Kingdom of Poland (1917–1918)

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Kingdom of Poland
Königreich Polen  (German)
Królestwo Polskie  (Polish)
1917–1918
Flag of Poland (1919-1928).svg
Flag
Godlo Krolestwa Polskiego (1916-1918).svg
Coat of arms
Poland 1918.png
Status Client / puppet state
of the German Empire
Capital Warsaw
Common languages
Government Regency
King  
 1917–1918
Vacant
Head of State  
 14 Jan – 25 Aug 1917
Council of State a
 1917–1918
Regency Council a
Prime Minister  
 Nov 1917 – Feb 1918
Jan Kucharzewski
 27 Feb – 4 Apr 1918
Antoni Ponikowski
 4 Apr – 23 Oct 1918
Jan Kanty Steczkowski
 23 Oct – 5 Nov 1918
Józef Świeżyński
 4–11 Nov 1918
Władysław Wróblewski
Historical era World War I
5 November 1916
 Established
14 January 1917
3 March 1918
  Armistice
11 November 1918
Currency
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Germany (1867-1918).svg Government General of Warsaw
Second Polish Republic Flag of Poland (1919-1928).svg
  1. Ruled as collective heads of state.

The Kingdom of Poland (Polish : Królestwo Polskie, German : Königreich Polen), also known informally as the Regency Kingdom of Poland (Polish : Królestwo Regencyjne), was a short-lived polity and client state of the German Empire during World War I. [1] It was situated within the Government General of Warsaw.

Contents

The decision to propose the restoration of Poland after a century of partitions was taken up by the German policymakers in an attempt to legitimize further imperial omnipresence in the occupied territories. The plan was followed by the German propaganda pamphlet campaign delivered to the Poles in 1915, claiming that the German soldiers were arriving as liberators to free Poland from subjugation by the Russian Empire. [2] However, in reality, the German military also wanted to annex around 30,000 square kilometers of the territory of former Congress Poland and carry out ethnic cleansing up to 3 million Poles and Jews to make room for German colonists in the so-called Polish Border Strip plan. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] The German government used punitive threats to force Polish landowners living in the German-occupied Baltic states to relocate and sell their Baltic property to the Germans in exchange for entry to Poland. Parallel efforts were made to remove Poles from Polish territories of the Prussian Partition. [8]

Following the Armistice of 11 November 1918 signed by the Allies with imperial Germany, which ended World War I, the area became part of the nascent Second Polish Republic.

Early plans

With onset of war in 1914, for the purposes of securing Germany's eastern border against the Russian imperial army, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, the German chancellor, decided on the annexation of a specific strip of land from Congress Poland, known later on as the Polish Border Strip. In order to avoid adding the Polish population there to the population of imperial Germany, it was proposed that the Poles would be ethnically cleansed to a proposed new Polish state further east, while the strip would be resettled with the Germans. [9] [10]

German Emperor Wilhelm II conceived of creating a dependent Polish state from territory conquered from Russia. This new autonomous Kingdom of Poland would be ruled by a German prince and have its military, transportation, and economy controlled by Germany. Its army and railway network would be placed under Prussian command. [1]

Similar plans were advanced by influential German intellectuals in the early years of the war. Among them were Hans Delbrück, Friedrich Naumann, and Paul Rohrbach. They generally argued that because Polish nationalism and Polish society were so highly developed, Germany would encounter severe resistance if they attempted to annex large territories in Poland. They concluded that Germany could only effectively project power into Poland by establishing an autonomous Polish state as a German protectorate. [11]

During the first year of the war, German and Austrian troops quickly conquered the Russian Vistula Land, the former Congress Poland, and in 1915, divided its administration between a German Governor General in Warsaw and an Austrian counterpart in Lublin. [1]

In several memoranda sent during 1915 and 1916, Hans Hartwig von Beseler, the Governor-General of the Polish areas under German control, proposed the establishment of an independent Polish state. Under the influence of General Erich Ludendorff, then in effect the director of Germany's eastern European operations, this proposal included the annexation of considerable amounts of land by Germany, Lithuania, and Austria-Hungary. Gerhard von Mutius, the cousin of Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg and the foreign office's representative at Beseler's headquarters, disputed the use of annexation, insisting that "if the military interests allow for it, divisions and secessions should be avoided", as such a policy would secure an "anti-Russian inclination [toward] the new Poland". [1]

Austria-Hungary

Austria-Hungary had three different ideas regarding Poland. One, the "Austro-Polish Solution", involved the creation of a Polish kingdom under the Emperor of Austria, who, among his other titles, was already King of Galicia and Lodomeria. German and Magyar (Hungarian) elements within the Habsburg monarchy opposed such a move for fear of creating a predominantly Slavic area. Unlike Emperor Francis Joseph, however, Charles I of Austria, who had acceded to the Habsburg thrones in 1916, promoted the idea. The other two ideas involved the division of the former Congress Poland between Germany and Austria-Hungary, or between Austria-Hungary and a state built from Lithuania, Belarus and the remnants of Congress Poland. [12]

The Austrians, however, had underestimated Germany's desire to determine Poland's fate. [13] They did recognise, according to Prime Minister Karl von Stürgkh, that "Poles will remain Poles [...] even 150 years after Galicia was joined to Austria, Poles still didn't become Austrians". [14] It was clear to Austrian politicians that the creation of a Polish state along the lines intended by Germany would mean the loss of Galicia, so they proposed its partition and the formation of East Galicia as an Austrian province. [1]

Of the candidates for the new Polish throne, Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria (Polish : Karol Stefan) and his son Charles Albert were early contenders. Both resided in the Galician town of Saybusch (now Żywiec) and spoke Polish fluently. Charles Stephen's daughters were married to the Polish aristocrats Princes Czartoryski and Radziwiłł.

By early 1916, the "Austro-Polish Solution" had become hypothetical. Erich von Falkenhayn, the German Chief of the General Staff, had rejected the idea in January, followed by von Bethmann-Hollweg in February. Von Bethmann-Hollweg had been willing to see an Austrian candidate on the new Polish throne, so long as Germany retained control over the Polish economy, resources and army. [15]

German candidates for the throne were disputed between the royal houses of Saxony, Württemberg and Bavaria. [16] Bavaria demanded that their Prince Leopold, the Supreme Commander of the German forces on the Eastern front, become the new monarch. [17] Württemberg's candidate Duke Albrecht was considered suitable for the throne because he belonged to the Catholic line of the house. [18] The Saxon House of Wettin's claim to the Polish throne was based on Frederick Augustus I of Saxony, who was made Duke of Warsaw by Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars, and also to the election of Augustus II the Strong as the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1697. [19]

German aims

Archduke Charles Stephen (Karl Stephan) in 1917 Karl Stephan Austria 1860 1933 photo1917.jpg
Archduke Charles Stephen (Karl Stephan) in 1917

During the German military campaign in the ethnically Polish territory, Poles were subjected to forced labour and confiscation of food and private property. [20] Although early plans called for an Austro-Polish solution, they were abandoned by the German Chancellor in February 1916 in the face of growing dependence of Austria-Hungary on Germany. [21] Both control over Polish economy and raw resources was to be in Germany's hands and Germany would also be in total control over the Polish army.

The borders of this "autonomous" Poland were to be changed in favour of Germany with the annexation of the so-called "Polish Border Strip" which would lead to the annexation of considerable parts of Polish territory that had been part of the Russian partition of Poland. By the end of 1916, Germany wanted to annex almost 30,000 square kilometres of Polish territory. These lands were to be settled by ethnic Germans, while the Polish and Jewish population was to be removed. [22]

After the expected victory the Polish economy was to be dominated by Germany and preparations were made for German control over the Polish railway system, shipping in the Vistula and industrial areas in Dąbrowa basin, Radom and Kielce. [23]

Such plans were also proposed by members of the German minority in Poland in the Łódź area, who protested the Act of 5th November, and in a letter to the German government demanded the annexation of western Poland by Germany and settlement of ethnic Germans in those areas. [24] [25]

Proclamation promising creation of Poland

After the German offensive failed in the Battle of Verdun and Austria suffered military setbacks against Italy, Generals von Hindenburg and Ludendorff, now supreme commanders of the German military and increasingly the dominant force over the politics of both Germany and Austria, changed their positions on Poland: having previously considered Poland as a bargaining card in the event of a separate peace with Russia, they now postulated the establishment of a German dependency, hoping that the creation of a Polish army could replace the Central Powers' losses. In October 1916, at joint deliberations at Pszczyna, the German and Austrian leadership agreed to accelerate the proclamation promising the creation of a Polish state in the future. [1]

Governors-General Beseler (first from left) and Kuk (second from left) in 1916 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2007-1001-500, Warschaus Generalgouverneur in Lublin.jpg
Governors-General Beseler (first from left) and Kuk (second from left) in 1916
Occupation of the Kingdom of Poland during World War I:
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German Empire
Occupied (from Russia) by Germany
Austria-Hungary
Occupied (from Russia) by Austria-Hungary
Russian Empire OkupacjaKP1914-18.PNG
Occupation of the Kingdom of Poland during World War I:
  Occupied (from Russia) by Germany
  Occupied (from Russia) by Austria-Hungary

In the meantime, General von Beseler had managed to gain support among pro-Austrian Poles and the followers of Józef Piłsudski. The Narodowa Demokracja party (centred in Paris), however, rejected any cooperation with the Central Powers. After the German Emperor and Chancellor met with a Polish delegation led by Józef Brudziński, the final details were arranged. On 5 November 1916, Governor von Beseler at Warsaw issued an Act of 5th November, in which he promised that a Polish state would be created, without specifying any future Polish ruler, Polish borders or system of governance and, for the first time since 1831, had the Warsaw Royal Castle decorated with Polish flags. The Austrian Governor-General Kuk issued a similar proclamation at Lublin. A pro-German faction led by Władysław Studnicki existed but didn't gain any significant backing among the Polish population.

Immediately after the proclamation, the German governor-general in Warsaw issued an advertisement for military recruitment, resulting in Polish protests which especially decried the absence of a Polish government.

Council of State

On 14 January 1917, a Provisional Council of State (Polish : Tymczasowa Rada Stanu) was established as a provisional government, consisting of 15 members chosen by the German and ten by the Austrian authorities. The magnate Waclaw Niemojowski was appointed Crown Marshal , with Józef Mikułowski-Pomorski acting as his deputy. Franciszek Pius Radziwiłł and Józef Piłsudski were put in charge of the Military Commission. The Council's first proclamation espoused monarchical government, Poland's expansion towards the east and supported an army of volunteers. A National Council served as a provisional parliament. The Councillors insisted on actual Polish autonomy and, on 21 April, were given authority over education, law courts, and propaganda. Still, students were dissatisfied with the extent of autonomy and organised a strike on 3 May, resulting in the temporary closing of all universities.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's proclamation in favor of a unified and independent Poland (on 22 January 1917) and the downfall of the Emperor of Russia in the February Revolution strengthened the Polish forces favoring a neutral or pro-Entente stance.

Oath crisis

Jozef Pilsudski Jozef Pilsudski1.jpg
Józef Piłsudski

In December 1916, a brigade of Polish legions under Stanisław Szeptycki moved into Warsaw to form the officer corps of the new Polish army.

On 21 April, the Council of State had passed a proclamation in favor of the Polish army (German : Polnische Wehrmacht ) and appointed Colonel Sikorski to oversee recruitment. The relationship between the Central Powers and the Polish legions became increasingly difficult, especially after the powers barred Austrian subjects from the Legions (now called the Polish auxiliary corps, Polski Korpus Posilkowy), aiming to divert them into the regular Austrian army. Piłsudski had abstained from the vote on the Polish army, and on 2 July resigned together with two left-wing State Councillors. The new army's oath drafted by the governors-general and passed by the Council of State resulted in a political crisis, especially since it was directed to an unspecified "future king" and emphasized the alliance with Germany and Austria. Several legionaries refused to take the oath and were arrested, prompting General von Beseler to arrest Piłsudski, his associate Kazimierz Sosnkowski, and have them confined in Germany. In August, the remains of the Legions, roughly ten thousand soldiers, were transferred to the Eastern front. Crown Marshall Niemojowski resigned on 6 August and the Council disbanded on 25 August.

"Regency" constitution

The Regency Council. Left to right: Ostrowski, Kakowski, and Lubomirski Regency Council.jpg
The Regency Council. Left to right: Ostrowski, Kakowski, and Lubomirski

A draft constitution was proposed in 1917. [26] After the intermission of the Temporary Committee of the Provisional Council of State (Polish : Komisja Przejściowa Tymczasowej Rady Stanu), the Central Powers introduced a provisional constitution, the patent, on 12 September 1917. The patent devised a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament but without ministerial responsibility. Only schools and courts were transferred to Polish authorities, but — under Polish protests — the German minority was given a separate school system. Pending the election of a King of Poland, a Regency Council (Polish : Rada Regencyjna) was installed as a provisional government. On 18 September, the following members of the Council were named: Aleksander Kakowski, Archbishop of Warsaw; aristocrat Prince Zdzisław Lubomirski who had served as mayor of Warsaw in 1916/17; and Józef Ostrowski, a great landowner and formerly the leading Polish politician in the Russian Duma. [1]

The Regency Council was ceremonially installed on 15 October, the anniversary of Tadeusz Kościuszko's death, and on 26 November, appointed Jan Kucharzewski, a lawyer who had been working in the government since June, as Prime Minister.

Members of the Regency Council with officers of the Polish Army Polish Regents 1916.jpg
Members of the Regency Council with officers of the Polish Army

Administration, however, strictly remained in the hands of German authorities, now headed by Otto von Steinmeister. In March 1918, a resolution of the German Reichstag called for the establishment of a native civil administration in Poland, Kurland and Lithuania. However, the German authorities refused to transfer administration to Polish authorities and merely considered Poles as candidates to be trained under German supervision.

After the oath crisis of 1917, recruitment to the Polish army had received scant support and achieved negligible results, reaching merely 5,000 men. In May 1918, the force was strengthened by General Józef Dowbór-Muśnicki moving his Polish corps — assembled from the former Tsarist army — to Poland. In August, the legionaries arrested for refusing the oath were released and some again volunteered for the Polish army.

In August 1918, Achille Ratti arrived in Warsaw as an apostolic visitor to adjust the Catholic Church to the altered political circumstances. This appointment was mainly due to the influence of German Chancellor Georg von Hertling and Eugenio Pacelli, since 1917 Nuncio to Bavaria in Munich. Ratti gained fame in 1920 for being the only diplomat to stay in Warsaw during the Polish–Soviet War and was elected as Pope Pius XI in 1922.

End of the German plans

After Germany's 1918 Spring Offensive had failed to win the war on the Western front, General Ludendorff in September proposed seeking peace based on the plan outlined by U.S. President Wilson in January 1918 in his Fourteen Points, which in regard to Poland demanded the creation of an "independent Polish state ... guaranteed by international covenant" with "free and secure access to the sea". On 3 October the new German Chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, announced Germany's acceptance of Wilson's plan and immediate disestablishment of military administration in the countries occupied by Germany. Three days later the Regency Council in Warsaw also adopted Wilson's proposals as the basis for creating a Polish state. [1]

On 1 October, General von Beseler had conferred with von Hindenburg at Berlin and, informed of the gloomy military situation, had returned to Warsaw ill and dispirited. On 6 October, he handed over the administration to Polish civil servants and, on 23 October, transferred the command over Polish forces (which by then included the Polish regiments of the Austro-Hungarian Army) to the Regency Council.

However, another Polish government based in Lublin arose to challenge the Regency's authority: on 6 November Ignacy Daszyński proclaimed the "Polish People's Republic" (Tymczasowy Rząd Ludowy Republiki Polskiej - literally: "Temporary People's Government of the Polish Republic"), with Daszyński himself (a Socialist politician and formerly a member of the Austrian parliament) as Prime Minister and Colonel Edward Rydz-Śmigły as a military commander. Moderates in Warsaw, who now hoped for a return of General Piłsudski, who was still held in custody at Magdeburg, repudiated Lublin's declaration of the deposition of the Regency to be deposed and its plans for radical social reforms. Already in October, the Regency Council had requested Piłsudski's release, and after negotiations through Harry Graf Kessler the General was allowed to return to Warsaw, where he arrived on 10 November. The following day Germany signed the armistice and German troops in Warsaw were disarmed as they refused to fire on Polish insurgents. Both the Regency Council and the Daszyński government ceded all authority to Piłsudski. The Regency dissolved itself three days later.

Occupation authorities

The occupation authorities included German Governor-General at Warsaw, commander-in-chief of the Polska Siła ZbrojnaHans Hartwig von Beseler (1 October 1915 – 11 November 1918); as well as the Austro-Hungarian Governors-General at Lublin: including Major General Erich Freiherr von Diller (1 October 1915 – 20 April 1916), Feldzeugmeister Karl Kuk (21 April 1916 – April 1917); as well as Major General Stanislaus Graf Szeptycki (April 1917 – 28 February 1918); and the Infantry General Anton Lipošćak (1 March – 11 November 1918).

The state authorities within the Provisional Council of State (14 January – 15 August 1917) included Waclaw Niemojowski, Crown Marshall (14 January – 6 August 1917); Deputy Marshall Józef Mikułowski-Pomorski; and from the Regency Council (15 October 1917 – 14 November 1918), Archbishop Aleksander Kakowski, Prince Zdzisław Lubomirski, and Józef Ostrowski. [27]

Borders

In their proclamation of 5 November 1916, the Central Powers refused to[ citation needed ] determine the Polish borders.

Eastern

Following the Bolsheviks taking power in Russia in November 1917, some Polish politicians sided with Germany as the "last bulwark of order" against the Bolshevik threat but Germany's policy of creating several smaller client states east of Poland, supported especially by the supreme command under Ludendorff, also heightened resistance to German presence in Polish territories.

With the support of the German military, the Council of Lithuania proclaimed an independent Lithuanian state on 11 December. Polish sentiment reacted strongly, as it considered Poland and Lithuania to be a historical union and especially since it regarded Wilno (Vilnius), the proposed new Lithuanian capital, as a Polish city.

The Regency Council sought admission to the negotiations with the Bolshevik government during travels to Berlin and Vienna early in 1918 but only gained German Chancellor Georg von Hertling's promise to admit the Polish government in an advisory capacity. This, however, was refused by the Bolshevik representatives, who denied the Polish government any legitimacy. The German representative Max Hoffmann expressed a belief that "independent Poland was always considered by me to be a utopia, and I have no doubts regarding my support for Ukrainian claims." [28] When the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed on 9 February, ceded the province of Chełm — which had been part of Congress Poland until 1913 — to the new state of Ukraine, many in Poland regarded this as a "Fourth partition of Poland", prompting a "political general strike" in Warsaw on 14 February and the resignation of the Jan Kucharzewski administration later that month. Parts of the Polish auxiliary corps under Józef Haller protested by breaking through the Austro-Russian front line to Ukraine, where they united with Polish detachments which had left the Tsarist army. After a fierce battle with the German army at Kaniów in May, the remnants were interned, though Haller managed to escape to Moscow.

Western

However, Poland's unspecified borders were threatened in the West as well: Late in 1917, the German supreme command had proposed annexing a "border strip" to Germany, [22] a policy earlier suggested by a letter to the German government by members of Poland's German minority, settled around Łódź. Such plans were agreed to in principle by the German government in March 1918 and in April gained support in the Prussian House of Lords but were strongly opposed by General von Beseler in a report to Emperor William.

In July, Ludendorff specified his plans in a memorandum, proposing annexing a greatly enlarged "border strip". [21] [22] In August, Emperor Charles of Austria insisted on the Austro-Polish option, forbidding Archduke Charles Stephen from accepting the crown and declaring his opposition to any German plans for annexation. In response, General Ludendorff agreed to leave Wilno (and possibly Minsk) to Poland but reaffirmed the "border strip" plan. However, this did little to soothe Polish sentiment, which regarded the return of Wilno as self-evident and refused to yield any part of the former Kingdom of Poland.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The Regency Kingdom has been referred to as a puppet state by Norman Davies in Europe: A history ( Internet Archive, p. 910); by Jerzy Lukowski and Hubert Zawadzki in A Concise History of Poland (Google Books, p. 218); by Piotr J. Wroblel in Chronology of Polish History and Nation and History (Google Books, p. 454); and by Raymond Leslie Buell in Poland: Key to Europe (Google Books, p. 68: "The Polish Kingdom... was merely a pawn [of Germany]").
  2. Aviel Roshwald. Ethnic Nationalism and the Fall of Empires: Central Europe, the Middle East and Russia, 1914-23. Routledge, 2002. P. 117.
  3. Immanuel Geiss Tzw. polski pas graniczny 1914-1918. Warszawa (1964).
  4. Elusive Alliance: The German Occupation of Poland in World War I Jesse Kauffman - 2015
  5. Military Occupations in First World War Europe Sophie De Schaepdrijver page 69, Routledge, 2015
  6. The Great and Holy War: How World War I Changed Religion For Ever Philip Jenkins, page 38, Lion, 2014
  7. A State of Nations: Empire and Nation-Making in the Age of Lenin and Stalin Autorzy Ronald Grigor Suny,Terry Martin, page 126, Oxford University Press 2001 "To wall off this space, German planners discussed establishing an ethnically cleansed border strip in Poland, cleared of all Slavs and settled by ethnic Germans. Ober Ost officials deported large segments of the local population"
  8. Annemarie Sammartino. The Impossible Border: Germany and the East, 1914-1922. Cornell University, 2010, p. 36-37.
  9. Holborn 1982, p. 449 (see "Sources" section below).
  10. Ideology and the Rationality of Domination: Nazi Germanization Policies in Poland, Gerhard Wolf, pp. 29-31, Indiana University Press.
  11. Kettler, Mark T. (November 2019). "Designing Empire for the Civilized East: Colonialism, Polish Nationhood, and German War Aims in the First World War". Nationalities Papers. 47 (6): 936–952. doi:10.1017/nps.2018.49. ISSN   0090-5992. S2CID   191697268.
  12. Pajewski 2005, p. 91.
  13. Pajewski 2005, pp. 92–93.
  14. Pajewski 2005, p. 93.
  15. Hein Eirch Goemans 2000, p. 104 (see "Sources" section below).
  16. Tipton, Frank B. A History of Modern Germany Since 1815, p. 312, ISBN   0520240499
  17. Polskie Towarzystwo Historyczne (Polish Historical Society), Przegląd historyczny (Historical Review), volume 60, page 87.
  18. Tucker, Spencer C. The European Powers in the First World War: An Encyclopedia, p. 34, ISBN   1135507015
  19. Craig, Gordon A. Germany: 1866–1945, pp. 358-359, ISBN   0192851012
  20. Primary Documents: Speech by Polish Member of Prussian Legislature Regarding German Rule in Poland, 1917; Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. IV, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923
  21. 1 2 Hein Erich Goemans, War and Punishment: The Causes of War Termination and the First World War , Princeton University Press, 2000, ISBN   0-691-04944-0, pp. 104–105
  22. 1 2 3 Keith Bullivant, Geoffrey J. Giles and Walter Pape, Germany and Eastern Europe: Cultural Identity and Cultural Differences , Rodopi, 1999, ISBN   90-420-0678-1, p. 28-9
  23. Prete, Roy Arnold; Ion, A. Hamish (1984). Armies of occupation. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p.  128. ISBN   0-88920-156-0.
  24. Aleksander Kraushar, Warszawa podczas okupacji niemieckiej 1915–1918 Archived 2006-09-28 at the Wayback Machine , Lwów 1921, p. 39
  25. Elusive Alliance: The German Occupation of Poland in World War I page 134 Jesse Kauffman 2015
  26. J. M. Roberts. Europe 1880-1945. P. 232.
  27. Monitor Polski, z dn. 7 października 1918, s. 1.
  28. Pajewski 643

Sources

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The Polish Legions was a name of the Polish military force established in August 1914 in Galicia soon after World War I erupted between the opposing alliances of the Triple Entente on one side ; and the Central Powers on the other side, comprising the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. The Legions became "a founding myth for the creation of modern Poland" in spite of their considerably short existence; they were replaced by the Polish Auxiliary Corps formation on 20 September 1916, merged with Polish II Corps in Russia on 19 February 1918 for the Battle of Rarańcza against Austria-Hungary, and disbanded following the military defeat at the Battle of Kaniów in May 1918, against imperial Germany. General Haller escaped to France to form the Polish army in the West against the anti-Polish German-Bolshevik treaty.

Aleksander Prystor Prime Minister of Poland

Aleksander Błażej Prystor was a Polish politician, activist, soldier and freemason, who served as 23rd Prime Minister of Poland from 1931 to 1933. He was a member of the Combat Organization of the Polish Socialist Party and in 1908 took part in the Bezdany raid. Between 1912 and 1917 he spent in Russian prisons before being released in 1917. In March 1917 he joined Polish Military Organisation. After independce he became secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. He fought as a volunteer in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920. He worked for few ministries. Between 1931 and 1933 he served as Prime Minister of Poland. After that he became the Marshal of the Polish Senate 1935-1938.

Zdzisław Lubomirski

Prince Zdzisław Lubomirski was a Polish aristocrat, landowner, lawyer, a conservative politician and social activist. The Prince was chairman of the "Central Civil Committee" in 1915. From 1916 to 1917 mayor of Warsaw. He was an activist of the "Real Politics Party" and from 1917 to 1918 member of the Regency Council. From 1928 until 1935 member of the Senate and chairman of the "Council of Landowner Organisations" from 1931 to 1935.

Włodzimierz Zagórski (general) Polish general and aviator

Włodzimierz Zagórski of the Clan of Ostoja was an Austro-Hungary military intelligence soldier, Polish brigadier general, staff officer, and aviator.

Władysław Studnicki Polish journalist

Władysław Gizbert-Studnicki, a Polish politician and publicist, was born on 15 November 1867 in Dünaburg, Vitebsk Governorate, Russian Empire, into a Polish szlachta family of the Kresy region. Both his parents fought in the January Uprising. Throughout his life, Studnicki was famous for his strongly pro-German stance, and in the Polish People's Republic all his books were banned from publication. He was the older brother of historian Wacław Studnicki. He died on 10 January 1953 in London.

National Independence Day (Poland) National holiday celebrated in Poland on 11 November

National Independence Day is a national day in Poland celebrated on 11 November to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of Poland's sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic in 1918 from the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires. Following the partitions in the late 18th century, Poland ceased to exist for 123 years until the end of World War I, when the destruction of the neighbouring powers allowed the country to reemerge. It is a non-working day and a flag flying day in Poland.

History of Poland during World War I Aspect of history

While Poland did not exist as an independent state during World War I, its geographical position between the fighting powers meant that much fighting and terrific human and material losses occurred on the Polish lands between 1914 and 1918.

Government General of Warsaw 1915–1918 German administrative division

The General Government of Warsaw was an administrative civil district created by the German Empire in World War I. It encompassed the north-western half of the former Russian-ruled Congress Poland.

The Provisional People's Government of the Republic of Poland, also known as the Government of Ignacy Daszyński, was established on 7 November 1918 in Lublin, Austrian Galicia, as one of the precursors of Poland's sovereignty following World War I. It proclaimed the creation of a constitutional republic with the right to parliamentary elections, nationalization of key industries, as well as social, labour, and land reforms. Prominent personalities of the provisional government included Stanisław Thugutt as Minister of Internal Affairs, Tomasz Arciszewski as Minister of Labour, as well as Col. Edward Rydz-Śmigły as the Minister of War and Supreme Commander of the Polish Armed Forces. Ignacy Daszyński became Prime Minister. The Provisional Government dissolved itself after several days when Józef Piłsudski became Head of State on 14 November 1918 in Warsaw.

Bogdan Hutten-Czapski

Bogdan Franciszek Serwacy Hutten-Czapski h. Leliwa was a Polish Count, politician, curator of the University of Warsaw and the Warsaw University of Technology, President of the Association of Polish Knights of Malta. Bogdan was the grandson of two Polish generals – Józef Grzegorz Longin Hutten-Czapski (1760–1810) and Stanisław Kostka Mielżyński (1778–1826), associate of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and servant of the Kingdom of Prussia until the end of WWI.