. In Kádár's opinion, the use of so-called “administrative means,” that is, the deployment of the armed forces, would be acceptable only if no peaceful solution could be found or if the Communist regime itself were threatened. In this case, the challenge would have affected the whole socialist bloc and could have seriously endangered his (Kádár’s) personal power as well. Nevertheless, he implied that even in such a case the crisis would best be dealt with by using internal Polish forces such as the state security organizations, the army, or the police. In Kádár's view, even in the event of a Soviet intervention as a final resort, Polish Communists would have to orchestrate the so-called "consolidation," that is, to "sort out all political and social difficulties," just as he and his Hungarian comrades had done after 1956. He knew all too well from his own experience how troublesome, or rather how much more troublesome, it was to seize power against the wishes of a nation, following a Soviet intervention.
Unlike other socialist countries which relentlessly attacked the PUWP and its leaders for their “opportunism," their chronic inability to act, and their backsliding, the HSWP tried to support its Polish counterpart by not interfering (either publicly or through
“inter-party channels") with any of the steps taken by the Polish leadership. After all, Kádár considered the Polish crisis to be a “family affair” relating exclusively to Sovietbloc countries, a view he consistently upheld in the course of negotiations with various Western parties and politicians.
From the point of view of Hungarian internal affairs, events in Poland put Budapest in a simultaneously awkward and favorable position. Budapest could overtly claim how much better the situation was in Hungary compared with that in Poland, in terms of public order and the system of supplies. The efficacy of Kádár's policy could thus be neatly demonstrated, which was, in fact, what the HSWP leaders and the State-run media did. Besides approaching the 25th anniversary of the "counterrevolution,” it was the “Polish affair” that offered Kádár an excellent opportunity to render a positive verdict on the HSWP's performance since 1956. He took pride in saying that he and his comrades had successfully avoided mistakes that were, alas, continuously and repeatedly being committed by the Polish leaders.
At the same time, the events in Poland evoked unease among the members of the HSWP leadership, for they constituted a kind of operational malfunction within the socialist bloc which later turned out to be a challenge to the internal state of affairs of other Soviet-bloc countries as well. Although Kádár publicly declared in September 1980 that HSWP policy would not get any stricter due to the events in Poland, the Hungarian party worried seriously about the Polish crisis even as it proclaimed the opposite. The HSWP asserted that the Polish example was not attractive to Hungarians since they had achieved a decent standard of living that they wished to preserve rather than imperil by allowing unrest comparable to that in Poland. (Nevertheless, the party leadership conceded that “there were—insignificantly few—people who supported 'Solidarity' and would gladly have seen the Polish example spread in Hungary.”)
Hungarian government and party propaganda strongly condemned Solidarity and the strikes it organized. This propaganda emphasized that the mere existence of a free and independent trade union contradicted and undermined the power of the working class, furthermore, that strikes endangered the standard of living and socialist achievements. From the summer of 1981 on, this kind of propaganda expanded into a general anti-Polish campaign-lest the “Polish disease” spread to Hungaryand disseminated news about the alleged work-shyness, worthlessness, and parasitism of the Polish people. The Hungarian mass media used the fact that, when the living standard in Hungary first stagnated, then slowly began to decrease, a minor part of society was truly frightened
about the incessant news about strikes in Poland. The media increasingly encouraged such views in Hungarian public opinion as “the Polish situation costs us a lot of money;" “the Polish expect other socialist countries to provide for them;" “not strikes but more and better work can improve living and working conditions;" and it is impossible to distribute more without work and to go on strike while the people of other socialist countries keep on working.”
In 1980-81 three members of the Polish leadership, among them PUWP Secretary Stanisław Kania, visited Budapest to discuss current events and hear the advice of the fraternal Hungarian party. From August 1980 on, the Polish leadership regarded Hungary as a model to be followed. Kania and his comrades listened to the opinion of the First Secretary of the Hungarian Party with keen interest since they would have liked to transplant the success of Kádár's policy to the Polish situation. Kádár was, no doubt, widely popular in Poland, and the PUWP tried to capitalize on this politically. It was little wonder that both Kania, then Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski (right after imposing martial law), requested and received a detailed report on how the HSWP leadership had set about "consolidating" the situation in Hungary after 4 November 1956. (The Polish leadership tried to benefit from the living memories of the Soviet armed intervention in Hungary by showing at home the Hungarian documentary on the “Counterrevolution in 1956" under the title “So it happened,” evidently believing that the evocation of "the Hungarian scenario” would terrify the Polish people.) On every occasion, the Hungarian leadership urged its Polish guests to draft a brief but clear program on the basis of which party members could be activated and which could draw wide masses and ordinary followers of socialism "yearning for law and order." They also underlined the need for unity in the party leadership which would then “manifest itself in the rank-and-file as well, and that it was of prime importance for the Polish party to carry out an accurate analysis of the events.
The meeting of Warsaw Pact party and government leaders in Moscow on 5 December 1980 concentrated on one issue: the situation in Poland. The Hungarian delegation was led by János Kádár, whose speech differed markedly from those of the so-called “hardliners" from East Germany, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia (E. Honecker, T. Zhivkov and G. Husák respectively). While they seemed to urge an armed intervention, Kádár insisted on finding a political solution. He repeatedly stressed that Polish Communists were responsible for finding a way out of their own predicament. Integral to that aim, he added, was the preservation of the leading role of the party, the socialist constitutional order, the government's authority, as well as control of the mass media. He also warned that it was vital to correct earlier mistakes and stressed they should not focus attention on the search for scapegoats.
In this connection, he referred to the fact that ex-Hungarian leader Mátyás Rákosi—who had been deposed from
power in the summer of 1956—and his comrades "had been called to account (i.e., expelled from the HSWP] only in 1962.” He added that the platform that the PUWP was to work out should reflect firm determination. Finally, Kádár recalled the event of November 1956throughout which he could rely only on Soviet arms and on members of the Rakosi regime's apparatus—"when the Soviet comrades encouraged Hungarian Communists by telling them that they were stronger than they had ever thought,” and added that “the same applied to the Polish Communists."
When Kania visited Budapest in March 1981 the conflict between the Warsaw authorities and Solidarity was escalating quickly. Though Kádár confirmed the HSWP's earlier stand and stated that he remained in favor of promoting contacts with the masses on the basis of mutual trust and open and sincere relations, he asserted that “if the class-enemy launches an attack there can be no clemency, for a fight like that is by no means to be fought on the basis of principles of humanism. We have to be prepared to deal with bouts of mass frenzy as well.” Kádár drew conclusions from the 1956 “counterrevolution," then compared the evolution of the Hungarian and Polish state of affairs and pointed out their differing characteristics. He concluded that “the events in Hungary got at least 3 stages further and the extent of 'purification' was more profound and far-reaching than in Poland." Finally, he suggested that the “fight had to be fought through to the end by the Polish comrades, first with political means or, if need be, by applying other means of main force.” The basic requirement was, above all, that Poland remain a socialist country.
From September 1981 on, Kádár took an even more hard-line view on the Polish events, especially after the first Solidarity congress, at which the “Message" to East European workers was accepted by public acclamation. Solidarity's “Message" encouraged those people "who made up their mind to fight for the free trade union movement” in the hope that their “representatives would soon have the opportunity to meet one another so as to be able to exchange their experiences on trade unions.” The “Message” provoked extreme fits of anger in the leaderships of all socialist countries. Authorities throughout the bloc, including Hungary, launched an allout press campaign to reject Solidarity's supposedly gross intervention—although, in an Orwellian touch, they took pains to prevent the text of the “Message” from becoming public and requested workers' collectives to condemn the extremist and anti-communist Solidarity ringleaders for sending it. It was this “Message” that prompted the HSWP Central Committee to draft and send a letter in Kádár's name to the PUWP CC and its First Secretary. This letter expressed all the worries that had so discomfited the HSWP leadership since the Solidarity congress.
When General Jaruzelski became PUWP CC First Secretary in October 1981 (in addition to his former titles
of Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense) (Budapest), is the deputy director of the Hungarian Kádár warmly congratulated him. A couple of days later Cultural Institute in Warsaw. the Hungarian leader declared that “polarization had increased in Poland and as a result, their long-established opinion and viewpoint had also grown stronger by virtue Magyar Országos Levéltár (Hungarian National Archives, of which the launching of a more determined, proper and
MOL), Department of Hungarian Workers' Party, 288. f 12/216
217; 11/4471; 11/4389. rational fight—that appeals to all honest people—would
2 See Document No. 1 and the East German minutes of the rapidly gain popularity against counterrevolution." At any
Communist leaders' summit on 5 December 1980 in this rate, in the autumn of 1981 the Hungarian Party, urged
Bulletin. immediate action and was not only relieved by but also
3 MOL 288, f. 11/4397. fully agreed with Jaruzelski's declaration of martial law in
* Népszabadság (HSWP central organ), 27 September 1981; Poland on 13 December 1981, a step which in Hungary see Document No. 3 (below). was somewhat euphemistically translated as a “state of S MOL, 288, f. 4/181 and 7/641. emergency.” The HSWP Secretariat assembled the same MOL 288, f. 5/844 and f. 5/895. day and passed a resolution to provide Poland with immediate economic relief in accordance with Jaruzelski's request, endorsing "Comrade János Kádár's telegram to Comrade W. Jaruzelski assuring him of Hungarian
SELECTED HUNGARIAN DOCUMENTS assistance.”
Jaruzelski requested not only economic aid from Budapest but also his “Hungarian comrades”” guidance
Document No. 1 concerning the struggle with “counterrevolutionary
Report to the Politburo by the Department of forces” 25 years earlier, and the experience obtained “in International relations of the Central Committee of the the field of socialist consolidation and the building of Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, 8 December 1980 socialism in Hungary." Upon Jaruzelski's invitation, a three-person HSWP delegation led by Politburo member György Aczél went to Warsaw between 27 and 29
CENTRAL COMMITTEE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL December 1981. Jaruzelski seemed to pay great attention
of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party No. copies: 23 to the representatives of the Hungarian fraternal party,
Department of International Relations Budapest, 8 Dec. 1980 who later noted in their official reports on the visit that “there had been an enormous and general interest shown in the Hungarian experience.” They added that the Polish
REPORT comrades often took Hungarian achievements as “a basis
to the Politburo and they seem to know little about the first steps of the hard-won consolidation. When they are about to introduce the introduction of harsh measures, they often refer to
On the initiative of the Central Committee (CC) of the these results without proper knowledge of these
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and on the experiences." Jaruzelski's and his team's attention to the
basis of the Politburo's resolution, a Hungarian delegation, Hungarian lessons did not slacken in the years to come.
led by Comrade János Kádár, took part in the Moscow Kádár, in turn, even in a private talk with Jaruzelski during meeting of top-level party leaders and high-ranking state his visit to Poland in October 1983, “warmly thanked the
officials of the Warsaw Pact countries on December 5. Polish leaders for having put a stop to counterrevolution
The Hungarian delegation included Comrade András and anarchy by way of relying on their own resources and
Gyenes, Secretary of the CC and Comrade János thus rendering an enormous service to Poland and to the
Borbándi, Deputy Prime Minister. whole socialist community as well."6
The representatives of the member states issued a All that, however, had little influence on the fact that, joint statement on the meeting which was published in full as in Hungary in 1956, the Communist dictatorship in in Hungarian daily papers on December 6. Poland in 1981 could be maintained solely with the help of
The only issue on the agenda—relating to the armed forces. In the end, the oft-cited “Hungarian
international situation—was a discussion of the situation experience” could save none of the Communist regimes
in Poland. from ultimate downfall.
In his opening, Comrade Stanisław Kania outlined the Polish evaluation of the crisis and spoke about the work of the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP). He emphasized that a very severe situation had arisen in
Poland, which posed a threat to socialism and also carried János Tischler, formerly a research fellow at the Institute
elements of anarchy and counterrevolution. He added that for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
the PUWP leadership was aware of its internationalist