Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Independence DayMyth, Symbol, and the Creation of Modern Poland$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

M. B. B. Biskupski

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658817

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658817.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

Introduction: The Myths and Symbols of Independence Day

Introduction: The Myths and Symbols of Independence Day

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction: The Myths and Symbols of Independence Day
Source:
Independence Day
Author(s):

M. B. B. Biskupski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658817.003.0001

November 11th, 1918 symbolizes a number of traditions appearing in late nineteenth-century Poland. These include the rise of Neo-Romanticism in literature and the arts; the conviction that struggle rather than acceptance of the reality of trifurcation and foreign occupation was the correct disposition for Poles, and the closely associated reappearance of the insurrectionary tradition as a plausible means for the Poles to re-achieve independence. The chapter also discusses the rapid rise of the cult of Kościuszko, seen as the ideal, indeed, providential leader. This, in turn, reflected the hero theme in Polish lore which argued that Poland's position was so dismal that only a hero such as suggested in Wyspiański's Wesele could rouse Poland from its despair. These themes were subsumed under a new martial discourse in Polish politics which argued that Polish military formations — the Legions — could awaken the nation and form the model for a future Polish polity. The Legions would reflect old Polish military glories but also continue the heroic struggles of the nineteenth century. These Legions would be led by Piłsudski who was, in effect, Kościuszko reborn. Moreover, the Legions would be in reality the old Polish gentry, now transformed into the intelligentsia, again assuming its role as leaders of the nation. Piłsudski led the Legions and the Legions represented the Polish military tradition, which harkened back to the greatness of pre-partitioned Poland. Thus Piłsudski represented the greatness of Poland personified. November 11th was the day on which these various legends and symbols combined to revive an independent Poland. Hence Independence Day is more than just a moment; it is a symbol of ancillary myths and symbols. He who accepts the date as the rebirth of Polish independence accepts, to considerable degree, the series of myths and symbols in which culminate on that day. November 11th is a Piłsudskite ideology composed of many intertwined elements.

Keywords:   legions, Kościuszko, November 11, romanticism, Wyspiański, World War I

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .