Józef Klemens Piłsudski (5 December 1867 – 12 May 1935) was a Polish statesman who served as the Chief of State and First Marshal of Poland. He is viewed as a father of the Second Polish Republic re-established in 1918, 123 years after the final Partition of Poland by Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1795.
About Józef Piłsudski in brief
Józef Klemens Piłsudski (5 December 1867 – 12 May 1935) was a Polish statesman who served as the Chief of State and First Marshal of Poland. He is viewed as a father of the Second Polish Republic re-established in 1918, 123 years after the final Partition of Poland by Austria, Prussia and Russia in 1795. He believed in a multi-ethnic Poland, including indigenous ethnic and religious minorities. His principal political opponent, Roman Dmowski, called for a Poland limited to the pre-Partitions Polish Crown and based mainly on a homogeneous ethnically Polish population and Roman Catholic identity. After World War I, he commanded Polish forces in six border wars that re-defined the country’s borders. In 1923, with the government dominated by his opponents, in particular the National Democrats, he retired from active politics. Three years later he returned to power in the May 1926 coup d’état and became the strongman of the Sanacja regime. From then on until his death in 1935, he concerned himself primarily with military and foreign affairs. It was during this period that he developed a cult of personality that has survived into the 21st century. Some aspects of his administration, such as imprisoning his political opponents at Bereza Kartuska, remain controversial, but he is highly-esteemed in Polish memory and is regarded as a founder of the modern independent Poland. His family resented the Russian government’s Russification policies.
He disliked having to attend Russian Orthodox Church and left school with an aversion not for the Russian Tsar and the Russian Empire, which he knew well. He was the second son born to the family, at their manor near the village of Zalavas. The estate was part of the dowry brought by his mother, Maria, a member of the wealthy Billewicz family. The family, although pauperized, cherished Polish patriotic traditions, and are characterized either as Polish or as Polonized-Lithuanian. As of 2020, they village is in Lithuania. He had two brothers, Bronisław and Jan, who became the future arch-enemy brothers of Communist leader Feliks Dzierżyński. Along with his mother Maria, he was introduced to Polish history and literature, which were suppressed by the Russian authorities. In 1885, he started medical studies at Khmer University in Vilnius, where he became a medical doctor. He died in 1935 in a car crash in the town of Wrocław, near the city of Poznań, in what is now the Polish town of Sieradz, and was buried in a Polish military cemetery. His son Bronisaw was later to become the future Prime Minister of Poland and later the President of the Republic of Poland, as well as the Polish Prime Minister and President of Lithuania. His daughter, Broniksa, became the first woman to hold the post of Prime Minister in Poland.