Martial law in Poland was declared in the period between 13 December 1981 and 22 July 1983. The government of the Polish People's Republic drastically restricted everyday life by introducing martial law and a military junta in an attempt to counter political opposition, in particular the Solidarity movement. Thousands of opposition activists were imprisoned without charge, and as many as 91 killed. Although martial law was lifted in 1983, many political prisoners were not released until a general amnesty in 1986.
Since the 1970s, communist Poland was in a deep economic recession. First Secretary Edward Gierek took out a series of large loans from western creditors to achieve a better economic output that instead resulted in a domestic crisis. Essential goods were being heavily rationed, which acted as a stimulus to establish a first anti-communist trade union in the Eastern Bloc, known as Solidarity, in 1980. Gierek, who permitted the trade union to appear per the Gdańsk Agreement, was dismissed from his post less than a month later under pressure from the USSR and confined to house arrest.