The article focuses on two aspects of the end of the First World War. Recalled is the interpretation of the WW1 as a ‘seminal catastrophe’ of the twentieth century. This opinion does not apply, however, to the countries of East Central Europe that regained independence in the year 1918. Taking Poland as an example, we can point to three levels of internal discussions which took place after 1918. First, a debate evolved around the nation-building process and whether the nation which regained independence should be regarded as a purely ethnically-based or political community. The political breakthrough moreover triggered debates concerning the state-building process through an attempt at creating structures of a strong, modern state; lastly, discussed were attempts to find a place for a reborn Poland on the international scene.