Poland and the Great War (1914-1918)
World War One or 'The Great War' as it became known, was caused due to an array of events. One of the main causes of the war was the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian thrown; the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on the 28th of June in 1914. Not long after the two had been shot, the shooter, Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian student was arrested. Princip was believed to be linked to The Black Hand, a Serbian terrorist organization. Little did many know how much damage this single man had caused. The powers of the world including Germany, France, Great Britain and Russia were about to erupt with conflict; but within these countries others were effected too, including Poland. When World War I broke out, Russia's armies were on the offensive, occupying most of Austrian Galicia and a large part of the German province of East Prussia.
Meanwhile Polish soldiers were fighting on either side of the front, wearing Russian, German or Austrian uniforms. The Poles were pulled into this world conflict and it would take motivated leaders to gain them their land and name back, which meant doing whatever was needed to become independent once again.
After World War I and the collapse of the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, Poland became an independent republic. However, Poland's geographical positioning between Germany and Russia meant even more battles between the two countries for Poland's loyalty, and eventually lead to great human and material losses for the Poles between 1914 and 1918. During the great war there was essentially no Poland, just the Polish people who inhabited the region. The war split up major empires and Russia was deemed the defender of Serbia and France faced. These three countries, Russia,