Armia Krajowa

Armia Krajowa

The Armia Krajowa (the Home Army, literally translated as the Country's Army), abbreviated ""AK", was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. It was formed in February 1942 from the "Związek Walki Zbrojnej" (Union for Armed Struggle) and over the next two years absorbed most other Polish underground forces. It was loyal to the Polish government in exile and constituted the armed wing of what became known as the "Polish Underground State". Estimates of its membership in 1944 range from 200,000 to 600,000, with the most common number being 400,000; that figure would make it not only the largest Polish underground resistance movement but among the two largest in Europe during World War II.Ref_label|a|a|none It was disbanded on January 20, 1945, when Polish territory had largely been cleared of German forces by the advancing Soviet Red Army.

The AK's primary resistance operations were the sabotage of German activities, including transports headed for the Eastern Front in the Soviet Union. The AK also fought several full-scale battles against the Germans, particularly in 1943 and 1944 during Operation Tempest, thereby tying down significant German forces, diverting much-needed supplies, while trying to support Soviet military. The most widely known AK operation was the failed Warsaw Uprising. The AK also defended Polish civilians against atrocities committed by non-German military organizations such as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Lithuanian Security Police. The Armia Krajowa, due to its ties with the Polish government in exile, was viewed by the Soviet Union as an obstacle to its takeover of the country, which lead to increasing conflict between AK and Soviet forces both during and after the war. Armia Krajowa, seen in modern Poland as a heroic resistance, has since become the subject of controversy and a more critical portrayal in communist Poland as well in Soviet Union and some former countries created after its fall.

History and operations

World War II

The AK's origins were in the "Służba Zwycięstwu Polski" (Service for the Victory of Poland), which had been set up, just as the joint German & Soviet invasions of Poland were nearing completion, on September 27, 1939, by General Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski. Seven weeks later, November 17, 1939, on the orders of General Władysław Sikorski, this organization was succeeded by "Związek Walki Zbrojnej" (Union for Armed Struggle), which over two years later, on February 14, 1942, became the icon [ Armia Krajowa] . Encyklopedia PWN. Last accessed on 14 March 2008.] While these two organizations were the founders of the AK, intended as the main Polish resistance movement, there were numerous other resistance organizations in Poland.Tomasz Strzembosz, "Początki ruchy oporu w Polsce. Kilka uwag." In Krzysztof Komorowski (ed.), "Rozwój organizacyjny Armii Krajowej", Bellona, 1996, ISBN 8311085447] A majority of these groups would eventually merge with the ZWZ-AK during the years of 1939-1944, significantly contributing to AK's growth.

According to the Polish government in exile, AK was to be a non-political, nationwide resistance icon [,,,,armia_krajowa,haslo.html Armia Krajowa] . Encyklopedia WIEM. Last accessed on 2 April 2008.] The supreme command defined the main tasks of the AK as partisan warfare against the German occupiers, recreation of armed forces underground and, near the end of the German occupation, general armed revolt until victory. At the war's end, AK plans envisaged the seizure of power in Poland by the "Delegatura" (Government Delegate's Office at Home) establishment, the representatives of the London-based government in exile; and by the government-in-exile itself, which would return to Poland. In addition to the London government there was also a political organization in Poland itself, a deliberative body of the resistance and the Polish Underground State. The Political Consultative Committee ("Polityczny Komitet Porozumiewawczy") was formed in 1940 after an agreement by representatives of several major political parties (PPS-WRN, SL, SN and SP); renamed to Home Political Representation ("Krajowa Reprezentacja Polityczna") in 1943 and to Council of National Unity ("Rada Jedności Politycznej") in 1944. The AK, although in theory subordinated to the civil authorities and the government in exile, often acted somewhat independently with both the AK commanders in Poland and London government not fully aware of the situation of the other.

Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Soviet Union joined the Allies; the Anglo-Soviet Agreement was signed on July 12, 1941. This shift put the Polish government in a difficult position, since it had previously pursued a policy of "two enemies". Although a Polish-Soviet agreement was signed in August, co-operation continued to be difficult, and deteriorated further after the Katyn massacre was publicized in 1943. [cite book|title=Red Eagle: The Army in Polish Politics, 1944-1988|author=Andrew A. Michta|url=|pages=p.32|publisher=Hoover Press|year=1990]

Until the major revolt began in 1944, the AK concentrated on self-defence (freeing prisoners and hostages, defence against pacification measures) and striking at the German forces. Throughout the period of its existence AK units carried out thousands of armed raids and intelligence operations, sabotaging hundreds of railway shipments and participating in many partisan clashes and battles with German police and Wehrmacht units. The AK also conducted retaliatory operations to assassinate prominent Nazi collaborators and Gestapo officials in response to Nazi terror tactics imposed on the civilian population of Poland (notable individuals assassinated by AK include Igo Sym and Franz Kutschera).

Armia Krajowa supplied valuable intelligence information to the Allies; 43 percent of all reports received by British secret services from continental Europe in 1939-45 had come from Polish sources.Kwan Yuk Pan, [ "Polish veterans to take pride of place in victory parade"] , "Financial Times", July 5, 2005. Last accessed on 31 March 2006.] Until 1942, most of British intelligence from Germany came from AK reports; until the end of the war AK would remain the main British source for news from Central and Eastern Europe.Andrzej Suchcitz, " [ The Home Army Intelligence Service] ". Translated from Polish by Antoni Bohdanowicz. Article on the pages of the London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association. Last accessed on March 14 2008.] Among other topics, provided the Allies with information on German concentration camps,pl icon [ Detailed biography of Witold Pilecki on Whatfor] . Last accessed on 21 November 2006.] as well as intelligence concerning the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket [ Eastern Europe in World War II: October 1939-May 1945] . Lecture notes of prof Anna M. Cienciala. Last accessed on 21 December 2006.] One Project Big Ben mission used a stripped-for-lightness RAF twin-engine Dakota (Operation Wildhorn IIIOrdway, Frederick I., III. "The Rocket Team". Apogee Books Space Series 36 (pgs 158, 173)] ) (Most III) from Brindisi, Italy, to fly to an abandoned German airfield in Poland to retrieve information prepared by engineer and aircraft designer Antoni Kocjan, as well as convert|100|lb|abbr=on of cargo regarding V-2 rocket wreckage from a Peenemünde launch, including "Special Report 1/R, no. 242", photographs, a select set of eight parts, and drawings of the wreckage.McGovern, James. "Crossbow and Overcast". W. Morrow: New York, 1964. (pg 71)] Sabotage was coordinated by the Union of Retaliation and later Wachlarz and Kedyw units. Psychological warfare was also waged, in which Action N was mounted to create the illusion of an internal German opposition movement to Hitler.

Major military and sabotage operations included: the Zamość Uprising of 1942-1943, with AK sabotaging German plans for expulsion of Poles under the Generalplan Ost; the protection of the Polish population from the massacres of Poles in Volhynia in 1943-1944; Operation Wieniec sabotaging German rail transport in 1942; Operation Taśma in 1943, a series of attacks against German border outposts on the frontier between the General Government and the territories annexed by Germany; Operation Jula — another rail sabotage in 1944; and most notably Operation Tempest in 1944, a series of nationwide uprisings whose chief goal was to seize control of cities and areas where German forces were preparing their defenses against the Soviet Red Army, so that Polish underground civil authorities could take power before the arrival of Soviet icon [ "Burza"] . Encyklopedia PWN. Last accessed on 14 March 2008.] The largest and best known of the Operation Tempest battles was the Warsaw Uprising — the attempt to liberate Warsaw, the capital of Poland. It started on August 1, 1944; the Polish troops took control of significant portion of the city and resisted the German-led forces until October 2 (63 days in total). With no aid from the approaching Red Army, the Germans eventually defeated the rebels and burned the city, finally quelling the Uprising on October 2, 1944. Other major city uprisings of AK included the Operation Ostra Brama in Wilno and the Lwów Uprising. In addition, AK prepared Kraków Uprising, but it was canceled due to several circumstances. While the AK managed to liberate a number of places from German control, in the end due to hostility and lack of support from the Soviet Union, it failed to secure sufficient territory for the government in exile to return.

Axis fatalities due to the actions of the Polish underground, of which AK formed the bulk of, are estimated at up to 150,000Marjorie Castle, Ray Taras, "Democracy in Poland", Westview Press, 2002, ISBN 0813339359, [,M1 Google Print, p.27] ] (one should however note that estimates of guerilla warfare inflicted casualties often have a wide margin of errorWalter Laqueur, "Guerrilla Warfare: A Historical and Critical Study", Transaction Publishers, 1998, ISBN 0765804069, [,M1 Google Print, p.202-203] ] ). The AK primary activity was sabotage of German rail and road transports to the Eastern Front in the Soviet Union. It is estimated that one eighth of all German transports to Eastern Front were destroyed or significantly delayed due to AK's activities.R. J. Crampton, "Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century", Routledge, 1994, ISBN 0415053463, [,M1 Google Print, p.198] ] The battles with the Germans, particularly in 1943 and 1944, tied down several German divisions (about 930,000 German soldiers in total).Based on Campaigns of Polish Armed Forces 1940-1945 Map (p.204) from Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, "Poland a Historical Atlas", Hippocrene Books, 1987, ISBN 0880293942]

From 1943 AK started to recreate the organization of the pre-war Polish Army, with its various units being designated as platoons, battalions, regiments, brigades and divisions and operational groups.

Weapons and equipment

As a clandestine army operating in a country occupied by the enemy, separated by over a thousand kilometers from any friendly territory, the AK faced unique challenges in acquiring arms and equipment.Rafal E. Stolarski, " [ The Production of Arms and Explosive Materials by the Polish Home Army in the Years 1939–1945] ".Translated from Polish by Antoni Bohdanowicz. Article on the pages of the London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association. Last accessed on March 14 2008. ] AK was able to overcome these difficulties to some extent and put tens of thousands of armed soldiers into the field. Nevertheless, the difficult conditions meant that only infantry forces armed with light weapons could be fielded. Any use of artillery, armor or aircraft was impossible (except for a few instances during the Warsaw Uprising, like the Kubuś armored car). Even these light infantry units were as a rule armed with a mixture of weapons of various types, usually in quantities sufficient to arm only a fraction of a unit's soldiers.

In contrast, their opponents - the German armed forces and their allies – were almost universally supplied with plentiful arms and ammunition, and could count on a full array of support forces. Unit for unit, its German opponents enjoyed a crushing material superiority over the AK. This severely restricted the kind of operations that it could successfully undertake.

The arms and equipment for Armia Krajowa mostly came from four sources: arms buried by the Polish armies on the battlefields after the Invasion of Poland in 1939, arms purchased or captured from the Germans and their allies, arms clandestinely manufactured by Armia Krajowa itself, and arms received from Allied air drops.

From the arms caches hidden in 1939, the AK obtained: 614 heavy machine guns, 1,193 light machine guns, 33,052 rifles, 6,732 pistols, 28 antitank light field guns, 25 antitank rifles and 43,154 hand grenades.Stefan Korboński, "The Polish Underground State", Columbia University Press, 1978, ISBN 0-914710-32-X] However, because of inadequate preservation which had to be improvised in the chaos of the September campaign, most of these guns were in poor condition. Of those that were hidden in the ground and dug up in 1944 during preparation for Operation Tempest, only 30% were icon [ Uzbrojenie i zaopatrzenie w broń Związku Walki Zbrojnej - Armii Krajowej.] Last retrieved on 16 March 2008]

Sometimes arms were purchased on the black market from German soldiers or their allies or stolen from German supply depots or transports. Purchases were made by individual units and sometimes by individual soldiers. As Germany's prospects for victory diminished and the morale in German units dropped, the number of soldiers willing to sell their weapons correspondingly increased and thus made this source more important. All such purchases were highly risky, as the Gestapo was well aware of this black market in arms and tried to check it by setting up sting operations. For the most part this trade was limited to personal weapons, but occasionally light and heavy machine guns could also be purchased. It was much easier to trade with Italian and Hungarian units stationed in Poland, which more willingly sold their arms to the Polish underground as long as they could conceal this trade from the Germans.

The efforts to capture weapons from Germans also proved highly successful. Raids were conducted on trains carrying equipment to the front, as well as guardhouses and gendarmerie posts. Sometimes weapons were taken from individual German soldiers accosted in the street. During the Warsaw Uprising, the AK even managed to capture several German armored vehicles.

Arms were clandestinely manufactured by the AK in its own secret workshops, and also by its members working in German armament factories. In this way the AK was able to procure submachine guns (copies of British Sten, indigenous Błyskawica and KIS), pistols (Vis), flamethrowers, explosive devices, road mines and hand grenades (Filipinka and Sidolówka). Hundreds of people were involved in this manufacturing effort. AK did not produce its own ammunition, but relied on supplies stolen by Polish workers from German-run factories.

The final source of supply were Allied air drops. This was the only way to obtain more exotic but highly useful equipment such as plastic explosives or antitank weapons (PIAT). During the war 485 air drop missions from the West (about half of which was flown by Polish airmen) delivered sbout 600 tons of supplies for Polish resistance.Michael Alfred Peszke, "The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War ", McFarland, 2004, ISBN ISBN 078642009X, [ Google Print, p.183] ] Besides equipment, the planes also parachuted highly qualified instructors (the "Cichociemni"), of whom 316 were inserted into Poland during the war. Due to the large distance from bases in Britain and the Mediterranean, and lukewarm political support, the airdrops were only a fraction of those carried out in support of French, Yugoslavian, Greek or other resistance movements.

In the end despite their efforts most of AK forces had inadequate weaponry. In 1944, when AK numbers where at their peak strength (200,000-400,000 according to various estimates), AK had enough weaponry only for about 32,000 soldiers. On 1 August 1944 when Warsaw Uprising started, only one sixth of AK fighters in Warsaw were armed.Roy Francis Leslie, "The History of Poland Since 1863", Cambridge University Press, 1983, ISBN 0521275016, [ Google Print, p.234] ]

Interaction with other forces

Interaction with Jewish resistance

In February 1942, the Operational Command of the AK Information and Propaganda Office set up the Section for Jewish Affairs, directed by Henryk Woliński. [ [ Jewish Virtual Library] . Last accessed on March 5 2008.] This section collected data about the situation of the Jewish population, drafted reports and sent information to London. It also centralized contacts between Polish and Jewish military organizations. The AK also supported the Relief Council for Jews in Poland (codenamed Żegota) as well as the formation of Jewish resistance organizations in Poland. [John Wolffe, "Religion in History: Conflict, Conversion and Coexistence", Manchester University Press, 2004, ISBN 0719071070, [ Google Print, p.240] ] One member of the AK, Witold Pilecki, was the only person to volunteer for imprisonment in Auschwitz. The information he gathered proved crucial in convincing Western Allies about the fate of Jewish population.

The AK provided the Warsaw Ghetto with some firearms, ammunition and explosives.Andrzej Sławiński, " [ Those who helped Polish Jews during WWII] ". Translated from Polish by Antoni Bohdanowicz. Article on the pages of the London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association. Last accessed on March 14 2008.] During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, AK units tried twice to blow up the ghetto wall, carried out holding actions outside the ghetto walls, and together with GL forces sporadically attacked German sentry units near the ghetto walls. Security Cadre ("Kadra Bezpieczeństwa" or KB), one of the organizations subordinate to the AK, under the command of Henryk Iwański took a direct part in fights inside the ghetto together with Jewish fighters from ŻZW and ŻOB. [ Addendum 2 – Facts about Polish Resistance and Aid to Ghetto Fighters] , Roman Barczynski, Americans of Polish Descent, Inc. Last accessed on June 13, 2006.] During the Warsaw Uprising a year later, Batalion Zośka, one of the most notable units of the Uprising, liberated hundreds of Jews from the Warsaw Concentration Camp. Over the years, hundreds of Jews (such as Julian Aleksandrowicz) had joined the AK (particularly its Socialist Fighting Organization subsidiary.Shmuel Krakowski. [,M1 "The Attitude of the Polish Underground to the Jewish Question during the Second World War".] In: Joshua D. Zimmerman, ed. Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and its Aftermath. Rutgers University Press, 2003. Pages 102.]

While AK was largely untainted with collaboration with Nazis in the Holocaust,Tadeusz Piotrowski, "Poland's Holocaust", McFarland & Company, 1997, ISBN 0-7864-0371-3. [ Google Print, p.88] , [ p.89] , [ p.90] ] there are criticism that AK was reluctant to accept Jews into its ranks, [Wilhelm Heitmeyer, John Hagan, "International Handbook of Violence Research", Springer, 2003, ISBN 1402039808, [ Google Print, p.154] ] as well as accusations of the complicity of single AK members or groups in anti-Jewish violence. AK members' attitudes towards Jews varied widely from unit to unit, [Ulrich Herbert, "National Socialist Extermination Policies Contemporary German Perspectives and Controversies", Berghahn Books, 2000, ISBN 1571817506, [ Google Print, p.99] ] and while the bulk of anti-semitic behavior can be ascribed to only a small minority of AK members, [Gunnar S. Paulsson, "Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945", Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN 0300095465, [ Google Print, p.183] ] the fact that AK failed to protect the Jews from the extremists in their ranks (often affiliated with the far-right "endecja" spectrum of the Polish political scene, whose National Armed Forces organization was only partially incorporated into AK [Gunnar S. Paulsson, "Secret City...", [ Google Print, p.xvi] , [ p.45] ] ) has reflected negatively on the image of Armia Krajowa in Jewish historiography, leading some sources to generalizations characterizing the entire army as anti-Semitic. [ [ Death Comes in Yellow: Skarżysko-Kamienna Slave Labor Camp] Felicja Karay, 1996, Routledge.] [Ruth Gay "Safe Among the Germans: Liberated Jews After World War II", Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN 3718657414, [ Google Print p.242] ] cite web|author=Leonid Smilovitsky||title=Jews and Poles Among Belorussian Partisans|url=|accessdate=2008-03-20] The issue remains a controversial one and is subject to a difficult debate. Review by John Radzilowski of Yaffa Eliach's "", Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 1, no. 2 (June 1999), City University of New York.] [Robert Cherry, Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, "Rethinking Poles and Jews: Troubled Past, Brighter Future", Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, ISBN 0742546667, [ Google Print, p.105] ]

Interaction with Lithuanian resistance and collaborators

Although Lithuanian and Polish resistance movements had in principle the same enemies – Nazi Germany and Soviet Union – they started cooperating only in 1944-1945, after the Soviet re-occupation, when they both fought against the Soviet occupiers. [lt icon Arūnas Bubnys. [ "Lietuvių ir lenkų pasipriešinimo judėjimai 1942–1945 m.: sąsajos ir skirtumai"] (Lithuanian and Polish resistance movements 1942-1945), January 30, 2004] The main obstacle in forming an earlier alliance was a territorial dispute centering on Vilnius (see Żeligowski's Mutiny for background). [cite book | last =Petersen | first =Roger | title =Understanding Ethnic Violence: Fear, Hatred, and Resentment in Twentieth-century Eastern Europe | publisher =Cambridge University| year =2002|pages= p.152 | isbn =0521007747]

Some Lithuanians, encouraged by Germany's vague promises of autonomy, cite book | authorlink = Tadeusz Piotrowski (sociologist) | last = Piotrowski | first = Tadeusz | title = "Poland's Holocaust" | published = McFarland & Company | year = 1998 | isbn = 0-7864-0371-3 | url = | pages = p. 163 ] cooperated with the Nazis in their actions against Poles during the German occupation. In autumn 1943, Armia Krajowa started retaliation operations against the Lithuanian Nazi supporters, primarily the Lithuanian Secret Police, cite book | authorlink = Timothy Snyder | last = Snyder | first = Timothy | publisher = Yale University Press | year = 2003 | isbn = 030010586X | title = "The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999" | url = | pages = p. 84] and killed hundreds of mostly Lithuanian policemen and other collaborators during the first half of 1944. In response, Lithuanian police, who had already murdered hundreds of Polish civilians since 1941 (most infamously in the Ponary massacre), cite book | authorlink = Tadeusz Piotrowski (sociologist) | last = Piotrowski | first = Tadeusz | title = "Poland's Holocaust" | published = McFarland & Company | year = 1998 | isbn = 0-7864-0371-3 | url = | pages = pp. 168, 169 ] intensified their operations against the Poles. In May 1944 in the battle of Murowana Oszmianka AK dealt a significant blow to the Lithuanian Nazi auxiliaries of the Lithuanian Territorial Defense Force.en icon cite book | author =Tadeusz Piotrowski | coauthors = | title =Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide... | year =1997 | editor = | pages =165-166 | chapter = | chapterurl = | publisher =McFarland & Company | location = | id =ISBN 0-7864-0371-3| url = | format = | accessdate =2008-03-15 See also [ review] ] What resulted was a low-level civil war between Poles and Lithuanians, encouraged by the German authorities, which most infamously culminated in the massacres of Polish and Lithuanian civilians in June 1944 in the Glitiškės (Glinciszki) and Dubingiai (Dubinki) villages.

The postwar assessment of AK's activities in Lithuania has been a matter of controversy. Its activities in Lithuania have been investigated by a special Lithuanian government commission in 1993. Only in recent years have Polish and Lithuanian historians been able to reach some compromises, even if they still differ in the interpretation of many icon Gazeta Wyborcza, 2004-09-01, " [,34234,2262779.html "W Wilnie pojednają się dziś weterani litewskiej armii i polskiej AK"] (Today in Vilnius veterans of Lithuanian army and AK will forgive each other), last accessed on June 7, 2006] cite book | last = Dovile | first = Budryte | title = Taming Nationalism? | publisher = Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.| date = September 30, 2005| url = | isbn = 0-7546-4281-X p.187]

Interaction with the Red Army

Armia Krajowa relations with the Red Army became increasingly poor over the course of the war. Not only did the Soviet Union invade Poland following the German invasion of Poland in 1939, but even after Germans invaded Soviet Union the Soviet Union saw Polish partisans loyal to the government in exile as more of an enemy to their plans to take control of post-war Poland, than as a potential ally. [ Review of "Sowjetische Partisanen in Weißrußland"] , by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, in Sarmatian Review, April 2006] On orders from Stavka sent on June 22 1943,Tadeusz Piotrowski, "Poland's Holocaust", McFarland & Company, 1997, ISBN 0-7864-0371-3, [ Google Print, p.98-99] ] Soviet partisans engaged Polish partisans in combat, and it has been claimed that they attacked the Poles more often than they did the Germans.

In late 1943, the actions of Soviet partisans, who were ordered to liquidate the AK forces, even resulted in a limited amount of uneasy cooperation between some units of AK and German forces. While AK still treated Germans as the enemy and conducted various operations against them, when Germans offered AK arms and provisions to be used against the Soviet partisans, some Polish units in the Nowogródek and Wilno decided to accept them. However, any such arrangements were purely tactical and did not evidence the type of ideological collaboration as shown by Vichy regime in France or Quisling regime in Norway. The Poles main motivation was to gain intelligence on German morale and preparedness and to acquire much needed equipment. There are no known joint Polish-German actions, and the Germans were unsuccessful in their attempt to turn the Poles toward fighting exclusively against Soviet partisans. Further, most of such collaboration of local commanders with the Germans was condemned by AK headquarters. Tadeusz Piotrowski quotes Joseph Rothschild saying "The Polish Home Army was by and large untainted by collaboration" and adds that "the honor of AK as a whole is beyond reproach".

With the Eastern Front entering Polish territories in 1944, AK established an uneasy truce with the Soviets. Even then, the main forces of the Red Army and the NKVD conducted operations against the AK partisans, including during or directly after the Polish Operation Tempest, which was designed by the Poles to be a joint Polish-Soviet action against the retreating Germans and to establish Polish claims to those territories. AK helped Soviet units with scouting or organizing uprisings and helping to liberate various cities (ex. Operation Ostra Brama, Lwów Uprising), only to find that immediately afterwards AK troops were arrested, imprisoned – or even executed. Unknown to the Poles, Stalin's aim to ensure that an independent Poland would never reemerge in the postwar period made the Operation Tempest idea fatally flawed from the beginning.Judith Olsak-Glass, [ Review of Piotrowski's "Poland's Holocaust"] in Sarmatian Review, January 1999.]

Soviet forces continued to engage the elements of AK long after the war. Many AK soldiers continued fight after II world war in anti-Soviet Polish underground, known as the cursed soldiers.

Interaction with Ukrainian resistance and collaborators

Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) of Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist force and the political arm of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), fighting against the Germans, the Soviets and the Poles – all three seen as occupiers of Ukraine – decided in 1943 to direct most of their attacks against the Poles. Bandera and his followers came to the conclusion that the war would end with the exhaustion of both Germany and the Soviet Union, and thus the Poles, which also laid claims to the territories of East Galicia (seen by Ukrainians as Western Ukraine, and Poles as Eastern Poland), had to be weakened before the Polish state could rise again.Timothy Snyder, " [ To Resolve the Ukrainian Question Once and for All: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ukrainians in Poland, 1943-1947] ", "Journal of Cold War Studies", Spring 1999 Vol. 1 Issue 2, pp. 86-120] The collaboration of some Ukrainian groups with Nazi Germany (although declining in 1943) had discredited Ukrainian partisans as potential Polish allies; Polish pretensions to restore the borders of pre-war Poland were opposed by the Ukrainians.

The OUN decided to attack Polish civilians who constituted about a third of the population of the disputed territories. The OUN equated Ukrainian independence with ethnic homogeneity; the Polish presence had to be removed completely. By February 1943 OUN started a deliberate campaign of murdering Polish civilians. OUN troops targeted Polish villages, leading to the formation of Polish self-defence units (ex. Przebraże Defence) and fights between Armia Krajowa and OUN. The Germans encouraged both sides against each other. Erich Koch once said: "We have to do everything possible so that a Pole, while meeting a Ukrainian, would be willing to kill him and conversely, a Ukrainian would be willing to kill a Pole"; a German commissioner from Sarny, when local Poles complained about massacres, answered: "You want Sikorski, the Ukrainians want Bandera. Fight each other".Jurij Kiriczuk, [ Jak za Jaremy i Krzywonosa] , Gazeta Wyborcza 23.04.2003. Last accessed on 5 March 2008] In massacres of Poles in Volhynia in summer 1943 at least 40,000 Poles were killed; the death toll would rise in the following year although by that time Polish resistance would stiffen.

The Polish government in exile in London were taken by surprise; it had not expected a Ukrainian anti-Polish action of such magnitude. There is no evidence that the Polish government in exile contemplated a general policy of revenge against the Ukrainians but local Poles, including commanders of AK units, would engage in various retaliations. Polish partisans of all political stripes attacked OUN, assassinated prominent Ukrainians and burned Ukrainian villages. According to Ukrainian estimates, the AK may have killed in retaliation as many as 20,000 Ukrainians in Volhynia. [ [ Jan Maksymiuk: Ukraine, Poland Seek Reconciliation Over Grisly History] in Radio Free Europe NEWS article, May 12, 2006] By winter 1943 and spring 1944 AK was preparing for Operation Tempest; one of the goals of the operation was to reinforce Polish position in Volhynia. Most notably, in January 1944 the 27th Infantry Division of Armia Krajowa, numbering 7,000, was formed, and tasked with defense of Polish civilians, engaging OUN and the German troops. By mid-1944 the region was occupied by the Soviet Red Army; Polish partisans were disbanded or went underground, as did most of the Ukrainians; both would however increasingly concentrate on Soviets as their primary enemy – and both would ultimately be unsuccessful.


a Note_label|a|a|none Several sources note that Armia Krajowa was the largest resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Europe. For example, Norman Davies wrote "Armia Krajowa (Home Army), the AK, which could fairly claim to be the largest of European resistance"; [Norman Davies, "God's Playground: A History of Poland", Columbia UniversityPress, 2005, ISBN 0231128193, [ Google Print p.344] ] Gregor Dallas wrote "Home Army (Armia Krajowa or AK) in late 1943 numbered around 400000, making it the largest resistance organization in Europe"; [Gregor Dallas, "1945: The War That Never Ended", Yale University Press, 2005, ISBN 0300109806, [ Google Print, p.79] ] Mark Wyman wrote "Armia Krajowa was considered the largest underground resistance unit in wartime Europe". [Mark Wyman, "DPs: Europe's Displaced Persons, 1945-1951", Cornell University Press, 1998, ISBN 0801485428, [ Google Print, p.34] ] The numbers of Soviet partisans were very similar to that of the Polish resistance. [See for example: Leonid D. Grenkevich in The Soviet Partisan Movement, 1941-44: A Critical Historiographical Analysis, p.229 or Walter Laqueur in The Guerilla Reader: A Historical Anthology, (New York, Charles Scribiner, 1990, p.233]


Further reading

* Norman Davies, "Rising '44", Macmillan, 2003.
* Richard Lukasz, "Forgotten Holocaust, The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944" New York, 1997.
* Marek Ney-Krwawicz, "The Polish Home Army, 1939-1945", London, 2001.
* Roger Moorhouse, "Killing Hitler", Jonathan Cape, 2006. ISBN 0-224-07121-1
* Michael Alfred Peszke, "Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II", McFarland & Company, 2004, ISBN 0-7864-2009-X [ Google Print]
*Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski."Secret Army". Macmillan Company, New York 1951. ISBN 0-89839-082-6.

External links

* [ Armia Krajowa Museum in Krakow]
* [ Polish resistance - AK] - Site edited by the London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association
* [ Warsaw Uprising Museum]
*pl icon [ Archiwum Pomorskie Armii Krajowej]
*pl icon [ Armia Krajowa] , whatfor infoportal
*pl icon [ Armia Krajowa] , information from the pages of Primary School 11 "of Armia Krajowa soldiers" in Nowy Targ

ee also

* Polish contribution to World War II

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  • Armia Krajowa — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El Armia Krajowa o AK (literalmente Ejército Nacional, Ejército Territorial o Ejército del País) fue el principal movimiento de resistencia polaco de la Segunda Guerra Mundial en la Polonia ocupada por los nazis, y… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Armia Krajowa — Période (1939), 1942 – 1945 Pays Pologne Allégeance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Armia Krajowa — Die inoffizielle Flagge der Armia Krajowa Die Armia Krajowa (polnisch für Landesarmee, abgekürzt AK; im Deutschen meist als polnische Heimatarmee bezeichnet) war die größte militärische Widerstandsorganisation zur Zeit des Zweiten Weltkrieges im… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Armia Krajowa — Ạrmia Krajọwa   [polnisch »Armee im Lande«, »Heimatarmee«], Abkürzung AK, polnische Untergrundarmee im Zweiten Weltkrieg, militärischer Arm der in London residierenden polnischen Exilregierung. Die am 14. 2. 1942 gebildete AK ging aus dem… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Armia Krajowa — Ar|mia Kra|jo|wa poln.; »Armee im Lande«> poln. Untergrundarmee im 2. Weltkrieg, militärischer Arm der in London residierenden Exilregierung …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • Armia Krajowa Museum in Kraków — The Armia Krajowa Museum in Kraków (Polish: Muzeum Armii Krajowej w Krakowie) was created in Kraków, Poland in 2000, to commemorate the struggle for independence by the underground Polish Secret State and its military arm Armia Krajowa (The Home… …   Wikipedia

  • Armia Krajowa Cross — (Home Army Cross; Polish: Krzyż Armii Krajowej) is a Polish military decoration that was introduced by General Tadeusz Bór Komorowski on 1 August 1966 to commemorate the efforts of the soldiers of the Polish Secret State between 1939 and 1945.… …   Wikipedia

  • Armia Krajowa Obywatelska — (AKO, Citizens Home Army) was a Polish military anticommunist organization, based on the disbanded Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK). It was founded in February 1945 by Colonel Wladyslaw Liniarski (nom de guerre Mscislaw ), who had previously been… …   Wikipedia

  • District of Warsaw (of Armia Krajowa) — The District of Warsaw (of Armia Krajowa) (Polish: Okręg Warszawa) one of territorial organisational units of Armia Krajowa, which covered the territory of Warsaw and its close neighbourhood i.e. the Powiat of Warsaw. Military units belonging to… …   Wikipedia

  • Sub-district VII of Warsaw suburbs (of Armia Krajowa) — The Sub district VII of Warsaw suburbs (of Armia Krajowa) (Polish: Obwód VII Warszawa podmiejska ) also called Sub district collar (Polish: Obwód Obroża ) a territorial organisational unit of the District of Warsaw of Armia Krajowa, which acted… …   Wikipedia

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