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12. The Party at War with Itself

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Chapter Summary

Solidarity had come to represent the nation in a far meaningful way than the Communist Party ever had. In the unusual situation of mass upheaval that confronted the Polish state from August 1980 until the military coup in December 1981, the Party/state was limited in its options for a lengthy period. Therefore, it was not free simply to choose whether to repress or not, and instead was forced to struggle with the new social support that enjoyed by Solidarity. This struggle took place not just between Solidarity and the Party, but also within the Party itself. Sometimes, the Party apparatchiks took action against the union on their own. The Bydgoszcz events were just as pivotal to the conflict within the Party, whose divisions became deeper and visible. After the Party Congress, the opposition movement within the Party had been contained, leaving party conservatives freer to continue its offensive against Solidarity.

Keywords:Bydgoszcz; Communist Party; Party Congress; Solidarity; war

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