The Pope in Poland

pope-poland-jaruzelski

In 1981, the streets of Warsaw were guarded by tanks and lined with small bonfires to warm the hands of military patrols. On Dec. 13, 1981, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Poland’s Prime Minister, imposed martial law, initiating a brutal 19-month crackdown on the pro-democracy Solidarity trade-union movement in which an estimated 90 people were killed and 10,000 detained. This series of events greatly bothered Pope John Paul II, himself a pope.

So, in June 1983, he travelled to Poland. On 17th June, at Belvedere Palace, the official residence of the Prime Minister, he met with Premier Jaruzelski. The pope traveled to his home country to support a revolt against communism and movement for democracy led by Lech Walesa. Jaruzelski himself was a moderate (when compared to the other communist leaders of the Eastern Europe) and the papal gesture combined with the moderates on the both of the conflicts led to the Round Table Talks that eventually led to the democratization of Poland in 1989.

3 thoughts on “The Pope in Poland

  1. “himself a pope.”
    Indeed, I assume you mean Pole.

    Great blog, I’m been going through the archives for the past couple of days, keep up the good work.

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