Pilsudski Timeline

Joseph Pilsudski Timeline


1867, December 5 - Joseph Klemens Pilsudski born in imperial Russia in the village of

Zulow (present day Zalavas, Lithuania)


1874- Pilsudski family estate heavily damaged by fire, forcing the family to move to

Wilno (present day Vilnius, Lithuania)


1878- enrolls at a Russian secondary school, or gymnasium, in Wilno


1884, September 2- Maria Pilsudski, Joseph's mother, dies at age forty-two


1885 - graduates from the gymnasium and attends medical school in the Ukrainian city of



1887, March 22 - arrested, along with his brother Bronislaw and twelve others including

Lenin's brother, for participation in a plot to kill Czar Alexander III. Sentenced to

five years exile in Siberia.


1892, June 30- returns from exile to Wilno


1893, February- joins the Polish Socialist Party (PPS)


1894, July 12 — publishes the first edition of The Worker, an underground newspaper

promoting Socialism, Polish nationalism, and anticzarist activity


1899, July 15- marries divorcée Maria Juszkiewicz and converts to Protestantism


1900, February 22- arrested in Lodz and taken to the Warsaw Citadel


1901, May 14 - after feigning insanity for almost a year, escapes from the mental facility

of St. Nicholas the Miracle Worker in St. Petersburg


1904, July 11 — travels to Tokyo and tries to persuade the Japanese government, at the

time at war with Russia, to sponsor revolution in Poland


1905- organizes the

bojowa, or combat organization, to resist Russian occupation of



1906, November- resigns from the PPS and forms the PPS-Revolutionary Faction


1908, September 26 - robs a treasury train at Bezdany, securing 200,000 rubles to fund

revolutionary activities


1908, December- forms the Union for Active Struggle (ZWC), envisioned as the prototype

for a future Polish army


1910- establishes a paramilitary camp in Lwow and oversees the training of numerous

"riflemen clubs" in Austrian Poland (Galicia)


1912- becomes commander in chief of the Polish Armed Forces under the KTSSN, a

bipartisan organization of Polish patriots


1914, February- in a statement remarkable for its clarity and specificity, predicts the

coming war and its consequences


1914, August 6- leads several hundred Polish militiamen (technically part of the Austrian

Army) into Russian Poland


1914, August 27- Polish Legions formed, becomes immediately involved in combat


1914, November 15 - promoted to brigadier general in the Austrian Army


1914, December 14- given command of the First Brigade


1915, August 5- travels to occupied Warsaw and demands the Germans recognize a Polish

national government.


1916, February 28- returns to the Catholic Church


1916, July 4-6- fights in the Battle of Kostiuchnowka


1916, September 29- resigns from the Austrian Army


1916, October- Polish Legions disbanded


1917, January- appointed head of the military commission of the German-controlled

Polish Provisional Council of State


1917, July 21- arrested by the Germans for his refusal to give an oath of loyalty,

imprisoned at the fortress of Magdeburg


1918, November 10- after being released by the Germans, arrives in Warsaw and assumes

control of the new Polish Republic


1919, February 20- resigns as provisional head of state, but is immediately reconfirmed by

the newly elected Sejm


1919, April 19- liberates hometown Wilno from Bolshevik occupation


1919, August 9- captures Minsk, which along with Lwow and Wilno, gives Poland control

of the key border cities


1920, April 25- initiates a major offensive in the Ukraine designed to remove the Soviets

from the borderlands


1920, August 16- leads a successful flanking operation against the Red Army. The

"Miracle on the Vistula" drives the Bolsheviks from Poland and destroys their

plans for worldwide revolution.


1921, February- negotiates a major alliance with France


1921, September 25- escapes an assassination attempt by a Ukrainian nationalist


1921, October 25- after first wife Maria dies on August 7, marries longtime lover

Aleksandra Szczerbinska, the mother of his two children


1922, November- refuses to run for the newly created position of president of the Second

Polish Republic. Becomes embittered after President Narutowicz is assassinated on

December 16.


1923, May 23- resigns as army chief of staff


1923, July 2- resigns as head of the Inner War Council, retires to civilian life


1926, May 12- conducts a coup d' etat against the center-right government and becomes

de facto dictator. Launches "Sanacja" campaign to purify Polish politics.


1927, December- "war or peace" incident at League of Nations


1928, March- uses the BBWR, a supposedly non-partisan organization, to secure

pluralities in the Sejm and Senate.


1930, September 9- to avert a revolution, imprisons political opponents at Brzesc on the

eve of elections, allowing the BBWR to claim majorities in Parliament. Tightens

grip on Polish state.


1932, January 25- secures a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union


1933- explores the possibility of a pre-emptive war against Hitler


1934, January 26- secures a non-aggressive pact with Nazi Germany


1935, May 12- dies at age sixty-seven in Warsaw's Belvedere Palace