Stanisław Wojciechowski

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Stanisław Wojciechowski (Polish pronunciation: [staˈɲiswaf vɔjt͡ɕɛˈxɔfskʲi]; 1869–1953) was a Polish politician and scientist. In 1922 he was elected the second President of the Republic of Poland following the assassination of Gabriel Narutowicz. He was ousted by the May Coup d'État of 1926.

Stanisław Wojciechowski was born on March 15, 1869 in Kalisz, and died near Warsaw on April 9, 1953 at the age of 84. He was born into a family of Polish nobility, and the intelligentsia. He studied mathematics and physics at the University of Warsaw, from 1888-1891. At the university, he was a member of two underground organizations: the Zet ("Polish Youth Union") and the Workers Union. Wojciechowski was arrested in 1891 for his involvement in the Polish Socialist movement, a group agitating heavily for independence from Imperial Russia. After being released from prison, Wojciechowski moved to Paris, where he participated in the Paris Congress.

In 1893, Stanislaw Wojciechowski helped co-found the Congress of the Polish Socialist Party in Vilnius. There he met and befriended Józef Piłsudski. Wojciechowski had always spoken out against terror as a political tool, but was arrested and expelled from France in 1895. He stayed in France illegally until 1899. In 1899, Wojciechowski moved to London, where he studied the cooperative movement while helping to publish the Polish Socialist periodical Przedswit (“The Dawn”).

In 1905, he and Pilsudski edited and published the Robotnik (“Worker”) together. Amidst political turmoil in 1906, Wojciechowski returned to Poland. Wojciechowski had bought into the cooperative movement and withdrew from the Polish Socialist Party as he worked to establish Polish cooperatives. He founded a weekly named Spolem (“Together”).

During World War I, Stanislaw Wojciechowski, believing that Germany posed the biggest threat to Poland, moved to Moscow and after the fall of the Tsarist regime was elected President of the Council of Polish Parties’ Union. After helping to create the Polish Army in Russia in 1918, Stanislaw Wojciechowski was forced to leave Moscow under threat of arrest. From 1919 to 1920, Wojciechowski served as Minister of the Interior for three different Polish governments. During this time, Wojciechowski also participated in the drafting of the Polish constitution.

In 1922, Wojciechowski was elected to the Sejm as a member of the Polish People's Party "Piast". Only a month later he was chosen by the National Assembly to succeed the assassinated Gabriel Narutowicz as President of the Polish Republic. Stanislaw Wojciechowski served as President from 1922-1926. In 1926, after disputes over the direction of the government (Wojciechowski favoring a continuation of parliamentary democracy over increased authoritarianism), his old friend Józef Piłsudski staged a coup d’etat and Wojciechowski resigned from office. Stanislaw Wojciechowski retired to private life and died in Golobki in 1953, at the age of 84.

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