Great Poland Uprising against the Germans begins


On December 27, 1918, the Greater Poland Uprising started. It was one of the four victorious Polish insurrections. The event is to be commemorated on Thursday by Poland’s top officials, including the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the President Andrzej Duda. Greater Poland was taken by Prussia, the predecessor of a unified Germany, as one of the partitions of Poland. In 1849 its name had been changed to the “Province of Posen” Poles in this region protested against the Prussian and German policy of enforcing German culture and language but tried to achieve change using non-violent methods. An example of this was a protest by children from Września, some 40km east of Poznań, who protested against having to pray in the German language in the early 20th century. Another was the history of “Drzymała’s wagon,” which had been trying to bypass German law by moving his wagon, where he lived, just a slight amount every day and claiming that it is was not a building but a moving vehicle, so the laws concerning construction and building did not apply to him.In late 1918, Germany loosened the policy on the occupied lands. Circumstances such as Germany’s defeat in WWI, the abdication of Emperor Wilhelm II and the general atmosphere of revolution encouraged people to begin their fight for freedom. The spark that lit the uprising fire was the visit of the Polish pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who arrived in Poznań on December 26, 1918. His visit was an opportunity for patriotic demonstration. A day after his arrival, Poles started to gather in front of the Bazar Hotel in the city center. Germans organized a counter-manifestation and destroyed the headquarters of the Supreme People’s Council, the legal Polish authority of the city of Poznań.
The uprising began before 5PM local time. By the end of the year, insurgents had liberated the majority of the Poznań area, and in January a large part of Wielkopolska was under their control.
In late January, Germany started their counteroffensive. They planned to attack not only Wielkopolska but other parts of the country as well.
Polish intelligence acquired information about the German plans and notified the leaders of the Triple Entente. Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the leader of the alliance’s forces, threatened that should Germany attacks Poles, the Triple Entente would take military steps.

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