The Polish Republic disappeared from the map of Europe in 1795 as a result of its territory being annexed by its three neighbours: Russia, Prussia and Austria. Many generations of Poles have tried to resurrect the state since then on, their aspirations being of different nature, including political, diplomatic and military activities (along with uprisings). But the solidarity of the partitioners made their success impossible. The situation changed only during the First World War, when the partitioners found themselves in opposing military camps. From the first days of the war, Poles started forming military groups aimed at bringing independence back to their country. Józef Piłsudski was especially active in building the Polish military force. The activities were supported also by a diplomatic campaign. Among its most important results was the statement of principles for peace outlined by President Thomas Woodrow Wilson in January 1918. One of the Fourteen Points announced the erection of an independent Polish State.
On 11 November 1918, an armistice was signed on the Western Front, which virtually ended the war. Józef Piłsudski returned to Warsaw from a German prison a day earlier. Thanks to his unquestionable authority, most of the Polish pro-independence centres submitted to his will. Piłsudski took command of the emerging Polish Army on 11 November and seized civilian control on 14 November. The process of developing the structures of independent Poland began.
It was already on 16 November that Józef Piłsudski notified the most important authorities about the restoration of an independent Polish State. It was an urgent matter because preparations for the peace conference ending the war had already begun. The presence of Polish State representatives at the conference was needed to ensure geographical solutions that would be beneficial for Poland.