Józef Klemens Piłsudski[a] (Polish: [ˈjuzɛf ˈklɛmɛns
pʲiwˈsutskʲi] ( listen); 5 December 1867 – 12 May
1935) was a Polish statesman; he was Chief of State (1918–22),
Marshal of Poland" (from 1920), and de facto leader (1926–35)
Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic as the Minister of Military Affairs.
World War I
World War I he had great power in Polish politics and was
considered a distinguished figure on the international scene. He is
viewed as a father of the
Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic founded in 1918, 123
years after the 1795 final partitions of
Poland by Russia, Austria,
Deeming himself a descendant of the culture and traditions of the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Piłsudski believed in a
multicultural Poland—"a home of nations" including ethnic and
religious minorities—that he hoped would establish a robust union
with the independent states of
Lithuania and Ukraine. His principal
political antagonist, Roman Dmowski, leader of the National Democrat
party, by contrast, called for a
Poland limited to the pre-Partitions
Polish Crown and based mainly on an ethnically-Polish population and
Roman Catholic identity.
Early in his political career, Piłsudski became a leader of the
Polish Socialist Party. Concluding that Poland's independence would
have to be won militarily, he formed the Polish Legions. In 1914 he
correctly predicted the outbreak of a major war, the Russian Empire's
defeat by the Central Powers, and the Central Powers' defeat by the
western Allies. When
World War I
World War I began in 1914, Piłsudski's
Legions fought alongnside
Austro-Hungary against Russia. In 1917, with
Imperial Russia faring poorly in the war, he withdrew his support for
Central Powers and was imprisoned in
Magdeburg by the Germans.
From November 1918, when
Poland regained independence, until 1922,
Piłsudski was Poland's Chief of State. In 1919–21 he commanded
Polish forces in six border wars that defined the country's borders.
His forces seemed on the verge of defeat in the Polish–Soviet War
when, in the August 1920 Battle of Warsaw, they threw back the
invading Soviet Russian forces. In 1923, with the government dominated
by his opponents, in particular the National Democrats, Piłsudski
retired from active politics. Three years later he returned to power
in the May 1926 coup d'état and became Poland's strongman. From then
until his death in 1935, he concerned himself primarily with military
and foreign affairs.
In international affairs, Piłsudski pursued two complementary
strategies meant to secure Poland's independence and to enhance her
national security: "Prometheism", aimed at achieving the
Imperial Russia and later the
Soviet Union into
their constituent nations; and the creation of an Intermarium
federation of states lying between the Baltic and Black Seas and
between Germany and Russia. The proposed Intermarium's central purpose
was to secure its peoples against western and eastern European
Historian Piotr Wandycz characterizes Piłsudski as "an ardent Polish
patriot who on occasion would castigate the
Poles for their stupidity,
cowardice, or servility. He described himself as a Polish-Lithuanian,
and was stubborn and reserved, loath to show his emotions." Though
some aspects of Piłsudski's administration remain controversial, he
is highly esteemed in Polish memory and is regarded, together with his
antagonist Roman Dmowski, as a founder of modern independent Poland.
1 Early life
2 World War I
3 Rebuilding Poland
4 Polish–Soviet War
5 Retirement and coup
6 In government
6.1 Internal politics
6.2 Foreign policy
7 Religious views
12.3 Honorary doctorates
13 See also
17 Further reading
18 External links
He was born 5 December 1867 to the noble family Piłsudski, at their
manor named Zułów, near the village of Zułowo (now Zalavas,
Švenčionys district municipality, Lithuania), in the Russian
Empire since 1795 on the territory of the former Polish–Lithuanian
Commonwealth. The estate was part of the dowry brought by his mother,
Maria, a member of the wealthy Billewicz family. The Piłsudski
family, although pauperized, cherished Polish patriotic
traditions and has been characterized either as Polish
or as Polonized-Lithuanian.[b] Józef was the second son born
to the family.
Piłsudski as a schoolboy
Józef, when he attended the Russian gymnasium in Wilno (now Vilnius,
Lithuania), was not an especially diligent student. One of the
younger Polish students at this gymnasium was the future Russian
communist leader Feliks Dzierżyński, who later would become
Piłsudski's arch-enemy. Along with his brothers Bronisław, Adam
and Jan, Józef was introduced by his mother Maria, née Billewicz, to
Polish history and literature, which were suppressed by the Russian
authorities. His father, likewise named Józef, had fought in the
January 1863 Uprising against Russian rule of Poland.
The family resented the Russian government's
Young Józef profoundly disliked having to attend Russian Orthodox
Church service and left school with an aversion not only for the
Russian Tsar and the Russian Empire, but for the culture, which he
In 1885 Piłsudski started medical studies at
Kharkov University (now
Kharkiv, Ukraine), where he became involved with Narodnaya Volya, part
of the Russian Narodniki revolutionary movement. In 1886, he was
suspended for participating in student demonstrations. He was
rejected by the
University of Dorpat
University of Dorpat (now Tartu, Estonia), whose
authorities had been informed of his political affiliation. On 22
March 1887, he was arrested by Tsarist authorities on a charge of
Vilnius socialists to assassinate
Tsar Alexander III. In
fact, Piłsudski's main connection to the plot was the involvement of
his elder brother Bronisław, who was sentenced to fifteen years of
hard labor (katorga) in eastern Siberia.
Józef received a milder sentence: five years' exile in Siberia, first
Kirensk on the Lena River, then at Tunka. While being
transported in a prisoners' convoy to Siberia, Piłsudski was held for
several weeks at a prison in Irkutsk. There, he took part in what
the authorities viewed as a revolt. After one of the inmates had
insulted a guard and refused to apologize, he and other political
prisoners were beaten by the guards for their defiance; Piłsudski
lost two teeth and took part in a subsequent hunger strike until the
authorities reinstated political prisoners' privileges that had been
suspended after the incident. For his involvement, he was
sentenced in 1888 to six months' imprisonment. He had to spend the
first night of his incarceration in 40-degree-below-zero Siberian
cold; this led to an illness that nearly killed him and to health
problems that would plague him throughout life.
During his years of exile in Siberia, Piłsudski met many Sybiraks,
including Bronisław Szwarce, who had almost become a leader of the
January 1863 Uprising. He was allowed to work in an occupation of
his own choosing, and earned his living tutoring local children in
mathematics and foreign languages (he knew French, German and
Lithuanian in addition to Russian and his native Polish; he would
later learn English). Local officials decided that as a Polish
noble he was not entitled to the 10-ruble pension received by most
In 1892 Piłsudski returned from exile and settled in Adomavas Manor
near Teneniai (now in Šilalė district). In 1893 he joined the Polish
Socialist Party (PPS) and helped organize its Lithuanian
branch. Initially he sided with the Socialists' more radical wing,
but despite the socialist movement's ostensible internationalism he
remained a Polish nationalist. In 1894, as its chief editor, he
began publishing an underground socialist newspaper, Robotnik (The
Worker); he would also be one of its chief writers, and, initially, a
typesetter. In 1895, he became a PPS leader and took
the position that doctrinal issues were of minor importance and that
socialist ideology should be merged with nationalist ideology, since
that combination offered the greatest chance of restoring Polish
Piłsudski in 1899
On 15 July 1899, while an underground organizer, Piłsudski married a
fellow socialist organizer, Maria Juszkiewiczowa, née
Koplewska. According to his chief biographer, Wacław
Jędrzejewicz, the marriage was less romantic than pragmatic in
nature. Both were very involved in the socialist and independence
movements. The printing press of "Robotnik" was in their apartment
first in Wilno, then in Łódź. Having a pretext of regular family
life made them less subject to suspicion. Russian law also protected a
wife from prosecution for the illegal activities of her husband.
The marriage deteriorated when, several years later, Piłsudski began
an affair with a younger socialist, Aleksandra Szczerbińska.
Maria died in 1921, and in October that year Piłsudski married
Aleksandra. By then the couple had two daughters, Wanda and Jadwiga.
In February 1900, after Russian authorities found Robotnik's
underground printing press in Łódź, Piłsudski was imprisoned at
Warsaw Citadel. But, after feigning mental illness in May 1901, he
managed to escape from a mental hospital at
Saint Petersburg with the
help of a Polish physician, Władysław Mazurkiewicz, and others,
fleeing to Galicia, then part of Austria-Hungary.
At the time, when almost all parties in Russian
Poland and Lithuania
took a conciliatory position toward the
Russian Empire and aimed at
negotiating within it a limited autonomy for Poland, Piłsudski's PPS
was the only political force that was prepared to fight the Empire for
Polish independence and to resort to violence in order to achieve that
On the outbreak of the
Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), in the summer
of 1904, Piłsudski traveled to Tokyo, Japan, where he tried
unsuccessfully to obtain that country's assistance for an uprising in
Poland. He offered to supply Japan with intelligence in support of its
war with Russia, and proposed the creation of a Polish Legion from
Poles, conscripted into the Russian Army, who had been captured by
Japan. He also suggested a "Promethean" project directed at breaking
up the Russian Empire, a goal that he later continued to pursue.
Meeting with Yamagata Aritomo, he suggested that starting a guerrilla
Poland would distract Russia and asked for Japan to supply him
with weapons. Although the Japanese diplomat
Hayashi Tadasu supported
the plan, the Japanese government, including Yamagata, was more
Roman Dmowski travelled to Japan, where he
argued against Piłsudski's plan, endeavoring to discourage the
Japanese government from supporting a Polish revolution, which Dmowski
felt would then be doomed to failure. Dmowski, himself a
Polish patriot, would remain Piłsudski's political archenemy to the
end of Piłsudski's life. In the end, the Japanese offered
Piłsudski much less than he had hoped for; he received Japan's help
in purchasing weapons and ammunition for the PPS and its combat
organisation, and the Japanese declined the Legion proposal.
In the fall of 1904, Piłsudski formed a paramilitary unit (the Combat
Organization of the Polish Socialist Party, or bojówki) aiming to
create an armed resistance movement against the Russian
authorities. The PPS organized an increasing numbers of
demonstrations, mainly in Warsaw; on 28 October 1904, Russian Cossack
cavalry attacked a demonstration, and in reprisal, during a
demonstration on 13 November Piłsudski's paramilitary opened fire on
Russian police and military. Initially concentrating their
attention on spies and informers, in March 1905 the paramilitary began
using bombs to assassinate selected Russian police officers.
During the Russian Revolution of 1905, Piłsudski played a leading
role in events in Congress Poland. In early 1905 he ordered the PPS to
launch a general strike there; it involved some 400,000 workers and
lasted two months until it was broken by the Russian authorities.
In June 1905, Piłsudski sent paramilitary aid to an uprising in
Łódź. During the "June Days", as the
Łódź uprising came to be
known, armed clashes broke out between Piłsudski's paramilitaries and
gunmen loyal to Dmowski and his National Democrats. On 22 December
1905, Piłsudski called for all Polish workers to rise up; the call
went largely unheeded.
Unlike the National Democrats, Piłsudski instructed the PPS to
boycott the elections to the First Duma. The decision and his
resolve to try to win Polish independence through uprisings caused
tensions within the PPS, and in November 1906, the party fractured
over Piłsudski's leadership. His faction came to be called the
"Old Faction" or "Revolutionary Faction" ("Starzy" or "Frakcja
Rewolucyjna"), while their opponents were known as the "Young
Faction", "Moderate Faction" or "Left Wing" ("Młodzi", "Frakcja
Umiarkowana", "Lewica"). The "Young" sympathized with the Social
Democrats of the Kingdom of
Lithuania and believed that
priority should be given to co-operation with Russian revolutionaries
in toppling the tsarist regime and creating a socialist utopia that
would facilitate negotiations for independence.
Piłsudski and his supporters in the Revolutionary Faction continued
to plot a revolution against
Tsarist Russia that would secure Polish
independence. By 1909, his faction would again be the majority in
the PPS, and Piłsudski would remain one of the most important PPS
leaders until the outbreak of the First World War.
Piłsudski anticipated a coming European war and the need to
organize the nucleus of a future Polish Army, which could help win
Poland's independence from the three empires that had partitioned it
out of political existence in the late 18th century. In 1906
Piłsudski, with the connivance of the Austrian authorities, founded a
military school in
Kraków for the training of paramilitary units.
In 1906 alone, the 800-strong paramilitaries, operating in five-man
teams in Congress Poland, killed 336 Russian officials; in subsequent
years, the number of their casualties declined, and the
paramilitaries' numbers increased to some 2,000 in 1908.
The paramilitaries also held up Russian currency transports that were
leaving Polish territories. On the night of 26/27 September 1908, they
robbed a Russian mail train that was carrying tax revenues from Warsaw
to Saint Petersburg. Piłsudski, who took part in this Bezdany
raid near Vilnius, used the funds thus "expropriated" to finance his
secret military organization. The take from that single raid
(200,812 rubles) was a fortune for the time and equaled the
paramilitaries' entire takes of the two preceding years.
Józef Piłsudski with Supreme Command of Polish Military Organisation
In 1908, Piłsudski transformed his paramilitary units into an
"Association for Active Struggle" (Związek Walki Czynnej, or ZWC),
headed by three of his associates, Władysław Sikorski, Marian Kukiel
and Kazimierz Sosnkowski. One of the ZWC's main purposes was to
train officers and noncommissioned officers for a future Polish
In 1910, two legal paramilitary organizations were created in the
Austrian zone of Poland, one in Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) and one in
Kraków, to conduct training in military science. With the permission
of the Austrian authorities, Piłsudski founded a series of "sporting
clubs", then the Riflemen's Association, which served as cover to
train a Polish military force. In 1912 Piłsudski (using the nom de
guerre, "Mieczysław") became commander-in-chief of a Riflemen's
Association (Związek Strzelecki) that grew by 1914 to 12,000
men. In 1914, Piłsudski declared, "Only the sword now carries
any weight in the balance for the destiny of a nation."
World War I
Piłsudski in uniform
Main article: World War I
At a meeting in Paris in 1914, Piłsudski presciently declared that in
the impending war, for
Poland to regain independence, Russia must be
beaten by the
Central Powers (the Austro-Hungarian and German
Empires), and the latter powers must in their turn be beaten by
France, Britain and the United States. By contrast, Roman Dmowski,
Piłsudski's rival, believed that the best way to achieve a unified
Poland was to support the
Triple Entente against the
World War I
World War I (1914)
At the outbreak of the war on 3 August in Kraków, Piłsudski formed a
small cadre military unit, the First Cadre Company, from members of
Riflemen's Association and Polish Rifle Squads. That same day,
a cavalry unit under
Władysław Belina-Prażmowski was sent to
reconnoitre across the Russian border even before the official
declaration of war between
Austria-Hungary and Russia, which ensued on
Piłsudski's strategy was to send his forces north across the border
Poland into an area that the Russian Army had evacuated
in the hope of breaking through to
Warsaw and sparking a national
uprising. Using his limited forces in those early days, he
backed his orders with the sanction of a fictitious "National
Government in Warsaw", and he bent and stretched Austrian orders
to the utmost, taking initiatives, moving forward and establishing
Polish institutions in liberated towns while the Austrians saw his
forces as good only for scouting or for supporting main Austrian
formations. On 12 August 1914, Piłsudski's forces took the town
of Kielce, of
Kielce Governorate, but Piłsudski found the populace
less supportive than he had expected.
Soon afterward he officially established the Polish Legions, taking
personal command of their First Brigade, which he would lead
successfully into several victorious battles. He also secretly
informed the British government in the fall of 1914 that his Legions
would never fight France or Britain, only Russia.
Piłsudski and his officers, 1915
Piłsudski decreed that Legions' personnel were to be addressed by the
French Revolution-inspired "Citizen" (Obywatel), and he was referred
to as "the Commandant" ("Komendant"). Piłsudski enjoyed extreme
respect and loyalty from his men, which would remain for years to
come. The Polish Legions fought against Russia, at the side of the
Central Powers, until 1917.
Soon after forming the Legions, also in 1914, Piłsudski set up
another organization, the
Polish Military Organisation
Polish Military Organisation (Polska
Organizacja Wojskowa), which served as a precursor Polish intelligence
agency and was designed to perform espionage and sabotage
Piłsudski. Painting by Jacek Malczewski, 1916
In mid-1916, after the
Battle of Kostiuchnówka
Battle of Kostiuchnówka (4–6 July 1916), in
which the Polish Legions delayed a Russian offensive at a cost of over
2,000 casualties, Piłsudski demanded for the
Central Powers to
issue a guarantee of independence for Poland. He backed that demand
with his own proffered resignation and that of many of the Legions'
officers. On 5 November 1916 the
Central Powers proclaimed the
"independence" of Poland, hoping to increase the number of Polish
troops that could be sent to the Eastern Front against Russia, thereby
relieving German forces to bolster the Western Front.
Piłsudski agreed to serve in the Regency Kingdom of Poland, created
by the Central Powers, and acted as minister of war in the newly
formed Polish Regency government; as such, he was responsible for the
Polnische Wehrmacht. After the Russian Revolution in early 1917,
and in view of the worsening situation of the Central Powers,
Piłsudski took an increasingly uncompromising stance, insisting that
his men no longer be treated as "German colonial troops" and but be
used to fight only Russia. Anticipating the Central Powers' defeat in
the war, he did not wish to be allied with the losing side. In
the aftermath of a July 1917 "Oath Crisis" when Piłsudski forbade
Polish soldiers to swear a loyalty oath to the Central Powers, he was
arrested and imprisoned at Magdeburg; the Polish units were disbanded
and the men were incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian Army
Polish Military Organization
Polish Military Organization began attacking German
targets. Piłsudski's arrest greatly enhanced his reputation among
Poles, many of whom began to see him as the most determined Polish
leader, who was willing to take on all the partitioning powers.
On 8 November 1918, three days before the Armistice, Piłsudski and
his colleague, Colonel Kazimierz Sosnkowski, were released by the
Magdeburg and soon, like
Vladimir Lenin before them,
placed on a private train, bound for their national capital, as the
collapsing Germans hoped that Piłsudski would create a force that was
friendly to them.
Ulica Mokotowska 50, Warsaw, where Piłsudski stayed 13–29 November
1918, after his release from Magdeburg
Tank of Piłsudski Polish improvised armoured car from 1919 named
On 11 November 1918 in Warsaw, Piłsudski was appointed Commander in
Chief of Polish forces by the Regency Council and was entrusted with
creating a national government for the newly independent country. On
that very day, which would become Poland's Independence Day, he
proclaimed an independent Polish state.
That week too, Piłsudski also negotiated the evacuation of the German
Warsaw and of other German troops from the "Ober Ost"
authority. Over 55,000 Germans would peacefully depart Poland, leaving
their weapons to the Poles. In coming months, over 400,000 total would
depart Polish territories.
On 14 November 1918, Piłsudski was asked to supervise provisionally
the running of the country. On 22 November he officially received,
from the new government of Jędrzej Moraczewski, the title of
Provisional Chief of State (Naczelnik Państwa) of renascent
Various Polish military organizations and provisional governments (the
Regency Council in Warsaw; Ignacy Daszyński's government in Lublin;
Polish Liquidation Committee in Kraków) bowed to Piłsudski,
who set about forming a new coalition government. It was predominantly
socialist and introduced many reforms long proclaimed as necessary by
the Polish Socialist Party, such as the eight-hour day, free school
education and women's suffrage, to avoid major unrest.
However, Piłsudski believed that as head of state, he must be above
partisan politics. The day after his arrival in Warsaw, he met
with old colleagues from underground days, who addressed him
socialist-style as "Comrade" ("Towarzysz") and asked for his support
for their revolutionary policies; he refused it and answered:
"Comrades, I took the red tram of socialism to the stop called
Independence, and that's where I got off. You may keep on to the final
stop if you wish, but from now on let's address each other as 'Mister'
[rather than continue using the socialist term of address,
'Comrade']!" He declined to support any party and did not form any
political organization of his own; instead, he advocated creating a
coalition government. He also set about organizing a Polish
army out of Polish veterans of the German, Russian and Austrian
In the days immediately after the war, Piłsudski attempted to build a
government in a shattered country. Much of former Russian
been destroyed in the war, and systematic looting by the Germans had
reduced the region's wealth by at least 10%. A British diplomat
Warsaw in January 1919 reported: "I have nowhere seen
anything like the evidences of extreme poverty and wretchedness that
meet one's eye at almost every turn".
In addition, the country had to unify the disparate systems of law,
economics, and administration in the former German, Austrian and
Russian sectors of Poland. There were nine legal systems, five
currencies, 66 types of rail systems (with 165 models of locomotives),
which all had to be consolidated on an expedited basis.
Statue of Piłsudski before Warsaw's
Belweder Palace, Piłsudski's
official residence during his years in power
Wacław Jędrzejewicz, in Piłsudski: A Life for Poland, described
Piłsudski as very deliberate in his decision-making and collected all
available pertinent information and then took his time weighing it
before arriving at a final decision. Piłsudski drove himself hard,
working all day and all night. He maintained a simple lifestyle,
eating plain meals alone at an inexpensive restaurant. Though he
was popular with much of the Polish public, his reputation as a loner
(the result of many years' underground work) and as a man who
distrusted almost everyone else, which led to strained relations with
other Polish politicians.
Piłsudski and the first Polish government were distrusted in the West
because he had co-operated with the
Central Powers in 1914 to 1917 and
because the governments of Daszyński and
Jędrzej Moraczewski were
primarily socialist. It was not until January 1919, when the
world-famous pianist and composer
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski became prime
minister and foreign minister of a new government that it was
recognized in the West.
That still left two separate governments claiming to be Poland's
legitimate government: Piłsudski's in
Warsaw and Dmowski's in
Paris. To ensure that
Poland had a single government and to avert
civil war, Paderewski met with Dmowski and Piłsudski and persuaded
them to join forces, with Piłsudski acting as Provisional Chief of
Commander-in-Chief while Dmowski and Paderewski represented
Poland at the Paris Peace Conference. Articles 87–93 of the
Treaty of Versailles and the Little Treaty of Versailles, signed
on 28 June 1919, formally established
Poland as an independent and
sovereign state in the international arena.
Turek (designed in 1936)
Piłsudski often clashed with Dmowski for viewing the
Poles as the
dominant nationality in renascent Poland, attempting to send the Blue
Poland through Danzig, Germany (now Gdańsk, Poland).
On 5 January 1919, some of Dmowski's supporters (Marian
Januszajtis-Żegota and Eustachy Sapieha) attempted a coup against
Piłsudski and Prime Minister Moraczewski, but they failed.
On 20 February 1919, Piłsudski declared that he would return his
powers to the newly elected Polish parliament (Sejm). However, the
Sejm reinstated his office in the Little Constitution of 1919. The
word "Provisional" was struck from his title, and Piłsudski would
hold the office until 9 December 1922, when
Gabriel Narutowicz was
elected as the first president.
Piłsudski's major foreign policy initiative was then a proposed
federation (to be called "Międzymorze", Polish for "Between-Seas",
and also known from the
Latin as Intermarium, stretching from the
Baltic to the Black Sea) of
Poland with the independent Baltic states
Belarus and Ukraine, somewhat in emulation of the
pre-partition Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Piłsudski's plan met with opposition from most of the prospective
member states, which refused to relinquish any of their hard-won
independence, as well as from the Allied powers, who thought it to be
too bold a change to the existing balance-of-power structure.
According to historian George Sanford, it was around 1920 that
Piłsudski came to realize the infeasibility of that version of his
Instead of a Central and Eastern European alliance, there soon
appeared a series of border conflicts, including the Polish-Ukrainian
War (1918–19), the
Polish-Lithuanian War (1920, culminating in
Polish-Czechoslovak border conflicts
Polish-Czechoslovak border conflicts (beginning
in 1918), and most notably the
Polish-Soviet War (1919–21).
Winston Churchill commented, "The war of giants has ended, the wars of
the pygmies begun."
Piłsudski around 1919
Main article: Polish-Soviet War
Piłsudski in Poznań
In the aftermath of World War I, there was unrest on all Polish
borders. Regarding Poland's future frontiers, Piłsudski said, "All
that we can gain in the west depends on the Entente—on the extent to
which it may wish to squeeze Germany". In the east, "there are doors
that open and close, and it depends on who forces them open and how
far". In 1918 in the east, Polish forces clashed with Ukrainian
forces in the Polish–Ukrainian War, and Piłsudski's first orders as
Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army, on 12 November 1918, were to
provide support for the Polish struggle in Lviv.
Piłsudski was aware that the Bolsheviks were no friends of
Poland and that war with them was inevitable. He
viewed their advance west as a major problem, but he also considered
the Bolsheviks less dangerous for
Poland than their White
opponents. The "White Russians", representatives of the old
Russian Empire, were willing to accept only limited independence for
Poland, probably within borders similar to those of the former
Congress Poland, and they clearly objected to Polish control of
Ukraine, which was crucial for Piłsudski's
That was in contrast to the Bolsheviks, who proclaimed the partitions
Poland null and void. Piłsudski thus speculated that Poland
would be better off with the Bolsheviks, alienated from the Western
powers, than with a restored Russian Empire. By ignoring the
strong pressures from the
Entente Cordiale to join the attack on
Lenin's struggling Bolshevik government, Piłsudski probably saved it
in the summer and the fall of 1919.
In March 1920, Piłsudski was made "First
Marshal of Poland".
In the wake of the
Russian westward offensive of 1918–1919
Russian westward offensive of 1918–1919 and of a
series of escalating battles that resulted in the
eastward, on 21 April 1920,
Marshal Piłsudski, as his rank had been
since March 1920) signed a military alliance (the Treaty of Warsaw,
with Ukrainian leader
Symon Petliura to conduct joint operations
against Soviet Russia. The goal of the Polish-Ukrainian Treaty was to
establish an independent
Ukraine and independent
Poland in alliance,
resembling that once existing within Polish–Lithuanian
Commonwealth In return, Petliura gave up Ukrainian claims to
western lands of Galicia being a historical part of the Crown of
Poland for which he was denounced by Ukrainian nationalist
The Polish and the Ukrainian Armies, under Piłsudski's command,
launched a successful offensive against the Russian forces in Ukraine.
On 7 May 1920, with remarkably little fighting, they captured
Piłsudski (left) and
Edward Rydz-Śmigły (right), 1920, during
The Bolshevik leadership framed the Polish actions as an invasion; in
response, thousands of officers and deserters joined the Red Army, and
thousands of civilians volunteered for war work. The Soviets
launched a counter-offensive from
Belarus and counterattacked in
Ukraine, advancing into Poland in a drive toward Germany to
Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany in its struggle to take
power. Soviet confidence soared. The Soviets announced their plans
to invade Western Europe; Soviet communist theoretician Nikolai
Bukharin, writing in Pravda, hoped for the resources to carry the
Warsaw "straight to London and Paris". Soviet
commander Mikhail Tukhachevsky's order of the day for 2 July 1920
read: "To the West! Over the corpse of White
Poland lies the road to
worldwide conflagration. March upon Vilnius, Minsk, Warsaw!" and
"onward to Berlin over the corpse of Poland!"
On 1 July 1920, in view of the rapidly advancing Soviet offensive,
Poland's parliament, the Sejm, formed a Council for Defense of the
Nation, chaired by Piłsudski, to provide expeditious decision-making
as a temporary supplanting of the fractious Sejm. The National
Democrats, however, contended that the string of Bolshevik victories
had been Piłsudski's fault and demanded that for him to resign;
some even accused him of treason. Their 19 July failure to carry a
vote of no-confidence in the council led to Dmowski's withdrawal from
it. On 12 August, Piłsudski tendered his resignation to Prime
Minister Wincenty Witos, offering to be the scapegoat if the military
solution failed, but Witos refused to accept his resignation. The
Poland to surrender and enter into negotiations with
the Bolsheviks. Piłsudski, however, was a staunch advocate of
continuing the fight. As
Norman Davies noted, at that time,
especially abroad, "Piłsudski had nothing of his later prestige. As a
pre-war revolutionary he led his party to splits and quarrels; as a
World War I
World War I he led his legions to internment and
disbanding; as a marshal of the
Polish Army he led it to
Vilnius, both now lost to Poles. He left the Polish Socialist Party
and his Austro-German allies; refused to ally himself with Entente. In
France and England he was considered a treasonous ally who leads
Poland into destruction; in Russia he was seen as a false servant of
the allies, who will lead imperialism to ruin. All – from Lenin
to Lloyd George, from
Pravda to Morning Star – considered him a
military and political failure. In August 1920 all were in agreement
that his catastrophic career will be crowned with the fall of
Piłsudski with his favorite horse, Chestnut (Kasztanka)
However, over the next few weeks, Poland's risky, unconventional
strategy at the August 1920 Battle of
Warsaw halted the Soviet
advance. The Polish plan was developed by Piłsudski and others,
including Tadeusz Rozwadowski. Later, some supporters of
Piłsudski would seek to portray him as the sole author of the Polish
strategy, but opponents would seek to minimize his role. In the
West for a long time a myth persisted that it was General Maxime
Weygand of the French Military Mission to
Poland who had saved Poland;
modern scholars, however, are in agreement that Weygand's role was
minimal, at best.
Piłsudski's plan called for Polish forces to withdraw across the
Vistula River and to defend the bridgeheads at
Warsaw and on the
Wieprz River while some 25% of the available divisions concentrated to
the south for a strategic counteroffensive. The plan next required two
armies under General Józef Haller, facing Soviet frontal attack on
Warsaw from the east, to hold their entrenched positions at all costs.
At the same time, an army under General
Władysław Sikorski was to
strike north from outside Warsaw, cutting off Soviet forces that
sought to envelope the Polish capital from that direction. The most
important role, however, was assigned to a relatively small,
approximately 20,000-man, newly assembled "Reserve Army" (also known
as the "Strike Group", "Grupa Uderzeniowa"), comprising the most
determined, battle-hardened Polish units that were commanded
personally by Piłsudski. Their task was to spearhead a lightning
northward offensive, from the Vistula-Wieprz triangle south of Warsaw,
through a weak spot that had been identified by Polish intelligence
between the Soviet Western and Southwestern Fronts. That offensive
would separate the Soviet Western Front from its reserves and
disorganize its movements. Eventually, the gap between Sikorski's army
and the "Strike Group" would close near the East Prussian border,
bringing about the destruction of the encircled Soviet forces.
At the time, Piłsudski's plan was strongly criticized, and only the
desperate situation of the Polish forces persuaded other commanders to
go along with it. Though based on reliable intelligence, including
decrypted Soviet radio communications, the plan was termed
"amateurish" by high-ranking army officers and military experts, who
were quick to point out Piłsudski's lack of formal military
education. When a copy of the plan fell into Soviet hands, Western
Mikhail Tukhachevsky thought it to be a ruse and
disregarded it. Days later, the Soviets paid dearly for that when,
during the Battle of Warsaw, the overconfident
Red Army suffered one
of its greatest defeats ever.
A National Democrat
Sejm deputy, Stanisław Stroński, coined the
phrase, "Miracle at the Vistula" ("Cud nad Wisłą"), to express
his disapproval of Piłsudski's "Ukrainian adventure". Stroński's
phrase was adopted as praise for Piłsudski by some patriotically- or
piously-minded Poles, who were unaware of Stroński's ironic intent. A
junior member of the French military mission, Charles de Gaulle, would
later adopt some lessons from the
Polish-Soviet War as well as from
In February 1921, Piłsudski visited Paris, where, in negotiations
with French President Alexandre Millerand, he laid the foundations for
the Franco-Polish Military Alliance, which would be signed later that
year. The Treaty of Riga, which ended the
Polish-Soviet War in
March 1921, partitioned
Poland and Russia.
Piłsudski called the treaty an "act of cowardice". The treaty
and his secret approval of General Lucjan Żeligowski's capture of
Vilnius from the
Lithuanians marked an end to this incarnation of
On 25 September 1921, when Piłsudski visited Lwów (now Lviv) for the
opening of the first
Eastern Trade Fair
Eastern Trade Fair (Targi Wschodnie), he was the
target of an unsuccessful assassination attempt by Stepan Fedak,
acting on behalf of Ukrainian-independence organizations, including
the Ukrainian Military Organization.
Retirement and coup
Belweder Palace, Chief of State Piłsudski (left) transferred his
powers to President-elect
Gabriel Narutowicz (right). Two days later,
the President was assassinated.
After the Polish Constitution of March 1921 severely limited the
powers of the presidency intentionally, to prevent a President
Piłsudski from waging war. He declined to run for the office. On
9 December 1922, the Polish National Assembly elected Gabriel
Narutowicz of Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie"; his election,
opposed by the right-wing parties, caused public unrest. On 14
December at the
Belweder Palace, Piłsudski officially transferred his
powers as Chief of State to his friend Narutowicz; the Naczelnik was
replaced by the President.
At Warsaw's Hotel Bristol, 3 July 1923, Piłsudski announced his
retirement from active politics.
Two days later, on 16 December 1922, Narutowicz was shot dead by a
right-wing painter and art critic, Eligiusz Niewiadomski, who had
originally wanted to kill Piłsudski but had changed his target,
influenced by National Democrat anti-Narutowicz propaganda.
For Piłsudski, that was a major shock, which shook his belief that
Poland could function as a democracy and made him support
government by a strong hand. He became Chief of the General Staff
and, together with Minister of Military Affairs Władysław Sikorski,
managed to stabilize the situation, quelling unrest with a brief state
Stanisław Wojciechowski of Polish People's Party "Piast" (PSL Piast),
another of Piłsudski's old colleagues, was elected the new president,
and Wincenty Witos, also of PSL Piast, became prime minister. However,
the new government, pursuant to the Lanckorona Pact, an alliance among
the centrist PSL Piast and the right-wing
Popular National Union and
Christian Democrat parties, contained right-wing enemies of
Piłsudski, people whom he held morally responsible for Narutowicz's
death and with whom he found it impossible to work. On 30 May
1923, Piłsudski resigned as Chief of the General Staff.
Piłsudski in front of his
Sulejówek house, with his former soldiers,
before the 1926 coup
Stanisław Szeptycki proposed that the military should
be more closely supervised by civilian authorities, Piłsudski
criticized that as an attempt to politicize the army, and on 28 June,
he resigned his last political appointment. The same day, the Sejm's
left-wing deputies voted a resolution, thanking him for his past
work. Piłsudski went into retirement in Sulejówek, outside
Warsaw, at his country manor, "Milusin", which had been presented to
him by his former soldiers. There, he settled down to supporting
his family by writing a series of political and military memoirs,
including Rok 1920 (The Year 1920).
Piłsudski on Warsaw's
Poniatowski Bridge during the May 1926 Coup
d'État. At the right is General Gustaw Orlicz-Dreszer.
Meanwhile, Poland's economy was in shambles.
public unrest, and the government was unable to find a quick solution
to the mounting unemployment and economic crisis. Piłsudski's
allies and supporters repeatedly asked him to return to politics, and
he began to create a new power base, centred on former members of the
Polish Legions and the
Polish Military Organization
Polish Military Organization as well as some
left-wing and intelligentsia parties. In 1925, after several
governments had resigned in short order and the political scene was
becoming increasingly chaotic, Piłsudski became more and more
critical of the government and eventually issued statements demanding
the resignation of the Witos cabinet.
Chjeno-Piast coalition, which Piłsudski had strongly
criticized, formed a new government, on 12–14 May 1926,
Piłsudski returned to power in a coup d'état (the May Coup),
supported by the Polish Socialist Party, Liberation, the Peasant Party
and even the Polish Communist Party. Piłsudski had hoped for a
bloodless coup, but the government had refused to back down; 215
soldiers and 164 civilians had been killed, and over 900 persons had
On 31 May, the
Sejm elected Piłsudski president of the Republic.
Piłsudski, however, aware of the presidency's limited powers, refused
the office. Another of his old friends, Ignacy Mościcki, was elected
in his stead. Mościcki then appointed Piłsudski as Minister of
Military Affairs (defence minister), a post that he would hold for the
rest of his life in 11 successive governments, two of which he headed
himself from 1926 to 1928 and for a brief period in 1930. He also
served as General Inspector of the Armed Forces, and Chairman of The
Piłsudski had no plans for major reforms; he quickly distanced
himself from the most radical of his left-wing supporters and declared
that his coup was to be a "revolution without revolutionary
consequences". His goals were to stabilize the country; reduce the
influence of political parties, which he blamed for corruption and
inefficiency; and strengthen the army. His role in the Polish
government over the subsequent years has been called a dictatorship or
Belweder Palace, Warsaw, Piłsudski's official residence during his
years in power
In internal politics, Piłsudski's coup entailed sweeping limitations
on parliamentary government, as his Sanation regime (1926–1939), at
times employing authoritarian methods, sought to "restore public life
to moral health". From 1928, the Sanation authorities were represented
in the sphere of practical politics by the Non-partisan Bloc for
Cooperation with the Government (BBWR). Popular support and an
effective propaganda apparatus allowed Piłsudski to maintain his
authoritarian powers, which could not be overruled either by the
president, who was appointed by Piłsudski, or by the Sejm. The
powers of the
Sejm were curtailed by constitutional amendments that
were introduced soon after the coup, on 2 August 1926. From 1926
to 1930, Piłsudski relied chiefly on propaganda to weaken the
influence of opposition leaders.
The culmination of his dictatorial and supralegal policies came in the
1930s, with the imprisonment and trial of certain political opponents
(the Brest trials) on the eve of the 1930 legislative elections and
with the 1934 establishment of a prison for political prisoners at
Bereza Kartuska (today Biaroza), where some prisoners were
brutally mistreated. After the BBWR's 1930 victory, Piłsudski
left most internal matters in the hands of his "colonels" while he
concentrated on military and foreign affairs. He came under
considerable criticism for his treatment of political opponents and
their 1930 arrest and imprisonment was internationally condemned and
damaged Poland's reputation.
Marshal and his second wife, Aleksandra Piłsudska, in later life
Piłsudski became increasingly disillusioned with democracy in
Poland. His intemperate public utterances (he called the
"prostitute") and his sending of 90 armed officers into the Sejm
building in response to an impending vote of no-confidence caused
concern in contemporary and modern observers who have seen his actions
as setting precedents for authoritarian responses to political
One of his main goals was to transform the parliamentary system into a
presidential system; however, he opposed the introduction of
totalitarianism. The adoption of a new Polish constitution in
April 1935 that was tailored by Piłsudski's supporters to his
specifications, providing for a strong presidency, came too late for
Piłsudski to seek that office; but the
April Constitution would serve
Poland up to the outbreak of World War II and would carry its
Government in Exile until the end of the war and beyond.
Nonetheless, Piłsudski's government depended more on his charismatic
authority than on rational-legal authority. None of his followers
could claim to be his legitimate heir, and after his death, the
Sanation structure would quickly fracture, returning
Poland to the
pre-Piłsudski era of parliamentary political contention.
In 1933, Piłsudski paid homage at the tomb of
John III Sobieski
John III Sobieski in
commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Battle of Vienna.
Piłsudski's regime began a period of national stabilization and of
improvement in the situation of ethnic minorities, which formed about
a third of the Second Republic's population. Piłsudski
replaced the National Democrats' "ethnic-assimilation" with a
"state-assimilation" policy: citizens were judged not by their
ethnicity but by their loyalty to the state. Widely
recognized for his opposition to the National Democrats' anti-Semitic
policies, he extended his policy of
"state-assimilation" to Polish Jews. The years
1926 to 1935 and Piłsudski himself were favorably viewed by many
Polish Jews whose situation improved especially under
Piłsudski-appointed Prime Minister Kazimierz Bartel. Many
Jews saw Piłsudski as their only hope for restraining antisemitic
Poland and for maintaining public order; he was seen as a
guarantor of stability and a friend of the Jewish people, who voted
for him and actively participated in his political bloc.
Piłsudski's death in 1935 brought a deterioration in the quality of
life of Poland's Jews.
During the 1930s, a combination of developments, from the Great
Depression to the vicious spiral of OUN terrorist attacks and
government pacifications, caused government relations with the
national minorities to deteriorate. Unrest among national
minorities was also related to foreign policy. Troubles followed
repressions in the largely-Ukrainian eastern Galicia, where nearly
1,800 persons were arrested. Tension also arose between the government
and Poland's German minority, particularly in Upper Silesia. The
government did not yield to calls for antisemitic measures; but the
Jews (8.6% of Poland's population) grew discontented for economic
reasons that were connected with the Depression. Overall, by the end
of Piłsudski's life, his government's relations with national
minorities were increasingly problematic.
In the military sphere, Piłsudski, who had shown himself an
accomplished military strategist in engineering the "Miracle at the
Vistula", has been criticized by some for subsequently concentrating
on personnel management and allegedly neglecting modernization of
military strategy and equipment. His experiences in the
Polish-Soviet War (1919–1921) may have led him to overestimate the
importance of cavalry and to neglect the development of armoured and
air forces. Others, however, contend that, particularly from the
late 1920s, he had supported the development of these military
branches. The limitations on Poland's military modernization in
this period may have been less doctrinal than financial.
Marshal Piłsudski, painted by Wojciech Kossak, 1928
Poland maintained good relations with neighboring
Romania, Hungary and Latvia. Relations were strained with
Czechoslovakia, however, and even worse with Lithuania. Relations
Weimar Germany and the
Soviet Union varied over time, but during
Piłsudski's tenure could, for the most part, be described as
Piłsudski's Promethean programme to weaken the
Russian Empire and its
successor state, the Soviet Union, by supporting nationalist
independence movements of major non-Russian peoples dwelling in Russia
and the Soviet Union, was co-ordinated from 1927 to the 1939 outbreak
of World War II in
Europe by the military intelligence officer, Edmund
Charaszkiewicz. In the interbellum, but it yielded few tangible
German ambassador, Hans-Adolf von Moltke, Piłsudski, Joseph Goebbels
and Józef Beck, Polish Foreign minister, in
Warsaw on 15 June 1934,
five months after the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact
Piłsudski sought to maintain his country's independence in the
international arena. Assisted by his protégé, Foreign Minister
Józef Beck, he sought support for
Poland in alliances with western
powers, such as France and the United Kingdom, and with friendly, if
less powerful, neighbours, such as Romania and Hungary.
A supporter of the
Franco-Polish Military Alliance and the
Polish-Romanian Alliance, part of the Little Entente, Piłsudski was
disappointed by the French and British policy of appeasement evident
in their signing of the Locarno Treaties. Piłsudski,
therefore, aimed also to maintain good relations with the Soviet Union
and Germany and so
Poland signed non-aggression pacts with both of its
powerful neighbours: the 1932
Soviet-Polish Non-Aggression Pact
Soviet-Polish Non-Aggression Pact and
the 1934 German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact. Both were meant to
strengthen Poland's position in the eyes of its allies and
Piłsudski himself was acutely aware of the shakiness of the pacts,
and he commented: "Having these pacts, we are straddling two stools.
This cannot last long. We have to know from which stool we will tumble
first, and when that will be". Critics of the two non-aggression
pacts have accused Piłsudski of underestimating Hitler's
aggressiveness, of giving Germany time to rearm and of
allowing Stalin to eliminate opposition, primarily in Ukraine, which
had been supported by Piłsudski's Promethean program.
Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in January 1933,
Piłsudski is rumored to have proposed to France a preventive war
against Germany. It has been argued that Piłsudski may have been
sounding out France regarding possible joint military action against
Germany. Lack of French interest may have been a reason for
Poland signing the Non-Aggression Pact of January
1934. Little evidence has, however, been found in
French or Polish diplomatic archives that such a proposal for
preventive war was ever actually advanced.
Hitler repeatedly suggested a German-Polish alliance against the
Soviet Union, but Piłsudski declined, instead seeking precious time
to prepare for potential war with either Germany or the Soviet
Union. Just before his death, Piłsudski told Józef Beck
that it must be Poland's policy to maintain neutral relations with
Germany, keep up the Polish alliance with France and improve relations
with the United Kingdom.
Piłsudski's religious views are a matter of debate. He was baptized
on 15 December 1867 in the church of Powiewiórka (then Sventsiany
deanery) by the priest, Thomas Valinsky. His godparents were Joseph
and Constance Martsinkovsky Ragalskaya.
He periodically changed his religious affiliation from Roman
Catholicism to Lutheranism, and back.
On 15 July 1899, at the village of Paproć Duża, near Łomża, he
married Maria Piłsudska, a divorcée. As the
Catholic Church did not
recognize divorces, she and Piłsudski had converted to
Pilsudski later returned to the
Catholic Church in order to marry
Aleksandra Piłsudska. Piłsudski and Aleksandra could not get married
as Piłsudski's wife Maria refused to divorce him. It was only after
Maria's death in 1921 that they were married, on October 25 of the
After the May coup, Piłsudski considered himself a Roman Catholic,
but he did not appear to be religious and often used religion as
public tool. Piłsudski was quoted saying:
Religion is for brainless people.
After the coup and Piłsudski's reign as dictator, he often clashed
with Catholic leaders but nevertheless, enjoyed good working
relationship with Cardinal Aleksander Kakowski, who subsequently led
his funeral mass. In 1937, Archbishop of Kraków, Adam Stefan Sapieha,
ordered to move Piłsudski's coffin from
St. Leonard's Crypt
St. Leonard's Crypt to Royal
Tombs at Wawel. This led to open conflict with the church and the
government, which threatened to step down.
Grave of Piłsudski's mother in Vilnius, Lithuania. The huge black
tombstone is inscribed: "Matka i serce syna"
("A mother and the heart of [her] son") and bears evocative lines from
a poem by Słowacki.
By 1935, unbeknownst to the public, Piłsudski had for several years
been in declining health. On 12 May 1935, he died of liver cancer at
Belweder Palace. The celebration of his life began
spontaneously within half an hour of the announcement of his
death. It was led by military personnel — former Legionnaires,
members of the Polish Military Organization, veterans of the wars of
1919–21 — and by his political collaborators from his service as
Chief of State and, later, Prime Minister and Inspector-General.
The Polish Communist Party immediately attacked Piłsudski as a
fascist and capitalist, though fascists themselves did not see him
as one of them. Other opponents of the Sanation regime, however,
were more civil; socialists (such as
Ignacy Daszyński and Tomasz
Arciszewski) and Christian Democrats (represented by Ignacy
Stanisław Wojciechowski and Władysław Grabski)
expressed condolences. The peasant parties split in their reactions
Wincenty Witos voicing criticism of Piłsudski, but
Maciej Rataj and
Stanisław Thugutt being supportive), while Roman Dmowski's National
Democrats expressed a toned-down criticism.
Condolences were expressed by the clergy, including Poland's Primate
August Hlond, as well as by Pope Pius XI, who called himself a
"personal friend" of Piłsudski. Notable appreciation for Piłsudski
was expressed by Poland's ethnic and religious minorities. Eastern
Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Protestant, Judaic and Islamic organizations
expressed condolences, praising Piłsudski for his policies of
religious tolerance. His death was a shock to members of the Jewish
minority, who even years after remembered him as a "very good man" who
Mainstream organizations of ethnic minorities similarly expressed
their support for his policies of ethnic tolerance, though he was
criticized by, in addition to the Polish communists, the Jewish Labour
Bund, and Ukrainian, German and Lithuanian extremists.
On the international scene,
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI held a special ceremony 18
May in the Holy See, a commemoration was conducted at League of
Geneva headquarters, and dozens of messages of condolence
Poland from heads of state across the world, including
Germany's Adolf Hitler, the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin, Italy's
Benito Mussolini and King Victor Emmanuel III, France's Albert Lebrun
and Pierre-Étienne Flandin, Austria's Wilhelm Miklas, Japan's Emperor
Hirohito, and Britain's King George V.
Ceremonies, masses and an enormous funeral were held; a funeral train
toured Poland. A series of postcards, stamps and postmarks was
also released. In 1937, after a two-year display at St. Leonard's
Crypt in Kraków's
Wawel Cathedral, Piłsudski's body was laid to rest
in the Cathedral's Crypt under the Silver Bells, except for his brain,
which he had willed for study to Stefan Batory University, and his
heart, which was interred in his mother's grave at Vilnius' Rasos
Cemetery, where it remains.
The 1937 relocation of his remains, made by his long-standing
adversary Adam Sapieha, then Archbishop of Krakow, incited widespread
protests that included calls for Sapieha's removal.
I am not going to dictate to you what you write about my life and
work. I only ask that you not make me out to be a 'whiner and
— Piłsudski, 1908
On 13 May 1935, in accordance with Piłsudski's last wishes, Edward
Rydz-Śmigły was named by Poland's president and government to be
Inspector-General of the Polish Armed Forces, and on 10 November 1936,
he was elevated to
Marshal of Poland. Rydz was now one of the
most powerful people in Poland, the "second man in the state after the
President". While many saw Rydz-Śmigły as a successor to
Piłsudski, he never became as influential.
As the Polish government became increasingly authoritarian and
conservative, the Rydz-Śmigły faction was opposed by that of the
more moderate Ignacy Mościcki, who remained President. After
1938 Rydz-Śmigły reconciled with the President, but the ruling group
remained divided into the "President's Men", mostly civilians (the
"Castle Group", after the President's official residence, Warsaw's
Royal Castle), and the "Marshal's Men" ("Piłsudski's Colonels"),
professional military officers and old comrades-in-arms of
Piłsudski's. After the German invasion of
Poland in 1939, some of
this political division would survive within the Polish government in
Statue of Piłsudski on Warsaw's Piłsudski Square—one of many
statuary tributes throughout Poland
Piłsudski had given
Poland something akin to what Henryk
Onufry Zagłoba had mused about: a Polish Oliver
Cromwell. As such, the
Marshal had inevitably drawn both intense
loyalty and intense vilification.
In 1935, at Piłsudski's funeral, President Mościcki eulogized the
Marshal: "He was the king of our hearts and the sovereign of our will.
During a half-century of his life's travails, he captured heart after
heart, soul after soul, until he had drawn the whole of
the purple of his royal spirit ... He gave
boundaries, power and respect."
After World War II, little of Piłsudski's thought influenced the
policies of the Polish People's Republic, a de facto satellite of the
Soviet Union. In particular,
Poland was in no position to resume
Piłsudski's effort to build an
Intermarium federation of
some of its neighbors; and a "Promethean" endeavor to "break up the
Russian state into its main constituents and emancipate the countries
that have been forcibly incorporated into that empire."
For a decade after World War II, Piłsudski was either ignored or
condemned by Poland's communist government, along with the entire
interwar Second Polish Republic. This began to change, however,
particularly after de-Stalinization and the
Polish October (1956), and
Poland gradually moved away from a purely negative
view of Piłsudski toward a more balanced and neutral assessment.
After the fall of communism and the 1991 disintegration of the Soviet
Union, Piłsudski once again came to be publicly acknowledged as a
Polish national hero. On the sixtieth anniversary of his death,
on 12 May 1995, Poland's
Sejm adopted a resolution: "Józef Piłsudski
will remain, in our nation's memory, the founder of its independence
and the victorious leader who fended off a foreign assault that
threatened the whole of
Europe and its civilization. Józef Piłsudski
served his country well and has entered our history forever."
While some of Piłsudski's political moves remain
controversial—particularly the May 1926 Coup d'état, the Brest
trials (1931–32), the 1934 establishment of the Bereza Kartuska
detention camp, and successive Polish governments' failure to
formulate consistent, constructive policies toward the national
minorities—Piłsudski continues to be viewed by most
Poles as a
providential figure in the country's 20th-century history.
Contemporary caricature of
Józef Piłsudski by Jerzy Szwajcer
Piłsudski has lent his name to several military units, including the
1st Legions Infantry Division and armored train No. 51 ("I
Marszałek"—"the First Marshal").
Also named for Piłsudski have been Piłsudski's Mound, one of four
man-made mounds in Kraków; the
Józef Piłsudski Institute of
America, a New York City research center and museum on the modern
history of Poland; the
Józef Piłsudski University of Physical
Education in Warsaw; a passenger ship, MS Piłsudski; a
gunboat, ORP Komendant Piłsudski; and a racehorse, Pilsudski.
Virtually every Polish city has its "Piłsudski Street". (There are,
by contrast, few if any streets named after Piłsudski's
National-Democrat arch-rival, Roman Dmowski, even in Dmowski's old
Poland political stronghold). There are statues of Piłsudski
in many Polish cities; the highest density of such statuary memorials
is found in Warsaw, which has three in little more than a mile between
Belweder Palace, Piłsudski's residence, and Piłsudski Square.
He was the subject of paintings by renowned artists such as Jacek
Malczewski (1916) and
Wojciech Kossak (leaning on his sword, 1928; and
astride his horse, Kasztanka, 1928), as well as of numerous
caricatures and photos.
Piłsudski has been a character in numerous works of fiction, such as
the 1922 novel Generał Barcz (General Barcz) by Juliusz
Kaden-Bandrowski and the 2007 novel Ice (Lód) by Jacek Dukaj.
Poland's National Library lists over 500 publications related to
Piłsudski; the U.S. Library of Congress, over 300.
Piłsudski's life was the subject of a 2001 Polish television
documentary, Marszałek Piłsudski, directed by Andrzej
Plans are being considered to turn Piłsudski's official residence,
Belweder Palace, which currently houses a small exhibit about him,
into a full-fledged museum devoted to his memory.
A statue of Józef Piłsudski, made entirely from rock salt, in the
Wieliczka Salt Mine.
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Kazimierz Ludwik Piłsudski
Kazimierz Piłsudski (1752 – ca. 1820)
Princess Rozalia Puzyna
Piotr Paweł Piłsudski (1794–1851)
Anna Billewicz (1761–1837)
Józef Wincenty Piłsudski (1833–1902)
Wincenty Butler (1771–1843)
Teodora Urszula Butler (1811–1886)
Małgorzata Billewicz (??? – ca. 1861)
Józef Klemens Piłsudski (1867–1935)
Kacper Billewicz (??? – ca. 1840)
Antoni Billewicz (1815–1860)
Maria Billewicz (1842–1884)
Joachim Michałowski (1744–1831)
Ludwika Taraszkiewicz (1784–1836)
Helena Michałowska (??? – 1846)
Wincenty Butler (1771–1843)
Elżbieta Butler (??? – 1894)
Małgorzata Billewicz (??? – ca. 1861)
Both daughters of
Marshal Piłsudski returned to
Poland in 1990, after
the fall of the Communist system. Jadwiga Piłsudska's daughter Joanna
Jaraczewska returned to
Poland in 1979. She married a Polish
Janusz Onyszkiewicz in a political prison in
1983. Both were very involved in the Polish struggle against communism
between 1979 and 1989.
Order of the White Eagle (1921)
Order of Virtuti Militari, classes I, II, and V
Cross of Independence with Swords
Cross of Independence with Swords (6 November 1930)
Order of Polonia Restituta, Class I and II
Cross of Valour (four times)
Cross of Merit (Poland)
Cross of Merit (Poland) (four times, including in 1931)
Merit Forces Central Lithuania
Cross on Silesian Ribbon of Merit and valor
Mark officers "Parasol" (1912)
Badge "for faithful service" (1916)
Scouting Cross (1920)
"Gold trade union" Chief Fire Brigades Union 
Cross Kaniowski (1929) 
Józef Piłsudski Polish Legion Commander" (1916) 
Commemorative Badge of former prisoners from the years 1914–1921
Ideological (1928) 
Order of the Blue Mantle (Afghanistan)
Order of the Iron Crown, Class III (Austria-Hungary)
Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
Order of Saint Alexander with sword (Bulgaria)
Order of the Southern Cross Class I (Brazil)
Czechoslovak War Cross 1918
Order of the Cross of the Eagle, Class I (Estonia, 1930)
Cross of Liberty, class I (grades I and III) (Estonia, 1922 and 1925)
Order of the White Rose of Finland, Class I
Grand Croix of the Legion of Honour, No. 25864 (continuous numbering)
Médaille militaire (France)
Order of Military Merit (Spain)
Order of the Rising Sun, Class I (Japan)
Order of the Karađorđe's Star
Order of the Karađorđe's Star (Yugoslavia)
Order of Lāčplēsis, Class I (Latvia)
Sovereign Military Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Class IV
Grand Cross of the
Order of the Tower and Sword
Order of the Tower and Sword – Portugal
Order of Carol I, class I and the Order of Michael the Brave, Classes
I, II and III (Romania)
Grand Cross of Merit (Hungary) 
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Class I of Military Order of
Savoy, First Class (Italy)
Jagiellonian University (28 April 1920) 
Adam Mickiewicz University
Adam Mickiewicz University (11 November 1933)
Warsaw (2 May 1921) 
Stefan Batory University
Stefan Batory University in
Vilnius (September 1921)
Bronisław Piłsudski (1866–1918) cultural anthropologist
Józef Piłsudski's cult of personality
List of people on the cover of Time Magazine: 1920s – 7 June
List of Poles
a. ^ Józef Klemens Piłsudski was commonly referred to without his
middle name, as "Józef Piłsudski". A few English sources translate
his first name as "Joseph", but this is not the common practice. As a
young man, he belonged to underground organizations and used various
pseudonyms, including "Wiktor", "Mieczysław" and "Ziuk" (the latter
also being his family nickname). Later he was often affectionately
called "Dziadek" ("Grandpa" or "the Old Man") and "Marszałek" ("the
Marshal"). His ex-soldiers from the Legions also referred to him as
"Komendant" ("the Commandant").
b. ^ Piłsudski sometimes spoke of being a Lithuanian of Polish
culture. For several centuries, declaring both Lithuanian and
Polish identity was not self-excluding alike in case of master of
Polish poetry Adam Mickiewicz. The question of Piłsudski's ethnicity
and culture simply does not match contemporary templates, the more the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth which Piłsudski regarded as his
spiritual patria failed to reborn itself and finally ceased to exist
in the wake of arising modern nationalisms. Timothy Snyder, who calls
him a "Polish-Lithuanian", notes that Piłsudski did not think in
terms of 20th-century nationalisms and ethnicities; he considered
himself both a Pole and a Lithuanian, and his homeland was the
historic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
^ Plach 2006, p. 14.
^ a b c d e f g Drozdowski & Szwankowska 1995, pp. 9-11.
^ Lieven 1994, p. 159
^ Lerski 1996, p. 441.
^ Held 1992, p. 249.
^ a b Davies 2005, 10.
^ a b c Roos 1966, p. 14; Rothschild 1990, p. 45.
^ Davies 2005, 55.
^ Wandycz 1990, p. 452.
^ Jędrzejewicz 1990, p. 3.
^ Hetherington 2012, p. 92.
^ Hetherington 2012, p. 95.
^ a b c d e Pidlutskyi 2004.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "History - Józef
Piłsudski (1867–1935)". Poland.gov. Archived from the original on
13 February 2006. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 13-5.
^ Lerski 1996, p. 439.
^ Davies 2005, p. 40.
^ Bideleux & Jeffries 1998, p. 186.
^ Roshwald 2001, p. 36.
^ Blobaum 1984, p. 30.
^ a b MacMillan 2003, p. 208.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Chojnowski,
Andrzej. "Piłsudski Józef Klemens".
Internetowa encyklopedia PWN (in
Polish). Retrieved 15 January 2008.
^ "Bronisław Piotr Piłsudski - Calendar of events". ICRAP. Retrieved
2 March 2018.
^ a b Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 50.
^ Landau, Rom; Dunlop, Geoffrey (1930). Pilsudski, Hero of Poland.
Jarrolds. pp. 30–2.
^ a b Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 62-6.
^ a b Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 68-9.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 74-7.
^ Jędrzejewicz & Cisek 1994, p. 13.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 71.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 88.
^ a b c MacMillan 2003, p. 209.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 93.
^ Piłsudski 1989, p. 12.
^ Alabrudzińska 1999, p. 99.
^ Garlicki 1995, p. 63.
^ Pobóg-Malinowski 1990, p. 7.
^ Jędrzejewicz 1990, pp. 27-8 (1982 ed.).
^ a b c Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 109-11.
^ Charaszkiewicz 2000, p. 56.
^ Kowner 2006, p. 285.
^ a b c d e f g Zamoyski 1987, p. 330.
^ a b c d e f g h Zamoyski 1987, p. 332.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 113-6.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 117-8.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 131.
^ a b Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 121-2.
^ a b c d e
Józef Piłsudski at Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ a b c d Zamoyski 1987, p. 333.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 171-2.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 168.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Cienciala 2002.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 174-5.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 178-9.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 170-1, 180-2.
^ Rąkowski 2005, pp. 109-11.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 251-2.
^ a b Biskupski 2000.
^ Rothschild 1990, p. 45.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 253.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 256, 277-8.
^ Suleja 2004, p. 202.
^ a b c d e f MacMillan 2003, p. 210.
^ MacMillan 2003, pp. 213-4.
^ "The Versailles Treaty 28 June 1919: Part III". The Avalon Project.
articles 87-93. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008.
Retrieved 15 January 2008.
^ Grant 1999, p. 114.
^ MacMillan 2003, pp. 211, 214.
^ Boemeke et al. 1998, p. 314.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 499-501.
^ Jędrzejewicz 1990, p. 93.
^ Szymczak, Robert. "Polish-Soviet War: Battle of Warsaw".
TheHistoryNet. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved
10 October 2007.
^ Sanford 2002, pp. 5-6.
^ Hyde-Price 2001, p. 75.
^ MacMillan 2003, p. 211.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 281.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 2, p. 90.
^ a b Kenez 1999, p. 37.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 2, p. 83.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 291.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 2, p. 45.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 2, p. 92.
^ Davies 2003, p. 95ff.
^ a b c d Davies 2003
^ Figes 1996, p. 699. "Within weeks of Brusilov's appointment,
14,000 officers had joined the army to fight the Poles, thousands of
civilians had volunteered for war-work, and well over 100,000
deserters had returned to the
Red Army on the Western Front".
^ See Lenin speech on 22 September 1920 at the 9th Conference of the
Russian Communist Party. English translation in Pipes 1993,
pp. 181-2 and excerpts in Cienciala 2002. The speech was first
published in Artizov, Andrey; Usov, R.A. (1992). ""Я прошу
записывать меньше: это не должно
попадать в печать ...": Выступления
В.И.Ленина на IX конференции РКП(б) 22
сентября 1920 г.". Istoricheskii Arkhiv (in Russian). 1 (1).
^ Cohen 1980, p. 101.
^ Lawrynowicz, Witold. "Battle of
Warsaw 1920". Polish Militaria
Collector's Association in memory of Andrzej Zaremba. Archived from
the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2006.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 341-6, 357-8.
^ Suleja 2004, p. 265.
^ a b c d Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 341-6.
^ Davies 2003, p. 225.
^ Erickson 2001, p. 95.
^ a b Lönnroth et al. 1994, p. 230.
^ Szczepański, Janusz. "Kontrowersje Wokół Bitwy Warszawskiej 1920
Roku (Controversies surrounding the Battle of
Warsaw in 1920)".
Mówią Wieki online (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2
December 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
^ Cisek 2002, pp. 140–1.
^ a b c Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 346-441, 357-8.
^ Davies 2003, p. 197.
^ Frątczak, Sławomir Z. (2005). "Cud nad Wisłą". Głos (in Polish)
(32). Retrieved 26 June 2009.
^ Davies 1998, p. 935.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 484.
^ Davies 2005, p. 399 (1982 ed. Columbia Univ. Press - ISBN
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 485.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 487-8.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 488.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 489.
^ Suleja 2004, p. 300.
^ Davies 1986, p. 140.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 489-90.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 490-1.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 490.
^ Watt 1979, p. 210.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 502.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, p. 515.
^ Suleja 2004, p. 343.
^ Roszkowski 1992, p. 53, section 5.1.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 528-9.
^ Biskupski 2012, p. 46.
^ Śleszyński, Wojciech (2003). "Aspekty prawne utworzenia obozu
odosobnienia w Berezie Kartuskiej i reakcje środowisk politycznych.
Wybór materiałów i dokumentów 1". Białoruskie Zeszyty Historyczne
(in Polish). 20 – via kamunikat / Belarusian history journal.
^ Cohen 1989, p. 65.
^ "Pilsudski Bros". Time. 7 April 1930.
^ "Pilsudski v. Daszynski". Time. 11 November 1929.
^ Perlez, Jane (12 September 1993). "Visions of the Past Are Competing
for Votes in Poland". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 January
^ Stachura 2004, p. 79.
^ "Poland". Columbia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
^ a b c d Snyder 2004, p. 144.
^ a b Zimmerman 2004, p.166.
^ Vital 1999, p. 788.
^ Payne 1995, p.141.
^ Lieven 1994, p.163.
^ Engelking 2001, p.75.
^ Flannery 2005, p.200.
^ a b Zimmerman 2003, p. 19].
^ Prizel 1998, p. 61.
^ Wein 1990, p. 292.
^ Cieplinski, Feigue (2002). "
Poles and Jews: The Quest For
Self-Determination 1919–1934". Binghamton University History
Department. Archived from the original on 18 September 2002.
^ Paulsson 2003, p. 37.
^ Snyder 2007, p. 66.
^ Davies 2005, p. 407 (1982 ed. Columbia Univ. Press - ISBN
^ Leslie 1983, p. 182.
^ a b Garlicki 1995, p. 178.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 2, pp. 330-7.
^ Goldstein 2002, p. 29.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 538-40.
^ a b Prizel 1998, p. 71.
^ Charaszkiewicz 2000, pp. 56-87.
^ a b c d Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 539-40.
^ Lukacs 2001, p. 30.
^ Jordan 2002, p. 23.
^ Kipp 1993, 95.
^ Hehn 2005, p. 76.
^ Kershaw 2001, p. 237.
^ Davidson 2004, p. 25.
^ Charaszkiewicz 2000, p. 64.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 2, pp. 317-26.
^ a b Torbus 1999, p. 25.
^ Quester 2000, p. 27. The author gives a source: Watt 1979.
^ Baliszewski, Dariusz (28 November 2004). "Ostatnia wojna
Wprost (in Polish). Agencja Wydawniczo-Reklamowa "Wprost"
(48/2004; 1148). Retrieved 24 March 2005.
^ Hildebrand 1973, p. 33.
^ [Adam Borkiewicz: Źródła do biografii Józefa Piłsudskiego the z
lat 1867-1892, Niepodległość. T. XIX. Warszawa: 1939.]
^ Andrzej Garlicki, Józef Piłsudski: 1867–1935, Warsaw, Czytelnik,
1988, ISBN 8307017157, pp. 63–64.
^ In connection with marrying, Piłsudski had converted to the
^ Adviser Daria and Thomas, Jozef Pilsudski: Legends and Facts, Warsaw
1987, ISBN 83-203-1967-6, p. 132.]
^ Suleja Vladimir, Jozef Pilsudski, Wroclaw -
ISBN 83-04-04706-3, pp. 290.
^ Drozdowski & Szwankowska 1995, p. 5.
^ Ideas into Politics: Aspects of European History, 1880–1950 R. J.
Bullen, Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann, A. B. Polonsky, Taylor &
Francis, 1984, p. 138
^ Dov Weissberg, I remember, page 116. Google Books. 1 January 1998.
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^ "Interview with Holocaust survivor Cyla Wiener".
Holocaust.umd.umich.edu. 13 July 1992. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
^ Humphrey 1936, p. 295.
^ Watt 1979, p. 338.
^ To, Wireless (26 June 1937). "Crowds urge
Poland to banish
Archbishop; Pilsudski Legionnaires also Assail
Catholic Church on the
Removal of Marshal's Body". New York Times. Retrieved 14 December
^ Lerski 1996, p. 525.
^ Urbankowski 1997, vol. 1, pp. 133-41.
^ Jabłonowski & Stawecki 1998, p. 13.
^ Jabłonowski & Stawecki 1998, p. 5.
^ a b Jabłonowski & Stawecki 1998, p. 14.
^ Goldfarb 1992, p. 152.
^ Drozdowski & Szwankowska 1995, p. 6.
^ Translation of Mościcki's speech from 1935. For Polish original
online, see Kobos, Piotr M. (1992). "Skazuję Was Na Wielkość:
Legenda Józefa Piłsudskiego". Zwoje (The Scrolls) no. 2 (43) (in
Polish). Retrieved 15 January 2008.
^ Quoted in Charaszkiewicz 2000, p. 56
^ Władyka 2005, pp. 285–311; Żuławnik, Małgorzata &
^ Roshwald 2002, p. 60.
^ Translation of Oświadczenie Sejmu Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej z dnia
12 maja 1995 r. w sprawie uczczenia 60 rocznicy śmierci Marszałka
Józefa Piłsudskiego. (M.P. z dnia 24 maja 1995 r.). For Polish
original online, see here .
^ Charaszkiewicz 2000, pp. 66–67.
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Instytut Badawczy Wojsk Lądowych). Retrieved 30 May 2006.
^ "Kopiec Józefa Piłsudskiego". Pedagogical University of Kraków
(in Polish). Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 18
Józef Piłsudski Institute of America
Józef Piłsudski Institute of America Welcome Page". Józef
Piłsudski Institute of America. Archived from the original on 15 June
2006. Retrieved 26 May 2006.
Józef Piłsudski Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw". Polish
Ministry of Education and Science. Archived from the original on 23
September 2005. Retrieved 30 May 2006.
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^ Lachowicz, Teofil. Karkowska, Julita, ed. "Droga na szczyty". Nowy
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This is only a small selection. See also National Library in Warsaw
Czubiński, Antoni, ed. (1988).
Józef Piłsudski i jego legenda
Józef Piłsudski and His Legend]. Warsaw: Państowe Wydawnictwo
Naukowe PWN. ISBN 978-83-01-07819-5.
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Polish). Wrocław: Polska Akademia Nauk. pp. 311–324.
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Piłsudski's Views on the Territorial Shape of the Polish State and
His Endeavours to Put them into Effect, 1918–1921". Polish Western
Affairs. Poznań: Komisja Naukowa Zachodniej Agencji Prasowej (2):
235–249. ISSN 0032-3039.
Jędrzejewicz, Wacław (1989).
Józef Piłsudski 1867–1935.
Wrocław: Wydawnictwo LTW. ISBN 978-83-88736-25-4.
Piłsudska, Aleksandra (1941). Pilsudski: A Biography by His Wife. New
York: Dodd, Mead. OCLC 65700731.
Piłsudski, Józef; Gillie, Darsie Rutherford (1931). Joseph
Pilsudski, the Memories of a Polish Revolutionary and Soldier. Faber
Piłsudski, Józef (1972). Year 1920 and its Climax: Battle of Warsaw
during the Polish-Soviet War, 1919–1920, with the Addition of Soviet
Marshal Tukhachevski's March beyond the Vistula. New York: Józef
Piłsudski Institute of America. ASIN B0006EIT3A.
Reddaway, William Fiddian (1939).
Marshal Pilsudski. London:
Routledge. OCLC 1704492.
Rothschild, Joseph (1967). Pilsudski's Coup d'État. New York:
Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-02984-1.
Wandycz, Piotr S. (1970). "Polish Federalism 1919–1920 and its
Historical Antecedents". East European Quarterly. Boulder, Colorado. 4
(1): 25–39. ISSN 0012-8449.
Wójcik, Włodzimierz (1987). Legenda Piłsudskiego w Polskiej
literaturze międzywojennej (Piłsudski's Legend in Polish Interwar
Literature). Warsaw: Śląsk. ISBN 978-83-216-0533-3.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Józef Piłsudski
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Józef Piłsudski.
A site dedicated to
Józef Piłsudski and the prewar
Marshal Józef Piłsudski. Messiah and Central European
Federalist at the
Wayback Machine (archived 13 February 2005) (in
Józef Piłsudski Institute of America
Józef Piłsudski Institute of America (in English)/(in Polish)
Bibuła – Book by
Józef Piłsudski (in Polish)
Historical media – Recording of short speech by Piłsudski from
1924 (in Polish)
Newspaper clippings about
Józef Piłsudski in the 20th Century Press
Archives of the
German National Library of Economics
German National Library of Economics (ZBW).
None (Independence regained)
(eventually Regency Council)
Chief of State of the Republic of Poland
18 November 1918 – 9 December 1922
President of the Republic
Minister of Military Affairs
16 May 1926 – 12 May 1935
President-elect of the Republic of Poland
(did not take office)
elected 31 May 1926
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
2 October 1926 – 27 June 1928
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
15 August – 4 December 1930
Commandant of the Brigade I of the Polish Legions
Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army
17 December 1922 – 9 June 1923
General Inspector of the Armed Forces
27 August 1926 – 12 May 1935
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Maciej Rataj (Acting)
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People's Republic of Poland
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Grzegorz Schetyna (Acting)
Prime Minister of Poland
Ludwik Szymon Gutakowski
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Stanisław Kostka Potocki
Second Polish Republic
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