The Activity of Poles and Polish Military Movement before the Outbreak of the World War I (1908-1914)
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The article has been devoted to Polish military preparations at the time of increased tensions in international relations and precipitated outbreak of a serious military conflict. These tensions were escalating among main European countries at the turn of the first and second decade of the 20th century. They aroused hope as to the possible appearance of a chance to resolve the Polish cause. In the background, however, a noted dispute about the so called orientations erupted, that is whether it was advisable to side with Russia or Austria-Hungary in case of a serious military conflict between the occupants hoping that the Austrian-Polish solution of the Polish cause would take effect. Roman Dmowski's advocates opted for Russia in this conflict and they supported his concepts in all partitions. Whereas the active group of Polish political activists in Galicia opted for siding Austria-Hungary. They mostly represented a Cracovian fraction of the 'Stronnictwo Prawicy Narodowej' (National Right Wing Association), (so-called 'stanczycy') and 'Polskie Stronnictwo Demokratyczne' (Polish Democratic Party). Józef Pilsudski partly opted for this orientation too, who, however, was most of all an advocate of armed struggle for independence. He also believed in the necessity to cooperate with Austrian secret service because armed struggle required funds and military equipment. He came by a possibility of such cooperation in 1908 when the Polish underground 'Zwiazek Walki Czynnej' (Union for Armed Struggle) had already existed. Next, he was granted permission by the Austrian authorities to set up open small arms organizations. Almost simultaneously, Polish students in Galicia started to conduct an organizational-military activity, which first led to the formation of the underground organization operating as 'Armia Polska' (Polish Army), and then to the formation of 'Polskie Druzyny Strzeleckie' (Polish Rifle Squads). This article also discusses military actions of 'Towarzystwo Gimnastyczne SOKOL' (Gymnastic Society 'Falcon') and 'Druzyny Bartoszowe' (Bartosz Squads). In result of the preparations taken up by the Polish military organizations it was later possible to set up the Polish Legions after the outbreak of the World War I. Moreover, the author of this article has devoted a great deal of attention to the polemic with Ryszard Swietek's arguments included in the book entitled 'Lodowa Sciana. Sekrety polityki Józefa Pilsudskiego 1904-1918', Cracow, 1998 (Ice Wall. Secrets of Józef Pilsudski's politics 1904-1918). This polemic mostly refers to the fact that R. Swietek presents his arguments too glaringly and distorts the events connected with armed struggle for Poland's independence.
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