100 Hundred Years Ago
On November 11, 1918 Poland regained its national sovereignty not because the Treaty of Versailles said so but because the Polish people said so. No one needed to tell Poland it was time to regain your independence because Poland never really was not there but only in the minds of its occupiers. Poland during those awful years from 1795 to 1918, 123 years, was always there. Great people never disappear as its cruel neighbors sought especially Prussian which itself disappeared, and Russia the cruelest of the three occupiers – Prussia, Russia and Austria – crooked.
The three insurrections of 1830-1831 (November Insurrection) 1846 and 1863-1864 proved futile only because neither was successful. However each one gave new life to the Polish people that Poland was not yet dead. The occupiers themselves knew that what they had done over the generations to Poland was wrong, even the evil man Bismarck who in the Prussian zone used every method at his disposal to crush Polish life – no schools in the Polish language, use of German only in official business and the wickedest, to Germanize young Polish children even to the point of slavery when they had to work on German farms or in German businesses. Frightened youngsters taken away from their homes by ruthless thugs in front of their parents.
Then in 1918 at the end of World War I the three partitioning empires themselves were gone Poland however remained to tell the world itself of its resurrection through the great efforts of General Pilsudski and others. Finally the Romanovs of Russia, the Hapsburgs of Austria and the Hohenzollerns of Germany were assigned to the trash heap of European history.
Poland during its suppression still turned out great people such as Maria Sklodowska Curie one of the greatest minds in physics and chemistry. Also great people such as Ignacy Paderewski the pianist, Chopin the composer, and so many more people that today are honored worldwide for their courageous wills to achieve, their fortitude and patience in the face of grave adversity.
Poland rapidly rebuilt its regained country from 1918 to 1939, when as has been the misfortune of her existence, her geological location in the heart of Europe, disaster again struck her from her two powerful neighbors who needed like weaklings to gang up on Poland. Once more they would try to occupy and suppress her existence and steal yet again her natural resources, put her people into slavery and steal her inventions. Yes, during her previous 123 years of suppression ideas were systematically stolen as ideas of her belligerent neighbors.
On a pretext to punish Serbia for the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand of Austria, Austria bombed Belgrade. Russia mobilized and Germany supported Austria. World War One began which gave Poland her opportunity to rid the three powers that placed a yoke around her neck. Appropriately Poland celebrated the one hundred anniversary of the end of World War I with a parade in Warsaw. A spontaneous patriotic parade the likes of which few countries can marshal.
Richard M. Urban