2008 | 6 | 135-155
Article title

CONTRIBUTION TO THE HISTORY OF STRUGGLE FOR THE POLISH ISSUE AND FOR THE POLISH LEGIONS (Przyczynek do dziejów walki o sprawe polska i o Legiony Polskie (sierpien 1914 - styczen 1916)

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Political struggle for independence was resumed on July 28, 1914, i.e., on the day of the outbreak of World War I. The most important question asked in those days concerned the attitude the Habsburg monarchy was to assume. Two delegates, Hipolit Sliwinski and Stanislaw Downarowicz of the functioning in Galicia 'Commission of Confederated Independence Parties' (Komisja Skonfederowanych Stronnictw Niepodleglosciowych), who were to elucidate this issue, were not in a position to do it. During their stay in Vienna the delegates did not manage to be granted an audience by Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, so to Cracow they returned with nothing. The mission of Juliusz Leo did not bring crucial effects either, even though he acted as leader of the Polish Democratic Party (Polska Partia Demokratyczna). He was satisfied with the lecture of the emperor's planned rescript, which confirmed the announcement of the proclamation of the Polish state with the Sejm in Warsaw. This project, however, was of little significance, as Austro-Hungary did not wish to conclude the Polish issue by granting independence. Leopold Berchtold stated it clearly in the instruction for the Austro-Hungarian ambassador in the Hague, von Giskry. Juliusz Leo, however, was not familiar with the content of his instruction, that is why skilful Austrian diplomats managed to put him off with some empty promises. Yet, as a result of his efforts the 'Supreme National Committee' (Naczelny Komitet Narodowy, abbreviated as NKN) was created. It became a political superior authority of the 'Polish Legions' (Legiony Polskie). The main participant of further struggles for Polish independence was Józef Pilsudski, commander of the First Brigade of the Legions (I Brygada Legionów). Among his opponents were Wladyslaw Sikorski - head of the NKN War Department (Departament Wojskowy NKN) and chief of 'Komenda Legionów Polskich' - Captain Wlodzimierz Zagórski - head of the Polish Legions Command headquarters. Austrian politicians were seriously concerned about the increase of activities aiming at independence under commander Pilsudski's leadership, yet the attempts of their suppression turned out to be useless.
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  • Mieczyslaw Wrzosek, Bialystok (Poland), for postal address contact the journal editor
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