He was born on 3 November 1867 in Zułowo. Having completed secondary school in Vilnius, he enrolled in the Medical Faculty of the University of Kharkiv. Accidentally involved in an attempt to assassinate the Tsar, he was sent to exile into the Russian Far East. In 1892, having returned from Siberia, he engaged in socialist activity. Arrested and imprisoned, after escaping he settled in Galicia where he started to organise the Riflemen’s Association. On his initiative, the Union of Active Struggle was also established, of which he became the Commander-in-Chief. During World War I, he was the commander of the First Brigade of Polish Legions. In newly independent Poland, he became the Provisional Chief of State, and then Chief of State, holding this office until the election of President Gabriel Narutowicz in 1922. During the war with Russia, he was the Commander-in-Chief; from March 1920, he held the title of the Marshal of Poland. In 1922–1923, he was the head of the General Staff and thereafter he withdrew from political life. After the May Coup carried out by him and his followers, he was Minister of Military Affairs until his death, General Inspector of the Armed Forces, and also Prime Minister from 1926 to 1928 and in 1930. Elected President of Poland on 31 May 1926, he did not accept the post. He initially supported parliamentary rule, but shifted towards authoritarianism in later years. He died on 12 May 1935. He published many works on military history, memoirs and also other writings, which were published as Pisma zbiorowe [“Collective Writings”].
This website is a part of the project entitled ‘Polish Political Thought and Independence: A Program for the Promotion of Polish Intellectual Heritage Abroad’, generously funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as A part of ‘Public Diplomacy 2017’ programme, component ‘Collaboration in the field of Public Diplomacy 2017’.