to Poland in 1980?
If they don't understand that we are bringing them mathematically
flawless happiness, it is our duty to force them to be happy.
But before we use our weapons, we will try words.
—Yevgeny Zamyatin, We
THE EMERGENCE OF THE SOLIDARITY independent trade union in Poland was unquestionably the most important event in the history of the Soviet bloc since the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. Moscow's decision to crush the Prague Spring had effectively shattered popular support for the reform of communist rule in Eastern Europe. In 1980 the Solidarity crisis began the final transformation of East European civil society away from communism, ending in its final collapse nine years later. Fundamental to this process was the simultaneous movement of Soviet bloc policy away from socialist internationalism. The civil war in Afghanistan and explosion of religious nationalism in Poland had begun to demonstrate that the costs of internationalist commitments were at times sharply at variance with Soviet national interests. Consequently, the transformation of Polish labor unrest into a national opposition movement during the summer and fall of 1980 raised important questions for the Soviet leadership. 1 Was this the start of an antisocialist "counter- revolution" in Poland? If so, what were its prospects for success, both in Poland and elsewhere in the region? Could the Polish Communist Party be trusted to manage the situation itself? If not, what were the likely consequences of a Warsaw Pact intervention? Finally, and most important, was it in the best interests of the Soviet Union to absorb those consequences in support of communist rule in Poland? The newly available evidence suggests that in the early months of the crisis provisions were made to bring as many as eleven additional divisions to battle-ready status to assist the Northern Group of Forces in a conceivable invasion of Poland. Ultimately, however, only a fraction of these were actually mobilized by the end of 1980 as Soviet initiatives focused on encouraging, threatening, and cajoling Poland's communist government into crushing the Solidarity movement itself with a minimum of allied assistance. Meanwhile, the Soviets worked to contain the spread of the movement, lest similar unrest compromise the already fragile domestic stability of the Soviet Union.