German reactions to martial law


The German Democratic Republic


The authorities of the German Democratic Republic communist leaders arguing that people determined struggle to adopt counter-revolution, of course, welcomed the introduction of martial law in Poland. In their opinion it was appropriate, that want to insufficient, step in to resolve the Polish crisis. After December 13, 1981. They have given support to Polish comrades. And not just mental, which was reflected in eg. By Erich Honecker send Wojciech Jaruzelski “fraternal greetings in the fight” in a few days after the introduction of martial law. Support was also more tangible, material dimension, in the form of equipment needed to pacify the demonstrations (including 10 armored personnel carriers, about 360 thousand. Grenades tear, almost 41 thousand. Smoke bombs and more than 20 thousand. Batons). In addition, support STASI Security Service in the fight against the underworld, acting also on Polish territory. Helped eg. Radio transmitters track down the “Solidarity” in Lower Silesia or in Warsaw by training officers SB, and providing them with specialized equipment. SB also supported hardware before the second pilgrimage of John Paul II to the Polish in June 1983., The communist leaders feared panic – lent Cameras, minifons and cameras with specialized lenses. Of course, in connection with the introduction of martial law, the GDR authorities have also taken internal measures, including intensified monitoring and operational activities to groups and communities that were suspected of supporting the Polish opposition.


Federal Republic of Germany


The authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany adopted the imposition of martial law even with relief. In their interpretation was “the lesser evil – in Bonn believed that the solution to the crisis by the Polish communist authorities, no Soviet intervention is the best solution. It was the German government among Western countries led most conciliatory policy towards Polish folk authorities under martial law, and were also the biggest opponent of sanctions against them and advocate for their removal. To become a symbol grows continuously official visit to Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in the German Democratic Republic on 13 December 1981. Definitely harder for the introduction of martial law in Poland responded opposition liberal FDP (Free Democratic Party), the Bureau of 14 December 1981. Demanded his dismissal. The Christian Democrat CDU / CSU criticized the government’s attitude as too soft. Despite these differences in power and the opposition accepted (18 December 1981). Common Position. It called for the release of what is true of internees and continue reforms and dialogue, but neither called for the lifting of martial law, nor even mentioned the name of “Solidarity”. It is true that in the coming months (under the influence of the United States) the position of the West German government has been slightly modified – not they expressed hope for further democratization of the communist regime, but stated that the communist system unable to do so. However, from their point of view, much more important than the suppression of Polish aspirations to democracy have relations with East Germany, so they refrained from explicit condemnation of martial law. Another response to the German authorities on the imposition of martial law was involved in humanitarian aid for Polish – postal delivery to our country have been exempted from the fees, so that the number of packages of clothes and food exceeded 2 million, or seek to release the internees. In October of 1982. Took power in Germany the Christian Democrats – Chancellor Helmut Kohl was. The new government has adopted a sharper rhetoric, including demanded the lifting of martial law and consent for legal opposition activities. He did not intend, however, (at least initially) in practice exacerbate its position on the PRL. With time, however, harder eg. He began to emphasize the need to release political prisoners and respect for human rights in Poland. However, after her pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to the Polish in June 1983. West German policy towards the People’s Republic has become again more conciliatory.


Although the introduction of martial law, the Federal Republic of Germany has also become one of the main directions of the communist political exile, is to make the first (secret) contacts the ruling (Christian Democrats) of “Solidarity” (represented by Arthur Hajnicz, a former journalist “Solidarity Weekly” and his associate editor of Tadeusz Mazowiecki) occurred only shortly before the lifting of martial law – in June 1983.


West German media also (at least initially) have adopted the introduction of martial law with understanding. It was manifested eg. An article in “Die Zeit”, which admittedly does not approve of this move, but at the same time życzono him luck, considering as an alternative to considering the Soviet intervention. By the way, the attitude of German politicians and the media caused outrage ie. .. expelled from the GDR in the East 70s bard and poet (called the “German Bob Dylan”) Wolf Bierma, who accused Wojciech Jaruzelski of unleashing a civil war in Poland.


In the Polish case after 13 December 1981. Supporter involved before December 13, 1981. Unionists from the DGB (German Trade Union Confederation), who not only started humanitarian action “Solidarität myth of Poland”, but also demanded the release of interned and taken by the authorities PRL talks with “Solidarity”.


Grzegorz Majchrzak