Chapter

Contesting a National Myth, 1918–26

M. B. B. Biskupski

in Independence Day

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199658817
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744235 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658817.003.0003
Contesting a National Myth, 1918–26

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November 11th was a radically divisive candidate for Independence Day. Opponents of Piłsudski realized that its adoption as the official holiday meant accepting a Piłsudskiite genealogy of the state and a selective interpretation of much of Polish history. As a consequence they prepared a response which was more in the form of attacking the 11th than in offering an alternative. They chose either to ignore the day, or acknowledge the day but deny its Piłsudskiite elements which proved virtually impossible to achieve. The right attempted to present their quarrel with the 11th as a symbolic contest to a ‘Western’ and modern conception of Poland which was focused on struggles with the Germans, and an “Eastern” orientation which was epitomized by Piłsudski's war against the Russians of 1919–1920. There was a growing attempt to institutionalize the day while Piłsudski was in power, but when he left office in 1923, the 11th began to lose its function as a focus of national attention. It had become clear that November 11th was inextricably associated with the Piłsudski cult.

Keywords: Piłsudski; Endecja; Dmowski; Polish-Russian War; legions

Chapter.  5732 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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