|First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party|
6 September 1980 – 18 October 1981
|Preceded by||Edward Gierek|
|Succeeded by||Wojciech Jaruzelski|
8 March 1927 |
|Political party||Polish United Workers' Party|
Life and career
Kania was born in Wrocanka (now in Jasło County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship). He joined the anti-Nazi resistance at the age of 17 in 1944 and then the Polish Communist Party in 1945 when German Nazis were driven out by the Red Army and Polish Communists began to take control of the country. He remained involved in communist youth activities and attended the Party school, graduating in 1952.
Kania rose through the ranks of the party, becoming a full member of the politburo in 1975. After Edward Gierek was forced to resign as General Secretary amidst much social and economic unrest, Kania was elected his successor on 6 September 1980. He admitted that the party had made many economic mistakes, and advocated working with Catholic and trade unionist opposition groups. He met with Solidarity Union leader Lech Wałęsa, and other critics of the party.
Though Kania agreed with his predecessors that the Communist Party must maintain control of Poland, he never assured the Soviets that Poland would take a tougher line against Solidarity. The final straw for Moscow came when a KGB bug caught Kania criticizing the Soviets for continuing to rely on an economic model that "failed the test," saying it could cost them any advantage they had over the United States. Within days, the Soviets forced Kania to resign as general secretary. He was replaced by Prime Minister Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski.
- Sebetsyen, Victor (2009). Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. New York City: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-375-42532-2.
|Party political offices|
|General Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party
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