The Battle of Warsaw 1920 - Part IV


The Marshal’s Baton of Józef Piłsudski (1920) by Mieczysław Kotarbiński, Wiktor GontarczykThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

Further development of the liberated country

The victory of the Poles in 1920 scuppered plans to extend the Bolshevik Revolution to Western Europe. The weakened nation began to rebuild its country. The Sejm passed the Basic Law, the Act on Introduction of the Agricultural Reform and a number of innovative social laws. The foundations for the stabilisation and development of Polish statehood were laid.

The Marshal’s Baton of Józef Piłsudski (1920) by Mieczysław Kotarbiński, Wiktor GontarczykThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

A few months after the Battle of Warsaw, Chief of State and Commander-in-Chief Józef Piłsudski received a Marshal’s Baton from the Army in the Castle Square in Warsaw, as a symbol of victory and a token of gratitude from the Polish nation.

The ceremony of handing over the Marshal’s Baton to Józef Piłsudski in the Castle Square (1920) by UnknownThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The handing over of the Marshal’s Baton took place on 14 November 1920 during the first celebration of the Independence Day, a great manifestation of patriotism by the Polish people.

The Marshal of the Sejm’s appeal to the MPs about the Rebirth of Poland Loan (1920) by Marshal of the Legislative Sejm Wojciech TrąpczyńskiThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The end of the war with Russia did not mean the end of the fight for Polish sovereignty. The country, which regained its independence after 123 years of partitions, faced bankruptcy. In 1920, the authorities announced the first state loan.

Rebirth of Poland Loan (1920) by Józef MehofferThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

“Whoever does not want Poland to be a colony of foreign planters, a neglected farmstead where more weed than wheat grows, a powerless country that must forever look to others, a nation in the march of culture and civilisation, should fall in for roll-call when the government announces the first (state) loan of rebirth”, wrote the dailies of the time.

Rebirth of Poland Loan (1920) by Stanisław Bohusz SiestrzeńcewiczThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The war had led thousands of people in Poland to extreme poverty. Getting basic food products was a real problem. Hunger was common.

War Damage to Buildings in Poland… (1920) by UnknownThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The Rebirth of Poland Loan was only one of the attempts to save the country’s economic condition, in which parliamentarians were involved. Members of parliament appealed for repair of infrastructure, social support for the poorest, improvement of the fate of orphans and war-disabled people.

Treaty of Riga (1921) by Graphic by Dariusz KondeferThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The signing of the peace treaty ending the Polish–Soviet War took place on 18 March 1921 at 8:30 pm in the House of the Blackheads in Riga.

MPs were involved in direct peace negotiations with the Russians in Minsk and Riga and, indirectly, participating in parliamentary debates, putting numerous motions and parliamentary questions.

Peace delegation to the negotiations with Soviet Russia (1921) by UnknownThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The signatories of the Treaty of Riga on the Polish side were Edward Lechowicz (lawyer in the Presidium of the Council of Ministers), Leon Wasilewski (Ambassador of Poland in Tallinn, activist of the Polish Socialist Party), Jan Dąbski (MP in the Legislative Sejm, Chairman of the Delegation), Henryk Strasburger (lawyer, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Industry and Trade) and Stanisław Kauzik (lawyer, Secretary General of the Economic Committee of Ministers of Poland).

Signing of the Treaty of Riga (1921) by UnknownThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The peace signed by Poland with the Soviets in Riga became a pillar of order in the east of Europe, complementing the arrangements of the Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I. As a result of the Polish–Soviet War, the order of Versailles-Riga was established.

Jan Dąbski (1919) by Stanisław LentzThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

One of the main architects of the Poland’s Eastern policy, the chairman of the delegation for the negotiations on the end of the war in Minsk and Riga (1920–1921), was a member of the Legislative Sejm and a peasant activist, Jan Dąbski.

Map of the border between Poland and Russia (2020) by UnknownThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The signing of peace with the Bolsheviks was one of the main stages in establishing the borders of the newly formed state, as the issue of the Polish eastern border was not resolved during the Paris Peace Conference.

The Polish-Soviet Commission Delineating the Border (1921) by UnknownThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

As a result of the negotiations, Poland gained part of the Belarusian lands, without Minsk, and Ukrainian lands, without Kamianets-Podilskyi; in the north, its borders were marked by the River Daugava and in the south by the Rivers Zbruch and Dniester.

In Riga, Russian representatives undertook to pay compensation to Poland of 30 million roubles in gold; these provisions were never implemented.

The Constitution is Adopted. The Peace is Signed. Upper Silesia Plebiscite (March 27, 1921) by PiastThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The signing of the Peace Treaty coincided with two other key events for the future of the Second Polish Republic, the enactment of the first modern Polish Basic Law and a plebiscite in Upper Silesia concerning the national status of the Polish-German borderland.

Preamble to the Constitution of March (1988, copy) by Legislative SejmThe Sejm - Polish Parliament

The Constitution adopted on 17 March 1921 introduced an egalitarian system of a democratic republic with parliamentary-cabinet system of government. The Constitution placed supreme power in Poland in the hands of the people.

The original document of the Constitution of March was lost during World War II.

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