The January Uprising, as it was called in Poland, was waged as a guerrilla war, with smaller attacks by individual Russian units and major battles that the Poles could not win. The leaders of the conspiracies began the uprising in January 1863 and counted on the support of the peasants and the help of Western powers to reconcile them with the prevailing system. The rebels announced the existence of a provisional national government, which led to the planned uprising if they hoped to pave the way for a truly independent Polish government.
The January uprising was the start of a new uprising against Russian rule in the former territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which had been occupied by the Tsarist Empire during the partition of Poland. In the summer of 1863, a maximum of 20,000 insurgents was on the battlefield and 90,000 Russian soldiers were in the Polish kingship in January of 1863. By 1864, half a million tsarist soldiers who had been sent to the garrison of western Poland during the Uprising had died.
The January Uprising began the night of 22 January 1863 as a spontaneous protest by young Poles against being drafted into the Russian army. The uprising broke out at a moment of general calm prevailing in Europe and Russia when the revolutionary parties did not have enough weapons to arm a group of young men hiding in the forest to escape Alexander Vielopolski’s conscription to the army. He was soon joined by various politicians and high-ranking Polish officers in the Russian army.
A combination of factors made the uprising inevitable in early 1863. The Lithuanian uprising was crushed by the executioner Vilnius Mikhail Nikolaevich Muravyov and the new viceroy of Poland, Teodor Berg, imposed a harsh regime in Warsaw. Russian efforts to win the peasant loyalty through reforms from summer 1863 were an additional incentive for the peasantry to abandon the rebels. The February uprising began as a spontaneous protest of young Poles against being drafted into the Russian imperial army and was soon supported by Polish and Lithuanian officers and various politicians.
When the Polish general Romuald Traugutt provided for unity at the end of 1863, the chances of success of the uprisings were dampened. He and four other members of the Polish government were seized by Russian troops and executed in the Citadel of Warsaw, and the war that had taken place in the course of six hundred fifty battles and battles in which twenty-five thousand Poles had been killed came to a rapid end in the second half of 1864 after only eighteen months. The uprising had succeeded in mitigating the effects of the Czars “abolition of serfdom and the Russian partition, both designed to win the support of the Polish peasants from the rest of the Polish nation.
As a result of the suppression of the revolt, the Russians in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth imposed the russification policy. The reds criticized the Polish national government for its reactionary policies, which gave Polish farmers an incentive to participate in the January uprising. As a result, the transformation of the Polish uprising into a national war against Russia and discontent with the autocratic regime seemed to prevail for a time.
The January Uprising lasted until the last insurgents were captured by Russian troops in 1864. In order to quell the uprising, Russia abolished the Polish Congress completely, abolished the special status of Polish territories, integrated them into the western regions of the Russian Empire, and placed them under the dictatorship of Mikhail Muravyov Vilenski, also known as the Executioner of Vilnius. The last of the insurgents were captured by the Russians in August 1864, after which the insurrection was effectively ended.
The January Uprising (1863-64) was a Polish uprising against Russian rule in Poland, but it was unsuccessful and led to the imposition of strict Russian control over the country. The January Uprising is a symbol of the end of romanticism in the history of Polish culture. On February 22, 1863, hundreds of young Poles gathered under a revolutionary banner called the ‘January Uprising’ against the Russian occupation of Poland during one of the earliest campaigns of urban guerrilla warfare in the world.
In an attempt to derail the Polish National Movement, Aleksander Wielopolski forced the conscription of young Polish activists into the Russian Army, forcing the Revolutionary Committee to abandon the so-called Spring Uprising. The Uprising was the next Warsaw Uprising, the biggest and most tragic of the Polish national uprisings. The Polish National Government of 1863-64 became the prototype of the Polish secret state during the Second World War.
Polish, Lithuanian, and Belarusian insurgents, numbering 30,000 at the height of the insurrection, but little armed against 135,000 Russian troops, 6,000 Cossacks from Lithuania, and 45,000 Russian troops in Volhynia. In dealing with these armed units, the Russian government had an army of 90,000 men in Poland under General Ramsay. Lithuanian, Belarusian, and insurgents, more numerous with about 30,000 men at the height of the uprisings, but very little armed compared to 135 million Russian soldiers.
On December 27, 1863, the Polish general Romuald Traugutt issued a decree of the then Provisional Government granting the peasants land on which to work. The decree granted land to the peasants, but the insurgents failed to persuade the peasants to participate en masse in the insurrection. Before the Uprising, Poles were forced to join the Russian army for 30 years.