November 11th, 1918. Poland regains its independence!

‘’[…] Freedom! Independence! Unity! Our own state! Forever! Chaos? It’s nothing. It will be fine. Everything will be fine because we are free. […]” J. Moraczewski, Przewrót w Polsce.

November 11th, 1918, was a breakthrough day in the history of Europe and Poland. In the Compiégne forest near Paris, the Germans signed a truce ending the First World War. On the same day in Warsaw the Regency Council handed over power to Józef Piłsudski. After 123 years of captivity (1795–1918), Poland regained its independence.

Already before the outbreak of the war, the Polish people realized that the world conflict, which would affect the partitioners, could be a unique opportunity to liberate the country. They took advantage of the opportunity that arose in connection with the international situation.
The November events were preceded by the success of including January 8, 1918 in the 14-point peace program of US President Woodrow Wilson, point thirteen, which assumed the need to restore Poland’s independence. The signing of the truce in Compiégne meant that there was room for Poland in the new post-war world.
In October 1918, it became clear that the war was coming to an end, and that the invaders were severely weakened. In Poland, a power struggle began between the Polish National Committee and Roman Dmowski and the Regency Council, supported by Józef Piłsudski.

On November 10th, about 7 am, on a special train from Berlin, Józef Piłsudski, released from prison in Magdeburg, returned to Warsaw. The Commander of the First Brigade of the Legions was greeted at the Main Railway Station by Prince Zdzisław Lubomirski, who represented the Regency Council, which was a temporary Polish state authority. On November 10th, Pilsudski met with the German Central Soldier Council. As a result of the agreements made, the 30,000th German garrison stationed in Warsaw was disarmed at night, and during the next seven days about 55,000 German soldiers were evacuated from the Kingdom, who had to leave some of their weapons and military equipment.

On November 11th, the Regency Council entrusted the commander with the military power and the supreme command of the Polish Armed Forces, and on November 14th also with the civil power. It dissolved itself and established the office of the Head of State.