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The coup carried out on December 13, 1981, by General Jaruzelski and the Polish military quickly achieved its immediate aim — the destruction of the free trade union, Solidarity. While the highly effective operation was done under Soviet pressure, it was achieved by Poles acting against Poles. In the 15 months prior to the coup, Solidarity had eroded much of the communist power structure that had taken 35 years to build; however, the military and the police remained intact and loyal to communist authority. General Jaruzelski was able to pacify Poland, but even seven years after the coup, he has not been able to normalize Poland or to activate it. This paper describes the Jaruzelski regime, including characteristics of Jaruzelski's policy, struggles inside the regime, relations with the Catholic Church, and factors behind the "liberalization." It reviews the state of the Polish economy, describes the reform movement, and discusses the impasse between rulers and ruled.

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