Primary Sources

Brezhnev and the Warsaw Pact


In August 1980, a worker's strike in Poland led to a compromise known as the Gdansk Agreement, in which the Communist government agreed to allow democratic changes within the government, including the legal formation of a worker's union—which became Solidarity. This agreement may have brought stability inside Poland, but created a strong reaction from the Soviet Union. The following is a report to the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party about the recent agreement of the Warsaw Pact to stop all political changes in Poland. Stanislaw Kania, the Polish Party Secretary, and Brezhnev gave speeches at the meeting. In this excerpt, Kania is apologetic for the recent events in Poland, but Brezhnev is inspirational for demanding a crackdown on "antisocialist forces," in other words, Solidarity.


CPSU CC Politburo, "On the Results of a Meeting Among Leading Officials of the Warsaw Pact Member-States, in Moscow," 5 December 1980, Cold War International History Project, Virtual Archive, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

Primary Source—Excerpt

All the comrades have read the communiqué that was published in the press. I must say that the decision to hold a meeting among leading officials from the Warsaw Pact member-states was extremely timely. The meeting featured a very thorough exchange of views. Representatives of the states—that is, the first secretaries of the Communist and workers' parties—offered thorough presentations. I should say that the speech by Comrade Kania was impressive overall. Of course he might have dealt with certain matters a bit more pointedly. However, if you generally compare the speech by Comrade Kania with the statement he made to his Politburo and at the plenum back in Poland, he was more self-critical, more vibrant, and more incisive. The most important thing is that the Polish comrades understand the great danger hanging over Poland, and that they are aware of the great damage done by antisocialist elements and the grave threat posed to the socialist gains of the Polish people....

The keynote speech by L[eonid] I[l'ich] Brezhnev was received with great interest and attention. It was very well thought-out, with all the necessary instructions for the [Polish Communist Party] and the Polish comrades; and, as the Polish comrades themselves said, Leonid Il'ich's speech was an inspiration for them. The leaders and representatives of the other parties also offered high praise for the speech by Comrade. Brezhnev.

How to Cite this Source

M. A. Suslov, "Brezhnev and the Warsaw Pact," Making the History of 1989, Item #253, (accessed May 28 2021, 3:27 pm).

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