Skip to comments.Poland's Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski Dies at 90
Posted on 05/25/2014 9:47:13 AM PDT by Borges
Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, the communist leader who imposed harsh military rule on Poland in 1981 in an attempt to crush the pro-democracy Solidarity movement but years later allowed reforms that ended up dismantling the regime, has died at age 90.
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A name from the not so distant past.
A Russian dressed in a Polish uniform.
A Russian dressed in a Soviet uniform. Polish uniforms actually are pretty cool-looking.
Having been in Army G-2 during the Polish crisis of 1980-81, Gen. Jaruzelski should be given some credit for what he did. His taking command and actually working with Lech Walensa, saved Poland from being invaded by the Soviets and their East German lackeys. This will probably all come out some day, but there were things going on between Walensa and Jaruzelski that gave Jaruzelski the ability to tell the Soviets to “stay out of Poland.”
Believe me, the Soviets were ready to roll across the border into Poland. Of course that would have brought a full-scale Polish uprising, including the Polish military against the Soviets and East Germans.
That would have been something to see, the brave, and stubborn Poles (I know, I married one) in a rematch vs. U.S.S.R. and Germany. Thanks for the information. May Poland never perish !
Agreed. Poland easily could have experienced what Hungary experienced in 1956. If that would have happened, Walesa would have been shot and Solidarity would have been crushed. Even the Polish army plus the Polish people could not have stopped the Soviet and East German tanks.
So I'm willing to give Jaruzelski the benefit of the doubt here. Perhaps he picked the best out of a number of bad choices.
The Dope and the Pope!
Lean, you posted: “So I’m willing to give Jaruzelski the benefit of the doubt here. Perhaps he picked the best out of a number of bad choices.”
Yes, it was the best of several bad choices. Jaruzelski was a Polish Patriot and wanted to preserve his nation, but not at the cost of having it destroyed by either totally capitulating to the Soviets or in causing a war that would have destroyed the country. And resulting perhaps in another partition of Poland between “Russia & Germany.”
The Czech’s let the Soviet’s know that they were NOT going to be a third invasion front, and did not want the Soviet Divisions in Czechoslovakia to be used either.
In one of those TV biopics of St. John Paul II, Jaruzelski was portrayed as a self-declared Polish “patriot” who was caught between a rock & a hard place at that point in history, and had made some accommodation with the Pope so as not to incur Russia’s wrath. Whether this story line was based on any actual accounts or pure melodrama, who knows
Polish uniforms actually are pretty cool-looking.
Not with Communists wearing them. I lived in Warsaw when Jaruzelski declared martial law. Solidarnosc' was the threat. Cap Weinberger's remark about Jaruzelski being a Russian in a Polish uniform really got Jaruzelski angry. It was the reason why it took years for us to get an Ambassador accepted in Warsaw.
Lookout, the propagandists and useful idiots have arrived to declare the murderer and criminal a “patriot”!
He conducted the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, the suppression of strikes in Poland in 1970, the bloody martial law in 1981, some patriot! Earlier, in the 1940s, he murdered the opponents of the Soviets in Poland.
The atmosphere of endless conflict, misunderstanding, hatred sows mental havoc. The chaos and demoralization took the size of the disaster. History will judge our actions. We need to tie hands of troublemakers. The Council of State in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, introduced martial law throughout the country, today at midnight. We are only a drop in the stream of Polish history. Polish-Soviet alliance is and will remain the cornerstone of the Polish raison d'etat. I appeal to you officers of Civic Militia and Security Service guard the state from the enemy. The hour of ordeal has come.
I lived in Warsaw 1981-83 including during the time martial law was declared. I worked at our embassy. What you are saying is just BS to use an earthy term. This is how Jaruzelski justified his crackdown on the Poles and Solidarnosc'. He was not working with Walesa.
Maybe you do not have any understanding of what is like to live in a police state like Poland under the Communists. This "beneficent, patriotic" Jaruzelski was killing and torturing his own people. Even bread was rationed except for the ruling elites.
Yes, we were privy to reports about the Soviets massing at the borders thus forcing to crack down even harder on Solidarnosc' thru martial law. The idea that Walesa was working with Jaruzelski is ludicrous.
The suppression of the democracy movement resulted in the mass imprisonment of thousands of dissidents, the deaths of dozens and economic stagnation that contributed to the system's eventual undoing. It also pushed many Poles to flee the country and seek exile in the West.
Remember the fate of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko?
I really have a hard time controlling myself when I read the crap about giving Jaruzelski "credit" for anything good. I seriously doubt the Soviets would have invaded Poland. The Poles would fight regardless of the odds and the Soviets knew that. And imagine if the GDR invaded invoking images of the Nazis during WWII.
My term “working” was not in the literal sense, of which you are correct. But things could have been much worse, and this is from my view of reports that were coming from the Embassy, the military attaché’s, and relatives of another watch officer had in several cities in Poland.
I recall the G-3 asking “when will the soviets invade?” My answer was, all of the indicators have been met except for Moscow giving the order to move.” And my years were off, 1980-83 is the correct period.
I’m not making Jaruzelski a saint but just that things could have been worse regarding a Soviet invasion.
I think the CIA has finally declassified some of their HUMINT reporting on this. I’ll have to check the web.
You are spouting the line that Jaruzelski spouted when he met with US diplomats. It is BS and was recognized as such. And the military attaches at the Embassy knew that Jaruzelski was a communist dictator. If you believe various reports post the collapse of the Soviet Union using documents at the time, the Soviets had no intention of invading. In fact, available documents indicate that Jaruzelski actually lobbied for Soviet intervention.
"Historical evidence released under Russian President Boris Yeltsin has been brought to light indicating that the 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."
According to Politburo minutes from 10 December 1981, 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."
Jaruzelski is trying use revisionist history to justify his cruel crackdown on Solidarnosc'. I remember the night it happened and it surprised all of us at the Embassy. Yet, "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 and Bush had agreed with Molczyk that martial law was the lesser of two evils."
I can tell you without equivocation there was no green light from the USG for martial law. Jaruzelski is an inveterate liar and a traitor. He should have been imprisoned.
"On 31 March 2006, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) charged him with committing communist crimes, mainly the creation of a criminal military organization with the aim of conducting crimes (mostly concerned with the illegal imprisonment of people). The second charge involves the incitement of state ministers to commit acts beyond their competence. Jaruzelski has avoided most court appearances citing poor health."
We will see if Jaruzelski gets a hero's funeral from the people of Poland.
Im not making Jaruzelski a saint but just that things could have been worse regarding a Soviet invasion.
I just don't buy the premise or that the brutal crackdown was an act of patriotism. Life was bad enough for the Polish people under Communism, including the SB. Jaruzelski was in charge and should be held accountable for what was done during his regime.
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