On 11 November 2018 Poland celebrates the 100 anniversary of regaining its independence.
On 11 November 1918 the dream of generations of Poles came true: the Polish state was reborn. After the partitions by Austria, Prussia and Russia and disappearing from the World’s map as an independent country for 123 years, 123 years of Russification and Germanisation Poland was reinstated on the map of the world.
Regaining of Polish Independence
Regaining of Polish state independence was only possible due to the bravery of Polish citizens who never abandoned their dream of their free country. They were involved in uprisings and kept fighting to free their Poland, proudly kept using Polish language- although it was illegal and banned.
The end of World War I brought about the necessary changes. On 11 November 1918 Józef Piłsudski, leader of the clandestine Polish Military Organisation, returned to Warsaw from a German prison to become Chief of State, proclaiming the Second Polish Republic. He is viewed as a father of the Second Polish Republic. Józef Piłsudski served as the Chief of State (1918–22) and First Marshal of Poland ( from 1920) and was the leader of the Second Polish Republic.( 1926-1935)
Miracle on the Vistula
Poland successfully defended its borders including Miracle on the Vistula-the 1920 Battle of Warsaw.
The Battle of Warsaw is one of the turning points in the Western world history. Polish Army led by Józef Piłsudski defeated the Bolshevics and stopped the ”red invasion” before spreading in Western Europe. It is celebrated as a great victory for the Polish nation over Russia and communism.. The battle of Warsaw was fought from August 12–25, 1920 as Red Army forces commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky approached the Polish capital of Warsaw and the nearby Modlin Fortress. On August 16, Polish forces commanded by Józef Piłsudski counterattacked from the south, disrupting the enemy’s offensive, forcing the Russian forces into a disorganized withdrawal. Estimated Russian losses were 10,000 killed, 500 missing, 30,000 wounded, and 66,000 taken prisoner, compared with Polish losses of some 4,500 killed, 10,000 missing, and 22,000 wounded.
Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, called the battle “an enormous defeat” for his forces.In the following months, several more Polish follow-up victories saved Poland’s independence and led to a peace treaty with Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine later that year, securing the Polish state’s eastern frontiers until 1939.
Invaded by Nazis and Soviets
Poland became the first victim of the World War 2 attacked on September one by German Nazi. Sixteen days after Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. The invasion ended on 6 October 1939 with the two-way division and annexation of the entire Second Polish Republic by Germany and the Soviet Union.
Tyranny of communism
Poland lost its freedom again and ended up behind the Iron Curtain with other CEE countries. They suffered under the terror of communism, terror which caused millions of deaths. Polish people suffered but they did not abandon their dream of their free country.
People were opposing the tyranny, were protesting. Election of Karol Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II and his unforgettable visit to Poland and Solidarity movement with Lech Walesa made their hope stronger.
Solidarity (Solidarnosc), was officially recognised on 31 August 1980. Establishing of an independent trade union was an unprecedented event in the CEE region under communism. Very quickly Solidarity became a national political movement with 10 million members. This unique movement played a key role in the collapse of communism in the CEE region.
End of communism
After 9 turbulent years, Solidarity leaders negotiated the end of communism and a few months later, the Berlin Wall fell.
The Round Table talks: between communist government and Solidarity were of enormous importance to the future political situation in Poland. They paved the way to a free and democratic Poland as well as the final abolition of communism in Poland. Pact country – sparked a chain of events that led to the fall of the Polish People’s Republic and the creation of a sovereign, democratic Polish state in 1989.
Sources: josephpilsudski.com, history.net, Wikipedia, communications-unlimited
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