70th anniversary of the creation of the Polish Home Army

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by v2, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2005
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    The Polish resistance movement in World War II, with the Home Army at its forefront, was the largest underground resistance in all of Nazi-occupied Europe with 400 000 men, covering both German and Soviet zones of occupation. The Polish defence against the Nazi occupation was an important part of the European anti-fascist resistance movement. It is most notable for disrupting German supply lines to the Eastern Front, providing military intelligence to the British, and for saving more Jewish lives in the Holocaust than any other Allied organization or government. It was a part of the Polish Underground State.

    The largest of all Polish resistance organizations was the Home Army (in Polish, Armia Krajowa or AK), loyal to the Polish government in exile in London. The AK was formed on 14th February 1942 from within the Union for Armed Combat (Zwiazek Walki Zbrojnej or ZWZ, created in 1939) and incorporated most other Polish resistance groups (except for the communists and some far-right groups). It was the military arm of the Polish Secret State. From 1943 the AK was increasingly in competition with the communist resistance People's Army (Polish Armia Ludowa or AL), backed by the Soviet Union and controlled by the Polish Workers' Party (Polish Polska Partia Robotnicza or PPR).

    To the most spectacular actions of the Home Army belong: paralyzing the railway junction in Warsaw (night from October 7 to 8, 1942), recapturing the prisoners in Pińsk (January 18, 1943), bomb assault in a city railway station in Berlin (February 15, 1943), recapturing the prisoners in downtown Warsaw (the so-called Arsenal action, March 26, 1943), assassination of Franz Kutschera, the SS and Police Commander for the District of Warsaw (February 1, 1944).
    It is estimated that until July, 1944 about 34 thousand soldiers of the Home Army and subordinate units were killed– some in combat but mostly they were executed or tortured to death in prisons – more or less 10% of the ranks. Among the “cichociemni” the losses added up to 1/3 of the ranks. The climax of the armed effort was the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 which lasted 63 days.

    The intelligence work of the AK in a wide area of Europe was of capital importance to Allied strategists. Among other achievements, the production centre of the V1 rocket was pinpointed and essential V2 parts were won and passed on to London. Psychological warfare was also waged, in which Action "N" was mounted to create the illusion of an internal German opposition movement to Hitler.

    Some 25,000 Polish underground fighters including 300 top Home Army officers were captured by NKVD units and SMERSH operational groups in the fall of 1944, which was followed by their mass deportations to the gulags Between 1944 and 1946, thousands of Polish independence fighters actively opposed the new communist regime, attacking country offices of NKVD, SMERSH and the Polish communist secret service (UB). The events of late 1940s amounted to a full-scale civil war according to some historians, especially in the eastern and central parts of the country (see: the Cursed soldiers). According to deposition by Jozef Swiatlo and other communist sources, the number of members of the Polish underground, rounded up on the order of Lavrentiy Beria and deported to Siberia and various camps in the Soviet Union, has reached 50,000 in 1945 alone. Their political leaders were kidnapped by the Soviet Union, tortured and sent to prison after a staged Trial of the Sixteen in Moscow. None survived.
  2. marshall

    marshall Member

    Dec 8, 2006
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