Wojciech Jaruzelski

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Template:Infobox Polish politicians Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski (pronounce: Missing image
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['vɔjtɕεx jaru'zεlski]) (born July 6, 1923) was a communist Polish political and military leader, Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985, head of the Polish Council of State from 1985 to 1989 and President from 1989 to 1990.

Jaruzelski was born into a family of Polish gentry. Following the Nazi-Soviet pact when he was a teenager, he was deported to the Asian part of the Soviet Union, where his father died from lack of medical treatment.

An officer of the Polish Army, he was trained at the Polish Higher Infantry School and the General Staff Academy, and joined the Polish United Workers' Party (the former Polish Communist Party), becoming a member of the Central Committee in 1964. Soon after, he was named the minister of defense.

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Jaruzelski declared martial law (December 13, 1981)

In 1968, he was heavily involved in the "cleansing" of the Polish army as part of Moczar's antisemitic campaign. In the same year, he led the invasion on Czechoslovakia. In 1970, he was involved in the plot against Wladyslaw Gomulka and probably took part in organization of the massacre in the coastal cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, Elblag and Szczecin.

Jaruzelski became the party's national secretary and prime minister in 1981, when Lech Wałęsa's Solidarity movement was starting to gain popularity, both within Poland and abroad. On 13th December 1981 Jaruzelski imposed martial law. According to his explanation, this action was intended to prevent a Soviet invasion. Most former opposition members argue that it was merely the action of Polish communist regime organized in order to keep control of the power and strangle newly-born and developing civil society. However, historical evidence has been brought to light indicating that the Soviet Union did not plan to invade Poland; in fact, the Soviets strictly rejected Jaruzelski's request for military help in 1981, leaving the Solidarity problem to be sorted out by Polish comrades. This question, as well as many other facts about Poland 1945-1989, are presently under the investigation of independent historians grouped in National Memory Institute (Instytut Pamieci Narodowej, IPN), whose publications reveal facts from communist archives.

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Jaruzelski_Castro_1972.jpg
Jaruzelski with Fidel Castro (Poland, May 1972)
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Jaruzelski on the TIME magazine cover, December 28, 1981. Headline: 'Poland's ordeal: The darkness descends

The policies of Mikhail Gorbachev also stipulated political reform in Poland. By the close of the 10th plenary session in December 1988, the Communist Party had decided to approach leaders of Solidarity for talks. From February 6 to April 15, talks of 13 working groups in 94 sessions, which became known as the "roundtable talks," radically altered the shape of the Polish government and society. The talks resulted in an agreement to vest political power in a newly created bicameral legislature and in a president who would be the chief executive. Solidarity was legalized. After the elections, the Communists, who were guaranteed 65 percent of the seats in the Sejm (the parliament), did not win a majority, and Solidarity-backed candidates won 99 out of 100 freely contested seats in the Senate. Jaruzelski, whose name was the only one the Communist Party allowed on the ballot for the presidency, won by just one vote in the National Assembly.

Although Jaruzelski tried to persuade Solidarity to join the Communists in a "grand coalition," Wałęsa refused. Jaruzelski resigned as general secretary of the Communist Party but found he was forced to come to terms with a government formed by Solidarity. In 1990 Jaruzelski resigned as Poland's leader and was succeeded by Wałęsa in December. Subsequently, Jaruzelski has faced charges for a number of actions he committed while he was defense minister during the communist period.

See also


Preceded by:
Jzef Pinkowski
Prime Minister of Poland
1981–1985
Succeeded by:
Zbigniew Messner
Preceded by:
Stanislaw Kania
General Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party
1981–1989
Succeeded by:
Mieczyslaw Rakowski
Preceded by:
Henryk Jablonski
Chairman of the Council of State
1985–1989
Succeeded by:
became President
Preceded by:
Council of State
President of Poland
1989–1990
Succeeded by:
Lech Walesa

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External links

fr:Wojciech Jaruzelski ja:ヴォイチェフ・ヤルゼルスキ nl:Wojciech Jaruzelski pl:Wojciech Jaruzelski sv:Wojciech Jaruzelski

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