Solidarity, the independent trade union movement grew steadily and soon totaled 10 million members - in a country of 38 million. Swedish diplomats and union leaders early gave their support, despite reservations.

Peer-reviewed articles Solidarity despite reservations

There was no doubt among Swedish diplomats and union leaders that they would support the independent trade union movement Solidarity that had suddenly appeared on the Polish stage. Still, they could not ignore the risk of renewed military intervention that would have had disastrous consequences for Poland and security in Europe. This essay presents how diplomats and union leaders acted and communicated to support the democratization of Poland.

Published on on September 21, 2010

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Postwar Poland was shaken repeatedly by protest actions and uprisings against the Soviet-backed communist regime: in 1956, 1968, 1970, 1976, and again, most successfully, from 1980 to 1981. The democratic opposition of the 1970s was monitored with keen interest in Sweden. The Swedish media reported frequently on the Workers’ Defense Committee (Komitet Obrony Robotniczów, KOR, in 1977, Social Self-Defense Committtee/Komitet Samoobrony Społecznej KSS–KOR), and articles by well-known KOR activists like Adam Michnik and Jacek Kuroń were published in newspapers and journals of varying political stripe. The strikes of August 1980, which led to the formation of a new social movement, the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarity” (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy “Solidarność”, NSZZ Solidarność), headquartered in Gdańsk, were met with tremendous sympathy throughout the Western world.1 Over the 16 months that the burgeoning organization Solidarity — the name we will use here — was able to act entirely above ground, until General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law on December 13, 1981, Solidarity was the object of frenetic diplomatic activity and extensive international aid efforts. Sweden manifested agreement and support, despite political and ideological reservations.

The dramatic events in Poland during 1980 and 1981 now stand out as the beginning of the end of Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe, but that perspective was far from the minds of contemporary onlookers. They remembered the outcomes of earlier reform movements, especially the bloody disintegration of the Prague Spring in 1968. The reformist policies of Alexander Dubçek had been stymied by tanks from the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries. After the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Soviet leader Leonid

Brezhnev had declared that when a threat to the cause of socialism arose in a socialist country, it was not only a problem for the country concerned, but for all socialist countries. The events in Poland of 1980–1981 unfolded in the shadow of the policy the world came to call the Brezhnev Doctrine.

There was no doubt among Swedish diplomats and union leaders, who are the focus of this article, that they would support the independent trade union movement that had suddenly appeared on the Polish stage and which soon totaled 10 million members (in a country of 38 million). Still, they could not ignore the risk of renewed military intervention that would have had disastrous consequences for Poland and security in Europe. A balance had to be struck between support for a movement with which one strongly sympathized (and which demanded nothing more than what it had been guaranteed by several international treaties ratified by the regime) and acceptance of political and military realities. The actors involved were also obliged to uphold official Swedish policy, which was aimed at reducing tensions between the blocs in Europe and building bridges between East and West.

In the following, we paint a picture of the views of diplomats and union leaders on, first, how Solidarity should act to prevent leading itself and the world over the brink of ruin and, second, how they should themselves act in order to responsibly support the democratization of Poland.

What should Solidarity do?
The diplomatic stance

Swedish diplomats in Warsaw who reported on the developments, with Ambassador Knut Thyberg in the vanguard, recognized early on the historical dimensions of the events. The Gdańsk Accord signed in late August opened the door to independent unions and sparked somewhat euphoric hopes for “humanization of the communist system”2 and a “more humane society”3. Still, the embassy was convinced that the changes had to happen within the framework of a socialist system and preservation of Poland’s membership in the Warsaw Pact.

Thus, the principle that the Communist Party’s leading role was central to the system could not be undermined. The embassy had long been convinced that some form of equilibrium between the Party and Solidarity was necessary: “a new balance that preserve[d] the social system but provide[d] greater self-governance and equality.”4 The gathering storm clouds, of which there were many, were the result, partly, of hardliners on both sides of the Polish drama: radicals within Solidarity who rejected the passage in the Gdańsk Accord on the preeminent role of the Party, and dogmatists within the Communist regime who were looking for a reason to abandon the policy of negotiation and adopt harsher measures.5 The moderate, negotiatory approach was personified by Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa and the new Party boss Stanisław Kania.6 The tacit interpretation was that if they had their way, Poland would opt for a cautious but still system-transforming policy of reform.7

But Solidarity did not choose the cautious approach for which the Swedish observers had hoped. New demands accompanied by strikes and threats of strikes threw Poland into an immediate state of crisis. Radical voices dominated the Solidarity congress in mid-September 1981. The experience led the embassy to reevaluate its earlier analysis. Any hopes the West may have had that Solidarity was working towards a new balance, a modus vivendi with the Communist Party, now seemed illusory. All signs indicated that Solidarity was aiming to “once and for all fundamentally change the social system and break the dominance of the Communist Party — and the USSR — in Poland.”8

Solidarity now demanded that the workers’ councils at Polish companies should have the right to appoint management. The Party’s right to appoint all holders of key posts would be abolished. In the embassy’s judgment, the regime was facing the choice of mounting an attack against Solidarity, and perhaps triggering civil war, or conceding to union demands and risking Soviet military intervention. The regime chose the latter alternative, hoping that the Russians would find the price of an invasion too high.9

The embassy in Warsaw had now abandoned any notions about necessary equilibrium. It predicted a development in which the role of the Party was undermined with Solidarity on the verge of taking over. One year earlier, this had seemed a route to certain disaster; now, it seemed a realistic scenario. In the embassy’s judgment, there was little risk of Soviet military intervention — popular resistance could be expected and it was presumed that the army would refuse to open fire on their own people.

Not everyone shared the embassy’s line of thinking. On the first of October, Lennart Eckerberg, head of the political section at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained to the Canadian ambassador to Sweden, Courvette, that it was hard to believe that the USSR would “be able to accept current developments, characterized by Solidarity’s increasingly far-reaching, decidedly political demands”. Eckerberg asked himself whether Solidarity, in its own and Poland’s best interests, ought not to have halted and made an attempt to consolidate the positions it had won. The organization had instead pushed ahead full throttle with demands of a purely political import. In the reality of Poland and Eastern Europe, these demands were fraught with serious risks. Courvette confirmed that views in Stockholm and Ottawa were concordant.10

Keep going or stop? Why did Thyberg’s and Eckerberg’s views diverge? One possible answer is that Thyberg, who was closer to the new reform movement, understood that, for its leadership, the alternative to progress was not to stop and maintain a position, but to regress and go the way of earlier reform projects. During past reform efforts, once passions had cooled, the regime had reneged on its concessions and the bastions once torn down had been repaired.

What should Solidarity do?
The Swedish Trade Union Confederation’s stance

The Swedish trade union movement also lived in the shadow of the Brezhnev Doctrine. There was no question about its proffering support to the new Polish trade union, but it wanted its aid to be as un-provocative as possible to the Kremlin leadership.

Cooperation between the Swedish trade union movement and Solidarity was already established by the fall of 1980. Supportive activities continued through Solidarity’s underground period and afterward to the mid-1980s, when the movement was able to act increasingly openly until it was legalized again in the spring of 1989. The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (“LO”) initially undertook to build up printing offices in Poland with the help of the Swedish Union of Printing Workers (“GF”). LO cooperated with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, ICFTU, after Lech Wałęsa had asked LO in the fall of 1980 to coordinate international union support activities. This particular assignment and LO’s own comprehensive support would become the topic of some discussion and give rise to conflict.

In a letter of November 7, 1980, to ICFTU and LO, Wałęsa mentioned the reasons for choosing LO: “We think that the most suitable country for such an agency would be Sweden, since it is the Western country that is the closest to us, because of its neutrality, free[dom] of visa tourist movement, already established numerous contacts with Swedish trade unions and already working ways of consignation [sic] of goods, organized by Poles living in Sweden.”11 Sweden had been “the first country to help [us] […] and it won’t be forgotten”, Wałęsa declared in a conversation with Swedish trade unionists on December 8, 1981. He repeated the statement in a telegram to LO’s national conference in 1986.12

Swedish cooperation with Solidarity was above all an expression of international workers’ solidarity to promote the fundamental right of unions to self-governance. But it was also a response to Sweden’s own concerns over the consequences of developments in a neighboring country. That this contribution has resulted in few historical accounts can partly be explained by the efforts to remain as inconspicuous as possible. The uppermost concern on the Swedish side was to provide as much help as possible, while avoiding international complications. LO did not want its support for Solidarity to be seen as aimed at the Communist regime in Poland (which it actually was) or as part of a cold war against Soviet systems in Eastern Europe. The organization could not appear to be “the errand boy of the USA”, an accusation Polish and Soviet media soon aimed at LO. Their opponents must not be given the chance to paint Solidarity as being in the hands of foreign organizations.

For this reason, the Swedish position initially conflicted with the position of the ICFTU and the Polish policy of the AFL-CIO, America’s union association. To forestall accusations by the Polish government and the Soviet Union that Sweden was supporting anti-Communist activity in Poland and to protect their own supportive actions, the Swedish organization wanted only direct relations with Solidarity and insisted on keeping in the background the ICFTU, the International Trade Secretariats (the international organizations of the national unions), and Polish exile groups in Sweden who were cooperating with the IFCTU and the AFL-CIO and accepting “American money”. For the same political reasons, LO was unwilling to support what they considered to be Solidarity’s political ambitions.

For that matter, Solidarity leadership shared the opinion that LO should have nothing to do with “American money”13 but were less concerned about the risk of Soviet intervention in Poland. Signals that Solidarity sent to Sweden in 1980 and 1981, in particular via union channels, were often predicated on the notion that Poles were loath to believe any intervention would happen.14

One consequence was that LO, in order to avoid accusations of political involvement, refused to cooperate with KOR and representatives of KOR in Sweden. Rune Molin, LO National Secretary, was very clear at a meeting of the LO executive committee on January 12, 1981: “[W]e should avoid any contact with KOR, which is a political organization, because it may give rise to misunderstandings. Contacts should be organized directly between the union organizations.”15

This view also emerges clearly in a letter Molin sent on January 15, 1981, to the chairpersons of LO’s member unions: Solidarity was to be supported, but this required “great caution” and restraint with respect to the release of information, since the situation in Poland was sensitive. Molin wrote that the organization was planning to acquire equipment for information programs, since this was the greatest need. He cited Wałęsa’s letter to ICFTU and LO: Solidarity wants “assistance mainly from Sweden due to our neutral position and our connections with Poland in general”. He then emphasized GF’s central role. Even if the local organizations were now going to get involved, LO considered it “inappropriate to engage in broad-based, public fundraising in view of the political complications that might arise”. The best approach was for local organizations and unions to allocate funds to the Fund for Solidarity (i-fonden) established by the labor movement in 1979 to promote the development of trade unions and democracy worldwide.16

Even in direct negotiations with representatives of Solidarity (such as Deputy Chairman of the Interfactory Founding Committee in Gdańsk, Bogdan Lis) in February 1981 in Stockholm, LO made it clear that they wanted no Polish intermediaries in Sweden.17 The position was reiterated in letters from the LO leadership to its own organizations and the ICFTU. With increasing acerbity, LO rejected the involvement and political contacts of KOR activists. Until 1989, the fundamental position remained that formulated by Molin on January 15, 1981, in a letter to the ICFTU in Brussels: “During the whole period of development of the present situation in Poland, it has been our definitive opinion that contacts with Solidarity and the assistance actions should be kept on a strict trade union level. This is still our opinion, due to the risk of political complications that otherwise might arise.”18 And Molin, now LO’s Deputy Chairman, once again expressed the same opinion, somewhat oddly in this situation, to the LO International Committee on March 1, 1989, when he said, as round table discussions were ongoing in Poland between the democratic opposition and the regime: “[I]t is union cooperation we want to develop, not political; as soon as Solidarity began acting like a political party things began to go askew.” [Our emphasis]19

LO’s understanding of Solidarity’s political role was of course an expression of a fiction, a fiction the Swedes and the Poles both believed necessary for tactical reasons and it is unlikely that it could have escaped the knowledge of anyone in Sweden or Poland. The fiction applied to LO’s own role in Sweden, which was highly political, in particular through the close union/political cooperation with the Social Democratic Party. But the stance was fictitious, especially in Poland, where the official — Party-controlled — union organization was supposed to act, according to the Communist model, as the “transmission belt” between the State and the masses. Or, as it was put in an editorial in the Swedish Social Democratic journal Tiden in early 1982: “The uprising in Poland had its own powerful dynamic, the Communist Party was broken and incapable of exercising leadership, there existed a semi-revolutionary situation […] How could […] Solidarity have escaped transformation into a political power?” The journal denounced criticism of Solidarity’s political role as little more than patronizing.20

What should we do?
The diplomats’ view

How should Solidarity be supported? The matter, after all, involved a trade union that was working for democratization of a Communist Party dictatorship in a neighboring country. Playing the role of passive observer in that situation was not a good alternative for Swedes. But the assistance provided must not appear to be outside interference in Poland’s affairs, which could give the Russians an excuse to intervene.21

Swedish Foreign Minister Ola Ullsten addressed the problem in a conversation with his Polish colleague Jósef Czyrek in New York in September 1980. He explained that events in Poland were being followed with great interest in Sweden, but were regarded as an internal affair. Every country must be allowed to solve its own problems with no outside interference. This did not preclude Sweden, Ullsten explained, from determining that it had the right to express sympathy or disagreement without it being perceived as interference.22

It took some time before there was any official Swedish reaction to developments in Poland, but not for lack of interest. Ullsten had solid grounds for his assertion that events in Poland were being followed with great interest in Sweden. The media covered the Polish events extensively, and reports were steadily flowing in from the Swedish embassy in Warsaw. Prime Minister Thorbjörn Fälldin was being kept continually informed of developments and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged expert meetings to discuss the situation in Poland. It is unlikely any other matter was of greater concern to the Ministry, but outwardly it chose to keep a low profile at first. On September 23, Ullsten delivered an expansive address to the UN General Assembly without devoting so much as a single word to developments in Poland.23

The idea behind this silence was that Sweden and other Western countries should keep out of Poland’s affairs in the hope that the Russians would do the same. That hope was dispelled in late November when Warsaw Pact forces began extensive exercises dangerously close to the borders of Poland. It was impossible to determine whether the intent was to frighten the Polish people and the leadership or to actually mount an invasion.24 It appeared to the Swedish government, like several other Western governments, that the time had come to speak out. The Swedish response was a strong statement by Ullsten on December 8. With allusions to Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, he declared that “the inner unrest and political tensions in a nation can never justify armed intervention”. “Military assault”, he continued, “degrades the assailant and breeds hate among the assailed. Every nation, every individual, has the right to shape her own future.”25

Sweden had finally spoken out; the question was whether anyone heard it. If the Poles had, they pretended that they had not. Poland’s deputy foreign minister Olechowski complained to Ambassador Thyberg in Warsaw about statements concerning the Soviet threat of intervention made by a number of Western governments. They had not helped matters, he said, but had only made things more difficult for the Polish government. But he did not mention Ullsten’s speech: Sweden was once again praised for her restraint.26

Soviet troop movements near the Polish border resumed in the spring of 1981 and the Western stance, especially that of the Americans, hardened.27 The Swedish government also made its disagreement clear when the opportunity arose. At the Swedish parliamentary debate on foreign affairs in March, the government reminded the Riksdag that the 1975 Final Act of Helsinki prohibited both intervention in the internal affairs of other countries as well as any threat of or use of force in their mutual relations. The government emphasized that these principles also applied to Poland. Ullsten spoke before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in May on the incompatibility of the principle of national sovereignty and Soviet pretensions to hegemonic influence in Eastern Europe.28

The temperature rose again in the Polish crisis in mid-September 1981, just after Solidarity’s national congress had adopted radical resolutions and expressed hopes that workers in Eastern Europe, including the Soviet Union, would follow in Solidarity’s footsteps. A letter from the Kremlin arrived on September 17 to the leadership of the Polish Communist Party: the Poles were abjured to take “firm and radical steps” to stop antisocialist and anti-Soviet propaganda. As the Swedish embassy interpreted it, the essential message was that if the Polish regime did not intervene against its enemies and those of the USSR, the Soviet Union would.29 The letter engendered a warlike atmosphere and the Swedish foreign minister made his strongest statements against the Soviet threats. Speaking before the UN General Assembly on September 24, he once again invoked the Helsinki Accord and attacked the “open and brutal demands of the Soviet Union that the trends in Poland must be turned back”. “We see no reason why an internal political process in Poland should cause its great power neighbor to make menacing statements […] The Poles should be allowed to determine their own future without foreign interference.”30

A little more than a week after Ullsten’s speech before the UN, Ambassador Thyberg was summoned by Deputy Foreign Minister Dobrosielski and told that the address constituted interference in Poland’s internal affairs. It had poisoned the atmosphere of the international relationship and engendered disappointment and gloom. Had something like this come from the United States, for example, no one would have been surprised, but from a friendly nation like Sweden! Dobrosielski explained that “the less said about Poland’s internal situation, the better”.31

Statements like Ullsten’s at the UN were of course expressions of political and moral support for Solidarity. But the world’s greatest opportunity to influence developments in Poland was on the economic plane. Continued lending to Poland could be critical to the success or failure of the ongoing process of change. This was the opinion Thyberg conveyed in a markedly  outspoken letter sent a few days after the meeting with Dobrosielski.

In the letter, addressed to the Swedish under-secretary for foreign affairs, Thyberg roundly rejected the “conventional wisdom” that the roots of Poland’s economic problems were the Poles who worked too little and agitated too much. “Renowned statesmen in the West, who should know better, have in public statements made this error of judgment.” Poland’s problems were not due to shiftlessness, but to the lack of raw materials, input goods, spare parts, and proper infrastructure. That Poland had ended up in this situation was in turn due to an economic system that had allowed misguided investments of gigantic proportions, incredible waste of capital and people, and “insane” indebtedness to the West.

Solving the problems was going to require reforms that shared power with the people. Thyberg saw the changes that Solidarity had pushed through as steps toward a new economic reality. Several large companies had already set their sights on managing their own affairs by the end of the year, “independently of planning authorities and industry associations”. According to Thyberg, this was “the most hopeful development in Eastern Europe in a very long time”.

But outside support was required if the reforms were to have any real chance of succeeding, to ensure that production did not grind to a halt due to lack of parts and input goods. Thyberg cautioned that unfounded beliefs about strike-prone and contentious Poles might lead to lending freezes. If one realized that Poland was moving toward a more democratic and efficient society, the importance of continued support was also understood.32

Thyberg’s message was that Solidarity had not caused Poland’s problems, but on the contrary was the force that had a working formula for how the problems could be resolved. The rest of the world ought to understand this and extend the credit needed for the reforms to work. With this letter, Thyberg emerged as the greatest supporter of Solidarity in its radicalized incarnation and the least worried about the risk of Soviet military intervention. His committed defense of Solidarity’s radical approach was written only a couple of weeks after Eckerberg in Stockholm had declared that instead of pushing purely political demands so hard, Solidarity should have stopped and tried to consolidate the positions it had won.33

What should we do?
LO’s view

The analyses of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs illustrate how difficult it was to recognize what was actually happening in Poland and what lay within the bounds of possibility. The situation was easier for the trade union movement. Once LO had implemented its policy of keeping “politics” out of things, of distancing itself from the Cold War–like postures that the involvement of the international Western labor movement, and especially the AFL-CIO, could entail, there were no barriers to concrete, hands-on support. The commitment to Solidarity became more comprehensive than most modern undertakings of the Swedish trade union movement. This has remained unnoticed in the international literature on relations between Solidarity and the West.34

In 1980–1981, the Swedish trade union movement stood behind the raising and transfer of a significant portion of the financial resources needed to give Solidarity what it wanted, which extended far beyond what could be managed through Swedish and international sources. The practical actions were assigned primarily to GF, whose technical ombudsman Ture Mattsson was given main responsibility for acquiring, delivering, and building up printing equipment in Poland. This was critically important to the rapidly growing organization so that it could inform its members and answer the propaganda against the new movement issued by its own and other regimes. Mattsson traveled back and forth between Sweden and Poland about 20 times in 1980–1981 while arranging training for Polish printers in Sweden.35 The coordination through LO took place in accordance with Solidarity’s wishes — partly to avoid the uncontrolled spread of non-compatible equipment among the Polish regional organizations and partly to ensure that the equipment would work even if Solidarity ran into obstruction by the authorities. “Certainly we need help with good printing equipment. But we must have simple things at first”, was Lech Wałęsa’s clear directive to GF’s Ture Mattson and Bertil Frisk when they visited him for the first time on November 12, 1980, at the Solidarity office in Gdańsk.36

Mattsson started by assembling equipment that had already been sent to Solidarity by international organizations but did not work. The most significant result of this cooperation in 1980 and 1981 between Solidarity, LO, and the ICFTU was two complete printing offices with five printing presses in each. A third was on the way but would be stopped when martial law was imposed. The office in Gdańsk, the first of the three, was financed by LO and the others by LO, the ICFTU and other members of the International.

Swedish unions at the central and local level were committed to providing moral and material support to their Polish colleagues in many other ways, both before and after December 1981. LO and LO federations sent more than two million Swedish kronor (worth a half million dollars at the time) to Poland in 1980 and 1981, accounting for half of all LO grants for international aid.37 The support continued thereafter and LO and LO federations earmarked more than one million kronor for Poland every year from 1982 to 1989.38

This was a comprehensive effort that was only partly visible to the public, although reports about the printing offices were published in the trade press and elsewhere. Discretion was considered necessary to avoid rousing the bear in the East.

How justified was the caution?

No other issue was discussed more intensively during the Polish crisis of 1980–1981 than the risk of Soviet military intervention. While the Russians had, by ratifying the Helsinki Accord, committed to refraining from using force or the threat of force to resolve international disputes, few believed that this formality would stop them from exerting continued control over their East European empire in the spirit of the Brezhnev Doctrine.39

How then did the Soviet leadership view the application of their own doctrine? Were they prepared to once again invade a socialist brother country? One answer to that question can be found by reading the records of the Soviet Communist Party’s Politburo, which in 1998 was published by the Cold War International History Project in English translation.40 The records present a fairly good picture of Soviet tactics during the Polish crisis. The main line was to push the Poles to resolve the crisis using police and military methods. For a long time, the Poles were unwilling to take action. Nevertheless, the Russians finally got what they wanted when Jaruzelski instituted martial law at midnight on December 13.

What would have happened if the reluctant Poles had not yielded to the pressure from Moscow? The answer found in the Politburo records is: nothing. At a meeting of the Politburo on December 10, 1981, when it was still unclear whether martial law would be imposed, Party ideologist Suslov explained that it was impossible for the Soviet Union to intervene with troops in Poland and that this was the position adopted “from the very outset of the Polish events”. The policy of détente and the Soviet position as a peace factor could not be sacrificed. KGB boss Andropov, who would a year later succeed Brezhnev as General Secretary of the Communist Party, also declared that if Poland were to fall into the hands of Solidarity, so be it. The USSR would be hit hard by the economic and political sanctions that they knew the capitalist countries would employ if there was a military intervention. The country had to put its own interests first.

The conclusion is that the Brezhnev Doctrine no longer applied, but that Brezhnev and his Politburo behaved outwardly as if it did. They pursued a bluff policy aimed at getting the Poles to shoulder the unpleasant, and costly, task of restoring the real socialist order. The cautious tiptoeing around the borders — whose exact location no one really knew — had played out in the shadow of a paper bear.

UD Archive of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (at the Swedish Government Offices Records Center)
ARAB Labor Movement Archives and Library


  1. See Andrzej Paczkowski, The Spring Will Be Ours: Poland and the Poles from Occupation to Freedom, University Park, PA, 2003; also Immanuel Ness (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, vol. VI, Chichester 2009, especially Jan Kubik, “Solidarność” (“Solidarity”), pp. 3072–3080.
  2. Cryptogram, Warsaw to Stockholm, 800829 (147), under Thyberg, HP1Ep, file 135, UD.
  3. Cryptogram, Warsaw to Stockholm, 800904 (164), HP1Ep, file 135, UD.
  4. Memorandum 801117: Poland discussion of November 11 (contribution by Thyberg), HP1Ep, file 138, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Cf. also letter from Thyberg to Minister of Foreign Affairs 801030 (319), p. 6, HP1Ep, file 137, UD.
  5. Memorandum 801031, Pol I, HP1Ep, file 137, UD.
  6. Cryptogram, Warsaw to Stockholm, 801029 (246), HP1Ep, file 137, UD.
  7. Cryptogram, Warsaw to Stockholm, 801029 (246), HP1Ep, file 137, UD.
  8. Cryptogram, Warsaw to Stockholm, 810916 (302), HP1Ep, file 150, UD.
  9. Cryptogram, Warsaw to Stockholm, 810924 (317), HP1Ep, file 150, UD.
  10. Memorandum, Canadian ambassador with head of political affairs, 811001, HP1Ep, file 151, UD.
  11. ICFTU, 76EB/10a Appendix 1. Copy in the archives of the LO, Labor Movement Archives and Library in Stockholm (ARAB), F26B:4 and F23:89.
  12. “Report from GF’s second visit to ‘SOLIDARNOSC’ in Poland, 3-10/12 1980”, “Confidential”, 4 pages, 4 appendices; Appendix 4, “Grafiska Fackförbundets delegation Lennart Johansson (LJ), Herbert Eklund (HE) och Ture Mattsson (TM) talar med Solidaritets ordförande Lech Walesa (LW)” [Swedish Graphic Workers’ Union delegation Lennart Johansson (LJ), Herbert Eklund (HE) and Ture Mattsson (TM) speak with Solidarity President Lech Wałęsa (LW)], 2 pp., LO F26B:1, ARAB. There are also audiotapes of this conversation, ARAB 2964:3:1.
    — Lech Wałęsa, telegram to the National Conference of the LO 1986: Landsorganisationen i Sverige, 21:e ordinarie kongressen 20–27 september 1986, protokoll, part 1, Stockholm [1987], p. 495.
  13. Ulf Asp to Gunnar Nilsson, April 30, 1981, LO F23:89, ARAB.
  14. For example, “Report of visit to Warsaw and Gdansk, 10/11–17/11 1980”, “Confidential”, by Bertil Frick and Ture Mattsson, GF, 6 pp., November 24, 1980, LO F26B:1, ARAB.
  15. LO, board minutes, January 12, 1981, § 6.
  16. LO F26B:2, ARAB.
  17. Tapes of the conversation between Bogdan Lis and Rune Molin, February 26, 1981, at the LO building; LO F26B:2, ARAB Nr 2964:1. More about this conversation in Misgeld, “Samarbete och missförstånd: Anteckningar kring ett samtal mellan Landsorganisationen i Sverige och polska Solidaritet 1981” [Cooperation and misunderstanding: Notes on a conversation between the Swedish Trade Union Confederation and Solidarity in 1981], in Solveig Halvorsen et al. (eds.), I politikkens irrganger. Festskrift til Knut Einar Eriksen [In the labyrinths of politics: Festschrift for Knut Einar Eriksen], Oslo 2009, pp. 208–223. — Interview by Stefan Ekecrantz, Klaus Misgeld, and Karl Molin (with support by Paweł Jaworski) with Bogdan Lis in Gdańsk, May 27, 2009.
  18. Molin repeated this point of view in the International Committee of the LO when the military laws had been introduced as well, December 13, 1981, Minutes January 19, 1982, § 4a, LO A06:7, ARAB.
  19. LO, International Committee, March 1, 1989, § 5: Poland, LO A06:8, ARAB.
  20. Tiden, vol. 74 (1982:2), pp. 74–77.
  21. Swedish fears of a Soviet intervention are vividly expressed in the diary of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Lennart Ljung. See Lennart Ljung, Överbefälhavare Lennart Ljungs tjänstedagböcker 1978–1983 [Journals of Supreme Commander Lennart Ljung, 1978–1983], Kungl. Samfundet för utgivande av handskrifter rörande Skandinaviens historia, Stockholm, 2010, pp. 37–223.
  22. Ulf Eliasson, Stöd för Solidaritet: Svenska demokrati- och säkerhetsintressen under den polska krisen 1980–81. [Supporting Solidarity: Swedish concerns for democracy and security during the Polish crisis of 1980–1981.] Unpublished report 2005, p. 15. Shorter version in Arbetarhistoria, vol. 30 (2006:4), pp. 32–37. See also Cryptogram, Swedish delegation to the UN, New York to Stockholm 800925, file 136, HP 1 Ep, UD.
  23. Memorandum 800829, Polen — förslag till svenskt inlägg [Memorandum 800829, Poland — suggestion for a Swedish contribution], Pol I, U. Tom Engdahl, file 135, HP1 Ep, UD. “Communiqué from the meeting of the Nordic Foreign Ministers in Oslo; 1st September [1980]”, in Documents on Swedish Foreign Policy 1980 (UD, Stockholm 1982), pp. 112–118; “Statement by Mr. Ola Ullsten, Foreign Minister of Sweden, at the thirty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly; 23rd September [1980]”, ibid, pp. 84–95. See Eliasson, Stöd för Solidaritet, pp. 13–14.
  24. Andrzej Paczkowski, Malcolm Byrne, Gregory F. Domber & Magdalena Klotzbach (eds.), From Solidarity to Martial Law the Polish Crisis of 1980–1981: A Documentary History, Budapest 2007, p. 138.
  25. Eliasson, Stöd för Solidaritet, p. 18. See “Extract from a speech by Mr. Ola Ullsten, Minister for Foreign Affairs, in Tranås; 8th December [1980]”. Press release translated to English, German, and French. Published in Documents on Swedish Foreign Policy 1980, p. 175.
  26. Eliasson, Stöd för Solidaritet, p. 19. — See also Cryptogram, Warsaw to Stockholm, 801216, (316), file 139, HP1 Ep, UD.
  27. Cf. Arthur R. Rachwald, In Search of Poland. The Superpowers’ Response to Solidarity, 1980–1989, Stanford 1990, pp. 47–63.
  28. “The Government Statement of Policy at the Debate on Foreign Affairs in the Riksdag; 18th March [1981]”, in Documents on Swedish Foreign Policy 1981, Stockholm 1983, p. 12; “Excerpt from a Speech by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Mr. Ola Ullsten, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the Parliamentary Assembly; 13th May [1981]”, ibid. p. 34. See also “Excerpt from [a] speech by the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ola Ullsten, at Almedalen, Visby; 28th July [1981]”, ibid, p. 38; “Excerpt from Statement of Government Policy made by the Prime Minister, Mr. Thorbjörn Fälldin, at the Opening of the Riksdag; 6 October [1981]”, ibid, p. 47.
  29. Cryptogram Warsaw to Stockholm, 810917 (303), file 150, Hp 1 Ep, UD¸Cryptogram Warsaw to Stockholm, 810918, (304 /595) ibid.
  30. “Statement by Mr. Ola Ullsten, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the Thirty-Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly; 24th September [1981]”, in Documents on Swedish Foreign Policy 1981, pp. 41–42. Cf. Överbefälhavare Lennart Ljungs tjänstedagböcker 1984–1986 [Journals Diaries of Lennart Ljung, 1984–1986], p. 877 f: Samtal med Sovjets ambassadör den 24 oktober 1980 [Conversations with the Soviet ambassador, October 24, 1980]. Ljung agreed with the ambassador that there should not be any interference from abroad in the internal affairs of Poland.
  31. Cryptogram Warsaw to Stockholm, 811005 (333), file 151, Hp1 Ep, UD. Cf. also Cryptogram Warsaw to Stockholm 811027 (359), file 151, Hp1 Ep, UD.
  32. Cryptogram Warsaw to Stockholm, 811009 (338), file 151, Hp 1 E, UD.
  33. Cryptogram Warsaw to Stockholm, 811014 (341), file 151, Hp 1 E, UD.
  34. As an example of how the Swedish union contribution has been ignored in the international literature, see Rebecca Gumbrell–McCormick, “Facing New Challenges: The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (1972–1990s)”, in Anthony Carew et al. (eds.), The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Bern 2000, pp. 341–517; Stefan Berger, “Solidarność, Western Solidarity and Détente: A Transnational Approach”, European Review, vol. 16 (1:2008) pp. 75–84; Idesbald Goddeeries, “The Transnational Scope of Western Labour’s Solidarity with Solidarność”, Labour History Review, vol. 75 (2010:1), pp. 60–75.
  35. A summary concerning LO’s involvement in Solidarity, “Information to the press”, December 14, 1981: “LOs kontakter med Solidaritet i Polen” [The Swedish Trade Union Confederation’s contact with Solidarity in Poland], LO F09A:3; “Contribution from ICFTU and ICFTU members forwarded by LO Sweden to Solidarity in the Form of Printing Equipment, etc.”, specification March 8, 1982, LO F09:7. See Klaus Misgeld, “Solidaritet med SOLIDARITET: Den svenska arbetarrörelsen och demokratirörelsen i Polen kring 1980” [Solidarity with SOLIDARITY: The Swedish workers movement and the democracy movement in Poland around 1980], Arbetarhistoria [History of Workers ], vol. 30 (4:2006), pp. 24–31. More exhaustively in Misgeld, “A Complicated Solidarity: The Swedish Labour Movement and Solidarność”, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, IISH Research Papers, (2010-07-22); idem, “Sweden: Focus on Fundamental Trade Union Rights”, in Solidarity? Western European Trade Unions and the Polish Crisis, 1980–1982, ed. Idesbald Goddeeris (The Harvard Cold War Studies Book Series, Lexington Books, Lanham/MD), forthcoming. In general, on Ture Mattsson’s involvement in Lisbeth Ulfstedt, Stolta starka stridbara: Grafiska Fackförbundet 1973–2009 [Proud strong fit for fight: Swedish Graphic Workers’ Union 1973–2009], Stockholm 2009, pp. 81–85.
  36. “Rapport från besöket i Warsaw och Gdansk den 10/11–17/11 1980” [Report from the visit in Warsaw and Gdańsk, November 10–17, 1980], “Confidential”, by Bertil Frick and Ture Mattsson, GF, 6 pp., November 24, 1980, p. 3, LO F26B:1, ARAB.
  37. The federations of the LO had at this time two million members when the population of Sweden was 8.3 million.
  38. According to Rune Molin in the International Committee, March 1, 1989, §5: Poland, LO A06:8, ARAB.
  39. Deliberations within the Polish regime have been described by, among others, Wojciech Jaruzelski in Mein Leben für Polen: Erinnerungen, München 1993, and Hinter den Türen der Macht: Der Anfang vom Ende einer Herrschaft, Leipzig 1996; and by then deputy Prime Minister Mieczysław F. Rakowski in Es begann in Polen: Der Anfang vom Ende des Ostblocks, Hamburg 1995, esp. pp. 27–59.
  40. Cold War International History Project (-Virtual Archive 2.0, - 1980–81 Polish Crisis ). Cf. also Paczkowski et al., From Solidarity to Martial Law.
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