Poland’s Last Communist Leader Dies, Aged 90
Poland’s last Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski has passed away at the age of 90, after years of ailing health.
Jaruzelski will be remembered with introducing martial law in 1981 and ordering the arrest of trade union Solidarity’s leader Lech Walesa. The martial law lasted for 2 years, amidst rising political opposition in the country.
During the Prague Spring of 1968 when the Soviet Union sent tanks into Czechoslovakia, Jaruzelski was Defense Minister of Poland. Polish military units were also deployed in crushing the protests.
Eventually, General Jaruzelski agreed to re-legalize Solidarity and negotiate reforms with the union. In 1990, he resigned as president, and was succeeded by Walesa.