If you suddenly saw a Google Doodle swathed in red and white colors on November 11, then you probably had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Polish Independence Day. Historically, Poland became united as one nation in the autumn of 1918 when World War I ended. The Poles joyously reclaimed their national identity after Russia, Prussia and Austria left their respective territories in that region.
November 11 was chosen as the anniversary date for Independence Day largely because of Jozef Klemens Pilsudski who was an influential figure in Polish history since World War I. On that date, he was appointed by the Regency Government as Commander-in-Chief of Poland’s Armed Forces. Later, he formed a central government that instituted reforms in agriculture and other industries. He was also instrumental in calling parliamentary elections and establishing fair labor laws.
Of course, this newfound independence did not happen overnight. Small skirmishes broke out often in the countryside. The Polish continued fighting the occupiers, like the Ukrainians and Bolsheviks, in the eastern regions. Like Eastern Galicia, the upper Silesia region also became the arena for uprisings that were quickly snuffed out by the third attempt.
In 1937, the Polish government finally passed into law the national celebration of Polish Independence Day on every 11th of November. It was celebrated twice before the People’s Republic of Poland changed the date to July 22, which is the day the Manifesto of the Polish Committee of National Liberation was published. However, the date was moved back to November 11 when Poland became a parliament in 1990.
Historically, the Google Doodle for the 11th of November isn’t only commemorative of Polish Independence Day, but also of Armistice Day in France, Belgium, and New Zealand. In relation to the First World War, the same date is also celebrated as Veteran’s Day in the United States and as Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, including Canada and Australia.