December 27th, 1918 – The Greater Poland Uprising


In late 1918 Poles with hopes for a sovereign Poland began serious preparations for an uprising after Kaiser Wilhelm‘s abdication on November 9th, 1918, which marked the end of the German monarchy, which would be replaced by the Weimar Republic.

The uprising broke out on December 27th, 1918 in Poznań, after a patriotic speech by Ignacy Paderewski, Polish prime minister at that time, and a famous pianist.

Greater Poland Uprising 680

Polish soldiers of the uprising in trenches on Polish-German front

The uprising forces consisted of members of the Polish Military Organization of the Prussian Partition, who started to form the Straż Obywatelska (Citizen’s Guard), later renamed as Straż Ludowa (People’s Guard) and many volunteers—mainly veterans of World War I. The first contingent to reach the Bazar Hotel where the uprising broke out was a 100-strong force from wildecka kompania Straży Ludowej (Wilda’s People’s Guard) led by Antoni Wysocki. The ruling body was the Naczelna Rada Ludowa (Supreme People’s Council)—at the beginning members of the Council were against the uprising, but supported it a few days later: unofficially January 3rd, 1919; officially January 8th and 9th,  1919—and the military commanders: Captain Stanisław Taczak (promoted to major, temporary commander December 28th, 1918 – January 8th, 1919) and later General Józef Dowbor-Muśnicki.

Greater Poland Uprising

Polish insurrectionists

The timing of the uprising was fortuitous for the insurgents, as between October 1918 and the first months of 1919, internal conflict had weakened Germany, with soldiers and sailors engaged in mutinous actions against the monarchy and the officer corps. Demoralized by the signing of an armistice on November 11th, 1918, the new German government was further embroiled in subduing the German Revolution.

By January 15th, 1919, the Polish forces took control of most of the Province of Posen, and engaged in heavy fighting with the regular German army and the forces of the Grenzschutz, up until the renewal of the truce between the Entente and Germany on February 16th, which affected the Wielkopolska or Posen Province part of the front line. Skirmishes continued, however, until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28th, 1919.

The Greater Poland Uprising is one of the two most successful Polish uprisings: the other was the Great Poland Uprising of 1806 which was ended by the entry of Napoleon‘s army.

“Today in History” on The Pandora Society dot com is primarily focused on Victorian and Edwardian history and does not always have a direct connection to Steampunk, Dieselpunk, or whatever punk; in fact it rarely does, but it is our hope that in sharing these historical events they might serve as some inspiration to the writers in our community to create potential alternative history stories which we look forward to reading 🙂


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