Sopot

Independence Day

more than a year ago
While other parts of the world celebrate November 11 as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day and Veterans Day, for Poles the end of the Great War is perhaps even more significant as it saw Poland finally regaining its independence, having been partitioned by Austria, Germany and Russia for the previous 123 years. After the defeat of various occupying forces Poles began to regain control over their country for the first time in more than a century, with famed military hero Józef Piłsudski appointed as Commander-in-Chief on November 11, 1918. Piłsudski went on to form a new centralized government and went on to command Polish forces in the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, a key turning point in the rebirth of the country. Sadly enough, Independence Day was constituted in 1937 and only celebrated twice before World War II. In PRL times the date was moved to July 22 to honour the day the PKWN Manifesto (a document that basically asserted communist authority over Poland) was issued in 1944. In 1989 after communism fell the holiday was restored to its original November 11 date. To mark the occasion every year in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Pl. Piłsudskiego in Warsaw there’s the official Changing of the Guard with all the big wigs, president, prime minister and top brass in attendance.

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