Save the date! APS is happy to announce that the celebration of 100 Years Anniversary of Poland’s Regained Independence will begin on Sunday, November 11th at 6pm. Please join us for a special meeting with the guest speakers followed by a celebratory sit-down dinner with delicious Polish food by Apolonia Catering.
Celebrations will continue on November 18th at 12pm at the Blanton Museum with screenings of critically acclaimed “Pianist” and Warsaw 44, as well as “Wawel” folk dance group performance, Ryszard Kaja’s poster exhibit , and piano concert by Michal Korzistka.
History introduction from niepodlegla.gov
In November 1918, after 123 years of absence on European political maps, Poland regained its independence. This was mainly due to the perseverance and dedication of the active part of Polish society, who, during the period of servitude, passed down their allegiance to the language and national culture to new generations of young Poles. In the years of the First World War (1914–1918), circumstances favorable to “the Polish question” appeared in the political spectrum. Poland’s partitioners stood against each other, breaking their previous solidarity on the Polish issue.
Despite over one hundred years of servitude, the bloody suppression of national insurrections, political repression, Siberian katorga, and increasing Russification and Germanization policies at the turn of the century, the Poles did not give up their dreams of regaining independence. The Polish elites, in various ways, tried to instill the national consciousness in Polish peasants and workers. Various forms of self-education were developed and efforts were made to maintain the Polish language in the school system. All major Polish political parties placed an agenda of reconstructing the Polish state in their manifesto. The Galicia region, enjoying broad political autonomy since the 1860s, became the center of Polish national activity. Activists hunted down by the Russians were taking refuge there, Polish political parties were operating freely, and Polish language was commonly used in education, administration, and the judiciary. Polish national celebrations were uproariously celebrated, like the anniversaries of the outbreaks of national uprisings or the passing of the May 3rd Constitution.
Polish hopes for regaining independence increased at the turn of the century, as the disputes between the invaders—Russia on one hand and Germany and Austria–Hungary on other—began to spread. Numerous international crises which erupted at that time (such as the Moroccan or Balkan ones) made more and more real the vision of a pan-European war—and consequently, the internationalization of the Polish question. Properly preparing for such a conflict soon became a must. In the year 1908, Józef Piłsudski and his associates founded the Związek Walki Czynnej (Union of Active Struggle) in Lviv. Soon, paramilitary organizations started to emerge all over Galicia (such as the Polish Riflemen’s Association), aimed at providing military training for Polish youth and at preparing them for the fight for independence.