Address by Ignacy Paderewski, May 1919
The Polish nation is today living through solemn moments. I suppose that in its eventual history there was never a time more solemn, more fateful than the present. The fate of our country is at stake; powerful people holding in their hands the destiny of the world, are building a framework for our independent existence, are deciding the frontiers of our State, and soon will pronounce a final sentence, from which, no doubt for long years, there will be no appeal, perhaps for many generations.
Violent bursts of hope and of joy and anxiety are strongly shaking our national spirit. From every side, from every corner of our former commonwealth, people are coming here to Warsaw and going there to Paris, in frock coats and smock frocks, in old-fashioned country dress, in mountaineer costume, and they cry aloud and implore that their distant provinces should be united to the Polish state. The Polish eagle does not seem to be a bird of prey, since people are gathering themselves under its wings. What will Poland be like? What will be her frontiers? Will they give us everything we should have? These are the questions that every Pole is asking. I am here to answer, as far as I am able, all these questions. I have taken part in the work of the Polish Delegation to the Peace Conference, and I am here to report on this work to the Seym, and I ask for attention. I will begin with what has been done. The Conference has only dealt as yet with one of their defeated adversaries, the Germans. Conditions have been dictated to them, though they are not yet signed, which give us considerable advantages on the west frontier. We are not all satisfied with our frontier. I admit freely that I belong to the unsatisfied ones; but have we really a right to complain?
The Conference tried to decide justly according to the rule on ethnographical and national majority as regards all territorial questions. They applied this rule to our territory, and we have obtained considerable advantages from it on the west. But not everything was decided according to this principle. Continue reading »