Naczelnik panstwa
Naczelnik Państwa was the title of Poland's head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 in the early years of the Second Polish Republic
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic, Second Commonwealth of Poland or interwar Poland refers to Poland between the two world wars; a period in Polish history in which Poland was restored as an independent state. Officially known as the Republic of Poland or the Commonwealth of Poland , the Polish state was...

. This office was held only by Józef Piłsudski, from 1918 to 1922. Until 1919 it was called tymczasowy naczelnik państwa (provisional chief of state). After 1922 the Polish head of state was called prezydent (president
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...


The office of Chief of State was created by a Regency Council
Regency Council
right|thumb|Regency Council: Ostrowski, Kakowski, LubomirskiThe Regency Council of the Kingdom of Poland was a semi-independent and temporary highest authority during World War I, formed by Germany and Austria-Hungary in the occupied Polish territories in September 1917. It was supposed to stay...

 decree of November 22, 1918, which established a system of governance for Poland pending its revision by a democratically-elected Sejm
The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish . It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm ....


The Naczelnik exercised the highest civil and military power in the country. He was Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Polish armed forces, with powerful prerogatives in the field of foreign relations
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

. He appointed government minister
Minister (government)
A minister is a politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional government. Senior ministers are members of the cabinet....

s, who answered to him, including the prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

. Any laws promulgated by the Chief of State required the signatures of the Chief of State, the prime minister, and the pertinent minister, though any such laws were to be reviewed by the first subsequent Sejm.

Józef Piłsudski, who was chosen Chief of State, relinquished his powers to the first Sejm on February 20, 1919; however, the Sejm requested that he remain Chief of State, stating the powers of the office (now without the word, "Provisional") in the Small Constitution of 1919
Small Constitution of 1919
The Small Constitution of 1919 was the "Legislative Sejm's ordinance of February 20, 1919, entrusting Józef Piłsudski with the further execution of the office of Chief of State" . The legislation was published as Dz. Pr. P.P...

. The Chief of State remained Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army, named the government (subject to confirmation by the Sejm) and held the highest executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

. He was a member of the Council of National Defense (Rada Obrony Państwa), created during the Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
The Polish–Soviet War was an armed conflict between Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine and the Second Polish Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic—four states in post–World War I Europe...

, which had threatened the survival of the newly recreated Polish state.

Piłsudski relinquished his powers to the newly elected President of Poland, Gabriel Narutowicz
Gabriel Narutowicz
Gabriel Narutowicz was a Lithuanian-born professor of hydroelectric engineering at Switzerland's Zurich Polytechnic, and Poland's Minister of Public Works , Minister of Foreign Affairs , and the first president of the Second Polish Republic....

, on 14 December 1922.
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