Stanisław Wojciechowski

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Stanisław Wojciechowski
Stanislaw Wojciechowski portrait.jpg
President of Poland
In office
22 December 1922 14 May 1926
Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski
Wincenty Witos
Władysław Grabski
Aleksander Skrzyński
Wincenty Witos
Preceded by Gabriel Narutowicz
Maciej Rataj (Acting)
Succeeded by Maciej Rataj (Acting)
Ignacy Mościcki
Personal details
Born15 March 1869
Kalisz, Poland
Died9 April 1953 (aged 84)
Warsaw, Poland
Political party Polish People's Party "Piast"
Spouse(s)Maria Wojciechowska
Relatives Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska (great-granddaughter)
Signature Signature of president Stanislaw Wojciechowski.png

Stanisław Wojciechowski (Polish:  [staˈɲiswaf vɔjt͡ɕɛˈxɔfskʲi] ; 15 March 1869 – 9 April 1953) was a Polish politician, scholar, and activist in the cooperative movement. In 1922 he was elected the second President of the Republic of Poland following the assassination of Gabriel Narutowicz. He was ousted by the May Coup d'État of 1926. [1]

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Gabriel Narutowicz Polish politician

Gabriel Narutowicz was a Polish professor of hydroelectric engineering and politician who served as the 1st President of Poland from 11 December 1922 until his assassination on 16 December, five days after assuming office. He previously served as the Minister of Public Works from 1920 to 1921 and briefly as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1922. A renowned engineer and politically independent, Narutowicz was the first elected head of state following Poland's regained sovereignty from partitioning powers.

May Coup (Poland) May 1926 coup détat in Poland

The May Coup was a coup d'état carried out in Poland by Marshal Józef Piłsudski between 12 and 14 May 1926. The coup overthrew the government of President Stanisław Wojciechowski and Prime Minister Wincenty Witos. A new government was installed, headed by Lwów Polytechnic Professor Kazimierz Bartel. The events were partly inspired by the need for extraordinary measures in the face of newly emerging threats to the stability of Poland's independence by Piłsudski's own assessment of the foreign treaties signed by Weimar Germany with France in 1925 and with the Soviet Russia in April 1926, to which Poland's representatives had not been invited.


While a student at the University of Warsaw, Wojciechowski worked for the Polish Socialist movement, which at the time was a major force in the Polish independence effort. He was arrested by czarist police in 1891, and again in 1892. Upon his release he moved to Zurich, then to Paris and finally to London. In England he helped publish the Polish Socialist periodical Przedświt (“The Dawn”). Active in the socialist movement, he often travelled undercover to Russian Poland, and became friends with Józef Piłsudski. He also studied the cooperative movement, and on returning to Poland legally in 1906 he spent time working to develop Polish cooperatives.

University of Warsaw largest university in Poland

The University of Warsaw, established in 1816, is the largest university in Poland. It employs over 6,000 staff including over 3,100 academic educators. It provides graduate courses for 53,000 students. The University offers some 37 different fields of study, 18 faculties and over 100 specializations in Humanities, technical as well as Natural Sciences.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

During World War I he considered Imperial Germany to be Poland’s main enemy. With the Russian evacuation in 1915, he moved to Moscow, and there in 1917 was elected president of the Council of Polish Parties’ Union. He returned to Warsaw after the October Revolution and from January 1919 to July 1920 served as minister of the interior in two separate cabinets of the new Second Polish Republic. When the Republic's president Gabriel Narutowicz was assassinated in December 1922, Wojciechowski was chosen to succeed him.

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Moscow Capital of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.

Warsaw Capital of Poland

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.78 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical old town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During his presidency, Wojciechowski and his erstwhile friend military chief of staff Piłsudski disagreed on the political direction of the nation: Wojciechowski supported continued parliamentary government, while Piłsudski favoured a more authoritarian approach. In May 1926, due to the worsening economic issues of the country, Piłsudski staged the successful May Coup, after which Wojciechowski resigned from his post. [2]

Polish General Staff

Polish General Staff, also the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces is the highest professional body within the Polish Armed Forces. Organizationally, it is a part of the Ministry of National Defence. It was created in 1918, and for a time bore the name Main Staff. Currently the position of Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces is LTG Rajmund Andrzejczak, since 2 July 2018.


Early life

Stanisław Wojciechowski was born on 15 March 1869 in Kalisz into a Polish noble family with strong ties to the intelligentsia. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Warsaw from 1888–1891. Wojciechowski was active during his studies, first in the conspiratorial organization "Zet", and later in the burgeoning socialist movement. By 1892 he had abandoned his studies and chose the life of an exile after his second arrest and detention by the czarist police, first going to Zurich and then Paris. There he learned the trade of typesetter with which he supported himself. He was an 1892 co-founder of the Polish Socialist Party, who met in Paris and participated in the following year, on the first, illegally organized party conference in Vilnius, where he met Piłsudski.

Kalisz Place in Greater Poland, Poland

Kalisz is a city in central Poland with 100,975 inhabitants making it the second-largest city in the Greater Poland Voivodeship. It is the capital city of the Kalisz Region. Situated on the Prosna river in the southeastern part of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, the city forms a conurbation with the nearby towns of Ostrów Wielkopolski and Nowe Skalmierzyce.

The intelligentsia is a status class of educated people engaged in the complex mental labours that critique, guide, and lead in shaping the culture and politics of their society. As a status class, the intelligentsia includes artists, teachers and academics, writers, journalists, and the literary hommes de lettres. Individual members of the intelligentsia are known as intellectuals.

Polish Socialist Party Polish left-wing political party

The Polish Socialist Party was a left-wing Polish political party. It was one of the most important parties in Poland from its inception in 1892 until its dissolution in 1948. A party with the same name was established in 1987 but has remained at the margins of Polish politics.

In 1893 after he was deported from France. He found his new center of life in London, where he worked as a typesetter, printer, journalist and publisher. He traveled several more times illegally to Congress Poland and the Russian Empire and smuggled printing machine components and publications into the country. Together with Piłsudski he formed the backbone of the socialist movement in Russian Poland. In 1899 he married Maria Wojciechowska. [3]

Congress Poland former state in Eastern Europe

Congress Poland or Russian Poland, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland, was a polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a sovereign Polish state. Until the November Uprising in 1831, the kingdom was in a personal union with the tsars of Russia. Thereafter, the state was forcibly integrated into the Russian Empire over the course of the 19th century. In 1915, during World War I, it was replaced by the Central Powers with the nominal Regency Kingdom of Poland, which continued to exist until Poland regained independence in 1918.

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire was an empire that extended across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Political movements and career

After 1905 he left the Polish Socialist Party over disagreements on the political future of Poland and its relations to the international class struggle. After the amnesty in 1906, he returned to Warsaw and took part in the cooperative movement by Edward Abramowski. During World War I, Stanisław Wojciechowski, believed that Germany posed the biggest threat to Poland and thus decided to stay in Russia rather than side with his erstwhile friend Piłsudski. After the Russian evacuation of Congress Poland of 1915 he moved to Moscow where he remained active in Polish political circles. After the fall of the Tsarist regime was elected President of the Council of Polish Parties’ Union, and heavily engaged on behalf of the Polish Army in Russia in 1918. He was forced to leave Moscow under threat of arrest once the Bolshevik regime seized power. From 1919 to 1920, Wojciechowski served as Minister of the Interior for two consecutive Polish governments. During this time, Wojciechowski also participated in the drafting of the Polish constitution. [4]


On 9 December 1922 he stood as a candidate in the presidential election, but was defeated in the fourth ballot to the landowner Count Maurycy Zamoyski and the later elected Gabriel Narutowicz. Following the assassination of President Narutowicz by the ultra-nationalist painter Eligiusz Niewiadomski on 16 December 1922, the candidacy waiver Piłsudski, who did not want to be blocked in a "gilded cage" according to his own words, Wojciechowski was, by the National Assembly on the recommendation of Sejm marshal Maciej Rataj with the votes of the Left and the Centre on the first ballot, elected head of state. Wojciechowski, who had been Minister of the Interior from 1919 to 1920, enjoyed great prestige among the workers and also in parts of the rural population. [5]

Wojciechowski's tenure was overshadowed by an increase in unemployment and inflation, by waves of strikes, financial scandals, numerous government crises and ultimately bloody riots in Kraków and other cities. 1923 Piłsudski resigned as army chief and chairman of the powerful military council. In November 1925 depicted the formation of a coalition government led by Aleksander Skrzyński is the last attempt to get at the serious economic problems of the country by parliamentary means.

Piłsudski's May Coup and resignation

After the May Coup, and the capture of Warsaw by Piłsudski's troops, President Wojciechowski was forced on the night of May 15, 1926, together with his government, to resign and to give the Marshal a free hand to initiate the "reorganization of the state". The president Ignacy Mościcki was installed as the new president. Following the resignation, Wojciechowski worked as a lecturer at the Warsaw School of Economics and the College of Agriculture in Warsaw. In 1937, he was the co-founder of the opposition Labour Party.

Death and legacy

Stanisław Wojciechowski retired to private life and survived the Second World War and the Warsaw Uprising (his son Edmund was a victim of Auschwitz). He died in Gołąbki (now Ursus) in 1953, at the age of 84.

Stanisław Wojciechowski experienced a political life not unlike that of many Central European politicians during the early 20th century. A radical in his youth, his ideology matured and grew more conservative with age. He was at the forefront of over a quarter-century of Polish political development and is considered one of the founders of the modern independent Polish state.

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  1. "Stanislaw Wojciechowski (president of Poland)". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. Zygmunt Kaczmarek, Trzej prezydenci II Rzeczypospolitej (Warszawa: Instytut Wydawniczy Związków Zawodowych, 1988), p. 167
  3. Stanisław Wojciechowski, "Moje wspomnienia" (Warszawa–Lwów: Książnica-Atlas, 1938), p. 53–55, 130
  4. Zygmunt Kaczmarek, Trzej prezydenci II Rzeczypospolitej (Warszawa: Instytut Wydawniczy Związków Zawodowych, 1988), p. 114–119
  5. "Stanisław Wojciechowski".