Pilsudski, Józef (Klemens)

Pilsudski, Józef (Klemens)

biographical name

(born Dec. 5, 1867, Zulów, Pol., Russian Empire—died May 12, 1935, Warsaw, Pol.) Polish revolutionary leader. Reared with a hatred for Russian oppression, he was politically active and was banished to Siberia for his socialist agitation (1887–92), and he became a leader of the Polish Socialist Party on his return. In 1908 he organized the secret Union of Military Action, which fought in World War I under Austro-Hungarian command against the Russians. In 1916 he demanded recognition of Poland's independence, which was granted in 1918. He served as Poland's first head of state until the constitution was established in 1922. After staging a coup in 1926, he served as premier (1926–28) and minister of defense (1926–35) under handpicked premiers, enabling him to rule as the dictator of Poland.

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