Updated: 12-Nov-2001 1980

[ '45-'49 | '50-'59 | '60-'69 | '70-'79 | '80-'89 | '90-'99 | '00- ]
[ 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 ]



The end of the 1970s saw the near collapse of the Polish economy. The price of oil on world markets had rocketed following the decision of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to double the price of crude oil in December 1973. Now, the Soviet Union, the main supplier to Poland, increases the price of its oil. Against the background of the world-wide recession, which had followed the OPEC decision, there is a sharp decline in traditional Polish exports - coal, copper, meat, textiles and television sets.

By 1980, Polish debt exceeds 20 billion dollars. Food shortages become acute. The government tries to impose price increases but meets with strong opposition from the workers. The leader of the Solidarity trade union in the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk, Lech Walesa, organises strikes which soon spread throughout the country. The Government gives in. The Gdansk Agreement, signed in August 1980, provides for pay increases, a five-day working week, the right to strike, and the right to form free trade unions.


24 Jan

Members of the Alliance participating in the 12 December 1979 Special Meeting establish the Special Consultative Group on arms control involving theatre nuclear forces.

18 Feb-3 Mar

CSCE Forum on Scientific Cooperation, Hamburg.

4 May

Death of President Tito of Yugoslavia.

31 Aug

Gdansk Agreements, leading to establishment and official recognition of independent Polish trade union Solidarity.

12 Sept

Turkish military leadership takes over the administration of the country.

22 Sept

War breaks out between Iraq and Iran.

20 Oct

Reintegration of Greek forces into the integrated military structure of the Alliance.

11 Nov

Opening of CSCE Follow-up Meeting in Madrid.

9-12 Dec

Ministerial meetings of the Council and Defence Planning Committee reflect concern over the situation with regard to Poland and the continuing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

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