A DEPICTION OF THE SITUATION IN POLAND IN 1980-1981 IN THE BRITISH PRESS (Obraz sytuacji w Polsce w latach 1980--1981 w swietle opiniotwórczej prasy brytyjskiej)
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The events transpiring in Poland during the early 1980s echoed widely not only in countries at the time under the impact of the Soviet Union but also in Western Europe. The United Kingdom, which at the end of the 1970s held first place as regards the number of published periodicals, devoted much attention to those developments. An analysis of two popular and respected dailies - 'The Times' and 'The Guardian', as well as two weeklies - 'Spectator' and 'The Economist' clearly confirms this trend. A total of over 1000 articles, often extensive and detailed, issued by both dailies in more than ten months, and almost a hundred in the two weeklies, testifies to the rank attributed to Polish questions of the period. The British press widely discussed the conduct of Polish society, the stance of the communist authorities, and the attitude of the Catholic Church, as well as that of the Kremlin towards the changing situation. From the very onset of the strikes, the journalists tried to discover the reasons for the August events and their possible outcome not only for Warsaw but also for Moscow and the whole eastern bloc. Among the myriad problems considered by British periodicals interested in events in Poland, the most relevant was the stand assumed by the Soviet Union towards the spreading 'Polish virus'. The British journalists also represented the opinion that the Kremlin, whose position in Eastern Europe had been undermined, would embark upon steps similar to those in Hungary in 1956 or in Czechoslovakia in 1968 in order to halt the further growth of the 'Polish virus'.
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