For almost two years now the whole world has been watching with fascination the development of the present crisis in Poland that was preceded by economic difficulties brought about by Premier Edward Gierek’s economic program. Gierek attempted to revitalize the Polish economy and modernize Polish industry by borrowing heavily from the West in order to pay for more advanced western technology. His initial plan seemed viable; however, it failed largely because of the mismanagement and the corruptive practices of the party’s bureaucrats. Consequently, as a result of the growing indebtedness to the West, Poland had to increase its exports at the expense of domestic markets, and this led to a rapid decline of the standard of living. It was under these circumstances that the strike in Gdansk began.

Note on the Author

Chester Nowak is Associate Professor of History.