Popular Army

The Polish military is a rare institution in the Communist East bloc: a People's Army that is truly popular. The 319,500 members of the three major armed forces, the largest non-Soviet military group within the Warsaw Pact, have a tradition of austere professionalism, which stands in stark contrast to the corruption that has plagued Poland's civilian bureaucracy and angered the people. A recent national poll showed that civilians ranked the army third in favor among the country's institutions, just behind the Roman Catholic Church and Solidarity. (The party came in a poor sixth, trailing even the hated police.) During the riots...

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