dr Jakub Basista
Political and Social History of Central East Europe
in the 20th Century
Domestic economic and political problems of CEE countries 1918-1939. Part I. Poland.
Cf. map in
Davies, God’s Playground, vol. II, p. 395;
_______, Heart of Europe, p. 117.
Cieszyn Silesia (Śląsk Cieszyński) divided between Poland and Czechoslovakia. This area was a point of conflict of both states, even though it was very small.
Western Galicia – area without doubt Polish was under control of the Polish Liquidation Committee. This area was the former territory of Austria following the 8th century partitions.
Southern part of the kingdom of Poland (the Congress kingdom established at the Congress in Vienna in 1815 and under Russian control in 19th century. In 1918 under Austrian occupation taken over by a socialist government created in Lublin.
German occupation zone of the kingdom of Poland. Handed over to Piłsudski by the Regency Council – a pseudo-governmental body formed by Germans during WW I.
Eastern Galicia – eastern part of Austrian Galicia. Inhabited mostly by Ukrainians and in majority Greek Catholics. Point of conflict with Ukrainians, who tried to establish their own state, after 1919 under Polish occupation and handed over to Poland in 1923 by the League of Nations.
Grand Duchy of Poznań, or Wielkopolska (Great Poland) – Polish territory occupied by Prussians/Germans in the 19th century returns to Poland following a successful Great Poland Uprising (Powstanie Wielkopolskie) in 27.12.1918-16.02.1919.
An addition to the above incorporated on 20.01.1920. This territory granted Poland access to the Baltic sea.
Villages awarded to Poland in effect of a plebiscite held on 23.07.1920.
Orawa – point of dispute with Slovakia – part awarded to Poland in 1920 (former Hungary).
Spisz – point of dispute with Slovakia – part awarded to Poland in 1920 (former Hungary).
Middle Lithuania with Vilnius – occupied by Polish army in 9.10.1920 and incorporated following a plebiscite in March 1922.
Eastern borderlands received by Poland in effect of a war against Soviet Russia and treaty of Riga in 1921.
Upper Silesia (Górny Śląsk) part of which was awarded to Poland following a plebiscite and three Silesian Uprisings in 1991-1921.
Wars and Conflicts
In the years following the end of WW I. Poland had to fight six military conflicts.
Ukrainian war, which started in Lwów in November 1918 and ends with the collapse of Ukrainian Republic in July 1919.
Great Poland Uprising against Germany in 27.12.1918 through 28.07.1919 (settled by the treaty of Versailles).
Three Silesian Uprisings in August 191, August 1920, May-July 1921 finally settled by a convention in 1922.
War against Lithuania, which ended in the occupation of Vilnius by the Polish army in 1920.
War with Czechoslovakia started with the latter’s invasion of Cieszyn in January 1919 and terminated in July 1920.
Polish-Soviet war, which was fought between Poland and Bolshevik Russia following the withdrawal from Ober-Ost territory by the German forces in February 1919 and continued through October 1920.
7 November – Socialist government formed in Lublin
11 November – Józef Piłsudski takes over power as the head of state (this date is considered as the beginning of independent state)
14 November – provisional government formed
16 December – Polish Communist Party formed
27 December – uprising in Great Poland
23 January – Czechs incorporate Cieszyn Silesia
26 January – elections to the Constitutional Parliament (begins on 10 February)
20 February – the so-called little constitution passed
10 July – land reform (never becomes a law)
16 August 1919-1921 – Silesian Uprisings
7 May – Polish army capture Kiev; beginning of Polish-Soviet war
27 May – Red Army counterattacks
4 July – Red Army advances in Byelorussia
15 July – land reform passed by parliament
August – Polish Communist Government formed in Białystok (Kon, Marchlewski, Dzierżyński)
13-15 August – battle of Warsaw – Soviet troops start to withdraw
19 August - 2nd Silesian Uprising
7 October – Polish-Lithuanian agreement leaves Vilnius with Lithuania
9 October – gen. Żeligowski forms Middle Lithuania
19 February – French-Polish alliance treaty signed
3 March Polish-Romanian defense convention signed
17 March – voting of Polish constitution
18 March – peace Treaty in Riga with Soviet Russia signed
2 May – 3rd Silesian Uprising
25 May – Poland starts diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia
24 March – incorporation of Middle Lithuania (Vilnius – 56% Poles, 36% Jews, 2.5% Lithuanians)
9 December / 16 December – election (in fifth round against Maurycy Zamoyski) and assassination of President Gabriel Narutowicz
20 December – Stanisław Wojciechowski elected president
13 January Władysław Grabski becomes minister of finance
15 March Poland gets its borders confirmed by the Council of Ambassadors
19 December – Grabski forms government
Józef Piłsudski resigns from politics
11 January – financial reform of Władysław Grabski
Founding of the Bank of Poland
Construction plan of the post in Gdynia launched
1 July – Polish-German customs war begins
12 May – Józef Piłsudski’s coup d’etat
1 June – Ignacy Mościski elected president
2 August – parliament issues a law, according to which it can be dissolved by the president
19 January – BBWR (Bezpartyjny Blok Współpracy z Rządem) – Non-party block cooperating with the government formed
4 March – BBWR wins elections over right wing
“Centrolew” – coalition of centrist and left wing parties formed
The trail of Brześć
25 July – Non-aggression pact signed with USSR
Non-aggression pact signed with Germany
23 April – new constitution passed
12 May – Józef Piłsudski dies
Strikes in Kraków and Lwów
5 February – plans of COP are prepared – Centralny Okręg Przemysłowy
The Communist Party of Poland dissolved by Communist International
Zaolzie incorporated by Poland
1 September – II World War starts