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One of the most important figures in Polish history, Jozef Pilsudski was born on December 5, 1867 in Zulow, near Wilno (now Vilnius). For indirect involvement in the plot against the life of Tsar Alexander III, he was exiled to Siberia for five years. On his return he began working for the socialists and became the most important activist in the Polish Socialist Party, the publisher of Robotnik, its periodical, and the author of the party’s programs and policies. Arrested in February 1900, he succeeded in escaping from the St. Petersburg prison hospital. To take advantage of the impending war between Russia and Japan, Pilsudski decided to build up the military wing of the Polish Socialist Party and to appeal for the help of Japan, which led to his trip there in 1904. In 1908, Pilsudski encouraged the formation of the Organization for Armed Struggle and other paramilitary organizations to take advantage of the coming conflict between Austro-Hungary and Russia. He planned to provoke an anti-Russian uprising by invading with his riflemen the kingdom of Poland, then a Russian province.

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