Władysław Gomułka (Polish: [vwaˈdɨswaf ɡɔˈmuwka]; 6 February 1905 – 1 September 1982) was a Polish communist activist and politician. He was the de facto leader of post-war Poland until 1948. Following the Polish October he became leader again from 1956 to 1970. Gomułka was initially very popular for his reforms; his seeking a "Polish way to socialism"; and giving rise to the period known as "Gomułka's thaw". During the 1960s, however, he became more conservative. Afraid of destabilizing the system, he was not inclined to introduce or permit changes. In the 1960s he supported the persecution of the Catholic Church and intellectuals (notably Leszek Kołakowski, who was forced into exile).