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    Polish Presidents series: The fifth President of the Republic of Poland, Wojciech Jaruzelski

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    From now, on our website, you can find the Polish Presidents series. We are pleased to introduce to you the fifth president of the Republic of Poland, Wojciech Jaruzelski.


    Wojciech Jaruzelski was a Polish military officer and politician who served as the fifth President of the Republic of Poland from 1989 to 1990. He was born on July 6, 1923, in Kurów, Poland, and died on May 25, 2014, in Warsaw.

    Jaruzelski began his military career during World War II, serving in the Polish Armed Forces in the East, which was created by the Soviet Union. After the war, he became a member of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) and rose through the ranks of the Polish military. In 1981, he was appointed the General Secretary of the PZPR and the Prime Minister of Poland.

    He is best known for his role in declaring martial law in Poland on December 13, 1981, in an attempt to suppress the Solidarity movement, which was a trade union and social movement that was demanding greater political freedoms and workers’ rights. During the martial law period, thousands of Solidarity members were arrested, and the movement was officially banned.

    On the night of December 12-13, 1981, the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic imposed martial law throughout the country. In 2002, the Sejm of the 4th term declared December 13 as the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Martial Law. Watch our video to learn more about this day in Polish history.

    After a turbulent period of political and economic reforms, Jaruzelski stepped down as Prime Minister in 1985 but remained in power as the General Secretary of the PZPR. He continued to play a leading role in Polish politics until 1989 when he was elected as the President of the Republic of Poland.

    As President, Jaruzelski played a key role in overseeing the transition of Poland from a communist state to a democratic one. He worked to ensure that the political reforms were carried out peacefully and helped to establish a new constitution and democratic institutions.

    A controversy

    Despite his efforts to bring about political change, Jaruzelski remains a controversial figure in Poland. Some view him as a necessary figure who helped to prevent a Soviet invasion of Poland in the 1980s, while others view him as a repressive leader who was responsible for the suppression of the Solidarity movement and the imposition of martial law.

    In conclusion, Wojciech Jaruzelski was a key figure in Polish politics during a time of significant change and upheaval. While his legacy remains divisive, there is no doubt that his leadership played a critical role in the transition of Poland from a communist state to a democratic one.

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