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The Polish Underground State (Polish: Polskie Państwo Podziemne, also known as the Polish Secret State[a]) is a collective term for the underground resistance organizations in Poland, both military and civilian, that remained loyal to the Polish Government in Exile in London during World War II. The Underground State was perceived by supporters as a legal continuation of the pre-war Republic of Poland (and its institutions) that waged an armed struggle against the country's occupying powers: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Although the Underground State enjoyed broad support throughout much of the war, its influence declined amid military reversals and the growing hostility of the Soviet Union, which eventually supported the creation of a post-war government in Poland that was more amenable to Soviet interests. In the years immediately following the war, many of those involved with the Underground State were treated like criminals.

During the Cold War era, research on the Underground State was curtailed by Polish communist officials, who emphasized the role that communist partisans played in the anti-Nazi resistance. Hence, until recently, the bulk of research done on this topic was carried out by Polish scholars living in exile.

Contents

Definition and historiography

For decades, research on the Polish Underground State was restricted, largely because the communist People's Republic of Poland did not wish to acknowledge the role of non-communist resistance. Therefore, during the first postwar Stalinist years, efforts to explore this topic were regarded as both illegal and dangerous.[1] The limited research devoted to the subject was done mainly by Polish emigree historians living in the West, e.g., Jan Karski.[2][3] At best, the communist state promoted the view that the non-communist resistance movement was marginal, while the communist movement (Armia Ludowa) was of primary importance; in fact, the opposite was true.[4] The absence of research by Polish scholars, along with obstacles presented to foreign scholars seeking access to source material in communist Poland, contributed to a situation in which there was virtually no discussion of one of Europe's largest resistance movements—the non-communist Polish resistance movement—in the field of Western studies, where the bulk of research centered on the French Resistance (la Résistance).[5]

Scholars who chose to investigate the Underground State were also confronted with the issue of its uniqueness, and hence, the problem of defining it.[2] Polish historian Stanisław Salmonowicz, who in 1994, discussed the historiography of the Polish Underground State, defined it as a "collection of state-legal, organizational and citizenship structures, which were to ensure constitutional continuation of Polish statehood on its own territory". Salmonowicz added, "This constitutional continuity, real performance of the state's functions on its past territory and the loyalty of a great majority of Polish society were the most significants elements of its existence."[6]

History

In many respects, the history of the Polish Underground State mirrors that of the Polish non-communist resistance in general. The Underground State traces its origins to the Służba Zwycięstwu Polski (Service for Poland's Victory) organization, which was founded in September 1939, at a time when the Polish defeat in the German invasion of Poland appeared inevitable.[7] SZP founder General Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski received orders from Polish Commander-in-Chief Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły to organize and carry out the struggle in occupied Poland.[8] Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski decided that the organization he was creating needed to move beyond a strictly military format; and in line with the traditions of the 19th-century Polish National Government and World War I-era Polish Military Organization, it would need to encompass various aspects of civilian life.[9] Hence, the SZP, in contact with (and subordinate to) the Polish government in exile, envisioned itself not only as an armed resistance organization, but also as a vehicle through which the Polish state continued to administer its occupied territories.[10] Due to political differences among factions of the Polish government, and in particular, SZP ties to the sanacja regime, the SZP was reorganized, in late 1939, into the Związek Walki Zbrojnej (Union of Armed Struggle).[11]

Given that the ZWZ focused on military aspects of the struggle, its civilian dimension was less clearly defined and developed more slowly—a situation exacerbated by the complex political discussions that were then unfolding between politicians in occupied Poland and the government-in-exile (first in Paris, later in London).[12][13] A major step toward the development of the organization's civilian structure was taken in late February 1940, when the ZWZ established the Polityczny Komitet Porozumiewawczy (Political Consultative Committee).[12] By 1943, the PKP had evolved into the Krajowa Reprezentacja Polityczna (Home Political Representation), which, in 1944, served as the basis of the Rada Jedności Narodowej (Council of National Unity).[14]

One of the most significant developments of 1940 was the creation of the post of Government Delegate's Office at Home (Delegatura Rządu na Kraj), with Cyryl Ratajski as the first Delegate; this event marked the official beginning of the Underground State (Ratajska would be followed by Jan Piekałkiewicz, Jan Stanisław Jankowski and Stefan Korboński).[15] By 1942, most of the previous conflicts between politicians in occupied Poland and those in exile had been positively resolved.[16]

As early as 1940, the Underground State's civilian arm was actively supporting underground education;[15] it then set out to develop social security, information (propaganda) and justice networks.[17][18][19] Meanwhile, the military arm of the Underground State expanded dramatically, and the ZWZ was transformed into Armia Krajowa (AK, or the Home Army) in 1942.[20] ZWZ-AK commanders included Stefan Rowecki, Tadeusz Komorowski and Leopold Okulicki.

The Underground State achieved its zenith of influence in early 1944.[21] In April, the Polish government in exile recognized the administrative structure of the Delegate's Office as the Temporary Governmental Administration.[22] The Underground State, however, declined sharply in the aftermath of the military failure of Operation Tempest (especially the debacle of the Warsaw Uprising), and it was further diminished by the hostile attitude of the Soviet Union and its puppet Polish PKWN government towards non-communist resistance loyal to the Polish-government in exile.[23] Eventually, the communists would refuse to deal with the Underground State; its leaders and soldiers were persecuted (see Trial of the Sixteen, cursed soldiers).

Ultimately, hundreds of thousands of people were directly involved with various agencies of the Underground State (the estimates for membership in Armia Krajowa alone are often given at half a million people), and they were quietly supported by millions of Polish citizens.[19] The rationale behind the creation of the secret civilian authorities drew on the fact that the German and Soviet occupation of Poland was illegal. Hence, all institutions created by the occupying powers were considered illegal, and parallel Polish underground institutions were set up in accordance with Polish law. The scale of the Underground State, however, was also inadvertently aided by the actions of the occupiers, whose attempts to destroy the Polish state, nation, and its culture (see Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles, The Holocaust in Poland and Soviet repressions of Polish citizens), up to and including genocidal policies that targeted the Polish people, fueled popular support for the Polish resistance movement and fueled its development.[19][24]

Political representation

The Underground State represented most, though not all, political factions of the Second Polish Republic. Home Political Representation (PKP) represented four major Polish parties: the PPS-WRN, the SL, the SN, and the SP. Notably, the SP joined the PKP in June 1940, four months after the PKP was created; and the PPS-WRN withdrew from the PKP between October 1941 and March 1943.[25] Non-Polish ethnic minorities were not represented in the Underground State.[26] Other groups that lacked representation in the Underground State included the communist (Polish Workers Party and its military arm (Gwardia Ludowa), and the far right (Group Szaniec and its military arm (Military Organization Lizard Union).[27]

Structure

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Polish government in exile

The government in exile, based in London, with the President of Poland and the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army was the top military and civilian authority, recognized by the authorities of the underground state as their commanders.[28]

Civilian

The main role of the civilian branch of the underground state was to preserve the continuity of the Polish state as a whole, including its institutions. These institutions included the police, the courts, and schools.[15][17][18][19] This branch of the state was intended to prepare cadres and institutions to resume power after the German defeat in World War II.[29]

In August 1943 and March 1944, the Polish Secret State announced its long-term plan, which was partly designed to undercut the attractiveness of some of the communists' proposals. The plan promised land reform, nationalisation of the industrial base, demands for territorial compensation from Germany, and re-establishment of the country's pre-1939 eastern border. Thus, the main differences between the Underground State and the communists, in terms of politics, were not rooted in radical economic and social reforms, which both sides advocated, but rather in their divergent positions on such issues as national sovereignty, borders, and Polish-Soviet relations.[30][21]

The Delegate's Office was divided into 12 departments, although these were expanded to 14 toward the end of the war. The departments can be seen as loosely corresponding to ministries. Three departments were dedicated to war-related issues: the Department for the Liquidation of the Effects of the War, the Department for Public Works and Reconstruction, and the Department for Information and the Press; the other departments mirrored pre-war Polish ministries (eg., Department of Post Offices and Telegraphs, or Department of the Treasury).[31]

Military

Regional organization of Armia Krajowa in 1944

The military arm of the Polish Secret State consisted primarily of various branches of the Armia Krajowa (AK, Home Army) and, until 1942, Związek Walki Zbrojnej (ZWZ, Union of Active Struggle). This arm of the state was designed to prepare Polish society for a future fight for the country's liberation. Apart from armed resistance, sabotage, intelligence, training, and propaganda, the state's military arm was responsible for maintaining communication with the London-based government in exile, and for protecting the civilian arm of the state.[32][33]

Notes

a ^  The more widely used term Polish Underground State was first used on 13 January 1944 by the official underground publication of the Polish underground authorities, the Biuletyn Informacyjny.[34] Polish Secret State was a term coined by scholar Jan Karski in his book Story of a Secret State (Polish: Tajne państwo), written and first published in the second half of the 1944 in United States.

See also

References

  1. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.6–7
  2. ^ a b Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.8
  3. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.10–11
  4. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.10
  5. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.9–10
  6. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.18–19
  7. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.25
  8. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.26–27
  9. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.27
  10. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.30–31
  11. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.30–33
  12. ^ a b Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.33–36
  13. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.39
  14. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.44–45
  15. ^ a b c Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.37
  16. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.45–46
  17. ^ a b Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.42
  18. ^ a b Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.44
  19. ^ a b c d Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.46
  20. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.45
  21. ^ a b Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.47
  22. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.48
  23. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.48–49
  24. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.19
  25. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.51–53
  26. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.55–56
  27. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.64
  28. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.17–18
  29. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.76
  30. ^ (English) Jerzy Lukowski; Hubert Zawadzki (2001). A Concise History of Poland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521559170. http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN0521559170&id=NpMxTvBuWHYC&d.  
  31. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.75
  32. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.91
  33. ^ Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 930205500X, p.96
  34. ^ Barbara Wachowicz "Kamyk na szańcu – opowieść o druhu Aleksandrze Kamińskim" Wydawnictwo Rytm; ISBN 83-88794-68-X p. 222

Further reading

  • Jan Karski (2001). Story of a Secret State. Simon Publications. p. 391 pages. ISBN 1-931541-39-6.  
  • Stefan Korboński, Fighting Warsaw: the Story of the Polish Underground State (1939-1945), London, 1956
  • Józef Garliński, "The Polish Underground State 1939-1945", Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1975, JSTOR

External links


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