1979 – 1988
Decade of bankruptcy. As the crisis grew, so did the number of protests. In the wake of negotiations with the regime, an independent trade union known as Solidarność was established and became a mass opposition movement with 10m members. The outnumbered communist party reacted by declaring martial law. In response, the trade union adopted a policy of nonviolent resistance, bringing the nation to a standstill, which only deepened the economic problems. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was increasingly distracted by its own issues. Unable to control the situation, the regime in Warsaw was eventually forced to back down and negotiate with the opposition.