Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski is a retired Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 military officer and Communist politician. He was the last Communist leader of Poland from 1981 to 1989, Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
The Prime Minister of Poland heads the Polish Council of Ministers and directs their work, supervises territorial self-government within the guidelines and in ways described in the Constitution and other legislation, and acts as the superior for all government administration workers...

 from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's Army (LWP). He resigned from power after the Polish Round Table Agreement
Polish Round Table Agreement
The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from February 6 to April 4, 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.-History:...

 in 1989 led to democratic elections in Poland.

Early life and military career

Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski was born on 6 July 1923 in Kurów
Kurów is a village in south-eastern Poland, located between Puławy and Lublin, on the Kurówka River. It is capital of a separate gmina called Gmina Kurów, within Lublin Voivodeship...

, into a family of gentry. He was raised on the family estate near Wysokie
Wysokie may refer to the following places in Poland:*Wysokie, Lower Silesian Voivodeship *Wysokie, Biała Podlaska County in Lublin Voivodeship *Wysokie, Hrubieszów County in Lublin Voivodeship...

 (in the vicinity of Białystok). He was educated in a Catholic school during the 1930s.
On 1 September 1939, the September Campaign started when Poland was invaded by Germany, with the latter country aided by another invasion
Soviet invasion of Poland (1939)
The 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland was a Soviet military operation that started without a formal declaration of war on 17 September 1939, during the early stages of World War II. Sixteen days after Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet Union did so from the east...

 begun sixteen days later by the Soviet Union. The invasions resulted in the defeat of Poland by the following month, and its partition between Soviet and German control. Jaruzelski and his family fled to Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and stayed with some friends there. However, a few months later, after Lithuania and the other Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union,Jaruzelski and his family were captured by the army of the Soviet Union
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

, and deported to Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. In 1940 at the age of sixteen, Jaruzelski was sent to the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, where he performed forced labour in the Karaganda
Karagandy , more commonly known by its Russian name Karaganda, , is the capital of Karagandy Province in Kazakhstan. It is the fourth most populous city in Kazakhstan, behind Almaty , Astana and Shymkent, with a population of 471,800 . In the 1940s up to 70% of the city's inhabitants were ethnic...

 coal mines. During his labour work, having experienced snow blindness
Snow blindness
Photokeratitis or ultraviolet keratitis is a painful eye condition caused by exposure of insufficiently protected eyes to the ultraviolet rays from either natural or artificial sources. Photokeratitis is akin to a sunburn of the cornea and conjunctiva, and is not usually noticed until several...

, developed permanent damage to his eyes and back. The damage to his eyes forced him to wear dark sunglasses most of the time, which became his trademark.

Jaruzelski's father died in 1942 from dysentery. His mother and sister survived the war (mother died in 1966). Jaruzelski was selected for enrollment into the Soviet Officer Training School by the Soviet authorities. During his time in the Kazakh Republic, Jaruzelski wanted to join the non-Soviet controlled Polish exile army led by Władysław Anders, but in 1943, by which time the Soviet Union was fighting in Europe against Germany in the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

, he joined the Polish army units being formed under Soviet command. He served in the Soviet-sponsored First Polish Army
First Polish Army (1944-1945)
The Polish First Army was a Polish Army unit formed in the Soviet Union in 1944, from the previously existing Polish I Corps as part of the People's Army of Poland . The First Army fought westward, subordinated to the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front, during the offensive against Germany that led to...

 during the war. He participated in the Soviet military takeover of Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 and the Battle of Berlin
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

, both of which occurred in 1945. By the time the war ended that year, he had gained the rank of lieutenant. He "further credited himself in Soviet eyes" by engaging in combat with the Polish Home Army, an anti-communist organization, from 1945 to 1947.

After the end of the war, Jaruzelski graduated from the Polish Higher Infantry School, an event which was followed by a graduation from the General Staff Academy. He joined Poland's communist party, the Polish United Workers Party, in 1948 and started to denounce people for the Soviet supervised Main Directorate of Information of the Polish Army using the cover name Wolski. In the first post-war years, he was among the military fighting the Polish anti-communist guerrillas ("cursed soldiers
Cursed soldiers
The cursed soldiers is a name applied to a variety of Polish resistance movements formed in the later stages of World War II and afterwards. Created by some members of the Polish Secret State, these clandestine organizations continued their armed struggle against the Stalinist government of Poland...

") in the Świętokrzyskie region. A BBC News profile of Jaruzelski says that his career "took off after the departure [from Poland] in 1956 of the Soviet Field Marshal, Konstantin Rokossovsky
Konstantin Rokossovsky
Konstantin Rokossovskiy was a Polish-origin Soviet career officer who was a Marshal of the Soviet Union, as well as Marshal of Poland and Polish Defence Minister, who was famously known for his service in the Eastern Front, where he received high esteem for his outstanding military skill...

", who had been Poland's Commander in Chief and Minister of Defence. Jaruzelski became the chief political officer of the Polish armed forces in 1960, its chief of staff in 1964; and he became the Polish Minister of Defense in 1968, four years after he was elected to be a member of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers Party
Central Committee of the Polish United Workers Party
Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party was the central ruling body of the Polish United Workers' Party, the dominant political party in the People's Republic of Poland .-Functions:...

. He participated in an antisemitic campaign in the army, during which more than 1000 Jewish officers were demoted and expelled from the army. Even the non-Jewish minister of defence Marian Spychalski
Marian Spychalski
Marian "Marek" Spychalski was a Polish architect, military commander, and communist politician.Born to a working-class family in Łódź, he graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology in 1931...

 was persecuted and Jaruzelski obtained his post.

In August 1968 general Jaruzelski as the minister of defense ordered the 2nd Army under general Florian Siwicki
Florian Siwicki
Florian Siwicki is a Polish military officer, diplomat and a communist politician, as well as a General of the Polish Army . Throughout his career he held a number of posts, including military attaché in China, commanding officer of the 2nd Polish Army during the invasion of Czechoslovakia in...

 (of the "LWP" ) to invade Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, resulting in military occupation of northern Czechoslovakia until 11 November 1968 when under his orders and agreements with the Soviet Union his Polish troops were withdrawn and replaced by the Soviet Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. In 1970, he was involved in the successful plot against Władysław Gomułka, which led to the appointment of Edward Gierek
Edward Gierek
Edward Gierek was a Polish communist politician.He was born in Porąbka, outside of Sosnowiec. He lost his father to a mining accident in a pit at the age of four. His mother married again and emigrated to northern France, where he was raised. He joined the French Communist Party in 1931 and was...

 as Communist Party General Secretary. 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
Polish 1970 protests
The Polish 1970 protests were protests that occurred in northern Poland in December 1970. The protests were sparked by a sudden increase of prices of food and other everyday items...

 of Gdańsk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

, Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

, Elbląg
Elbląg is a city in northern Poland with 127,892 inhabitants . It is the capital of Elbląg County and has been assigned to the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship since 1999. Before then it was the capital of Elbląg Voivodeship and a county seat in Gdańsk Voivodeship...

 and Szczecin
Szczecin , is the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. It is the country's seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland on the Baltic Sea. As of June 2009 the population was 406,427....

. As Minister of Defense general Jaruzelski was certainly ultimately responsible for 27,000 troops used against unarmed civilians.He claims that he was circumvented, whch is why he never apologized for his involvement, but he had an option of resigning open to him and didn't. Jaruzelski became a candidate member for the Politburo of the Polish United Workers' Party
Politburo of the Polish United Workers' Party
The Politburo of the Polish United Workers Party was the chief executive body of the ruling Polish Communist apparatus between 1948–1989. Nearly all key figures of the regime had membership in the Politburo. The Politburo of the PUWP typically had between 9-15 full members at any one time...

, the chief executive body of the party, obtaining full membership the following year.

Leader of the Polish military government

On 11 February 1981, Jaruzelski was elected Prime Minister of Poland
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
The Prime Minister of Poland heads the Polish Council of Ministers and directs their work, supervises territorial self-government within the guidelines and in ways described in the Constitution and other legislation, and acts as the superior for all government administration workers...

 and became the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers Party on 18 October the same year. He was the only professional soldier to become leader of a ruling European Communist party.

A fortnight after taking power, Jaruzelski met with Solidarity head Lech Walesa and Catholic primate Józef Glemp, and hinted that he wanted to bring the church and the union in a sort of coalition government. However, he intended all along to crush Solidarity. As early as September, while he was still merely prime minister, he met with his aides to find an excuse to impose martial law. On 13 December, citing recordings of Solidarity leaders planning a coup (which later turned out to be forgeries), Jaruzelski proclaimed martial law
Martial law in Poland
Martial law in Poland refers to the period of time from December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983, when the authoritarian government of the People's Republic of Poland drastically restricted normal life by introducing martial law in an attempt to crush political opposition to it. Thousands of opposition...

. A Military Council of National Salvation
Military Council of National Salvation
The Military Council of National Salvation was a military dictatorship administering the People's Republic of Poland during the period of the martial law in Poland ....

 was formed, with Jaruzelski as chairman. A BBC News
BBC News
BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

 profile of Jaruzelski contends that the establishment of martial law was "an attempt to suppress the Solidarity movement."

According to Jaruzelski, martial law was necessary to avoid a Soviet invasion
An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a...

. In a May 1992 interview with Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

, Jaruzelski said:

However at a press conference in September 1997 Viktor Kulikov
Viktor Kulikov
Viktor Georgiyevich Kulikov was the Warsaw Pact commander-in-chief from 1977 to 1989. He has held the rank of the Marshal of the Soviet Union for over 30 years, since January 14, 1977.Kulikov was born into a peasant family and joined the Red Army in 1939...

, former supreme commander of Warsaw Pact forces, denied that the Soviet Union had either threatened or intended to intervene. According to Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

 minutes from 10 December 1981, Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 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 also claimed in 1997 that Washington had given him a "green light", stating that he had sent Eugeniusz Molczyk to confer with then Vice-President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 and Bush had agreed with Molczyk that martial law was the lesser of two evils. Whether this meeting with the American vice-president occurred is disputed.

Historical evidence released under Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 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 (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
History of Poland (1945–1989)
The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 spans the period of Soviet Communist dominance imposed after the end of World War II over the People's Republic of Poland...

, 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 archive
An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

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
The Czechoslovak People's Army was the army of the Czechoslovak State from 1954 until 1990. On March 14, 1990 the Army's name was changed to the Czechoslovak Army removing adjective "People's" from the name. Since 1955 it was a member force of the Warsaw Pact.- Ground Forces :Ground troops were...

 were stationed on highest alert, ready for deployment within hours.

In 1982 he helped (rather ordered) reorganize the Front of National Unity
Front of National Unity
Front of National Unity or National Unity Front was a Polish communist political organization supervising elections in People's Republic of Poland and also acting as a coalition for the dominant communist Polish United Workers' Party and its allies. It was founded in 1952 as National Front and...

, the organization the Communists used to manage their satellite parties, as the Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth
Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth
Patriotyczny Ruch Odrodzenia Narodowego was a Polish communist organization. It was created in the aftermath of the martial law in Poland...


In 1985, Jaruzelski resigned as prime minister and defence minister and became chairman of the Polish Council of State
Polish Council of State
The Council of State of the Republic of Poland was introduced by the 1947 Small Constitution. It consisted of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Marshal and Vicemarshals of Constituent Sejm, President of the Supreme Chamber of Control and could consist of other members...

 – a post equivalent to that of president 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.


The policies of Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 also stimulated political reform in Poland. By the close of the tenth plenary session in December 1988, the Communist Party was forced, after strikes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

, to approach leaders of Solidarity for talks.

From 6 February to 15 April 1989, negotiations were held between 13 working group
Working group
A working group is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers working on new research activities that would be difficult to develop under traditional funding mechanisms . The lifespan of the WG can last anywhere between a few months and several years...

s during 94 sessions of the roundtable talks
Polish Round Table Agreement
The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from February 6 to April 4, 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.-History:...

. These negotiations "radically altered the shape o"f the Polish government and society", 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 created a new post of president
President of the Republic of Poland
The President of the Republic of Poland is the Polish head of state. His or her rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland....

 to act as head of state and chief executive. Solidarity was also declared a legal organization. During the following Polish elections the Communists were allocated 65 percent of the seats in the Sejm
The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish . It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm ....

, Solidarity
Solidarity is a Polish trade union federation that emerged on August 31, 1980 at the Gdańsk Shipyard under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. It was the first non-communist party-controlled trade union in a Warsaw Pact country. Solidarity reached 9.5 million members before its September 1981 congress...

 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. Jaruzelski won the presidential ballot by one vote on 19 July 1989.

Jaruzelski was unsuccessful in convincing Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity , the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 95.Wałęsa was an electrician...

 to include Solidarity in a "grand coalition" with the Communists, and Jaruzelski resigned his position of general secretary of the Polish Communist Party on 29 July 1989. The Communists' two allied parties broke their long-standing alliance, forcing Jaruzelski to appoint Solidarity's Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Tadeusz Mazowiecki is a Polish author, journalist, philanthropist and Christian-democratic politician, formerly one of the leaders of the Solidarity movement, and the first non-communist prime minister in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.-Biography:Mazowiecki comes from a Polish...

 as the country's first non-Communist prime minister since 1948. Jaruzelski resigned as Poland's leader in 1990. He was succeeded by Wałęsa in December. Subsequently, Jaruzelski faced charges for a number of actions such as murder that he committed while he was Defense Minister during the Communist period.

On 31 January 1991, General Jaruzelski retired from the army service.

After retirement

In an interview conducted in 2001, Jaruzelski said that he believes communism failed, that he is a social democrat, and that he backed Aleksander Kwaśniewski
Aleksander Kwasniewski
Aleksander Kwaśniewski is a Polish politician who served as the President of Poland from 1995 to 2005. He was born in Białogard, and during communist rule he was active in the Socialist Union of Polish Students and was the Minister for Sport in the communist government in the 1980s...

, who at that time was the President of Poland
President of the Republic of Poland
The President of the Republic of Poland is the Polish head of state. His or her rights and obligations are determined in the Constitution of Poland....

, as well as Leszek Miller
Leszek Miller
Leszek Cezary Miller is a Polish central-left-wing politician, leader of the Democratic Left Alliance , Prime Minister of the government of the Republic of Poland in 2001-2004.-Childhood and youth:...

, who would later become the Prime Minister of Poland
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
The Prime Minister of Poland heads the Polish Council of Ministers and directs their work, supervises territorial self-government within the guidelines and in ways described in the Constitution and other legislation, and acts as the superior for all government administration workers...

In May 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 awarded a medal
A medal, or medallion, is generally a circular object that has been sculpted, molded, cast, struck, stamped, or some way rendered with an insignia, portrait, or other artistic rendering. A medal may be awarded to a person or organization as a form of recognition for athletic, military, scientific,...

 commemorating the 60th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 to Jaruzelski. Other former leaders awarded the medal include former Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n King Michael I
Michael I of Romania
Michael was the last King of Romania. He reigned from 20 July 1927 to 8 June 1930, and again from 6 September 1940 until 30 December 1947 when he was forced, by the Communist Party of Romania , to abdicate to the Soviet armies of occupation...

. Czech President Václav Klaus
Václav Klaus
Václav Klaus is the second President of the Czech Republic and a former Prime Minister .An economist, he is co-founder of the Civic Democratic Party, the Czech Republic's largest center-right political party. Klaus is a eurosceptic, but he reluctantly endorsed the Lisbon treaty as president of...

 criticized this step, claiming that Jaruzelski is a symbol of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
On the night of 20–21 August 1968, the Soviet Union and her main satellite states in the Warsaw Pact – Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic , Hungary and Poland – invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in order to halt Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring political liberalization...

 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".

On 28 March 2006, Jaruzelski was awarded a Siberian Exiles Cross by Polish President Lech Kaczyński
Lech Kaczynski
Lech Aleksander Kaczyński was Polish lawyer and politician who served as the President of Poland from 2005 until 2010 and as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005. Before he became a president, he was also a member of the party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość...

. However, after making this fact public Kaczyński claimed that this was a mistake and blamed the bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian 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.

On 31 March 2006, the 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
Imprisonment is a legal term.The book Termes de la Ley contains the following definition:This passage was approved by Atkin and Duke LJJ in Meering v Grahame White Aviation Co....

 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. In December 2010, Jaruzelski suffered from severe pneumonia, and in March 2011, he was diagnosed with lymphoma.


Jaruzelski is a controversial person in Poland. Some people, many of them a part of the "Solidarity generation", have a highly negative opinion of him, believing that Jaruzelski "is little short of a traitor"., even comparing his philosophy of "a strong Poland within a Soviet dominated block" to Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying...

's philosophy of a similar status for Norway within the Nazi controlled hemisphere. Opinion polls, as of 15 May 2001, suggest that a majority of the Polish people are open to agreeing with his explanation that martial law was implemented to prevent a Soviet invasion.

Written works

Jaruzelski, Wojciech (1999). Różnić się mądrze (English translation: To Differ Wisely).
Jaruzelski, Wojciech (2008)."Być może to ostatnie słowo (wyjaśnienia złożone przed Sądem)" (English translation:"It may be my last word (explanations given in the Court)").

Honours and awards

  • Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari
    Virtuti Militari
    The Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war...

  • Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta - November 5, 1948; previously awarded the Knight's Cross
  • Order of the Builders of People's Poland
    Order of the Builders of People's Poland
    Order of the Builders of People's Poland was the highest civil decoration of Poland in the times of the People's Republic of Poland.-History:...

  • Order of the Banner of Labour, 1st Class
  • Cross of Grunwald
    Cross of Grunwald
    Order Krzyża Grunwaldu 1943-1960, Krzyż Grunwaldu 1960-1992 was a military decoration created in November 1943 by the High Command of Gwardia Ludowa, a World War II Polish resistance movement in Poland organised by the Polish Workers Party...

    , 3rd class — Sept. 2, 1945
  • Cross of Valour (twice) - June 24, 1945, January 14, 1946
  • Silver Cross of Merit - July 20, 1945
  • Silver Medal "for meritorious Field of Glory" (three times) - February 4, 1945, 27 March 1945, May 12, 1945
  • Medal for taking part in the fighting in defense of people's power
  • Medal of the 10th-Anniversary of People's Poland
    Medal of the 10th-Anniversary of People's Poland
    The Medal of the 10th Anniversary of People's Poland is a former Polish civil state award established by Council of State on May 23, 1954 to recognize services to the state...

     - 1954
  • Medal of the 30th-Anniversary of People's Poland - 1974
  • Medal of the 40th-Anniversary of People's Poland - 1984
  • Medal for Warsaw, 1939-1945 - 1945
  • Medal for Odra, Nysa, the Baltic
  • Medal of Victory and Freedom 1945
  • Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland
    Medal of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland
    The Medal of the Armed Forces in the Service of the Fatherland is a Polish military decoration, awarded for long service and excellent work in the army. The medal was first established on 26 May 1951, although the detailed rules and grades were revised 1991 and 1995...

  • Medal "For participation in the battle for Berlin"
  • Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals Medal "Merit for National Defense" - 1973, 1968 and 1966
  • Medal of the National Education Commission
  • Medal Pro Memoria - 2005
  • Gold Badge of them. Janek Krasicki
  • Polish State Millennium Badge

  • Order of Lenin
    Order of Lenin
    The Order of Lenin , named after the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union...

     (USSR) - 1968 and 1983
  • Order of the October Revolution
    Order of the October Revolution
    The Order of the October Revolution was instituted on October 31, 1967, in time for the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It was awarded to individuals or groups for services furthering communism or the state, or in enhancing the defenses of the Soviet Union, military and civil...

     (USSR) - 1973
  • Order of the Red Banner
    Order of the Red Banner
    The Soviet government of Russia established the Order of the Red Banner , a military decoration, on September 16, 1918 during the Russian Civil War...

     (USSR) - 1978
  • Order of Friendship of Peoples
    Order of Friendship of Peoples
    The Order of Friendship of Peoples was an order of the Soviet Union, and was awarded to persons , organizations, enterprises, military units, as well as administrative subdivisions of the USSR for accomplishments in strengthening of inter-ethnic and international friendship and cooperation, for...

     (USSR) - 1973
  • Medal for the conquest of Berlin (USSR)
  • Medal "100th anniversary of Lenin's birthday" (USSR) - 1970
  • Medal For the Victory Over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945 (USSR)
  • Medal of the 20th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (USSR) - 1972
  • Badge of the 25th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (USSR) - 1970
  • Medal of 30th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (USSR) - 1975
  • Medal of the 40th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (USSR) - 1985
  • Medal of the 50th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union (USSR) - 1968
  • Medal of the 60th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union (USSR) - 1978
  • Medal of the 70th anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union (USSR) - 1988
  • Medal of Zhukov
    Medal of Zhukov
    The Medal of Zhukov is a medal "which is awarded to military and civilian personnel of the Red Army, the Russian Navy, the NKVD, the Partisans, and members of the underground, for their bravery, perseverance, and courage demonstrated in battle operations against Nazi invaders, Japanese militarists,...

     (Russia) - 1996
  • Medal of the 50th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (Russia) - 1995
  • Medal of the 60th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (Russia) - 2005
  • Order of Suche Bator (Mongolia) - 1977
  • Order of Red Banner (Mongolia) - 1983
  • Order of Georgi Dimitrov (Bulgaria) - 1983
  • Medal of 30th anniversary of the Bulgarian Armed Forces (Bulgaria) - 1974
  • Order of Red Banner (CSSR) - 1971
  • Collars of the Order of the White Lion
    Order of the White Lion
    The Order of the White Lion is the highest order of the Czech Republic. It continues a Czechoslovak order of the same name created in 1922 as an award for foreigners....

     (CSSR) - 1978
  • Order of Klement Gottwald
    Order of Klement Gottwald
    The Order of Klement Gottwald was established by the Czechoslovak government in February 1953. The original name of the Order was "Order of building of socialist homeland"...

     (CSSR) - 1983
  • Medal "for strengthening the friendship of the Armed Forces' degree (CSSR) - 1970
  • Order Of The National Flag (North Korea) - 1977
  • Order of Jose Marti
    Order of José Marti
    The Order of José Marti is a state honor in Cuba.It has been given to:* Salvadore Allende* Nicolae Ceausescu* Owen Arthur* Gustav Husak* Mengistu Haile Mariam* Robert Mugabe* Erich Honecker* Felipe González* Julius Nyerere...

     (Cuba) - 1983
  • Scharnhorst Order
    Scharnhorst Order
    The Scharnhorst Order was the highest medal awarded to the East German National People's Army. It was given for services to military or other strengthening of the German Democratic Republic...

     (GDR) - 1975
  • Sash of the Order of the Star of the Socialist Republic of Romania
    Order of the Star of Romania
    The Order of the Star of Romania is Romania's highest civil order. It is awarded by the President of Romania...

     (Romania) - 1983
  • Gold Medal "Virtutea Ostăşească" (Romania) - 1971
  • Order of Red Banner (Hungary) - 1977
  • Order Flags of Diamond Class I (Hungary) - 1983
  • Order of the Gold Star (Vietnam) - 1983
  • Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium)
    Order of the Crown (Belgium)
    The Order of the Crown is an Order of Belgium which was created on 15 October 1897 by King Leopold II in his capacity as ruler of the Congo Free State. The order was first intended to recognize heroic deeds and distinguished service achieved from service in the Congo Free State - many of which acts...

     - 1967
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
    Order of the Redeemer
    The Order of the Redeemer , also known as the Order of the Savior, is an order of Greece. The Order of the Redeemer is the oldest and highest decoration awarded by the modern Greek state.- History :...

     (Greece) - 1987
  • Commander of the Legion of Honour (France) - 1989
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry (Portugal) - 1975
  • Knight Grand Cross with Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
    Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
    The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic was founded as the senior order of knighthood by the second President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi in 1951...

     (Italy) - 1989

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