Today is Marshal Józef Piłsudski's birthday

J-Jozef Pilsudski He was born on December 5, 1867 in Zułów near Wilno. He came from a wealthy landowning family where Polish traditions and patriotic spirit were nurtured. His father, also Jozef, took part in the January Uprising in 1863, when Poles tried once again to regain independence lost between 1772 and 1795 during three successive Russian-Prussian-Austrian partitions.

Therefore, the young Pilsudski, when he entered medical school at the University of Kharkov after graduating from high school in Vilna in 1885, joined the socialist-revolutionary movement "Narodnaya Volya" there. However, he was expelled from the university after a year of study for participating in student riots. He was also not admitted to the University of Dorpat in Estonia, whose authorities were informed of his political sympathies.

On 22 March 1887, Piłsudski was arrested for his involvement in the activities of Vilnius socialists, and accused of participating in a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing Tsar Alexander II.

In 1893, the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) was founded in Warsaw . Pilsudski, who had returned from exile a year earlier, joined the ranks of its Lithuanian branch and in 1894 became a member of the Central Workers Committee and editor-in-chief of the PPS-published magazine Robotnik . Six years later, as one of the party's top leaders, he was again arrested by the Russian authorities and imprisoned in the Warsaw Citadel. However, the very next year he was transferred to a hospital in St. Petersburg (for in prison he simulated insanity) and escaped from there with the help of one of the doctors, Wladyslaw Mazurkiewicz.

After returning to Galicia, he did not give up his political activity. In 1904, he went to Japan, which was at war with Russia, where he negotiated with the Mikado government to establish a Polish legion under the Japanese army. However, he only obtained help in purchasing arms and ammunition for the PPS and the PPS Fighting Organisation formed by the party. Despite quelling a number of riots, unrest and clashes with the police, Piłsudski continued his efforts to create a Polish military force. When the PPS split in 1906, a group associated with Piłsudski founded the Revolutionary Faction, which was planning an uprising against the tsar.

In 1910, in the Austrian partition, it was possible to establish two legally operating organizations that conducted military exercises and theoretical lectures - the "Riflemen's Association" in Lviv and the "Riflemen's Society" in Krakow. In 1912 Pilsudski became Commander-in-Chief of the Riflemen's Association. At the outbreak of World War I, he headed well-trained troops with which he entered the Kingdom of Poland, where he occupied a strip of border land abandoned by the Russians. Subsequently, having subordinated himself to Austria, he officially created the Polish Legions and personally commanded their First Brigade, while in close conspiracy he established the Polish Military Organization (POW). When in 1917 the Legions refused to swear allegiance to Austria and Germany, Pilsudski, although he had resigned his command a year earlier and having become a member of the Provisional Council of State demanded the formation of a National Government in Warsaw, was arrested and imprisoned in Magdeburg, where he remained until November 1918.

After the defeat of Germany Pilsudski was released from prison and went to Warsaw, where he was given command of the Polish army and the mission to create a national government in the liberated country. On November 14, 1918, he was given temporary authority over the country, and on November 22 he was officially named the Provisional Head of State. He held this position until December 9, 1922, when the first President of the Republic of Poland, Gabriel Narutowicz, was elected. Pilsudski himself focused on the defense of Poland's regained independence. Between 1919 and 1921, he fought in the East against the Bolsheviks, which ended with the Peace of Riga and the regaining of Eastern Galicia. It was during this campaign in March 1920 that the army presented Piłsudski with the baton of the First Marshal of Poland.

In 1923, however, the Speaker withdrew from active political life. The reason was the assassination by right-wing groups of Polish President Gabriel Narutowicz, who was killed just a week after his election to the post during the opening of an exhibition at the "Zachęta" gallery at the hands of painter Eligiusz Niewiadomski. Pilsudski found it impossible to cooperate with the prime minister of the government, Wincenty Witos, whom he considered morally responsible for the committed act. He retreated to Sulejówek near Warsaw, where he devoted himself to literary work and opposition propaganda. At that time the following were written: "Memories of Gabrijel Narutowicz” (1923), “On the value of a soldier of the Legions” (1923), “1920” (1924), “The source of the country's impotence" (1924) i "My first buoys” (1925).

However, the situation in the country forced him to re-enter the political arena. Social unrest, the growing number of unemployed and the economic crisis caused Piłsudski, who enjoyed great support and respect from society, to demand that the Witos Cabinet relinquish power. When his appeals failed, however, on May 12, 1926, at the head of his loyal troops, Piłsudski marched into Warsaw, and after three days of fighting forced both the government and the cabinet of President Stanisław Wojciechowski to resign. However, he did not accept the nomination for this office - aware of its limited competences, he refused to accept this dignity, but took the posts of Minister of Military Affairs, Chairman of the War Council and Inspector General of the Armed Forces. He was also prime minister twice (in the years 1926-1928 and 1930).

In fact, it marked the end of parliamentary rule in Poland and began the period known as "sanation" (from the Latin noun "sanatio"-healing) - rule aimed at improving the situation of the state. Public support and the skillful rhetoric securing this support allowed Pilsudski to exercise authoritarian power, which neither the president (appointed by the Marshal, by the way) nor the Sejm, whose powers he limited by amendments to the Constitution introduced on August 2, 1926, were able to oppose.

In foreign policy Pilsudski sought to maintain good relations with the Soviet Union (non-aggression pact of 1932) and Germany (1934). Both agreements were to strengthen Poland's position vis-à-vis our allies and neighbors.

The death of Jozef Pilsudski on May 12, 1935 took the entire nation by surprise. Until almost the last moment he hid an incurable disease - liver cancer. His funeral became a huge national manifestation paying tribute to the late Marshal. The body was buried in the crypt of St. Leonard in Wawel Cathedral , next to generations of kings and the most prominent Poles, while the heart, in accordance with the will he left, was placed in a silver urn and transported to Vilnius, where it rested in the grave of his mother, in the cemetery "on Rossa".

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