Updated: 31-Oct-2001 1981

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



The Soviet Union expresses concern about the moves towards liberalisation within the ruling Polish United Workers Party (PUWP) and cautions that the process must not go too far. The Alliance emphasises that Poland must be free to decide its own future. Any Soviet use of force would be in flagrant breach of the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Helsinki Final Act.

Meanwhile, with strikes, demonstrations, and continuing food shortages, Poland is plunging further into economic depression. In October, the General Secretary of the PUWP, Stanislav Kania, is replaced by General Jaruzelski, the commander of the armed forces. On 13 December 1981, Jaruzelski declares martial law. Personal freedoms are drastically curtailed, universities closed, activities of many organisations, including Solidarity, are suspended, and over 5,000 activists, including Lech Walesa, are jailed. Addressing the nation, Jaruzelski indicates that the crackdown was necessary to prevent Soviet intervention.


1 Jan

Greece becomes the 10th member of the European Economic Community.

23 Febr

Abortive attempt by rebel civil guards to overthrow Spanish caretaker government.

6 Oct

Assassination of Egyptian President Sadat.

27 Oct

Soviet submarine grounded in Swedish territorial waters.

18 Nov

President Reagan announces new arms control initiatives including intermediate-range nuclear force (INF) negotiations and strategic arms reduction talks (START).

30 Nov

The United States and the Soviet Union open Geneva negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF).

10-11 Dec

Signature of the Protocol of Accession of Spain to the North Atlantic Treaty.

Additional information:

13 Dec

Imposition of martial law in Poland.