November 11 this year marks another 103rd anniversary of Poland regaining independence. Exactly 103 years ago, on November 11, 1918, the Polish state reappeared on the maps of Europe. In this way, the dream of five generations of Poles forced to live under the rule of foreign monarchs for over one hundred and twenty years came true. This date was also important for millions of inhabitants of the Old Continent. On November 11, 1918, there was a ceasefire on the Western Front. In a railway car in the forest near Compiègne, a truce was signed between representatives of Germany and the Entente states. World War I was coming to an end, which caused the death of almost 10 million people.
Fathers of Independence
Józef Piłsudski, Roman Dmowski, Ignacy Paderewski, Wincenty Witos, Ignacy Daszyński, Wojciech Korfanty, Józef Haller – these are some of the most important patriots fighting for Polish independence, often called the Fathers of Independence. But they were not the only ones who fought for Polish independence.
History of the celebrations
In the years 1919-1936, the anniversaries of regaining independence were celebrated in Warsaw as military celebrations. They were usually organized on the first Sunday after November 11. In 1919, there was no favourable situation to celebrate the anniversary of regaining independence, because there were still wars over the borders of the Republic of Poland. For the first time, the regaining of independence was fully commemorated on November 14, 1920. On that day, Józef Piłsudski was honoured as the victorious Commander-in-Chief in the Polish-Bolshevik war by handing him the marshal’s mace.
After the May Coup in 1926, the celebrations of subsequent anniversaries were strictly military celebrations. In the same year, on 8 November, Józef Piłsudski, as the Prime Minister, issued a circular establishing this day off from work for state officials. From then on that day, on Saski Square in Warsaw, Piłsudski reviewed the subunits, and then received the parade (for the last time in 1934). In 1928, the Saski Square in the capital was named the Place of Marshal Józef Piłsudski, and four years later the Minister of Religious Denominations and Public Enlightenment established this day as nationwide public holiday.
On November 16, 1918, Józef Piłsudski sent a telegram notifying the creation of an independent Polish state. Its content was as follows:
As commander-in-chief of the Polish Army, I wish to notify the belligerous and neutral governments and nations of the existence of an independent Polish State, covering all the lands of the united Poland. The Polish State is created by the will of the whole nation and is based on democratic foundations. The Polish Government will replace the reign of violence that has weighed on the fate of Polish people for 140 years – by creating administration based on order and justice. I am convinced that the powerful democracies of the West will give their help and fraternal support to the Reborn and Independent Polish Republic.
Our youngest Poles in the anniversary celebrations!
Let’s give back Tribute – to those who won for us a free and independent Homeland. Let us protect our beloved Homeland, because even today Poland’s fate is uncertain!