War diary

November 1916

The Act of 5th November was a declaration of the German and Austrian emperors to create the Kingdom of Poland. Poles regard this date as the day of rebirth of Poland, despite the declaration contained very little concrete information about the process or the features of the new state. Not even the borders of Poland were outlined. Nevertheless, Poles started to organize the main administrative bodies of their long desired own state on 6 December with the Provisional Council of State with Waclaw Niemojowski as its president and Jozef Pilsudski as chairman of its military commission.

The main aim of the Central Powers with the act was to enhance the recruitment of soldiers in the occupied Russian Poland. Indeed, units of the Polish Military Organization were put under the management of the Provisional Council of State. However, the Council had very limited authority and Polish troops remained subordinated to Austrian and Germen higher commands. This situation led later in August 1917 to the oath crisis when the Council was disbanded. Polish troops started to act on the front under independent command until first German then also Austrian troops repulsed the Polish units and technically arrested much of their crew.

Nevertheless, the organization of the new Polish state had begun, and a series of nice commemorative badges were issued for the occasion. One of the depicted badges announces that the 5. November is the day of Polish rebirth. The other one features the Polish eagle. The photo was taken on the first meeting of the Provisional Council of State.

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