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On 11 November Poland celebrates the National Independence Day. The date commemorates events from 1918 when Poland regained its independence after 123 years of partitions.

Monument of Józef Piłsudski
11 November 1918 is celebrated as the National Independence Day in Poland. It commemorates the historical moment when after 123 years of partitions by the Russian Empire, Kingdom of Prussia and Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Poles managed to restore their state. The process was accomplished step by step. 11 November, however, was the day that Józef Piłsudski was appointed the Commander in Chief of Polish forces by the Regency Council and entrusted with the task of creating a new, national government of the newly independent country.

11 November was celebrated as the Polish Independence Day since 1920. During the communist period it was forbidden to observe this day, but it was restored immediately after the collapse of communism in 1989.

11 November 1918 also marks the offical end of the First World. It was on that day that the Allies signed an agreement with Germany, stating the victory of the first and underlying the German defeat.

The Great War was the biggest conflict since the Napoleonic Wars. The contradictions between certain European monarchies which appeared at the beginning of the 20th century and escalated during Balkan Wars led to the only possible solution at that very moment - an open war.

The first country to capitulate was Bulgaria on 29 September 1918. On 23 October president Thomas Woodrow Wilson was asked by Germans for truce. Instead, he forced German representatives to sign the full capitulation agreement which had to be accepted by the weakened country.

The First World War took over 9,000 000 casualties. Unfortunately, the treaties signed after war were just the beginning of the following conflicts which led to the Second World War.

>> For more on the Great War, see the 2nd issue
of Remembrance & Solidarity Studies

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