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Post WWI Temporary Republics (Poland)

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
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Galician SSR 1920

[Galician SSR 1920] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 2 Oct 2009

Galician Socialist Soviet Republic - Galicyjska Socjalistyczna Republika Rad, July 8 - September 1920
In the course of the Polish-Soviet War and initial successes, Lenin ordered the creation of the first two Soviet Republics on conquered territory as a precursor for spreading the Soviet Power all over Europe and the World.
The proclamation issued on May 9, 1920 in 'Pravda' (Communist Party press organ) said:
"Forward to the West!
On the corps of "White" Poland to the liberation of the masses of workers and peasants exploited by the burgeoisie and landowners all across Europe and the World".
They have hoped to rest only after taking Madrid and Lisbon.
The Galician Soviet Socialist Republic was established on July 8, 1920 after the Red troops of the Budionnyi's Horse Army (with Stalin as its political commissar) took Podolia and parts of Galicia (South-Western Front).
The Red government was seated in Tarnopol (Ternopil) under the leadership of its chairman - Volodymyr Zatonsky, an Ukrainian Communist apparatchik.
The official languages of the new republic were to be: Polish, Ukrainian and Yiddish.
Waves of severe repressions were soon unleashed, mainly on the Poles.
The main prize of the territory, the city of Lwów (L'viv), was never taken due to the successful defense  of it by the Polish Army and some Ukrainian units of Petlura.
A group of the volunteer American pilots enlisted in the Kosciuszko Squadron of the Polish Air Force and under the command of Major Cedric Fauntleroy (Polish Colonel) and including Captain Merian C.Cooper (Polish Lt.Colonel - later film director - King Kong) distinguished themselves enormously wreaking havoc on Budionnyi's Horse Army.
Source: This webpage.

By September 1920, the Polish troops liberated the area from the Bolsheviks and by the Peace Treaty of Riga (1921) all of Galicia (Galicja-Galizien) went back to Poland.
The flag of the Galician Soviet Socialist Republic was supposedly red with the golden initials G.S.S.R. in Russian cyrillics, as portrayed on various wikipedias and other websites:  http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/475226
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galician_Soviet_Socialist_Republic .
But, I believe, it is wrong, as the Russian wasn't designated as one of the "official" languages of the republic.
Therefore, I did "create" a flag with the initials in Polish, Ukrainian and Yiddish, which, most likely, flew over the short-lived Republic.
Also, the flag with full names in these languages. Knowing the Soviet standards of the time, I am almost absolutely sure one, or both, of these flags were in use.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 2 Oct 2009

This flag reconstruction made in soviet style of 1930ths. But I have a big doubts upon its existing... As we remember, after russian revolution of 25.10.1917, the flag was adopted in april 1918. Half-year without flag. We see thet the flag question was not the main one. Short lived republic, may be, used some unofficial red flags with unknown designs.
But main flag of the republic not existed, I think.
Viktor Lomantsov, 5 Oct 2009


Galician SSR 1920 - variant

[Galician SSR 1920 - variant] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 2 Oct 2009

Ostrowska Republic 1918

[Ostrowska Republic 1918] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 10 Nov 2009

Ostrowska Republic (Republic of Ostrów) - Rzeczpospolita Ostrowska (Republika Ostrowska).
October 10, 1918 - November 26, 1918
Another short-lived republic existed for a while on the territory of Prussian Province of Posen (former Grand Duchy of Posen), part of the Prussian prize in the partitions of Poland.
Although Germany lost the war in the West, in the East it was trying to hold on to as much territory as possible and its military presence was still formidable.

It was a good month ahead of the start of the Greater Poland Uprising (Powstanie Wielkopolskie), which, eventually, was successful and brought the area back to Poland in February 1919, when the citizens of the town of Ostrów Wielkopolski decided to liberate themselves from the Germans and declared the independent Ostrowska Republic as the precursor of the independent Polish State in this area.
The Germans, although in chaotic turmoil, took power from the Imperial authorities and formed the Council of the Soldiers and the Workers to govern there.
That Council didn't include any Poles.
On October 10, 1918, the newly formed People's Committee of Ostrów issued a declaration addressed to the Germans:
"Over thousand of our soldiers and citizens of all estates, decided today unanimously, that according to the Wilson's Plan, endorsed by all of the fighting nations, the town and county of Ostrów is now the Polish territory, and we (the Committee) are assuming all powers over it until it would be incorporated into free and independent Polish People's Republic."
At the same time the Polish Committee expressed the sympathy with the freedom movements within Germany proper and wished the German soldiers speedy return to their homes.

After sporadic, successful skirmishes, the Committee decided it was too early for the complete take-over and negotiated with the German soldierś council a few favorable concessions and then dissolved itself on November 26, 1918, assured that Poland would do everything possible to bring them back to the Fatherland soon.
The Greater Poland Uprising started on December 27, 1918 and on December 31, the Polish troops entered the town of Ostrów.
On January 1, 1919, the town was visited by the Polish Prime Minister (also the great pianist, composer and patriot)  - Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

It was the only successful uprising in Polish history until the "Solidarity" revolution, peacefull, but not entirely bloodless, freed Poland from under the Soviet and communist yoke in August of 1989.
Sources: <http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republika_Ostrowska>
<http://www.zgapa.pl/zgapedia/Republika_Ostrowska.html>
<http://www.team-media.org/republika-ostrowska/>
there is very scarce information available on this subject  in Polish, even less in English - the only mention I did find is at:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostrów_Wielkopolski>.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 10 Nov 2009


Republic of Zakopane 1918

[Republic of Zakopane 1918] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 10 Nov 2009

Republic of Zakopane - Rzeczpospolita Zakopiańska.
Existed from October 13 to November 16 1918 in the area of the town of Zakopane and surrounding it villages.
Formal declaration of independence was issued on Oct 30, 1918.
On October 13, 1918, during the citizen's meeting, 500 delegates voted for creating the National Organization in Zakopane and elected the famous Polish writer, Stefan Żeromski as its President.
Their declaration recalled the Wilsonian principles for the new order in post-war Europe  and asserted that citizens of Zakopane are from now on the subjects to free, independent and united Poland.
On October 30, 1918, the Polish officers and soldiers disarmed the Austro-Hungarian and German soldiers in the town and the National Organization transformed itself into the National Council of the Republic of Zakopane, swore loyalty to Poland, and assumed all state powers on its territory.
As the Council was dominated by the rightists and centrists, to make it more representative, some socialists were co-opted into it.
Stefan Żeromski was reconfirmed as the acting President of the Republic.

On November 16, 1918, when the Polish Liquidation Committe in Cracow took the power over all of Galicia, the Republic of Zakopane was self-dissolved.
Sources:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Zakopane
 http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rzeczpospolita_Zakopiańska
 http://www.mati.com.pl/pinkwart/zaruski/rzeczpos.htm
 http://fakty.interia.pl/raport/90_lat_niepodleglosci/news/pod-tatrami-odradzala-sie-niepodlegla-polska,1206874
 http://www.ezakopane.pl/poland/history.html .
Chrystian Kretowicz, 10 Nov 2009