Kazimierz Sosnkowski

Kazimierz Sosnkowski

Kazimierz Sosnkowski

Kazimierz Sosnkowski (Warsaw – Arundel) Polish military with the rank of lieutenant general, served as commander in chief of the Polish armed forces during World War II. Opposed to concessions to the Soviet Union and the end use of Polish troops in the conflict, he opposed the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 and retired into exile inCanada shortly after his failure in the fall of 1944.


During the Russian Revolution of 1905 he joined the terrorist section of the Polish Socialist Party, which was associated with Józef Piłsudski. It became his deputy in hiding.

During the First World War he was chief of staff of the First Brigade of the Polish Legion commanding Piłsudski.


In 1918, after the defeat ofGermanyand the liberation of Piłsudski he became head of the military district of the capital,Warsaw. As such he became the main organizer of the new Polish Army, in the shadow of Piłsudski.

During the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920 he was able to mobilize nearly a million men for combat.

Sosnkowski stayed out of partisan bickering that marked the period of parliamentary democracy inPolanduntil 1926.

Unable to support Pilsudski coup in May 1926 or against his old comrade in arms, he tried to commit suicide. In March 1927, already recovered, returned to give quarterback positions (Army inspector), but his influence declined. After the death of Marshal President Ignacy Moscicki and Marshal Edward Rydz Smigly-to Sosnkowski marginalized.

During the invasion of Polandin 1939, however, he was the only one of the Polish leaders whose reputation left intact, leading to the withdrawal of Romanian territory Galicia. In October 1939, still in Romania, he was named vice president and director of formation of clandestine armed forces in Poland, the “Union of Armed Struggle”, predecessor of the Home Army.

The World War

Relations between Sosnkowski and the new prime minister and commander in chief of the armed forces, General Władysław Sikorski, former commander of the Second Brigade of the Legion and Piłsudski’s rival, was right at the beginning. After the German invasion of theUSSR, however, worsened. While Sikorski was willing to sacrifice more to restore relations with the Soviet government was adamant Sosnkowski. Sikorki weighed a federation with a reconstitutedCzechoslovakiaand was willing to cede territory to theSoviet Unionin the East in exchange for German above areas in the West. Sikorski wanted to quickly establish an agreement with the Soviets to recruit among Polish prisoners in theUSSRand the release of many civilians imprisoned in theSoviet Union.

Sosnkowski opposed the Soviet-Polish agreement, advocating a tough stance against the Soviets and the assurance of the British. Sikorski, unable to achieve these, and saw several Sosnkowski resigned from office.

Commander in Chief

General Wladyslaw Sikorski, Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile and commander in chief of the Polish armed forces died in an accident when their plane crashed inGibraltar.

Sosnkowski was then appointed to succeed him as head of the Polish armed forces, by then, about 115,000 men scattered around the UKand the Middle East, the largest contingent of the occupied countries fighting on the Allied side. The new chief commander also had forces loyal to the exiled government in Poland, known as Armia Krajowa. This, by itself unable to expel the German occupation army, was formed with the aim of helping the country’s liberation at the time that the army occupying isat about to evacuate, contributing to victory in the final phase of the war.

His appointment was poorly received by supporters of his predecessor. There was also working with the new prime minister, Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, the Peasant Party, fighter but unpopular among the military. Sosnkowki Mikołajczyk not want to serve with and the relationship between them was poor. They disagreed about strategy and the best foreign policy for the country. While the Prime Minister held the position of the deceased Sikorski to postpone the resolution of disagreements with the Soviet Union and, after receiving great British pressure after theTehranconference, he was willing to make territorial concessions, Sosnkowski opposed.

His position also was weakened gradually with successive Soviet victories: Stalingrad in the winter of 1943,Kurskin July and subsequent progression that led to the former Polish borders in September. The discovery by the Germans of the mass of the Katyn massacre, for which Sikorski had requested an investigation to the Red Cross, led to the breakdown of bilateral Polish-Soviet relations in theUSSR. On the eve of the entry of the Red Army in the former Polish territory were no diplomatic relations between the two countries. Western powers also relied mainly on Soviet military effort against Hitler until the landing in June 1944, which encouraged them to maintain good relations with Stalin and they created a sense of inferiority to this.

Despite his political views Sosnkowski, not belonging to the cabinet, could not express at meetings of government, merely communicating them to the president of the republic, which limited their influence.

The Tehran Conference was another setback for the position Sosnkowski: Churchill attempted to improve relations with the Soviets proposed to solve the territorial dispute by setting the border between Soviets and Poles Curzon line and compensate for lost Polish territorial with German areas. The proposal was approved by the three powers.

The prime minister thought he could win the support of theU.S.. UU., And that a substantial military contribution would strengthen the Polish position among the powers. Sosnkoswki, which depended on the British to supply their troops and could not have recruits in theUSSRafter the breakdown of relationships, was opposed to participating in large operations where the Polish units could become cannon fodder. Some of them, however, as air units, were fully integrated into the British Army, making it difficult to control.

In March 1944, was to allow the participation of the Polish II Corps at the Battle of Monte Cassino, which ended in victory but with heavy casualties Polish, 4,000 men.  Opposed to the last time the involvement of the Parachute Brigade in theNormandyinvasion, June 6 yielding the same.

Operations in Poland

The Armia Krajowa (AK) was a heterogeneous force, that even in 1943 ungrouped all resistance groups. However had about 300,000 men. After capturing its commander ed days before Sikorski’s death, the force was under the command of Tadeusz Komorowski, alias Bor, also a former legionnaire.

Before the Soviets and their imminent arrival inPolanddiscussed the attitude that AK should take against him. No agreement with the Soviets, the AK should support actions, but remain in hiding. The anti-Soviet activities were strictly forbidden. A great national uprising Sosnkowki was out by the government in exile and without obtaining prior assurance Allied aid.

The Polish situation was, Sosnkowski, unflattering: a lack of agreement with the Soviets joined the ability of these to establish a government that will be favorable inPoland. The chief commander was convinced it inopportune to launch a major offensive by the AK, emphasizing the difficulties of air assistance to possible action. Commanders inWarsaw, but admitted their inability to achieve a military victory, however wish to take action for political reasons: argued that this policy could change Allied toPoland.

Komorowski changed, after consultation with the Government delegate in Poland Sosnkowki instructions, ordering the clandestine unit commanders submitted to the Soviets and against these activities.

The Soviets entered Polish territory previously requested over from Sosnkowki. The government in exile was found trapped between the demands Soviet troops already on the ground, and its growing insignificance on the Allied side. Churchill increased the pressure for the government to accept concessions to the Soviets, but refused to give guarantees of political independence toPoland’s future.

Given the desperate situation the Polish command decided to conduct a campaign of sabotage increasing the Germans to improve Polish political position, but it was opposed Sosnkowski, considering it useless. The government, however, did not dare veto it. Sosnkowski, unable to prevent the uprising, called, probably as personal gesture, the government permission to return toPoland.

In February 1944, coinciding with a new Soviet offensive began “Operation Storm”, the uprisings in the Soviet advance line. Cooperation with the Soviets, at first cordial, soon gave way to arrest AK officials and forced recruitment of men in the Communist units. A new offensive in June 1944 destroyed the German defenses in Belarus, where it spread to the activities of the insurgency, despite continuing disagreements with the Soviets, which dissolved AK units running at times his officers. The Soviets installed a Polish Committee of National Liberation inLublinas a precursor to make government. The new government appointed its own commander in chief, Lt. Gen. Michal Rola Żymierski.

The failure of Operation Storm, Churchill pressure for the government in exile is understood with Stalin and Prime Minister perception that only an agreement with the Soviets could improve his situation made him decide to fly toMoscowto meet with Stalin, while Sosnkowski maintained its refusal to make concessions. Sosnkowski defended moving AK units still existed at the German occupation zone to preserve them for future actions, Continuing his opposition to actions against the Soviets and refusing to approve an extension of the uprising.

The issued an order prohibiting an uprising inPolandcommanders chose to disobey. The reason was political back, improve posture Polish among Western powers, using the German defeat in the Bug. The action depended, however, the cooperation of the Soviet Army, which was to support the uprising, thus hindering the policy of their own government. Before his trip to Moscow Mikołajczyk managed government consent for AK left to the decision on the rise.

Sosnkowki, with the decision in the hands of others, traveled toItalywhere the Polish II Corps was preparing to assaultAncona. On the way I visited the Polish Armoured Division, ready to land in Arromanches, becoming the first Polish soldier landed inNormandy.

Once started the uprising in Warsaw Sosnkowski, who had opposed him, took place, as did the government, an intensive campaign to enlist the support Allied to it. It required sending the Parachute Brigade (at that time about to take part in the failed Operation Market Garden), recognizing the rebels as Allied fighters and air supply of those. The second request was issued, while rejecting the first and the air supply was very poor.

The operation failed in its objective of strengthening the Polish position and became the prime minister, then inMoscow, in a mere petitioner of Soviet aid to the uprising. Mikołajczyk concessions in late August were rejected by both Komorowski as Sosnkowski.

Despite the massive rejection of the prime minister’s program, the threat of resignation this lograse finally did reluctantly support the Cabinet. This was followed over from Sosnkowksi requested by Soviet and British

The Sosnkowski left forCanada, definitely leaving active duty. Two days after Komorowski’s surrender marked the final defeat of the government in exile, he lost all influence on political events.

Political stance

Sosnkowski considered a great Polish military contribution to the war effort of the Allies would not guarantee toPoland’s independence and the maintenance of territorial integrity with pre-1939 borders. As commander in chief tried to preserve as much as possible the forces at his disposal, for which he had no new recruits, and opposed the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

The original objective of the government in exile, which clung Sosnkowski throughout the conflict until his retirement in late 1944 was the restoration of an independentPolandwith borders before the war and independence from foreign powers, especially regarding theUSSR. The Western powers, however, had chosen from the Nazi invasion of theUSSRto prioritize their alliance with Stalin against the wishes of the Central European countries.

Sosnkowski opposed to waiting for the end of the war to clarify disputes with the Soviets and was contrary to the concessions.

Born in 1885

Deaths in 1969

Polish Military WWII

General ofPoland

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