11 November – Independence Day
I think you know by now that Poland was wiped off the maps for 123 years, between the Partitions in the late 1790s and the defeat (or distraction) of the occupying powers at the end of WW1 – when Russia was plunged into the confusion of revolution and civil war, the multinational Austro-Hungarian monarchy fell apart and went into decline and the Germans bowed to pressure from the forces of the Entente.
The Poles saw their chance and even in the days before the War ended steps were being taken to re-form the country. 11 November is the date the Regency Government appointed Józef Pilsudski Commander-in-Chief over the Polish Forces and only a couple of days later he was given civil control. 11 November is also the date chosen in 1937 to mark Independence – a public holiday celebrated only twice before Germany invaded.
The Russians invaded from the east only two weeks later and, as we know, WW2 ended with Poland firmly in Russian hands and subject to something of a puppet government – the PKWN Manifesto (edited by Stalin) was declared on 22 July 1944 and until 1988 that was the day used to mark Independence. In 1989, the Sejm reinstated the 11 November anniversary as Poland’s Independence Day holiday.