Primary Documents - Polish Regency Council's Appointment of Josef Pilsudski, 11 November 1918

Josef Pilsudski With Germany defeated in November 1918 the path was cleared for a newly constructed Polish republic to be established with Allied backing; this was duly declared on 10 February 1919.  This was however by no means the end of uncertainty for Poland, with the ultimate makeup of Europe yet to be agreed at the Paris Peace Conference, and with military disagreements with Russia, the Ukraine and Czechoslovakia rumbling on.

Click here to read the statement issued by the Polish Regency Council - established by the country's wartime German occupiers - on 11 November 1918 (the date of the armistice) which announced that General Josef Pilsudski, newly freed from German incarceration, was to be appointed to military command of Poland's Army.  Click here to read a subsequent decree, issued three days later, in which the Regency Council formally announced its own dissolution in favour of Pilsudski pending assembly elections.  Click here to read a statement issued by Pilsudski on the same day in which he outlined his immediate plans.

Click here to read an interview conducted with Pilsudski by a French newspaper in February 1919.  Click here to read the text of the U.S. government's formal recognition of the Polish government, by now politically led by Ignace Paderewski (with Pilsudski's blessing while the latter oversaw military matters).  Click here to read an address issued by Paderewski in May 1919 in which he summarised events to date at the Paris Peace Conference.  Click here to read a statement issued by Paderewski in September 1919 in which he expressed his support for Polish entry into the League of Nations.

Click here to read a statement issued by Herbert Hoover - head of the U.S. reconstruction organisation in Europe - dated August 1919 in which he documented his reservations with regard to the speed with which Poland's economic infrastructure could be rebuilt.

Statement Issued by the Temporary Polish Regency Council, 11 November 1918

In view of the threatening dangers from within and without, and in order to unify all military action and preserve order in the country, the Regency Council entrusts military authority over and the chief command of the Polish Armies to Brig. Gen. Josef Pilsudski.

After the National Government has been organized, the Regency Council will, in accordance with its former declaration, transfer to it the sovereign power of the State, and by countersigning the manifesto, General Pilsudski binds himself likewise to surrender to it his military powers, which are a part of the sovereignty of the State.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VII, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

The Parados was the side of a trench farthest from the enemy.

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