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Jozef Pilsudski
Pilsudski
Historical Figure
Nationality: Poland (born in the Russian Empire, in what is now Lithuania)
Date of Birth: 1867
Date of Death: 1935
Cause of Death: Liver cancer
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: minor nobleman, Revolutionary, General, Politician, Educator
Spouse: Maria Koplewska (d. 1921), Alexandra Szczerbinska
Military Branch: Polish Legions (World War I), later Polish Army
Political Party: None (formerly Polish Socialist Party)
Political Office(s): First Marshal and Prime Minister of Poland
Turtledove Appearances:
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): West and East
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference
Józef Klemens Piłsudski (5 December 1867 – 12 May 1935) was Chief of State (1918–22), "First Marshal" (from 1920) and (1926–35) the authoritarian leader of the Second Polish Republic. From mid-World War I he had a major influence in Poland's politics, and was an important figure on the European political scene. He is considered largely responsible for Poland's regaining its independence in 1918, after 123 years of partitions. Piłsudski managed to wrestle the control of Wilno from Lithuania, but was unable to incorporate much of his Lithuanian homeland into the newly resurrected Polish State.

Early in his political career, Piłsudski became a leader of the Polish Socialist Party. Concluding, however, that Poland's independence would have to be won by force of arms, he created the Polish Legions. In 1914 he anticipated the outbreak of a European war, the Russian Empire's defeat by the Central Powers, and the Central Powers' defeat by the western powers. When World War I broke out, he and his Legions fought alongside the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires to ensure Russia's defeat. In 1917, with Russia faring badly in the war, he withdrew his support from the Central Powers.

From November 1918, when Poland regained independence, until 1922, Piłsudski was Poland's Chief of State. In 1919–21 he commanded Poland's forces in the Polish-Soviet War. In 1923, with the Polish government dominated by his opponents, particularly the National Democrats, he withdrew from active politics. Three years later he returned to power with the May 1926 coup d'état, and became the de facto dictator of Poland. From then until his death in 1935, he concerned himself primarily with military and foreign affairs.

For at least thirty years until his death, Piłsudski pursued, with varying degrees of intensity, two complementary strategies, intended to enhance Poland's security: "Prometheism", which aimed at breaking up, successively, Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union into their constituent nations; and the creation of an Intermarum federation, comprising Poland and several of her neighbors. Though a number of his political acts remain controversial, Piłsudski's memory is held in high esteem by his compatriots.

Jozef Pilsudski in The War That Came EarlyEdit

Jozef Pilsudski had waged war against Russia during the Russian Civil War, expanding Polish territory into territory claimed by both Russia and the newly-independent Lithuania. Russia's successor state, the Soviet Union, pressed irredentist claims against Poland for the territory Pilsudski had "stolen." In 1939, the Soviet Union went to war to make good on these claims and retake the land Pilsudski had seized.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. West and East, pg. 71.
Political offices
(OTL)
Preceded by
None (Independence regained)
(eventually Regency Council)
Chief of State of the Republic of Poland
1918–1922
Succeeded by
Gabriel Narutowicz
President of the Republic
Preceded by
Juliusz Tarnawa-Malczewski
Minister of Military Affairs
1926–1935
Succeeded by
Tadeusz Kasprzycki
Preceded by
Kazimierz Bartel
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
1926–1928
Succeeded by
Kazimierz Bartel
Preceded by
Walery Sławek
Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
15 August – 4 December 1930
Succeeded by
Walery Sławek
Military offices
(OTL)
Preceded by
none
Commandant of the Brigade I of the Polish Legions
1914–1916
Succeeded by
Marian Żegota-Januszajtis
Preceded by
Władysław Sikorski
Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army
17 December 1922 – 9 June 1923
Succeeded by
Stanisław Haller
Preceded by
none
General Inspector of the Armed Forces
1926–1935
Succeeded by
Edward Rydz-Smigly

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