Trams ringing, cars swooshing, trains stopping at an impressive, modern subway station, people hurrying to work, youth chatting. That’s the everyday life in the center of Warsaw’s enchanting district of Żoliborz. The Thomas Woodrow Wilson Square.
Famous for its eating places and the atmospheric old Wisła cinema, Wilson Square is familiar to all inhabitants of Warsaw - the vibrant capital city of Poland, a country, which for a very long time existed in people’s hearts, but not on maps.
But why Wilson, you ask?
One hundred years ago, in January, president Wilson made his speech outlining the principles of peace for peace negotiations at the end of World War I. The speech was known as the Fourteen Points and among these Fourteen Points, point number 13 concerned creating a sovereign state of Poland:
“An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.”
Poland had lost its independence in 1795 and gained it back in 1918, after 123 years of partitions by Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. Two factors made it possible for Poland to regain its sovereignty: the favorable international situation and the Polish people’s determination. It is worth noting that for as long as 123 years people secretly passed the Polish language, culture and tradition on to younger generations.
Once Poland became independent again, one of the squares in the capital city was named after president Thomas Woodrow Wilson and a statue of his adviser, Edward Mandell House was erected in Skaryszewski Park.