Ignacy Mościcki

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Ignacy Mościcki
President of Poland Ignacy Mościcki.png
Ignacy Moscicki Signature.jpg
President of the Republic of Poland
3rd President of the Second Polish Republic
In office
4 June 1926 – 30 September 1939
Prime Minister Kazimierz Bartel, Józef Piłsudski, Kazimierz Bartel, Kazimierz Świtalski, Kazimierz Bartel, Walery Sławek, Józef Piłsudski, Walery Sławek, Aleksander Prystor, Janusz Jędrzejewicz, Leon Kozłowski, Walery Sławek, Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski, Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski
Preceded by Stanisław Wojciechowski
Succeeded by Władysław Raczkiewicz (President of the Polish Republic in Exile)
Personal details
Born (1867-12-01)1 December 1867
Mierzanowo, Congress Poland (now Poland)
Died 2 October 1946(1946-10-02) (aged 78)
Versoix, Switzerland
Political party (until 1892, Proletariat)
Spouse(s) Michalina Czyżewska (d.1932)
Maria Dobrzańska (m.1933)
Children 4
Profession Chemist
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ignacy Mościcki (Polish pronunciation: [iɡˈnat͡sɨ mɔˈɕt͡ɕit͡skʲi]; 1 December 1867 – 2 October 1946) was a Polish chemist, politician, and President of Poland from 1926 to 1939.[1]

Initially associated with the socialist movement, between 1912-1922 he became a professor at the Lwów Polytechnic. He was an author of the novel method of obtaining nitric acid from the air. In 1925 he was elected Rector of the Technical University of Lwów and professor of the Warsaw University of Technology. In 1926 he was elected president of the Second Polish Republic and his presidency which lasted for over 13 years was the longest in Poland's history. In 1930 he initiated the construction of a chemical complex in Mościce near Tarnów.

After the outbreak of World War II he was interned in Romania. On September 30, 1939 he resigned from the presidency and moved to Switzerland, where he remained until his death. He was buried in the Cathedral of St. John in Warsaw.

He was a great scientist, inventor and a builder of the Polish chemical industry.


Ignacy Mościcki was born on 1 December 1867 in Mierzanowo, a small village near Ciechanów, Poland. After completing school in Warsaw, he studied chemistry at the Riga Polytechnicum. There he joined the Polish underground leftist organization, Proletariat.

On graduating, he returned to Warsaw, but was threatened by the Tsarist secret police with life imprisonment in Siberia and was forced to emigrate in 1892 to London. In 1896 he was offered an assistantship at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. There he patented a method for cheap industrial production of nitric acid.

In 1912 Mościcki moved to Lwów, where he accepted a chair in physical chemistry and technical electrochemistry at the Lwów Polytechnic.[2] In 1925 he was elected rector of the Polytechnic, but soon moved to Warsaw to continue his research at the Warsaw Polytechnic.

Moscicki bestows the bulawa (the Marshal of Poland's baton) on Edward Rydz-Śmigły
Brussels, Mościcki Avenue

After Józef Piłsudski's May 1926 coup d'état, on 1 June 1926, Mościcki – an erstwhile associate of Piłsudski's in the Polish Socialist Party – was elected president of Poland by the National Assembly, on Piłsudski's recommendation (after Piłsudski himself refused the office).

As president, Mościcki was subservient to Piłsudski, never openly showing dissent from any aspect of the Marshal's leadership. After Piłsudski's death in 1935, Piłsudski's followers divided into three main factions: those supporting Mościcki as Piłsudski's successor; those supporting General Edward Rydz-Śmigły; and those supporting Prime Minister Walery Sławek.

With a view to eliminating Sławek from the game, Mościcki concluded a power-sharing agreement with Rydz-Śmigły, which saw Sławek marginalized as a serious political player by the end of the year. As a result of this agreement, Rydz-Śmigły would become the de facto leader of Poland until the outbreak of the war, while Mościcki remained influential by continuing in office as president.

Mościcki was the leading moderate figure in the regime, which was referred to as the "colonels' government" due to the major presence of military officers in the Polish government. Mościcki opposed many of the nationalist excesses of the more right-wing Rydz-Śmigły, but their pact remained more or less intact.

Mościcki remained president until September 1939, when he was interned in Romania[3] and was forced by France to resign his office. He transferred it to Władysław Raczkiewicz, after his first choice was rejected by the French government.

In December 1939 Mościcki was released and allowed to move to Switzerland, where he remained through World War II. He died at his home near Geneva on 2 October 1946.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ August Zaleski was president of the Polish Government in Exile for 25 years, from 1947 until his death.
  2. ^ Norman Davies, God's Playground, vol. II, Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-19-821944-X, p. 422.
  3. ^ Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, The Pattern of Soviet Domination, Sampson Low, Marston & Co., 1948, p. 6.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Maciej Rataj
President of Poland
Succeeded by
Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski
as President of the Polish Republic in Exile
Title next held by
Bolesław Bierut