Sunday, November 11, 2007

Swięto Niepodleglości - Independence Day

As I wrote last year the 11th is a public holiday in Poland with all the shops shut and national flags being draped from various buildings. It is not specifically a day of rememberance but the ceremonies in Radom do centre on the soldiers' church in town.
The reason behind celebrating the 11th of November is that this day commemorates the end of the first World War. Modern Poland essentially came into being through the peace negotiations at the treaty of Versailles.
Many Poles however, don't realise that one of the key figures in Poland becoming a state at this time was not a Pole but an American. There was a Polish delegate present but he wielded far less power. The American in question is none other than the 28th president Woodrow Wilson. He wrote a series of goals for the peace negotiations named his "14 Points", the 13th of which was about the so called "Polish Corridor"

An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.

So there it is amongst all great Polish patriots (for example Jan Sobieski, Józef Piłsudski and tadeusz Kościuzko) there are some noteworthy people from other countries too.