The Info List - Wojciech Jaruzelski

Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski (Polish: [ˈvɔjt͡ɕɛx ˈvitɔld̥ jaruˈzɛlskʲi] ( listen); 6 July 1923 – 25 May 2014) was a Polish military officer and politician. He was First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party
Polish United Workers' Party
from 1981 to 1989, and as such was the last leader of the People's Republic of Poland. He also served as Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990 (titled as Chairman of the Council of State from 1985 to 1989 and as President from 1989 to 1990). He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's Army
Polish People's Army
(LWP). He resigned after the Polish Round Table Agreement
Polish Round Table Agreement
in 1989, which led to democratic elections in Poland.


1 Early life 2 Military career 3 Leader of the Polish military government 4 Presidency 5 After retirement 6 Conversion to Roman Catholicism and death 7 Personal life 8 Legacy 9 Written works 10 Honours and awards 11 References 12 Bibliography 13 External links

Early life[edit] Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski was born on 6 July 1923 in Kurów,[1] into a family of Polish gentry.[1][2] He was the son of Wanda (née Zaremba) and Władysław Mieczysław Jaruzelski,[3] and was raised on the family estate near Wysokie (in the vicinity of Białystok). He was educated in a Catholic school during the 1930s.[1]

Jaruzelski (right, in uniform) with Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
(left) in Poland, May 1972

World War II commenced on 1 September 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Germany, aided by the Soviet invasion of Poland
sixteen days later. These resulted in the complete defeat of Poland
by October, and a partition between Soviet and German zones of control. Jaruzelski and his family fled to Lithuania
and stayed with some friends there. However, a few months later, after Lithuania
and the other Baltic states were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union, Jaruzelski and his family were captured by the Red Army
Red Army
and deported to Siberia.[1][4] In 1940 at the age of sixteen,[5] Jaruzelski was sent to the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic,[1] where he performed forced labour in the Karaganda
coal mines. During his labour work he was stricken with snow blindness and suffered permanent damage to his eyes as well as his back.[2] His eye condition forced him to wear dark sunglasses most of the time for the rest of his life, which became his trademark.[4] Jaruzelski's father died in 1942 from dysentery. His mother and sister survived the war (his mother died in 1966). Military career[edit] Jaruzelski was selected by the Soviet authorities for enrollment into the Soviet Officer Training School.[1] During his time in the Kazakh Republic, Jaruzelski wanted to join the non-Soviet controlled Polish exile army led by Władysław Anders,[5] but in 1943,[6] by which time the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was fighting in Europe against Germany in the Eastern Front, he joined the Polish army units being formed under Soviet command.[2] He served in this Soviet-controlled First Polish Army during the war.[1] He participated in the 1945 Soviet military takeover of Warsaw
and the Battle of Berlin.[1] By the time the war ended that year, he had gained the rank of lieutenant.[2] He "further credited himself in Soviet eyes"[1] by engaging in combat against the non-Communist Polish Home Army, from 1945 to 1947.[1] After the end of the war, Jaruzelski graduated from the Polish Higher Infantry School, followed by graduation from the General Staff Academy.[6] He joined Poland's Communist party, the Polish United Workers' Party, in 1948[6] and became an informant for the Soviet supervised Main Directorate of Information of the Polish Army using the cover name Wolski.[7] In the initial post-war years, he was among those who fought the Polish anti-Communists ("cursed soldiers") in the Świętokrzyskie region. A BBC News
BBC News
profile of Jaruzelski states that his career "took off after the departure [from Poland] in 1956 of the Soviet Field Marshal, Konstantin Rokossovsky",[2] who had been Poland's Commander in Chief and Minister of Defence.[2] Jaruzelski became the chief political officer of the Polish armed forces in 1960, its chief of staff in 1964; and Polish Minister of Defense in 1968,[2] four years after he was elected to be a member of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party.[6] He benefited from an antisemitic campaign in the army, during which more than 1000 Jewish officers were demoted or expelled. Even the non-Jewish minister of defence, Marshal Marian Spychalski was persecuted.[8] Jaruzelski obtained his post. In August 1968 General Jaruzelski as the defence minister ordered the 2nd Army under General Florian Siwicki
Florian Siwicki
(of the "LWP") to invade Czechoslovakia, resulting in military occupation of northern Czechoslovakia
until 11 November 1968 when under his orders and agreements with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
his Polish troops were withdrawn and replaced by the Soviet Army. In 1970, he was involved in the successful plot against Władysław Gomułka, which led to the appointment of Edward Gierek
Edward Gierek
as General Secretary of the Polish United Workers Party. There is some question whether he took part in organizing the brutal suppression of striking workers; or whether his orders to the Communist military led to massacres in the coastal cities of Gdańsk, Gdynia, Elbląg
and Szczecin. As Minister of Defense general Jaruzelski was ultimately responsible for 27,000 troops used against unarmed civilians.[9] He claims that he was circumvented, which is why he never apologized for his involvement, but he had an option of resigning open to him, especially after the resignation of foreign minister Adam Rapacki, and Jaruzelski did not.[9] Jaruzelski became a candidate member for the Politburo
of the Polish United Workers' Party, the chief executive body of the party, obtaining full membership the following year.[1] Leader of the Polish military government[edit]

Jaruzelski in 1987

On 11 February 1981, Jaruzelski was named Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister). On 18 October, Stanisław Kania was ousted as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party after a listening device recorded him criticising the Soviet leadership. Jaruzelski was elected his successor, becoming the only professional soldier to become leader of a ruling European Communist party.[4][6]

Jaruzelski in a television studio, preparing to announce the imposition of martial law, 1981

A fortnight after taking power, Jaruzelski met with Solidarity head Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
and Catholic bishop Józef Glemp, and hinted that he wanted to bring the church and the union into a sort of coalition government. However, his intention was to crush Solidarity.[10] As early as September, while he was still merely prime minister, he met with his aides to find an excuse to impose martial law.[10] On 13 December, citing purported recordings of Solidarity leaders planning a coup, Jaruzelski organised his own coup by proclaiming martial law.[4] A Military Council of National Salvation
Military Council of National Salvation
was formed, with Jaruzelski as chairman. A BBC News
BBC News
profile of Jaruzelski contends that the establishment of martial law was "an attempt to suppress the Solidarity movement."[2] According to Jaruzelski, martial law was necessary to avoid a Soviet invasion.[11] In a May 1992 interview with Der Spiegel, Jaruzelski said: "Given the strategic logic of the time, I probably would have acted the same way if I had been a Soviet general. At that time, Soviet political and strategic interests were threatened."[12] However, at a press conference in September 1997 Viktor Kulikov, former supreme commander of Warsaw
Pact forces, denied that the Soviet Union had either threatened or intended to intervene.[13] According to Politburo
minutes from 10 December 1981, Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
stated "We do not intend to introduce troops into Poland. That is the proper position, and we must adhere to it until the end. I don't know how things will turn out in Poland, but even if Poland
falls under the control of Solidarity, that's the way it will be."[14] Jaruzelski also claimed in 1997 that Washington had given him a "green light", stating that he had sent Eugeniusz Molczyk to confer with Vice President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
and Bush had agreed with Molczyk that martial law was the lesser of two evils.[15] Whether this meeting with the American vice president occurred is disputed. While it is erroneously cited, Harvard historian Mark Kramer has pointed out that no documents support Jaruzelski's claim.[16] Jaruzelski was chiefly responsible for the imposition of martial law in Poland
on 13 December 1981 in an attempt to crush the pro-democracy movements, which included Solidarity, the first non-Communist trade union in Warsaw
Pact history. Subsequent years saw his government and its internal security forces censor, persecute, and jail thousands of journalists and opposition activists without charge; others lost their lives during these same events. The resulting socio-economic crisis led to the rationing of basic foods such as sugar, milk, and meat, as well as materials such as gasoline and consumer products, while the median income of the population fell by as much as 10 percent. During Jaruzelski's rule from 1981 to 1989, around 300,000 people left the country.[16] Historical evidence released under Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
has been brought to light indicating that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
did not plan to invade Poland. In fact, Jaruzelski actually tried to persuade the Soviets to invade Poland
in order to support martial law, only to be sternly turned down. This left the Solidarity "problem" to be sorted out by the Polish government (see also Soviet reaction to the Polish crisis of 1980–1981). However, the exact plans of the Soviet Union at that time have never been determined. Jaruzelski, however, has justified cracking down by alleging that the threat of Soviet intervention was quite likely had he not dealt with Solidarity internally. This question, as well as many other facts about Poland
in the years 1945–1989, are presently under the investigation of government historians at the Institute of National Remembrance (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, IPN), whose publications reveal facts from the Communist-era archives. Additionally, there are numerous confirmations from Czech army officers of the time speaking of Operation Krkonoše, plan of armed invasion of Poland, because of which many units of the Czechoslovak People's Army
Czechoslovak People's Army
were stationed on highest alert, ready for deployment within hours.[17] In 1982 he helped reorganize the Front of National Unity, the organization the Communists used to manage their satellite parties, as the Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth.[16] In 1985, Jaruzelski resigned as prime minister and defence minister and became the Chairman of the Polish Council of State — a post equivalent to that of head of state of Poland. However, his power centered on and firmly entrenched in his coterie of "LWP" generals and lower ranks officers of the Polish Communist Army.[16] Presidency[edit]

Jaruzelski with Nicolae Ceaușescu

The policies of Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
stimulated political reform in Poland. By the close of its tenth plenary meeting in December 1988, the Polish United Workers Party was forced by spreading labour unrest to approach leaders of Solidarity for talks.[citation needed] From 6 February to 15 April 1989, negotiations were held between 13 working groups during 94 sessions of the roundtable talks.[1] These negotiations "radically altered the shape "of the Polish government and society",[1] and resulted in an agreement which stated that a great degree of political power would be given to a newly created bicameral legislature. It also restored a post of president to act as head of state and chief executive.[1] Solidarity was also declared a legal organization.[1] During the ensuing partially-free elections, the Communists and their allies were allocated 65 percent of the seats in the Sejm. Solidarity won all the remaining elected seats, and 99 out of the 100 seats in the fully elected Senate were also won by Solidarity-backed candidates.[1] Amid such a crushing defeat, there were fears Jaruzelski would annul the results. However, he allowed them to stand.[18] Jaruzelski won the presidential ballot by one vote on 19 July 1989.[1] Jaruzelski was unsuccessful in convincing Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
to include Solidarity in a "grand coalition"[1] with the Communists. He resigned as first secretary of the PZPR on 29 July 1989.[1][19] Mieczysław Rakowski succeeded him as party leader.[19] The Communists initially intended to give Solidarity a few token cabinet posts for the sake of appearances. However, Wałęsa persuaded the Communists' two allied parties, the United People's Party (ZSL) and the Alliance of Democrats (SD), to break their alliance with the PZPR.[20] Accepting that he would have to appoint a Solidarity member as prime minister, Jaruzelski then asked Wałęsa to select three candidates, one of whom he would ask to form a government. Ultimately, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who had helped organize the roundtable talks, was selected as first non-Communist prime minister of an Eastern Bloc country in four decades.[21] Jaruzelski resigned as president in 1990.[1] He was succeeded by Wałęsa, who had won the presidential election on 9 December. On 31 January 1991, General Jaruzelski retired from the army.[22] After retirement[edit]

Jaruzelski in 2006

In an interview in 2001, Jaruzelski said that he believed Communism failed, and that he was now a social democrat. He also announced his support for then-President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, as well as future Prime Minister Leszek Miller. Both Kwaśniewski and Miller were members of the Democratic Left Alliance, the social democratic party that includes most of the remains of the PUWP.[5] In May 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
awarded a medal commemorating the 60th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
to Jaruzelski. Other former leaders awarded the medal include former Romanian King Michael I.[23] Czech President Václav Klaus
Václav Klaus
criticized this step, claiming that Jaruzelski was a symbol of the Warsaw
Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
in 1968. Jaruzelski said that he had apologized and that the decision on the August 1968 invasion had been a great "political and moral mistake".[24] On 28 March 2006, Jaruzelski was awarded a Siberian Exiles Cross
Siberian Exiles Cross
by Polish President Lech Kaczyński. However, after making this fact public Kaczyński claimed that this was a mistake and blamed the bureaucracy for giving him a document containing 1293 names without notifying him of Jaruzelski's presence within it. After this statement, Jaruzelski returned the cross.[25][26] On 31 March 2006, the Institute of National Remembrance
Institute of National Remembrance
(IPN) charged him with committing Communist crimes, mainly the creation of a criminal military organization with the aim of carrying out criminal acts — mostly concerned with the illegal imprisonment of people. A second charge involved inciting state ministers to commit acts beyond their competence.[26] Jaruzelski evaded most court appearances citing poor health. In December 2010, Jaruzelski suffered from severe pneumonia,[27] and in March 2011, he was diagnosed with lymphoma.[28] His wife Barbara threatened to file for divorce in 2014, saying she had caught his nurse Dorota in a compromising position with him.[29][30][31] Conversion to Roman Catholicism and death[edit]

Jaruzelski's grave at Powązki Military Cemetery
Powązki Military Cemetery
in Warsaw

Jaruzelski died on 25 May 2014, in a Warsaw
hospital after suffering a stroke earlier that month.[32][33][34] Prior to his death, he reportedly requested last rites by a Catholic priest.[35][36] President Bronisław Komorowski
Bronisław Komorowski
and former Presidents Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Aleksander Kwaśniewski
as well as hundreds of other Poles attended his funeral mass at the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army
Field Cathedral of the Polish Army
in Warsaw
on 30 May. Wałęsa and Komorowski, who were among the thousands imprisoned during the crackdown on Solidarity in 1981, both stated that judgment against Jaruzelski "would be left to God".[36][37] Jaruzelski was then cremated and buried with full military honors at Powązki Military Cemetery
Powązki Military Cemetery
in Warsaw, near the grave of Bolesław Bierut, the first Communist leader of Poland
after World War II.[38] The decision to bury Jaruzelski at Powązki, the resting place of Polish soldiers killed defending their country since the early 19th century, resulted in protests.[35] Personal life[edit] Jaruzelski married Barbara Halina Jaruzelska (1931–29 May 2017)[39] in 1961.[40] They had a daughter, Monika who was born on 11 August 1963. Monika has a son, Gustav. Legacy[edit] The BBC reported in 2001 that "for some Poles — particularly the Solidarity generation — he is little short of a traitor",[2] even comparing his philosophy of "a strong Poland
within a Soviet dominated bloc" to Vidkun Quisling's philosophy of a similar status for Norway within the Nazi controlled hemisphere.[citation needed] Meanwhile, opinion polls as of 15 May 2001 suggested that a majority of the Polish people were open to agreeing with his explanation that martial law was implemented to prevent a Soviet invasion.[2] Available documents indicate that Jaruzelski actually lobbied for Soviet intervention.[9] In interviews in Russian media ( Rossiyskaya Gazeta
Rossiyskaya Gazeta
for example) he has been presented as the harbinger of Poland's democracy.[citation needed] Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulić
Slavenka Drakulić
described Jaruzelski as a "tragic believer in Communism
who made a pact with the devil in good faith".[41] Written works[edit] Różnić się mądrze (English translation: To Differ Wisely) (1999).[6] "Być może to ostatnie słowo (wyjaśnienia złożone przed Sądem)" (English translation:"It may be the last word (explanations given in the Court)") (2008). Honours and awards[edit]


 Poland: Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari  Poland: Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta
Order of Polonia Restituta
– 5 November 1948; previously awarded the Knight's Cross  Poland: Order of the Builders of People's Poland  Poland: Order of the Banner of Work, 1st Class  Poland: Order of the Cross of Grunwald, 3rd class — 2 September 1945  Poland: Cross of Valour (twice) – 24 June 1945, 14 January 1946  Poland: Silver Cross of Merit – 20 July 1945  Poland: Silver Medal
"for meritorious Field of Glory" (three times) – 4 February 1945, 27 March 1945, 12 May 1945  Poland: Medal
for taking part in the fighting in defense of people's power  Poland: Medal
of the 10th Anniversary of People's Poland
– 1954  Poland: Medal
of the 30th-Anniversary of People's Poland
– 1974  Poland: Medal
of the 40th-Anniversary of People's Poland
– 1984  Poland: Medal
for Warsaw, 1939–1945 – 1945  Poland: Medal
for Odra, Nysa, the Baltic  Poland: Medal
of Victory and Freedom 1945  Poland: Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland  Poland: Medal
"For participation in the battle for Berlin"  Poland: Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals Medal
"Merit for National Defense" – 1973, 1968 and 1966  Poland: Medal
of the National Education Commission  Poland: Medal
Pro Memoria – 2005  Poland: Gold Badge of them. Janek Krasicki  Poland: Polish State Millennium Badge


 Soviet Union: Order of Lenin
Order of Lenin
(USSR) – 1968 and 1983[42]  Soviet Union: Order of the October Revolution
Order of the October Revolution
(USSR) – 1973  Soviet Union: Order of the Red Banner
Order of the Red Banner
(USSR) – 1978  Soviet Union: Order of Friendship of Peoples
Order of Friendship of Peoples
(USSR) – 1973  Soviet Union: Medal
"For the Capture of Berlin" (USSR)  Soviet Union: Jubilee Medal
"In Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin" (USSR) – 1970  Soviet Union: Medal
"For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" (USSR)  Soviet Union: Jubilee Medal
"Twenty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" (USSR) – 1972  Soviet Union: Badge of the 25th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War 1941–1945 (USSR) – 1970  Soviet Union: Jubilee Medal
"Thirty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" (USSR) – 1975  Soviet Union: Jubilee Medal
"Forty Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" (USSR) – 1985  Soviet Union:Jubilee Medal
"50 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" (USSR) – 1968  Soviet Union: Jubilee Medal
"60 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" (USSR) – 1978  Soviet Union: Jubilee Medal
"70 Years of the Armed Forces of the USSR" (USSR) – 1988  Russia: Medal
of Zhukov (Russia) – 1996  Russia: Jubilee Medal
"50 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" (Russian Federation) – 1995  Russia: Jubilee Medal
"60 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945" (Russian Federation) – 2005 Mongolia: Order of Sukhbaatar (Mongolia) – 1977 Mongolia: Order of Red Banner (Mongolia) – 1983 Bulgaria: Order of Georgi Dimitrov
Order of Georgi Dimitrov
(Bulgaria) – 1983 Bulgaria: Medal
of 30th anniversary of the Bulgarian Armed Forces (Bulgaria) – 1974 Czechoslovakia: Order of Red Banner (CSSR) – 1971 Czechoslovakia: Collars of the Order of the White Lion
Order of the White Lion
(CSSR) – 1978 Czechoslovakia: Order of Klement Gottwald
Order of Klement Gottwald
(CSSR) – 1983  Soviet Union: Medal
"For Strengthening of Brotherhood in Arms" (USSR) – 1979  North Korea: Order Of The National Flag
Order Of The National Flag
(North Korea) – 1977[citation needed]  Cuba: Order of José Marti
Order of José Marti
(Cuba) – 1983  East Germany: Scharnhorst Order
Scharnhorst Order
(GDR) – 1975 Romania: Sash of the Order of the Star of the Socialist Republic of Romania
(Romania) – 1983 Romania: Gold Medal
"Virtutea Ostăşească" (Romania) – 1971 Hungary: Order of Red Banner (Hungary) – 1977 Hungary: Order Flags of Diamond Class I (Hungary) – 1983  Vietnam: Order of the Gold Star (Vietnam) – 1983  Belgium: Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium)
Order of the Crown (Belgium)
– 1967  France: Commander of the Legion of Honour
Legion of Honour
(France) – 1989  Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry
Order of Prince Henry
(Portugal) – 1975  Italy: Knight Grand Cross with Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy) – 1989


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Soviet Union
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Berger, Manfred E. Jaruzelski: Traitor or Patriot? London: Hutchinson, 1990. ISBN 0091744660 Berger, Manfred E., and Zbigniew Bauer. Jaruzelski. Kraków: Oficyna Cracovia, 1991. ISBN 8385104216 Labedz, Leopold. Poland
Under Jaruzelski: A Comprehensive Sourcebook on Poland
During and After Martial Law. New York: Scribner, 1984. ISBN 0684181169 Pelinka, Anton. Politics of the Lesser Evil: Leadership, Democracy, & Jaruzelski's Poland. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1999. ISBN 1560003677 Swidlicki, Andrzej. Political Trials in Poland, 1981–1986. London: Croom Helm, 1988. ISBN 0709944446 Weschler, Lawrence. The Passion of Poland, from Solidarity Through the State of War. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982. ISBN 0394722868

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wojciech Jaruzelski.

Official website Jaruzelski: Selected Speeches Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (December 12, 2006), The Jaruzelski Case: The Ascent of Agent 'Wolski', World Politics Review

Political offices

Preceded by Józef Pińkowski Prime Minister of Poland 11 February 1981 – 6 November 1985 Succeeded by Zbigniew Messner

Preceded by Henryk Jabłoński Chairman of the Council of State 6 November 1985 – 19 July 1989 Succeeded by Himself as President of Poland

Preceded by Ryszard Kaczorowski
Ryszard Kaczorowski
(in Exile) Himself as Chairman of the Council of State President of Poland 19 July 1989 – 22 December 1990 Succeeded by Lech Wałęsa

Party political offices

Preceded by Stanisław Kania First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party 18 October 1981 – 29 July 1989 Succeeded by Mieczysław Rakowski

v t e

Chairmen of the Polish Council of State

Bolesław Bierut Aleksander Zawadzki Edward Ochab Marian Spychalski Józef Cyrankiewicz Henryk Jabłoński Wojciech Jaruzelski

v t e

First Secretaries of the Central Committee of the PZPR

Bolesław Bierut Edward Ochab Władysław Gomułka Edward Gierek Stanisław Kania Wojciech Jaruzelski Mieczysław Rakowski

v t e

Heads of state of Poland

Kingdom of Poland

Provisional Council Regency Council

Republic of Poland (1918–1939)

Józef Piłsudski Gabriel Narutowicz Maciej Rataj
Maciej Rataj
(Acting) Stanisław Wojciechowski Maciej Rataj
Maciej Rataj
(Acting) Ignacy Mościcki

Polish government-in-exile (1939–1990)

Władysław Raczkiewicz August Zaleski Stanisław Ostrowski Edward Raczyński Kazimierz Sabbat Ryszard Kaczorowski

People's Republic of Poland (1944–1989)

Bolesław Bierut Aleksander Zawadzki Edward Ochab Marian Spychalski Józef Cyrankiewicz Henryk Jabłoński Wojciech Jaruzelski

Republic of Poland (1990–present)

Wojciech Jaruzelski Lech Wałęsa Aleksander Kwaśniewski Lech Kaczyński Bronisław Komorowski
Bronisław Komorowski
(Acting) Bogdan Borusewicz
Bogdan Borusewicz
(Acting) Grzegorz Schetyna
Grzegorz Schetyna
(Acting) Bronisław Komorowski Andrzej Duda

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Prime Minister of Poland

Duchy of Warsaw

Stanisław Małachowski Ludwik Szymon Gutakowski Józef Poniatowski
Józef Poniatowski
(acting) Stanisław Kostka Potocki

Kingdom of Poland

Kucharzewski Ponikowski Kanty Steczkowski Świeżyński Wróblewski

Second Polish Republic (1918–1939)

Daszyński Moraczewski Paderewski Skulski Grabski Witos Ponikowski Śliwiński Nowak Sikorski Witos Grabski Skrzyński Witos Bartel Piłsudski Bartel Świtalski Bartel Sławek Piłsudski Sławek Prystor Jędrzejewicz Kozłowski Sławek Zyndram-Kościałkowski Składkowski

Polish government-in-exile (1939–1990)

Sikorski Mikołajczyk Arciszewski Bór-Komorowski Tomaszewski Odzierzyński Hryniewski Mackiewicz Hanke Pająk Zawisza Muchniewski Urbański Sabbat Szczepanik

Polish People's Republic (1944–1989)

Osóbka-Morawski Cyrankiewicz Bierut Cyrankiewicz Jaroszewicz Babiuch Pińkowski Jaruzelski Messner Rakowski Kiszczak Mazowiecki

Third Polish Republic (1989–present)

Mazowiecki Bielecki Olszewski Pawlak Suchocka Pawlak Oleksy Cimoszewicz Buzek Miller Belka Marcinkiewicz Kaczyński Tusk Kopacz Szydło Morawiecki

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Leaders of the ruling Communist parties of the Eastern Bloc

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Vladimir Lenin Joseph Stalin Georgy Malenkov Nikita Khrushchev Leonid Brezhnev Yuri Andropov Konstantin Chernenko Mikhail Gorbachev

Party of Labour of Albania

Enver Hoxha Ramiz Alia

Bulgarian Communist Party

Georgi Dimitrov Valko Chervenkov Todor Zhivkov Petar Mladenov

Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

Klement Gottwald Antonín Novotný Alexander Dubček Gustáv Husák Miloš Jakeš Karel Urbánek

Socialist Unity Party of Germany

Wilhelm Pieck Walter Ulbricht Erich Honecker Egon Krenz

Hungarian Working People's Party Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party

Mátyás Rákosi Ernő Gerő János Kádár Károly Grósz

Polish Workers' Party Polish United Workers' Party

Bolesław Bierut Edward Ochab Władysław Gomułka Edward Gierek Stanisław Kania Wojciech Jaruzelski Mieczysław Rakowski

Romanian Communist Party

Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej Gheorghe Apostol Nicolae Ceaușescu

League of Communists of Yugoslavia

Josip Broz Tito (1980–1990, rotating leadership)

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Revolutions of 1989

Internal background

Era of Stagnation Communism Anti-communism Criticism of communist party rule Eastern Bloc Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
economies Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
politics Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
media and propaganda Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
emigration and defection KGB Nomenklatura Shortage economy Totalitarianism Eastern European anti-Communist insurgencies

International background

Active measures Cold War List of socialist states People Power Revolution Predictions of the dissolution of the Soviet Union Reagan Doctrine Soviet Empire Terrorism and the Soviet Union Vatican Opposition Warsaw
Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia


Uskoreniye Perestroika

Democratization in the Soviet Union Khozraschyot 500 Days Sinatra Doctrine

Glasnost Socialism with Chinese characteristics Đổi mới

Government leaders

Ramiz Alia Nicolae Ceaușescu Mikhail Gorbachev Károly Grósz Erich Honecker János Kádár Miloš Jakeš Egon Krenz Wojciech Jaruzelski Slobodan Milošević Mathieu Kérékou Mengistu Haile Mariam Ne Win Denis Sassou Nguesso Heng Samrin Deng Xiaoping Todor Zhivkov Siad Barre

Opposition methods

Civil resistance Demonstrations Human chains Magnitizdat Polish underground press Protests Samizdat Strike action

Opposition leaders

Lech Wałęsa Václav Havel Alexander Dubček Ion Iliescu Liu Gang Wu'erkaixi Chai Ling Wang Dan Feng Congde Tank Man Joachim Gauck Sali Berisha Sanjaasürengiin Zorig Vladimir Bukovsky Boris Yeltsin Viacheslav Chornovil Vytautas Landsbergis Zianon Pazniak Zhelyu Zhelev Aung San Suu Kyi Meles Zenawi Isaias Afwerki Ronald Reagan George H. W. Bush Pope John Paul II

Opposition movements

Beijing Students' Autonomous Federation Charter 77 New Forum Civic Forum Democratic Party of Albania Democratic Russia Initiative for Peace and Human Rights Sąjūdis Peaceful Revolution People's Movement of Ukraine Solidarity Popular Front of Latvia Popular Front of Estonia Public Against Violence Belarusian Popular Front National League for Democracy National Salvation Front Unification Church political activities Union of Democratic Forces

Events by location

Central and Eastern Europe

Albania Bulgaria Czechoslovakia East Germany Hungary Poland Romania Soviet Union Yugoslavia

Soviet Union

Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus Chechnya Estonia Georgia Latvia Lithuania Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Moldova Russia Tajikstan Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan


Afghanistan Angola Benin Burma Cambodia China Congo-Brazzaville Ethiopia Mongolia Mozambique Somalia South Yemen

Individual events

1988 Polish strikes April 9 tragedy Black January Baltic Way 1987–89 Tibetan unrest Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 Removal of Hungary's border fence with Austria Polish Round Table Agreement Hungarian Round Table Talks Pan-European Picnic Monday Demonstrations Alexanderplatz demonstration Malta Summit German reunification January Events in Lithuania January Events in Latvia 1991 protests in Belgrade August Coup Dissolution of the Soviet Union

Later events

Colour revolution Decommunization Lustration Democratization Economic liberalization Post-Soviet conflicts Neo-Sovietism Neo-Stalinism Post-communism Yugoslav Wars

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History of the Polish People's Republic

1945–48 Early post-war

Recovered Territories Polish population transfers (1944–46) Expulsion of Germans Operation Vistula Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland Polish Committee of National Liberation Provisional Government of National Unity Trial of the Sixteen Cursed soldiers Augustów roundup Polish people's referendum, 1946 Polish legislative election, 1947 Small Constitution of 1947 Amnesty of 1947 Battle for trade Three-Year Plan

1948–56 Sovietisation under Bierut's rule

Polish United Workers' Party Six-Year Plan Collectivization Socialist realism in Poland 1951 Mokotów Prison execution 1952 Constitution Stalinist show trial of the Kraków Curia PAX Association Poznań 1956 protests Polish October
Polish October

1956–70 Gomułka's autarchic communism

Polish legislative election, 1957 Bishops' Letter of Reconciliation 1968 Polish political crisis Warschauer Kniefall 1970 Polish protests

1970–80 Gierek's international opening

1971 Łódź strikes Letter of 59 June 1976 protests Workers' Defence Committee Flying University Lublin 1980 strikes Gdańsk
Agreement Jastrzębie-Zdrój 1980 strikes Solidarity (Polish trade union) Independent Students' Union Rural Solidarity Bydgoszcz events 1981 warning strike in Poland Summer 1981 hunger demonstrations in Poland

1981–89 Jaruzelski's autocratic rule and demise

Martial law in Poland Military Council of National Salvation Pacification of Wujek 1982 demonstrations Fighting Solidarity Federation of Fighting Youth Orange Alternative Polish political and economic reforms referendum, 1987 1988 Polish strikes Polish Round Table Agreement

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 84082670 LCCN: n83059030 ISNI: 0000 0001 1073 5017 GND: 118938398 SELIBR: 191540 SUDOC: 028770501 BNF: cb12053803f (data) NLA: 35807636 NDL: 00468949 NKC: jn20011211083 SN