Kingdom of Poland (1917–1918)

Archduke Charles Stephen (Karl Stephan) in 1917
Governors-General Beseler (first from left) and Kuk (second from left) in 1916
Occupation of the Kingdom of Poland during World War I:
Józef Piłsudski
The Regency Council. Left to right: Ostrowski, Kakowski, and Lubomirski
Members of the Regency Council with officers of the Polish Army

Short-lived polity and client state proclaimed during World War I by the German Empire and Austria-Hungary on the territories of the former Russian-ruled Congress Poland, governed at the time by the Central Powers as the Government General of Warsaw.

- Kingdom of Poland (1917–1918)

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Second Polish Republic

Country in Central and Eastern Europe that existed between 1918 and 1939.

The Second Polish Republic in 1930
Coat of arms of Poland, 1919-1927
The Second Polish Republic in 1930
Polish defences at Miłosna, during the decisive Battle of Warsaw, August 1920
Marshal Józef Piłsudski, Chief of State (Naczelnik Państwa) between November 1918 and December 1922
The May Coup d'État (1926)
Ignacy Mościcki, President of Poland (left), Warsaw, 10 November 1936, awarding the Marshal's buława to Edward Rydz-Śmigły
The PZL.37 Łoś was a Polish twin-engine medium bomber.
Polish pavilion at Expo 1937 in Paris
Polish pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair in New York City
Poland's MS Batory, and MS Piłsudski, at the sea port of Gdynia, 18 December 1937
The Eastern Trade Fair in Lwów, 1936
Gdynia, a modern Polish seaport established in 1926
Industry and communications in Poland before the start of the Second World War
The CWS T-1 Torpedo was the first serially-built car manufactured in Poland.
Ciągówka Ursus was the first Polish farm tractor, produced from 1922 to 1927 in the Ursus Factory.
Prime Minister Kazimierz Bartel, also a scholar and mathematician
The National Museum in Warsaw (Polish: Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie), popularly known as the MNW, opened in 1938.
Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, Polish mathematicians and cryptologists who worked at breaking the German Enigma ciphers before and during the Second World War
Poland's population density in 1930
Contemporary map showing language frequency in 1931 across Poland; red: more than 50% native Polish speakers; green: more than 50% native language other than Polish, including Yiddish, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian and less frequent others
Officers from the Second Mountain Brigade of the Polish Legions in the First World War establishing the Polish-Czechoslovak border; they are pictured near the summit of Popadia in Gorgany during the formation of the Second Republic, 1915.
Physical map of the Second Polish Republic
Polish infantry marching, 1939
Polish soldiers with anti-aircraft artillery near Warsaw Central Station during the first days of September, 1939
Polish 7TP light tanks
ORP Orzeł was the lead ship of her class of submarines serving in the Polish Navy during the Second World War.

In a failed attempt to resolve the Polish question as quickly as possible, Berlin set up a German puppet state on 5 November 1916, with a governing Provisional Council of State and (from 15 October 1917) a Regency Council (Rada Regencyjna Królestwa Polskiego).

Congress Poland

Polity created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna as a semi-autonomous Polish state and successor to Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw.

Map of Congress Poland, circa 1815, following the Congress of Vienna. The Russian Empire is shown in light green.
Eagle of an officer in the Army of Congress Poland
Map of Congress Poland, circa 1815, following the Congress of Vienna. The Russian Empire is shown in light green.
Naval Ensign of Polish ships (1784–19th century)
The Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1830
Administrative divisions of Congress Poland in 1830
An advertisement of cameras made by a Polish company FOS (1905). Cameras, objectives and stereoscopes were exclusively made in Congress Poland.
An early photograph of Manufaktura in Łódź. The city was considered to be one of the largest textile industry centres in Europe and was nicknamed Polish Manchester.

In 1915, during World War I, it was replaced by the German-controlled nominal Regency Kingdom until Poland regained independence in 1918.

Polish Legions in World War I

Name of the Polish military force (the first active Polish army in generations) established in August 1914 in Galicia soon after World War I erupted between the opposing alliances of the Triple Entente on one side (comprising the British Empire, the French Republic and the Russian Empire); and the Central Powers on the other side, comprising the German Empire and Austria-Hungary.

Tomasz Arciszewski
Józef Beck
Zygmunt Berling
Wacław Kostek - Biernacki
Tadeusz Brzeziński
Walerian Czuma
Stefan Dąb-Biernacki
Henryk Dobrzański
Bronisław Duch
Karol Durski-Trzaska
Emil Fieldorf
<Center>Józef Haller de Hallenburg who commanded II Brigade</center>
<center>Tadeusz Jordan-Rozwadowski in an Austro-Hungarian military uniform, 1918</center>
Tadeusz Kasprzycki
Franciszek Kleeberg
<center>Tadeusz Klimecki</center>
Adam Koc
Stefan Kossecki
Marian Kozielewski
Julian Kulski
Józef Kustroń
<center>Kazimierz Mastalerz</center>
Henryk Minkiewicz
Mieczyslaw Norwid-Neugebauer who commanded 6th Regiment and 3rd Brigade
Leopold Okulicki who served in 3rd Legions Infantry Regiment
Gustaw Orlicz-Dreszer
Wilhelm Orlik-Rückemann
Antoni Pająk
Witold Pilecki
Tadeusz Piskor
Władysław Belina-Prażmowski
Stanisław Puchalski
Władysław Raczkiewicz (President of Poland)
Juliusz Rómmel
Stefan Rowecki
<center>Waclaw Sieroszewski</center>
Władysław Sikorski
Piotr Skuratowicz
Edward Rydz-Śmigły
Mieczysław Smorawiński
Kazimierz Sosnkowski
Wacław Stachiewicz in 1917, after the Oath Crisis
Kazimierz Stamirowski
Stefan Starzyński
<Center>Stanisław Szeptycki.</center>
Wiktor Thommée
<center>Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski</center>
<Center>Władysław Wejtko</center>
<center>Józef Olszyna-Wilczyński</center>
<center>Włodzimierz Zagórski (general)</center>
Józef Zając
<center>Ferdynand Zarzycki</center>
<center>Marian Januszajtis-Żegota</center>
<center>Zygmunt Zieliński</center>
<center>Michał Rola-Żymierski</center>

After the Act of 5th November of 1916 which pronounced the creation of the puppet Kingdom of Poland of 1916–18, the Polish Legions were transferred under German command.

Partitions of Poland

The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years.

Allegory of the first partition of Poland, showing Catherine the Great of Russia (left), Joseph II of Austria and Frederick the Great of Prussia (right) quarrelling over their territorial seizures
Włodzimierz Tetmajer, Allegory of Dead Poland, St. Nicholas Cathedral, Kalisz
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth after the First Partition, as a protectorate of the Russian Empire (1773–89)
Rejtan at Sejm 1773, oil on canvas by Jan Matejko, 1866, 282 x, Royal Castle in Warsaw
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth after the Second Partition (1793)
1793 Russian campaign medal
"A map of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania including Samogitia and Curland divided according to their dismemberments with the Kingdom of Prussia" from 1799
The partition of Poland according to the German–Soviet Pact; division of Polish territories in the years 1939–1941

In 1915 a client state of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary was proposed and accepted by the Central Powers of World War I: the Regency Kingdom of Poland.

Vistula Land

The name applied to the lands of Congress Poland from 1867, following the defeats of the November Uprising (1830–31) and January Uprising (1863–1864) as it was increasingly stripped of autonomy and incorporated into Imperial Russia.

Russian map of Vistula Land from 1896
Russian Poland was officially yielded on terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (marked in red).
Russian map of Vistula Land from 1896

As the Russians retreated, the Central Powers occupied the area (1915); subsequently, they proposed the establishment of the Kingdom of Poland (1917–1918).

Józef Piłsudski

Polish statesman who served as the Chief of State (1918–1922) and First Marshal of Poland (from 1920).

Piłsudski as a schoolboy
Piłsudski in 1899
"Lingwood", Leytonstone, where Piłsudski stayed in 1900
Józef Piłsudski with Supreme Command of Polish Military Organisation in 1917
Piłsudski and his officers, 1915
Piłsudski. Painting by Jacek Malczewski, 1916
Ulica Mokotowska 50, Warsaw, where Piłsudski stayed 13–29 November 1918, after his release from Magdeburg
Piłsudski improvised armored car, 1919, named after Piłsudski
Statue of Piłsudski before Warsaw's Belweder Palace, Piłsudski's official residence during his years in power
Piłsudski in Poznań in 1919
In March 1920, Piłsudski was made "First Marshal of Poland".
Piłsudski (left) and Edward Rydz-Śmigły (right), 1920, during Polish-Soviet War
At Belweder Palace, Chief of State Piłsudski (left) transferred his powers to President-elect Gabriel Narutowicz (right). Two days later, the President was assassinated.
At Warsaw's Hotel Bristol, 3 July 1923, Piłsudski announced his retirement from active politics.
Piłsudski on Warsaw's Poniatowski Bridge during the May 1926 coup. At the right is General Gustaw Orlicz-Dreszer.
Belweder Palace, Warsaw, Piłsudski's official residence during his years in power
The Marshal and his second wife, Aleksandra Piłsudska, 1928
In 1933, Piłsudski paid homage at the tomb of John III Sobieski in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Battle of Vienna.
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
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.
Statue of Piłsudski on Warsaw's Piłsudski Square—one of many statuary tributes throughout Poland
Contemporary caricature of Józef Piłsudski by Jerzy Szwajcer

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.

Polish–Soviet War

Fought primarily between the Second Polish Republic and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the aftermath of World War I, on territories formerly held by the Russian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Top left: Polish troops in Kiev, May 1920

Top right: Polish Schwarzlose M.07/12 machine gun nest during the Battle of Radzymin, August 1920

Middle: Polish defences with a machine gun position near Miłosna, during the Battle of Warsaw, August 1920

Bottom left: Russian prisoners following the Battle of Warsaw

Bottom right: Polish defences in Belarus during the Battle of the Niemen River, September 1920
Partitions of Poland–Lithuania in 1795: the coloured territories show the extent of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth just before the First Partition. The land absorbed by the Kingdom of Prussia is in blue (north-west), by the Austrian Habsburg monarchy in green (south) and by the Russian Empire in red (east).
Map of areas where Polish was used as a primary language in 1916
Territorial establishment of the Second Polish Republic as of March 1919
Vladimir Lenin in 1919
Józef Piłsudski in 1919
Activists of the Polish Military Organisation in 1917
General Józef Haller swearing for the Polish flag when he was nominated to command the Blue Army
Five stages in Polish–Soviet War
Piłsudski in Vilnius
Piłsudski in Minsk
Polish-held territory in December 1919
Polish soldiers enter Daugavpils, January 1920
Georgy Chicherin (left) with Maxim Litvinov in 1920
Józef Piłsudski (right in the train) and Symon Petliura, 16 May 1920
Petliura (right) with Polish General Antoni Listowski
Polish officers on the southern front in 1920
Polish fighters of the Kościuszko Squadron
Mikhail Kalinin and Leon Trotsky greet the Red Army troops
Semyon Budyonny
Tadeusz Rozwadowski
Polish Kiev Offensive at its height, June 1920
Vladimir Lenin, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of Soviet Russia, delivers a speech to motivate troops to fight in the Polish–Soviet War on 5 May 1920
Polish troops in Kiev
Russian volunteers about to be sent to the Polish front
Soviet offensive successes, early August 1920
Hayk Bzhishkyan
Volunteers from Lviv serving in the Polish Army's 2nd Death's Squadron
Polish propaganda poster with the caption: "Beat the Bolshevik"
Bolshevik propaganda poster
The image of Leon Trotsky on Polish propaganda poster from July 1920. The large caption reads "Bolshevik freedom". The small caption on the right-hand side reads: "The Bolsheviks promised: We'll give you peace. We'll give you freedom. We'll give you land, work and bread. Despicably they cheated: They started a war with Poland. Instead of freedom, they brought the fist. Instead of land, confiscation. Instead of work, misery. Instead of bread, famine". (Issued by) "Ministry of Military Affairs, Propaganda Department".
Polrewkom
Polish propaganda poster. The text reads: "To arms! Save the fatherland! Remember well our future fate."
Antisemitic portrayal of a Bolshevik
The Interallied Mission to Poland
Maxime Weygand
Soviet delegates arrive for armistice negotiations before the Battle of Warsaw, August 1920
Mikhail Tukhachevsky
Władysław Sikorski and the 5th Army Staff in August 1920
Polish infantry at the Battle of Warsaw
Polish soldiers display captured Soviet standards after the Battle of Warsaw
Polish cavalry at the Battle of the Niemen River
Austin-Putilov armored car, captured from the Russians and renamed as Poznańczyk
Signing of the Peace of Riga
Adolph Joffe
Stanisław Grabski
Poland after the Peace of Riga with the pre-partition borders of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth also indicated
Red Army soldiers as prisoners of war
Graves of Polish soldiers killed during the Battle of Warsaw, Powązki Military Cemetery

The German Empire's defeat rendered obsolete Berlin's plans for the creation of Eastern European German-dominated states (Mitteleuropa), which included another rendition of the Kingdom of Poland.

Government General of Warsaw

Administrative civil district created by the German Empire in World War I.

The Government General of Warsaw, depicted in light blue
10 Polish marks, 1917
The Government General of Warsaw, depicted in light blue

It continued to exist even after the later establishment of a rump Kingdom of Poland, a Central Powers puppet state.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Separate peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, between the new Bolshevik government of Russia and the Central Powers (German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire), that ended Russia's participation in World War I.

The first two pages of the Treaty in (from left to right) German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Ottoman Turkish and Russian
Lev Kamenev arriving at Brest-Litovsk
Signing of the armistice between Russia and Germany on 15 December 1917
Special edition of the Lübeckischen Anzeigen, with the headline as: “Peace with Ukraine”
Trotsky being greeted by German officers
German and Soviet troops gathering together, February 1918
Borders drawn up in the treaty
"Three bones—a bountiful tip", a political cartoon from 1918 by American cartoonist E. A. Bushnell
Territory lost under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
"Poland & The New Baltic States": a map from a 1920 British atlas, showing borders left undefined between the treaties of Brest-Litovsk, Versailles and Riga

(The territory of the Kingdom of Poland was not mentioned in the treaty because Russian Poland had been in possession of the White movement, not the Bolsheviks.) The treaty stated that "Germany and Austria-Hungary intend to determine the future fate of these territories in agreement with their populations."

Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria

Grand Admiral Archduke Charles Stephen, 1917
Austro-Hungarian Naval Ensign

Archduke Charles Stephen Eugene Viktor Felix Maria of Austria (Erzherzog Karl Stephan Eugen Viktor Felix Maria von Habsburg-Lothringen, Arcyksiążę Karol Stefan Eugeniusz Wiktor Feliks Maria Habsburg-Lothringen; 5 September 1860 – 7 April 1933) was a member of the House of Habsburg, a Grand Admiral in the Austro-Hungarian Navy and candidate for the Polish crown.