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Greater Poland Uprising

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Soldiers of Greatpolish Army

Greater Poland Uprising of 1918-1919 (Polish: powstanie wielkopolskie 1918-19 roku) was a military insurrection of the Polish people in the Greater Poland region (also called the Grand Duchy of Poznań) against the German/Prussian forces.

At the end of World War I (1914-1918), the fate of Poznań and Greater Poland was still undecided. With the public speech of Ignacy Paderewski, a famous Polish pianist and politician, on 27 December 1918 and German countermanifestation, there is still debate on if the Polish or German soldiers started shooting first. Regardless, this was the spark that started the uprising, but serious preparations had been going on since the day of the Kaiser's abdication 9 November 1918 when the Weimar Republic overthrew the previous government of the German Empire in the last days of World War I. In a few hours, Polish inhabitants of Poznań and other towns started a military uprising against Germany. The uprising forces consisted of members of the Polish Military Organization of the Prussian Partition, who started to form the Straż Obywatelska (Citizen's Guard), renamed later to Straż Ludowa (People's Guard) and many volunteers - mainly veterans of the Great War. The ruling body was the Naczelna Rada Ludowa (High People's Council) (at the beginning members of the Council were against the uprising, but supported it a few days later - unofficially 3 January 1919; officially 8 and 9 January 1919) and the military commanders: Captain Stanisław Taczak (promoted to major, temporary commander 28 December 1918 - 8 January 1919) and later General Józef Dowbór-Muśnicki.

From October of 1918 through the first months of 1919, Germany was in internal revolt, with soldiers and sailors revolting against the monarchy and its hawkish generals. Demoralized by the defeat in the war, which was made official on November 11th, Germany was embroiled in the German Revolution which provided the opening needed for Poles to throw off the yoke of foreign rule that had been imposed for most of 125 years.

By 15 January 1919, the uprising forces managed to take control of most of the Poznań province engaging in heavy fighting with the regular but demoralized German army and the forces of Grenzschutz, up until the German-Allies ceasefire on 16 February, where the French delegation forced Germany and other countries to recognize Great Poland's Army as Allied Forces. The Poznań high command subjugated to the Warsaw government on 25 May 1919. The front in Great Poland was liquidated on 8 March 1920. The fate of Great Poland was part of the Treaty of Versailles.

The Great Poland Uprising is considered to be one of the two most successful Polish uprisings (the second was the Great Poland Uprising of 1806 which was ended by the entry of Napoleon's Army).

References

  • Antoni Czubiński, Powstanie Wielkopolskie 1918-1919. Geneza-charakter-znaczenie, Poznań 1978
  • Antoni Czubiński, Rola Powstania Wielkopolskiego w walce narodu polskiego o powstrzymanie niemieckiego >parcia na wschód<, Przegląd Zachodni 1968, nr 5-6
  • A.Czubiński, Z.Grot, B.Miśkiiewcz, Powstanie Wielkopolskie 1918-1919. Zarys dziejów, Warszawa 1978
  • K.Dembski, Wielkopolska w początkach II Rzeczypospolitej. Zagadnienia prawno-ustrojowe, Poznań 1972
  • Roman Dmowski, Polityka polska i odbudowanie państwa 1925
  • Z.Grot (ed.), Powstanie wielkopolskie 1918-1919, Poznań 1968
  • Z.Grot, I.Pawłowski, M.Pirko, Wielkopolska w walce o niepodległość 1918-1919. Wojskowe i polityczne aspekty Powstania Wielkopolskiego, Warszawa 1968
  • P.Hauser, Niemcy wobec sprawy polskiej X 1918-VI 1919, Poznań 1984
  • K.Kandziora, Działalność POW w Poznaniu. Przyczynek do historii Polskiej Organizacji Wojskowej zaboru pruskiego w latach 1918-1919, Warszawa 1939
  • S.Kubiak, Niemcy w Wielkopolska 1918-1919, Poznań 1969
  • Materiały Sesji Naukowej z okazji 50-lecia Powstania Wielkopolskiego 1918/1919, Zaszyty Naukowe UAM 1970, Historia t.10
  • Witold Mazurczak, Anglicy i wybuch powstania wielkopolskiego. Z dziejów genezy brytyjskiej misji płka H.H.Wade'a w Polsce, [in:] Antoni Czubiński (ed.), Polacy i Niemcy. Dziesięć wieków sąsiedztwa, PWN, Warszawa 1987
  • Janusz Pajewski, Rodział XXII. Powstanie Wielkopolskie, [in:] J.Pajewski, Odbudowa państwa polskiego 1914-1918, Warszawa 1985,
  • Janusz Pajewski, Znaczenia Powstania Wielkopolskiego dla odbudowy Państwa Polskiego w 1918 r., Zeszyty Naukowe UAM, Historia 1970, t.10
  • S.Rybka, Zerwane pęta. Wspomnienia z dni rewolucji niemieckiej i powstania polskiego 1918-1919, Poznań 1919
  • A.Rzepecki, Powstanie grudniowe w Wielkopolsce. 27 XII 1918, Poznań 1919
  • Z.Wieliczka, Wielkopolska w Prusy w dobie powstania 1918/1919, Poznań 1932
  • Z.Wroniak, Paderewski w Poznaniu, Kronika Miasta Poznania 1959, nr 4
  • H.Zieliński, Rola powstania wielkopolskiego oraz powstań śląskich w walce o zjednoczenie ziem zachodnich z Polską; (1918-1921), [in:] Droga przez Półwiecze.

The Greater Poland Uprisings

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