Declaration of Friendship and Admiration for the United States of America
In 1926, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence, the Poles prepared a special gift, which was 111 volumes containing a “thank you” address signed by some 5.5 million citizens of the Second Polish Republic of all nationalities, i.e. more than one sixth of the country’s population. The best wishes were followed by signatures of Poland’s highest-ranking authorities, representatives of the artistic, economic, scientific, religious and military elite, as well as almost all the students of Polish schools. The books were ceremoniously handed over to the then President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, after which they were deposited in the Library of Congress (which has recently made a scanned version of the work available; it is also available at www.polska1926.pl). The momentum of this initiative is determined not only by the extraordinary mobilisation of the population, but also by the wealth of photographs and illustrations produced by the most outstanding Polish artists of the time. As a result, the Declaration is both a unique manifestation of the gratitude of the Polish people to the United States and an extremely valuable source of knowledge about the society of the Second Polish Republic.