Joseph Pilsudski

From Socialist to Autocrat

Courtesy Reuters

NOT long before the World War, Joseph Pilsudski spoke at the Congress of the Austrian Social Democratic Party. "We are bound to you by all the knots and cords of the struggle for freedom. With your help we expect to conquer a new realm for freedom's rule, and within the walls of liberated Warsaw we hope to welcome the dear guests of the International Socialist Congress." Pilsudski terminated his hectic existence as the uncrowned King of Poland. But the reception which he prepared for his former fellow-members of the party who remained true to the Socialist International was in the dungeons of Brest-Litovsk.

In the Krakow Naprzod a former comrade of Pilsudski has published his memoirs in connection with a trip to Berlin to see Bebel. He was armed with documents signed by Pilsudski containing an appeal for financial support from the brotherly German Labor Party. Later on, merely the moral support which the Socialist International gave the Polish Socialist Party was sufficient for Pilsudski to declare the latter "a foreign agent on Polish land."

In 1925, Ignaz Dashinski published an ecstatic brochure on Pilsudski, "The Great Man of Poland." Pilsudski, on his side, called Dashinski his friend, his elder brother, his teacher. But a "Great Man" stops at nothing. He rounded off his conflict with Parliament by arresting eighty of the people's representatives, and cancelled the passport used by his "elder brother and teacher," by that time the Speaker of the Polish Parliament, who had been accustomed to use this passport in going for a yearly cure at Karlsbad. At one time Pilsudski was an émigré, a revolutionary, "chased by every policeman in Europe." Afterwards he pursued Lieberman, Prager, and other former revolutionary and party comrades whom he in turn had forced to become émigrés.

A grandiose metamorphosis, at first glance.


This was Pilsudski:

A terse, unyielding figure, with a massive, deep-ridged forehead, coarse straight hair, and bushy eyebrows meeting in a heavy line over piercing eyes. Tight, thin

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