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Wladyslaw Gomulka

Wladyslaw Gomulka (February 6, 1905-September 1, 1982) was a Polish communist leader. He was a member of the communist party starting with 1926. In the years 1951-1954 he was imprisoned and removed from the Polish United Worker's Party (post-war communists). In 1956 he was rehabilitated and chosen the leader of the party. Initially very popular for his reforms, he gradually softened his opposition to Soviet pressures. In the 1960s he supported struggle against the church and some party intellectuals (e.g. Kolakowski). He supported Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia (1968). At that time he was also responsible for persecution of students and tougher censorship of the media. In 1968 he incited, however he later claimed not deliberately, the Anti-Zionist campaign that was one of the outcomes of the Soviet bloc stand in aftermath of the 6-days war. In December 1970, a bloody clash with shipyard workers forced his resignation. A dynamic younger man, Edward Gierek, took over the party leadership. Gomulka was forced to retire. After his death in 1982, his name was partly cleared and his constructive contributions recognized.