The Silesian Uprisings are known as the most significant military movements in the history of reborn Poland which was forming economic and territorial potential. Despite none of them ended with the decisive victory for Polish society, it changed decisions of allied countries for the future of Upper Silesia. The Silesian Uprisings were a series of three civil wars within the August 1919 and July 1921 in Upper Silesia.
The First Silesian Uprising began on the 17th of August 1919 and was an answer after German border guards (Grenzshutz) massacred ten Silesian civilians at the Mysłowice mine. All has begun with the general strike of about 140000 workers and the bloody civil war lasted a few days. German ‘Grenzschutz’ quickly put down the civil war.
The Second Silesian Uprising broke out at night between 19th and 20th of August 1920. Polish society quickly took control over the government offices in Katowice, Pszczyna and Bytom. The political background of the Second Silesian Uprising was a plebiscite in Upper Silesia which aimed to determine whether the territory should be a part of Poland or German. In the German press on the 17th of August in Upper Silesia appeared the fake information about Bolshevik Army in Warsaw. In many cities, Germans attacked Polish publishers and Polish institutions. Poles burnt in the revenge German colony in Hołdunów.
In the face of this situation, at night between 19th and 20th of August 1920, Wojciech Korfanty ordered the warfare in some Upper Silesia’s districts. The aim was to take over the German police stations. The liquidation of those police stations and the replacement of German police with vigilantism, and in the aftermath the replacement of vigilantism with newly established plebiscite’s police began a new target for the Second Silesian Uprising. The effectiveness and organisation of the uprising were incomparable with the first one. The momentum of the undertaken actions was a total surprise for German police and military groups. The Second Silesian Uprising ended on the 25th of August by order of the commanders.
The Third Silesian Uprising was the last, the longest and the largest of those three uprisings. It began in the aftermath of a plebiscite. It turned out that the results were falsified. This war was very carefully planned and organized under the leadership of Wojciech Korfanty, who fought to protect Poles from discrimination and against the policies of Germanisation in Upper Silesia.
The last uprising affected the Council of Ambassadors’ decision. They decided to divide the Silesia with benefits to Poland.
Author: Monika Tobiszowska
Source: Poland Daily