Józef Piłsudski was a Polish revolutionary and statesman , Field Marshal , first Chief of State (1918–1922) and dictator (1926–1935) of the Second Polish Republic , as well as head of its armed forces . From the middle of World War I until his death, Piłsudski was the major influence on Poland 's government and foreign policy, and an important figure in European politics. He is considered largely responsible for Poland having regained her independence in 1918, 123 years after the last partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795.
Pilsudski from his youth supported the cause of Polish independence, and in his early political life was an influential member—later, leader—of the Polish Socialist Party . Later in the war, he withdrew his support from the Central Powers to work with the Triple Entente for the defeat of the Central Powers. After World War I, during the Polish-Soviet War , he commanded the 1920 Kiev Offensive and the Battle of Warsaw . From November 1918 (when Poland regained independence) until 1921, he was Poland 's Chief of State ( Naczelnik Państwa ).
In 1923, as the Polish government became dominated by the endecja ( National Democratic Party ), Piłsudski's opponents, he withdrew from active politics. Three years later, however, he returned to power in the May 1926 coup d'йtat , becoming de facto dictator of Poland . From then until his death in 1935, he concerned himself primarily with military and foreign affairs . To this day, Piłsudski is held in high regard by most of the Polish public.