Publish Date: June 18, 1979
Cover Story: A Triumphal Return
How TIME Covered the News: Any pope can draw a crowd, but when Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to Poland — the first visit by a pontiff to a Communist-ruled country — he sparked the embers of revolution. Followed by throngs of admirers during his three-dozen public events, the Pope’s message of unity and faith led to the rise of Poland’s Solidarity movement the following year.
“It was a performance unique in the annals of the papacy. In all, John Paul made an astonishing three dozen public appearances. When he took to helicopters, often to go quickly to meet with work-worn peasants, a thousand journalists struggled to follow. Wherever he went, the people had walked and driven for miles, and then stood for hours, shoulder to shoulder, some even dropping in exhaustion, merely to glimpse the man.”
Next 1979 – Deng Xiaoping