Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 17.djvu/604

This page needs to be proofread.


POLAND 5gg POLAND

Soe that their intention was to form the Polish pro- the Provisional Polish Government, his sincere wishes vinces occupied by them into an independent State, for your success in the high office which you have The Poles placed no confidence in tlieir promises, assumed, and his earnest hope that the government and Polish soldiers found themselves fighting in of which you are a part will bring prosperity to the enemy camps with one aim, the reconstruction of the Republic of Poland. It is my privileg;e to extend dismembered kingdom. General Pilsudski, with his to you at this time my personal greetmns and of- "Polish legions," crossed the border of Russian ficially assure you that it will be a source of gratifica- Poland 5 August, 1914, in an effort to loosen Russia's tion to enter into official relations with you at the grip on that territory. The following year the earliest opportunity, and to render to your country central Powers succeeded in driving out the Russians such aid as is possible at this time, as it enters upon and on 5 August, 1915, the German army entered the a new cycle of independent life, which will be in due City of Warsaw under the command of Prince accord with that spirit of friendliness which has in Leopold of Bavaria. The German occupation lasted the past animatea the American people in their for three years, during which time they carried away relations with your countrymen." from Warsaw and the provinces many valuable Paderewski's cabinet resigned 13 December, 1919, objects from public and private buildings, requisition- and he was sent to France as diplomatic representa- ing not only the copper roofs and church bells, but tive from Poland to the League of Nations. In Janu- even the door handles, emptying the city of all the ary, 1921, he resigned and returned to the United supplies left by the Russians, and devastating the States, having earned the imdying gratitude of his forests of the country. The Germans at first es- countrymen and given signal proof of his love for tablished the Citizens' Central Committee for the Poland. During his term of office the Polish Consti- government of Poland, then the so-called Temporary tutional Diet was formed, which unanimously con- Council of State (1917), and finally the Regency firmed General Pilsudski as president (20 February, Council conmosed of Prince Lubomirski, M. 1919) , and reaffirmed Poland s alliance with the Allied Ostrowski ana Archbishop Kapowski of Warsaw. Powers. By the treaty of Versailles, signed by Dmow- It was aided by a Council of State and a Council of ski and Paderew^i, the Polish National Committee Ministers, but had very httle legislative or adminis- in Paris was dissolved and the independence of Poland trative power. The Polish Legions which refused the formally reco^pized by the Allies. On 31 July the oath of fidehty to the Kaiser as commander-in-chief treaty was ratified by the Polish Diet. A new-consti- of the armies of the Central Powers, were disbanded tution was drawn up by the Diet and solemnly adopted and interned and General Pilsudski was arrested 22 17 March. 1921, when a solemn Te Deum was chanted July, 1917, and transferred to Madgeburg. The in the catnedral of Warsaw. All the legislative power Polish Secret Military Organization covering all in the republic is vested in the National Assembly, Poland with its network was formed at this time. which is composed of the Diet (Sejin) and the Senate. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (15 December, The executive power is exercised by a President and 1917-3 March, 1918), between Germany and the a Cabinet of M misters, the former elected every seven Bolshevists, by the terms of which Poland found years. The Diet dissolves by its own vote. Religious herself despoiled of her former territories for the freedom is granted to all loyal citizens, and the Catho- recovery or which she had been fighting side by side lie Church as the church of the majority, takes first with the Central Powers, brought about a clash, place in the State among the other creeds equal before Influenced also by the Russian revolution (March, the law. The relations between Church and State 1917). the entrance of the United States into the are to be regulated by a special concordat to be ratified World War (April, 1917), and the proposal of a free, by the Diet. The more important political parties united and inaependent Poland with access to the in the Constitutional Diet are: the Polish People's sea made by President Wilson, and his famous fourteen Party (84 members) , the National People's Union of points, Poland joined the Allies. The most power- Diet (79 members), the National People's Union ml factor in this decision was Ignace Paderewski, (42 members) , the Polish Socialist Party (33 members) who demanded the repudiation of Germany and the Christian National Worker's Club (28 members) , Austria and whose reputation and personality won the National People's Christian Party (22 members) for the cause of Poland the sympathy of America the National Worker's Circle (25 members). The and the allied countries. Under his influence a total number of members in the Diet is 412; at present Polish army was formed in France and the United (1922) the liberal and moderate Socialist element is States and the National Polish Committee in Paris stronger than the Catholic element, was recognzied, 18 October, 1917, as the only legiti- PoEind was invaded in 1920 by the Russian Bolshe- mate government of Poland. In General Foch's vists, who, after initial victories that seemed to great offensive many Polish soldiers fought with threaten the fall of Warsaw, were finally defeated, heroism. The Armistice signed by Germany, 11 with a loss of 30,000 prisoners and 90,000 casualties; November, 1918, opened a new era for Poland, an the Poles were the first of their enemies to be victor- independent repubhc was proclaimed and a govern- ious over Soviet Russia. A preliminary peace treaty ment formed under the control of the Moderate was signed at Riga, 12 October, 1920, and ratified Socialists. General Pilsudski, freed by German 18 March, 1921.

revolutionists, returned to Warsaw and was given Religion. — As a national consequence of the supreme military authority. The German General religious freedom granted by Poland in 1919 many Beseler fled, and the German troops in Poland were religious communities expelled from Russian Poland disarmed and expelled by the Polish Secret Military have returned and several new congre^tions have Organization. The Polish Republic was proclaimed made foundations there. There are now in the coun- and a temporary government elected 14 November, try, Communities of Men: (1) Capuchin Fathers, with Pilsudski as first President, until a Diet should Warsaw, Nowe Miasto, 18; (2) Redemptorist Fath- establish a regular Government. Paderewski was ers, Warsaw, 8; (3) Marian Fathers, Bielanv. War- sent to Warsaw where he was enthusiastically greeted saw, 18; (4) Jesuit Fathers, Warsaw, 7; (5) Vincen- by the people and 15 January, 1919, he formed a tian Fathers, Warsaw, 15; (6) Franciscan Fathers new Cabinet in which he was Prime Minister. The TConventuals) , 5: (7) Salesian Fathers, Warsaw, following message was sent to Paderewski from Paris Praga, 13; (8) Resurrectionist Fathers, Warsaw, at the direction of President Wilson: "The President etc., 9; (9) Brother Albert's Brothers, Warsaw, of the United States directs me to extend to you as Praga, 6. Communities of Women: (1) Sisters of Prime Minister and Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Perpetual Adoration, Sakramcntki; (2) Sisters of St.