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    Celebrating 103 Years since the Third Silesian Uprising: Poland’s Triumph in Upper Silesia

    Today marks a significant milestone in Polish history as we commemorate the 103rd anniversary of the Third Silesian Uprising, a pivotal moment that reshaped the landscape of Upper Silesia. The uprising, which erupted on the fateful night of May 2 to 3 in 1921, culminated in a two-month-long battle resulting in a significant territorial gain for Poland, including the acquisition of vital industrial assets such as mines and smelters. It wasn’t until the summer of 1922 that the Polish Army officially assumed control of the newly acquired territory.

    Origins of the Third Uprising: Prelude to Conflict in Silesia

    The roots of the Third Uprising trace back to the failure of the First Uprising in August 1919, which prompted Allied intervention to curb German aggression against the Polish population in Silesia. By October of the same year, German troops were compelled to withdraw from the region under Allied pressure.

    Anticipating further unrest, Polish authorities took preemptive measures as early as March 1921, reinforcing border garrisons and clandestinely transferring arms to Upper Silesia. Meanwhile, Germany expanded the Selbstschutz, a paramilitary organization, in response to the escalating tensions. The intervention of the French army played a crucial role, disbanding some of the Selbstschutz’s aspiring troops. Amidst diplomatic manoeuvres, intelligence received by the Polish Command on the weakening standing of Poland in the Internally Plebiscite Commission heightened the sense of urgency.

    As April drew to a close, Upper Silesia was gripped by another wave of strikes, exacerbating social tensions. Against this backdrop, political and military leaders convened in Bytom, where the decision to launch the uprising was made under the leadership of Wojciech Korfanty.

    Turning Tides: The Course of the Third Uprising

    The uprising commenced on May 2nd with a general strike led by Polish miners and workers. Lieutenant Colonel Maciej Miłżyński, also known as Nowina-Doliwa, conveyed the decision to launch the uprising to Warsaw. Korfanty, declaring himself the movement’s dictator, vowed victory over German oppression.

    The uprising unfolded with the insurgents seizing control of communication networks and destroying bridges along the Upper Silesian border. Tragically, many soldiers involved in these operations perished in skirmishes or fell victim to German reprisals.

    By mid-June, the Allied army extended its occupation, leading to a more balanced distribution of forces. On June 16th, the Polish Command declared a cessation of hostilities, signalling a pivotal moment in the conflict.

    The culmination came on July 16th, 1922, with the signing of the Upper Silesia Act of Accession in Katowice, symbolizing Poland’s definitive control over the region.

    Legacy of Triumph: Celebrating the Outcome of the Third Uprising

    The outcome of the battle for Silesia was met with widespread celebration and embraced by the majority of the population. During commemorations, resolutions were passed ensuring the return of the remaining parts of Upper Silesia to Poland in the future.

    Reflecting on this historic victory, Wojciech Korfanty remarked, “The miracle over the Vistula saved Poland from loss, the miracle over the Oder gave Silesia to Poland. These miracles were not wrought by dictators or foreign powers but by the spirit of our nation, its solidarity, citizenship, and sense of responsibility.”

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