Seven months after the assassination attempt, Poland’s General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law and arrested thousands of Solidarity activists, but themovement’s networks were by then so deeply established that, encouraged by the pope’s rapid recovery and his further visits to Poland, Solidarity was able to persevere. In 1989 the communists asked for negotiations with the trade union. This was followed within months by the dissolution of the Soviet bloc and, eventually, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. In December 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet premier to visit the Vatican.
In the wake of the fall of Soviet communism, John Paul inveighed at times against excesses that can accompany political freedom. In Poland he criticized the appearance of Western-style materialism, pornography, and state support for abortion. During other travels abroad, he used the term “culture of death” to encompass the practice of abortion and euthanasia, the indifference to suffering he said may stem from unbridled capitalism and consumerism, and the belief, which he says can be encouraged by electronic technologies, that people can manipulate their own happiness.
In 1995, with the Cold War over, John Paul summarized his geopolitical campaigns in an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on its 50th anniversary by saying he was trying to help the world evolve from “a century of violent coercion” to a century of persuasion.” He said the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been crucial to the success of what he called “the nonviolent revolutions of 1989″ (the peaceful overthrow of communism) but that the UN now had another great task: the creation of a declaration of rights for individual nations and groups- including by implication religious groups. This message signaled a shift away from his focus on international political realignment to a concern with improving relations between the world’s religions.
“Pope John Paul II”, Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Recipient of U Thant Peace Award, 1998 from Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations