“With effect from this day, the 28th of November I am ordering the creation of the Polish Navy…” - with these words First Marshal Józef Piłsudski, commander of the Armed Forces in the newly reborn Polish Republic, founded the modern Polish Navy on the 28th November 1918.
Exactly on the one hundredth anniversary of this event, on the 28th of November 2018 our Naval Museum opened its new permanent exhibition.
With the fall of the old Imperial Powers in 1918, Poland regained her independence after 123 years and came back on the European map as a sovereign country. Poles who until then were serving in foreign armies under the banners of Russia, Austria-Hungary and Kaiser’s Germany, now came to help fill the ranks in the newly emerging Polish Navy, fighting for Poland’s new borders and to keep her just regained independence.
The creation of the navy started immediately after Poland regained her independence. It had to be created from nothing; the staff structure built, men trained, navy schools set up, vessels bought or built, ports and shipyards were yet to be built. Even the Polish identity, divided between three occupants for over a hundred years, had to be rebuilt and again unified. A new tradition of the Polish naval ensign was in the making.
Then, there came the time of the trials by fire in WW2 and the enigmatic “great days of the small fleet” soon followed by the post-war disappointment. The horrendous period of Stalinist repressions but at the same time many years and generations of recording the history and exploits of Polish ships and their crews. Finally, the last stage – joining the free world again, entering the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the most powerful military alliance in the world. New perspectives, new challenges but also problems linked to the urgent need to modernise the army.
All this is presented in an enforced summary in our new exposition, which we would gladly multiply in size many times over, to be able to fully make use the content of our collections stored in the museum’s archives and storerooms. The display combines the modernity of contemporary interior design & multimedia, with the museum classic of solid artefacts. You can see our most precious objects and memorabilia belonging to the creators of the Polish Navy, to our Navy’s war heroes, to the ships, to the victories and to the dramas – the story of the Navy’s ships and people.
It’s one hundred years of the Polish Naval history in one place.
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