Before the First World War, Józef Piłsudski was the most important leader of the Polish pro-independence movement. He believed that freedom could only be won through armed struggle and he built up the cadres of a future army. During the First World War he sought a political solution to the Polish question and was an outstanding commander of the Polish Legions fighting against Russia. As Poland regained its independence in 1918 he alone had the authority to take on the leadership of the state and the army.
Józef Piłsudski led the efforts to build the Polish state, which was being reborn after 123 years. His government instituted civil and labour rights. Elections to the Constituent Assembly were scheduled. In March 1921 the Assembly decided on a constitution that guaranteed fundamental human and civil rights, indispensable in a democracy. The creation of the Polish Army as a guarantor of Poland’s sovereignty was also Piłsudski’s achievement.
Józef Piłsudski aimed to create an east-central European federation of states as a counterweight to Russia and Germany. In 1920 his armies defeated the Red Army, stopping its westward advance. Together with the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty of Riga, which put an end to Poland’s war with Bolshevik Russia, became the foundation of the European order, which would only be upset in 1939 by Nazi Germany’s and Soviet Russia’s launching of the Second World War.
PORTAL CREATED BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS