June 20, 2022, is the first time we celebrate the National Day of the Silesian Uprisings. On this date, the Polish Army entered Katowice. It was the climax of several years of Polish-German struggle for Upper Silesia. Over the centuries, this region had changed its nationality more than once. Under Prussian and later German rule, it experienced a strong Germanization policy. At the beginning of the 20th century, however, the majority of inhabitants still spoke Polish.
The plebiscite deciding on the future of the region was set for 20 March 1921. Tension in Upper Silesia had already been building up. Between 1919 and 1920, there were two uprisings by the Polish population against the Germans. In the plebiscite, almost 480,000 people voted for Poland and 707,000 for Germany, including many emigrants transported from the depths of the Reich to vote.
In this situation, the Poles once again took up arms. Influenced by the Third Silesian Uprising, which lasted from May to July 1921, the Paris Conference of Ambassadors decided in favour of Poland. The result of the fighting that lasted two months was to grant Poland a much larger part of Upper Silesia and most mines, smelter plants and other industrial plants.
The taking over of part of Upper Silesia by the Polish administration took place a few months later. On 20 June 1922, Polish Army troops commanded by Gen. Stanisław Szeptycki ceremoniously matched into Katowice. The soldiers were greeted with decorative gates. Wojciech Korfanty, a long-time fighter for the Polish identity of Upper Silesia, gave a speech in the Katowice Market Square that day.
19 June 1922, French troops, which had policed Upper Silesia at the time of the Silesian Uprisings and the Plebiscite, marched out of Katowice.
20 June 1922, Polish Army under Gen. Stanisław Szeptycki marched in, taking possession of this part of the region on behalf of Poland. pic.twitter.com/H5PWU2WOWd
— Institute of National Remembrance (@ipngovpl_eng) June 20, 2022
On 20 June 2022, we celebrate for the first time the National Day of the Silesian Uprisings.
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Read more about the Silesian Uprisings 1919-1921 on the Institute of National Remembrance website.