In 1958, a temporary truce with the Catholic Church was interrupted. Power sought to atheize
the society. The war for the "government of souls" broke out with a new force and its
culmination was seen in 1966 when the Church celebrated the Millennium of Polish Baptism
and the authorities organized a competitive celebration of the Millennium of the Polish State.
In 1967, after the defeat of the Arab states supported by the Soviet Union in the war against
Israel, a campaign against people of Jewish origin was launched. Gomułka's position
weakened not only because he did not pay off the credit he had taken from society, but also as
a result of internal party games. On January 30, 1968, a student demonstration against the
party's cultural policy took place. It was dispersed by the militia units, but in March the
protests, organised mainly by student circles, covered most of the large cities. They were
often violently eradicated, and their participants repressed.
Also, in 1968, the Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia in order to stifle the "counter-
revolution" (as it was called the attempts to build "socialism with a human face" in that
country). This was a clear signal to the countries of popular democracy that no attempts at
reforming the socialist system could be made without the approval of the Soviet Union.
In December 1970, further social turmoil developed, this time in economic terms. In response
to the rise in food prices just before Christmas, workers on the coast organised numerous
strikes and demonstrations. Like in Poznań in 1956, the working power opened fire on the
workers. A total of 45 people died and more than 1,000 were injured. The so-called December
events caused the collapse of Gomułka's rule. Edward Gierek was appointed the First
Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Communist Party.