In November 2018, the Poles will celebrate the 100 Year Jubilee of Independence of Poland as a State. The words Restauration and Rebirth are certainly more appropriate, considering that Poland was never forfeited. The three partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795 have erased the Polish State from the map of Europe. This Nation that had been the largest Empire on the European continent was reduced to remote provinces of Austria, Prussia and Russia. The partitions did not wipe away the Polish Nation. During 123-year, the Poles have survived humiliation, oppression and spoliation. Their common language was a rampart and their common faith was a strength. Unsuccessful Insurrections in 1794, 1830 and 1863 have demonstrated their heroism and their courage. Poles from all horizons and social conditions have fallen in a combat for a same cause. The sacrifice of our ancestors remains a lesson for all of us. As said my Grandfather: „Jeśli Polak pada na kolana, to tylko przed Bogiem” (If a Pole falls on his knees, it is only in front of God).
WWI was both a tragedy and an opportunity for the Poles. After the collapse of the Austrian, German and Russian monarchies, there was no doubt that Poland had to come back as a Nation State on the European map. Ignacy Paderewski was the brilliant promoter of Polish interests. Jozef Pilsudski was the resolute defensor of Polish rights. Ignacy Paderewski and Roman Dmowski led the Polish Delegation at the Peace Conference organized in the Trianon Palace of Versailles from January to June 1919. The Peace Conference produced a disappointing compromise. The new borders did not reflect the reality of the Polish Nation. They were a factor of instability and vulnerability. Marshall Pilsudski refused to accept the loss of historical Polish territories.Therefore, the Restauration of Poland in November 1918 was not a peaceful transition to sovereignty. From 1919 to 1921, Poland had to fight for her borders. The aggressive position of the Bolsheviks turned into a violent confrontation. Poland had to repel the invasion of the Bolchevick hordes and the Eastern borders were not stabilized before 1921.
Read also: Collection Pilsudski
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