Wladyslaw Sikorski : Poland

Wladyslaw Sikorski : Poland

Wladyslaw Sikorski was born in Galicia in Poland in 1881. After leaving school, Sikorski entered the Technical Institute in Lvov. He became a soldier and on the outbreak of the First World War he joined the underground movement for Polish freedom. He served under Josef Pilsudski, who had built a private army that he hoped would enable Poland to fight for its independence from Russia.

In 1914 Pilsudski and his 10,000 men fought with the Austrians against the Russian Army but after the Russian Revolution his loyalty was questioned and he was arrested and imprisoned in July 1917.

On his release in 1918 Josef Pilsudski became provisional head of state and leader of all Polish troops. Pilsudski represented Poland at the Versailles Treaty and his army successfully defended Poland against the Red Army (1919-20).

During the Russian Civil War Sikorski commanded the Northern Army, winning one of the decisive battles of the war. Pilsudki's army made considerable gains and the Soviet-Polish Treaty of Riga (1921) left Poland in control of substantial areas of Lithuania, Belorussia and the Ukraine.

In 1921 Sikorski replaced Pilsudski as Commander-in-Chief and the following year was elected premier. Within a short time he carried out essential reforms and guided foreign policy into a direction which gained the approval of the League of Nations, while he also obtained recognition of Poland's Eastern frontiers by Britain, France and the United States.

After Josef Pilsudski staged a military coup in May 1926, Sikorski retired to Paris. Sikorski returned to Poland in 1938 but was refused a command when Poland was invaded by the German Army in September 1939. He escaped to London where he joined with Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz and Stanislaw Mikolajczyk to establish a Polish government-in-exile.

Following the invasion of the Soviet Union by the German Army, Joseph Stalin agreed in June 1941, to invalidate the Soviet-German partition of Poland.

The relationship between the governments of Soviet Union and Poland was severely damaged by the discovery of mass graves of Polish officers at Katyn. Joseph Stalin claimed that the atrocity had been carried out by the German Army and in April 1943 broke off relations with the Polish government.

Wladyslaw Sikorski was killed in an air crash over Gibraltar in July, 1943.

We learned yesterday that the cause of the United Nations had suffered a most grievous loss. It is my duty to express the feelings of this House, and to pay my tribute to the memory of a great Polish patriot and staunch ally General Sikorski. (His death in the air crash at Gibraltar was one of the heaviest strokes we have sustained.

From the first dark days of the Polish catastrophe and the brutal triumph of the German war machine until the moment of his death on Sunday night he was the symbol and the embodiment of that spirit which has borne the Polish nation through centuries of sorrow and is unquenchable by agony. When the organized resistance of the Polish Army in Poland -was beaten down, General Sikorski's first thought was to organize all Polish elements in France to carry on the struggle, and a Polish army of over 80,000 men presently took its station on the French fronts. This army fought with the utmost resolution in the disastrous battles of 1940. Part fought its way out in good order into Switzerland, and is today interned there. Part marched resolutely to the sea, and reached this island.

Here General Sikorski had to begin his work again. He persevered, unwearied and undaunted. The powerful Polish forces which have now been accumulated and equipped in this country and in the Middle East, to the latter of whom his last visit was paid, now await with confidence and ardor the tasks which lie ahead. General Sikorski commanded the devoted loyalty of the Polish people now tortured and struggling in Poland itself. He personally directed that movement of resistance which has maintained a ceaseless warfare against German oppression in spite of sufferings as terrible as any nation has ever endured. This resistance will grow in power until, at the approach of liberating armies, It will exterminate the German ravagers of the homeland.

I was often brought into contact with General Sikorski in those years of war. I had a high regard for him, and admired his poise and calm dignity amid so many trials and baffling problems. He was a man of remarkable pre-eminence, both as a statesman and a soldier, His agreement with Marshal Stalin of July 30th, 1941, was an outstanding example of his political wisdom. Until the moment of his death he lived in the conviction needs of the common struggle and in the faith that a better Europe will arise in which a great and independent Poland will play an honorable part. We British here and throughout the Commonwealth and Empire, who declared war on Germany because of Hitler's invasion of Poland and in fulfillment of our guarantee, feel deeply for our Polish allies in their new loss.

We express our sympathy to them, we express our confidence in their immortal qualities, and we proclaim our resolve that General Sikorski's work as Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief shall not have been done in vain. The House would, I am sure, wish also that its sympathy should be conveyed to Madame Sikorski, who dwells here in England, and whose husband and daughter have both been simultaneously killed on duty.


Wladyslaw Sikorski survives

But on the way to Poland from northern Italy the U.S. and British forces would already have occupied Austria, western Czechoslovakia, and Silesia, giving them bases to strike at the heart of Germany.

And as for Stalin being angry, if he is blockheaded enough to invade Europe, if it's before July 1945 the Allies can invade through Iran and either the Caucasus or Central Asia, and if it's after July 1945. *cough**cough*nuke Moscow and Leningrad*cough**cough*

Urban fox

Because any time the Allies tried anything fancy instead of relying on fire-power & methodical preparation, the Germans made them regret it. The Germans considered the Allies morbidly sensitive about their flanks. And small German formations & ad-hoc battle-groups stalled countless Allied advances

Plus they had Mark''Jackass'' Clark running things in Italy. That didn't help.

But on the way to Poland from northern Italy the U.S. and British forces would already have occupied Austria, western Czechoslovakia, and Silesia, giving them bases to strike at the heart of Germany.

And as for Stalin being angry, if he is blockheaded enough to invade Europe, if it's before July 1945 the Allies can invade through Iran and either the Caucasus or Central Asia, and if it's after July 1945. *cough**cough*nuke Moscow and Leningrad*cough**cough*


Yeah, because democratic nations who had been praising ''our gallant Soviet allies & Uncle Joe'' to the heavens. Can pull a face-heel-turn and break every public & diplomatic agreement with the Soviets without a major fucking domestic backlash.

Phx1138

Well asside from the very narrow front this would have required the Germans to defend, allowing them to scrape together a blocking force out of recovering units withdrawn from the Balkans, plus anything else on hand, it would have meant trying to supply an allied force out well beyond anything like the distance they had the logistics to handle allied forces in North West Europe were provided with far more motorised transport for supplies than were forces in Italy and they still ground to a halt in Northern Belgium and the borders of Germany, not because of German resistance but simply because it was impossible to provide enough supplies for them to keep going from the ports of Normandy.

Until Antwerp was opened, providing the allies with not only the largest port in Europe, but a port right on the door step of the Third Reich, thereby massively shortening the distances that supplies had to be moved, reducing turn around times and fuel consumption proportionately, no attack into Germany stood any practical chance of succeeding.

Your proposal involves supplying an advancing army over a longer distance on much worse roads, from smaller ports and with less transportation.

Besides which, the allies didn't have the forces in Northern Italy to push beyond Italy anyway.


Andrzej SIKORSKI 1 (1758-1847)

1. Andrzej Sikorski 1 is the first known ancestor, the great-grandfather, of General Władysław Sikorski . He was born in 1758. Andrzej is held to have had at least one son:

Napoleon created the Duchy of Warsaw from Prussian-held lands upon signing the Treaty of Tilsit (1807), which ended France's war with the Prussian and Russian empires, and under a new French-Russian alliance pitted Russia against the British Empire in the Anglo-Russian War (1807-1812). Once Napoleon defeated Austria, he invaded Russia (1812-1813) and branded it the "Second Polish War" against Russia to gain Polish support. If other references to the general's lineage hold true, it was likely Andrzej who took part in Napoleon 's failed campaign against Russia (1812-1813).

Andrzej was believe to have descended from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569-1795) clan of 15 szlachta (noble) families known collectively by the coat of arms of Kopaszyna, as claimed by great-grandson General Sikorski . A biography of the general later cites his daughter Helena as saying that her father "came from a family of weavers from Przeworsk," in the southeastern corner of modern-day Poland, 100 kilometers to the east of the general's birthplace of Mielec.

He would have lived through the Partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) between Russia, Prussia, and the Holy Roman Empire (Habsburgs), under Catherine II the Great, Frederick II and Frederick William III, and Joseph II and Francis II.

Andrzej Sikorski died in 1847.


Other SIKORSKI Families of Minnesota & Wisconsin

Lines that may show promise are the Sikorski s of Ashland, Ashland County, Wisconsin. Although we still have not found any direct or suspected ties to these two families, both Zenon Sikorski and his sister Blanche ( Sikorska ) Kaminska were buried in Ashland in 1934 and 1940, respectively.

In researching early Sikorski families in Minnesota, the following families are found however, these families generally refer to their homeland as the German- or Prussian-occupied Poland and likely are much more distant in relation:

  • Anthony Sikorski (born November 1867), a single railroad conductor, immigrated in 1882, and residing in Two Harbors, Lake County, Minnesota, 1900
  • Herman Sikorsky (born about 1826) and wife Anna, immigrated about 1874, and residing on Second Street in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1880
  • Teodor Sikorski (born December 1840) and wife Josephine ( Rogalla ), immigrated 1866, and residing at 357 Mankato Avenue in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1900-1918
  • Mathew Sikorski (born February 1846) and wife Tekla ( Malik ), immigrated 1872/1874, and residing on East Third Street in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1900
  • Louis Secorske (born about 1847) and wife Josephine, immigrated before 1873, and residing on Second Avenue in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1880
  • Antoni Sikorski (born May 1856) and wife Mary/Maryanna, residing on Mankato Avenue in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1900
  • John V. Sikorski (born March 1861) and wife Marianna Wera , immigrated 1884, and residing on Mankato Avenue in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1900
  • Joseph Sikorski (born about 1869) and wife Mary, residing in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1930
  • Maximilian Sikorski (born about 1870) and wife Augusta, immigrated in 1874, residing on Second Street in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1910
  • Thomas Sikorski (born January 1871) and wife Klara, born in Minnesota, and residing on Wabasha Street in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, 1900 possible son of Teodor and Josephine ( Rogalla ) Sikorski

GREAT POLISH GENERALS OF WW2: Wladyslaw Sikorski

General Wladyslaw Sikorski

"When the sun is higher, Sikorski is nearer."

Wladyslaw Sikorski was the personification of the hopes
of the Polish people for a free and independent Poland.
The struggle for Poland's liberation had been a very long and arduous one. At the end of WWI Poland finally
regained its independence after having been virtually erased from the map for 123 years.

Sikorski had been at the forefront of the struggle. With an educational background in engineering and military tactics he became actively involved in a number of Polish underground organizations in 1907 Sikorski joined the underground Polish Socialist Party in 1908 he organized the secret Zwiazek Walki Czynnej ( Combat Association) and two years later, the Zwiazek Strzelecki (Rifleman's Association). The objective was to instigate an uprising against the Russian empire, one of the partitioners. The creation of the latter association while approved by a statute of the Austrian authorities, were Polish paramilitary troops, formed illegally. At the outbreak of WWI, there were over 8,000 "members" dispersed among 200 groups. Many of them joined the Polish Legions. During WWI Sikorski was the chief head of the military section of the Supreme National Committee and then as commissioner he was responsible for recruitment to the Polish Legions in Krakow, the latter organization created by Jozef Pilsudski.

Związek Strzelecki - Rifleman's Association

No sooner had WWI come to an end that the Polish-Soviet war (1919-21) broke out over the tenuous question of Poland's newly established borders. By that time Sikorski had become a high-ranking officer of the Polish army, and had led successful battles capturing the ancient city of Lwow, and Przyemsyl. The Soviet forces were confident of achieving an easy victory but were very surprised by the
unexpected. In what has been termed "Miracle at the Vistula", Polish forces under Sikorski's command succeeded in utterly defeating the Bolshevik advance towards Warsaw, giving Pilsudski the time needed to organize a counter-offensive.

Polish Soldiers displaying captured Soviet banners
Aftermath of Battle of Warsaw - Soviet-Polish War

Sikorskis' forces successfully penetrated deep into Latvia and Belarus, heaping further humiliation upon the defeated Russians. General Sikorski was hailed as the beloved hero of Poland and was decorated with Poland's highest honour, the Virtuti Militari Medal.

During the inter-war period Sikorski had succeeded Pilsudski as the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces (April 1921), and also became Chief of the Polish General Staff. For the next several years he rose to very high government ranks. From December 1922 to May 26, 1923 he served as Poland's Prime Minister as well as Minister of Internal Affairs.

Charles de Gaulle WW I
During this period Sikorski garnered immense respect from and support of the Polish people. He established various reforms, and built a viable foreign policy that received international approval through the League of Nations. Moreover, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States all recognized the legitimacy of Poland's new frontiers, won during the Russian-Polish war.

Sikorski had made significant strides in strengthening Polish-French cooperation. It was instrumental in laying the foundations that led to Poland's victory during the Polish Soviet War. The French Military Mission to Poland provided the military organization and logistical assistance vital to the nascent Polish armies. Among the French officers involved in the mission was the future General Charles de Gaulle.


Polish Badge KOP
From 1923-24 Sikorski held the position of Chief Inspector of Infantry. And the following year, under Prime Minister Wladyslaw Grabski, Sikorski served as Minister of Military Affairs, guiding the modernization of the Polish military. He created the Border Protection Corps (Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza) a military formation to defend Polands' eastern borders from attacks of Soviet armies. From 1925-1928 Sikorski became Commander of the Military Corp District VI in Lwow, a city of great historical importance imbued with a rich Polish and Jewish cultural heritage.

Polish soldiers KOP
Despite these contributions, Sikorski was dismissed from public service in 1928 by Pilsudski and was
transferred to the Reserves (Sikorski had joined the anti-Pilsudski movement and opposed the semi-dictatorial regime of the Sanacja.) For the next few years Sikorski had withdrawn from politics altogether and spent his time in Paris working with officials of the Ecole Superieure de Guerre and writing numerous books and articles about the scale of future warfare. Sikorski was a visionary and a pioneer of the theor y of the "blitzkrieg". His publications were carefully scrutinized by several countries, in particular by Soviet Russia.

Nazi Blitzkrieg Sept 1, 1939
Soviet infantry invading Poland Sept 17, 1939
The rapid militarization by the Nazi Wehrmacht were to bring these theories to fruition. On 1st September 1939 Germany invaded Poland in a "lightning war" overrunning her armies with overwhelming numbers and fire power. Seventeen days later Soviet armies invaded Poland from the east - the culmination of a secret pact by Hitler and Stalin to partition Poland and destroy the very foundations of her existence. To the world it appeared that Poland had collapsed. But Poland was not yet lost.


Wladylsaw Sikorski had returned to Poland in 1938 ready to be of service however he was refused a military command by then Commander-in-Chief, Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly (successor to Pilsudski). Thousands of Polish armed forces had escaped the German onslaught. By the end of the month, Sikorski too had evacuated Poland escaping through a perilous route from Romania to Paris. Sikorski was at once officially installed as the Prime Minister-in-exile and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish forces, joining President-in-exile Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz, and Stanislaw Mikolajczyk.

But with the Fall of France, Polish forces evacuated once again - this time to England. On June 19, 1940 Prime Minister Sikorski met with Winston Churchill, and pledged to provide Polish forces to fight alongside those of Britain. By August, Sikorski and Churchill signed the Polish-British Military Agreement calling for the creation, and training of the Polish Armed Forces. Most renowned were the Polish pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain the summer of 1940, and whose pilots scored the highest ratio of kills. Most famous was the 303 squadron (the Kosciuszko squadron). At this juncture, Poland became the second largest ally, with troops stationed in Great Britain and the Middle East.

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 in Operation Barbarossa, the dynamics of the war changed significantly. Churchill had been hoping for just such an outcome to curry favor with the Soviets, an ally upon whom the British relied to win the war against the Nazi scourge. It also presented ominous changes to Poland's relationship with Britain, and especially that with Russia. It came as no surprise to Sikorski. He was a pragmatic strategist and knew what the outcome meant. Seeing no other alternative he succumbed to pressure from the British Foreign Office and opened negotiations with the Russians.

In July 1941 General Sikorski and Ivan Maisky agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations between Poland and Russia and by mid-August, the Sikorsky-Maisky Pact was officially signed. The Soviets abrogated the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August of 1939 as null and void, and agreed to the release of tens of thousands of Polish prisoners of war on the basis of an "amnesty" , a condition which was an absurdity considering that Soviets were the aggressors. (The evacuation was fraught with numerous obstacles and took place under the most arduous conditions. Thousands of Poles perished. Those who survived and made it to the Middle East were eventually formed into the 2nd Polish Corps under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders.)

Signing of Sikorski-Maisky Agreement July 1941

Amid the huge numbers of incoming Polish refugees, there was a conspicuous void. Many thousands of Polish officers never showed up, and their absence could not yet be explained. Sikorski was relentless in his attempt to resolve the mystery, but no avail. Stalin provided only flimsy excuses. He assured Sikorski and Anders that all the Polish soldiers had been released but that the Soviets may have "lost track" of some of them in Manchuria.


L-R General Anders, General Sikorski, Stalin, Kujbyszewie

The horrifying truth was discovered in April 1943 when Nazi German forces found the mass graves in Katyn Forest, twelve miles west of Smolensk, Russia. Thousands upon thousands of bodies had been exhumed and examined. They were the remains of the Polish Officers who had disappeared and who had been executed by the Soviet NKVD in 1940, upon Stalin's order.

Russian-Polish relations had always been fragile, but now had reached the breaking point. On April 16, General Sikorski fervently demanded an investigation by the International Red Cross. Ten days later Stalin broke off diplomatic ties with Poland, and in a futile attempt to create a smoke screen, accused the Polish government-in-exile of cooperating with Nazi Germany. (Russian governments have since refused to admit Stalin's culpability for the massacre, that is, until the 1990s).

Exhumed bodies of Polish Officers massacred at Katyn Forest, Russia

Another very contentious issue between Russia and Poland dealt with the subject of Polands eastern border. Stalin had long intended that the border be draw along the Curzon Line, which would sever one third of Poland's vast territory. Sikorski fiercely argued in defense of maintaining Poland's pre-war borders and refused to yield to any pressures. But in the end Poland was betrayed by its closest allies - Great Britain and the United States, both of whom gave Stalin whatever he wanted in exchange for his alliance. (Read about Yalta Conference)
Crash of Sikorski's Liberator July 4, 1943

On July 4, 1943 the Liberator plane carrying Sikorski and several other passengers plunged into the sea sixteen
seconds after takeoff from Gibraltar. All the passengers except for the pilot were killed. The cause of the crash was attributed to "engine trouble". However, a Soviet conspiracy has never been ruled out.

In fact, there were several incidences prior to the fatal crash, in which Sikorski's plane had been tampered with Sikorski was very outspoken and a threat to the new Anglo-American-Soviet alliance, all the more reason for Stalin to want Sikorski out of the way. His death marked a turning point not only for Polish-Anglo relations, but the future of the Polish nation and its people. Sikorski's successor, Stanislaw Mikolajcyzak was considered "persona non grata" and possessed none of the influence nor diplomacy that Sikorski wielded so successfully. To Churchill and Roosevelt, handing Poland over to Stalin became as easy as childs play.

Sikorski's death came as a terrible blow to a nation which hoped and prayed for freedom and independence. Poland's national newspaper, Biuletyn Informacyjny published the news to a grief-stricken country and set July 15, 1943 as a national day of mourning.

The memory of Sikorski is still very much alive in the soul of the Polish people. Since Sikorski's tragic death, statues and monuments of him have been erected throughout the world to preserve his memory. Among the many centres and institutes there is also: the Sikorski Institute, in London, England a memorial plaque at Gibraltar dedicated to Sikorski a statue of Sikorski on Portland Place in London, a stone monument on the grounds of Place Polonaise, in Toronto, Canada, and a seated sculpture of Sikorski (as a young man) at Inowroclaw, Poland. Even a film was produced in 1948, entitled, "The Enemy" and in 2003 the Polish Sejm declared the 60th anniversary of Sikorski's death as "Year of General Sikorski".

That Sikorski's name continues to be omitted from Western history is cause for concern. It is of vital importance for historical accuracy to include the details about Poland, in particular the story of a great man and a great general who had much to teach by example . May the world come to recognize the name Sikorski and understand the true meaning of honour and greatness.


Wladyslaw Sikorski : Poland - History

Posted Saturday, July 5, 2003

[All images added by this website]

London, Friday, July 4, 2003

Sikorski (left) with General Kukiel, Clementine and Winton Churchill and the Polish ambassador Count Raczynski. (Guy Liddell's diary reveals that Kukiel was communicating with the German secret service.)

General Sikorski, the Polish wartime leader, died 60 years ago today. Our correspondent looks at new evidence about his mysterious death

ON JULY 4, 1943, 60 years ago today, a converted Liberator bomber from RAF Transport Command took off from Gibraltar for England. On board was General Wladyslaw Sikorski , Prime Minister of Poland's London-based government in exile and Commander-in-Chief of her armed forces, returning from visiting Polish troops in the Middle East.

The aircraft climbed normally from the runway, levelled off to gather speed but then suddenly lost height and crashed into the harbour. The 62-year-old general died, along with 15 others. The sole survivor was the Czech-born pilot, Max Prchal , who was rescued by an RAF launch. The bodies of five passengers and crew, including Sikorski's daughter, were never found.

I first wrote about Sikorski ten years ago, on the 50th anniversary of his death. One of the wilder theories about the crash was that Prchal had somehow been part of a plot to assassinate him.

Picture added by this website, from David Irving: Accident, The Death of General Sikorski. The crashed plane lies below the surface of the Mediterranean, July 1943

IT IS a sign of the times, I suppose (no pun intended), that the newspaper article does not mention that I published the first definitive book on the crash, Accident: The Death of General Sikorski, in 1967, and that it was in response to a letter from me demanding a reopening of the RAF inquiry that Harold Wilson made his statement to Parliament.
The Times has drawn much of its detail from my book. Far from the newly released records lying "unnoticed for the past few years" I have consistently reviewed each file as it is released, and I wrote a special appendix about the new evidence and Prime Minister Wilson's fears, which I included in Churchill's War, vol.ii I posted this appendix on my website on April 11, 2001 (and the whole volume a few days later).
Ludwik Lubienski was of course one of the many characters whom I interviewed for the book.
One little mystery remains: Piece 34614b in the Foreign Office central files is now titled simply: "Death of General Sikorski". When I first went to see it, in the late 1960s, it was closed, and its original title name had been pasted over in the catalogue ("sanitised") so it could not be read I often wonder what it was originally called.

I found and interviewed a key witness -- Ludwik Lubienski , who had been head of the Polish military mission in Gibraltar at the time of the crash. Now dead, he told me ten years ago how he had personally unfastened the inflated Mae West lifejacket worn by the pilot as he came ashore unconscious in the launch. He had gone to visit Prchal in hospital the next day. To his astonishment, the injured airman strongly denied that he had been wearing the jacket, which he insisted he always kept hanging on the back of his flying seat -- the account he gave to the RAF court of inquiry into the crash days later.

Suspicions that Sikorski had been assassinated simmered throughout and after the war, and came to the boil in 1968 with the staging in London of a play by Rolf Hochhuth , a German writer. Soldiers contained the sensational allegation that none other than Winston Churchill had been part of the plot. Prchal, who died in 1984, was suing the playwright for libel and Harold Wilson 's Labour Government was worried about becoming embroiled in the case and having to make available the inquiry report and other records.

Last week, with the 60th anniversary looming, I decided to check the files on the Sikorski affair at the Public Records Office to see if anything new had emerged in the past decade. Sure enough, I found a welter of Cabinet Office reports from the late Sixties, marked "Top Secret", that had been released under the 30-year rule but had lain unnoticed for the past few years.

The most remarkable revelation they contain is that, contrary to the original inquiry's findings and a statement Wilson made to the Commons early in 1969, there had been a serious lapse in security while Sikorski's aircraft was on the tarmac at Gibraltar, and ample scope for sabotage.

In a briefing paper to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Burke Trend , dated January 24, 1969, Sir Robin Cooper , a former pilot also working in the Cabinet Office, wrote after reviewing the wartime inquiry's findings: "Security at Gibraltar was casual, and a number of opportunities for sabotage arose while the aircraft was there."

Although Sir Robin doubted that sabotage had taken place, or that the pilot had crashed the aircraft deliberately, he goes on to add:

The inquiry's finding about the jammed controls, he wrote, seemed plausible. "But it still leaves open the question of what -- or who -- jammed them. No one has ever provided a satisfactory answer." According to another paper, there were other "curious aspects of the affair", on which the inquiry had thrown no light, "eg, that (the Soviet Ambassador, Ivan) Maisky's aircraft was drawn up beside Sikorski's Liberator in the period immediately before the accident."

By a remarkable coincidence, Maisky ( right ) had also arrived in Gibraltar on the morning of July 4, 1943, on his way to Moscow. His Liberator landed just after 7am -- the time at which, evidence shows, Sikorski's aircraft was left unguarded. Another pitfall for the Government was the fact that the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service's counter-intelligence department for the Iberian Peninsula section from 1941 to 1944 was Kim Philby , the Soviet double-agent who defected in 1963, and later claimed to have been a double-agent since the Forties. Before 1941, Philby served as an instructor with the Special Operations Executive -- which specialised in sabotage behind enemy lines.

The briefing paper reveals a number of other curious details. One of the first Royal Navy divers to examine the wreckage was Lt Commander Lionel "Buster" Crabb . Although Wilson was assured that there was nothing sinister in this, Crabb by 1969 was known as an ex-Navy diver who had disappeared in mysterious circumstances in 1956 while on a secret underwater mission beneath a Soviet cruiser in Portsmouth Harbour. A headless body in a diving suit was found weeks later, amid unconfirmed speculation that Crabb had defected, and his wife was unable to identify the corpse as that of her husband.

In the light of further background Wilson was given, much of which muddies the Sikorski waters, his statement to the Commons on February 11, 1969, now seems, at best, less than frank: "There is no evidence at all that there is any need or reason to re-open the inquiry." He added that the allegations about Churchill's involvement should be "dismissed and brushed aside with the contempt they deserve".

ALLEGATIONS that Britain killed Sikorski have bubbled up from time to time. The playwright Hochhuth told Der Spiegel magazine in October 1967 that he had partly based his play on a story in a book by the Yugoslav politician Milovan Djilas . Stalin had told Djilas to tell his own President Tito to beware: "The British might try to undertake the same kind of operation against him as they had undertaken against Sikorski."

If not Churchill and the British -- and not a shred of evidence has ever emerged that he was behind the plot -- who had the strongest motive for doing away with Sikorski? Certainly the Russians regarded him as a serious troublemaker. By the spring of 1943, Sikorski had been raising the issue of postwar borders with the Soviet Union and had travelled to the USA to lobby support from President Roosevelt .

In April, he had lunched with Churchill in Downing Street, where he brought up the alleged massacre by the Russians of 10,000 Polish officers in the forests of Katyn, near Smolensk in the USSR. Churchill urged caution since the alliance between Stalin and the West was fragile.

Undeterred, Sikorski, without consulting the British Government, called publicly for the International Red Cross to investigate the massacres. A furious Stalin promptly broke off diplomatic relations with the Polish government in exile. His anger was conveyed to Churchill at Chartwell in Kent [ in fact at Chequers ] by an agitated Maisky -- the man whose plane touched down a few weeks later alongside Sikorski's in Gibraltar.

The PRO papers show that Wilson was advised that, "two or three years ago", an unnamed KGB defector had alleged that Sikorski had been murdered by the agency's forerunner, the NKVD. This information was regarded as "extremely delicate" Wilson was warned that "no mention of it should be made publicly".

In Volume IV of his memoirs of the Second World War, Churchill gives a detailed account of Sikorski and the Katyn controversy but, astonishingly, makes no mention of his death. By all accounts, Churchill had a good relationship with the Polish leader. Perhaps the glaring omission tells us nothing. But perhaps it could be a sign that Churchill knew in his heart that Sikorski's fate was sealed, and that he was powerless to intervene.


WWII Polish Leader Wladyslaw Sikorski’s Death Void of Foul Play – Inquest

Warsaw, Poland – A five-year Polish investigation into the unexpected death of WWII Polish leader Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski in 1943 through a plane crash yielded no evidences of foul play, according to an official Monday.

Sikorski was the Polish government in-exile’s Prime Minister that time in London when he suddenly died in a shady plane crash right after it took off from Gibraltar. Wladyslaw Sikorski was there to make an inspection on the Polish troops in Africa while his country was under control of the brutal hands of the Nazis.

A British investigation blamed a blocked altitude rudder as the cause of the crash.

However, Wladyslaw Sikorski’s dispute with Soviet’s leader Joseph Stalin that year over the annihilation of about 20,000 Polish officers who were taken captive by Soviet troops led to the hunch that it was somehow involved with the assassination. A number of Polish historians also believed that the said dispute between the two leaders had irritated the Allies who needed Stalin’s help in keeping the Nazis at bay.

Poland’s National Remembrance Institute, which looks into Nazi and Communist crimes directed against Poles, opened the probe last 2008 to see if Wladyslaw Sikorski’s death really contained evidences that it was instigated by the Soviets.

The investigation went on to examine his body as well as three other Poles who were killed with him in the said crash, cross-examined the witnesses and probed into old files connected to the incident.

A spokesman for the investigators, Andrzej Arseniuk, stated that they found no proofs of committed crime and completely supported the result of the earlier British investigation about the said crash. However, he also added that the Polish probe about the death of Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski can be reopened if new evidences do come out.


Wladyslaw Sikorski : Poland - History

Gdy Sloneczko wyzej.
When the sun is higher, Sikorski is nearer.

These words exemplify the collective aspirations and dreams of the Polish people, in
the man who championed the cause of Polish independence. Wladyslaw Eugenius
Sikorski is remembered as one of the most respected and most successful Polish
Prime Ministers in exile. His struggle for Poland's independence began in 1907 when
Poland was still partitioned by the three great powers Russia, Germany (Prussia),
and Austria. Sikorski joined the underground Polish Socialist Party, and organized
the "Combat Association ", one of many secret resistance movements aimed at
launching an uprising against the Russian Empire.

When World War II broke out Sikorski became Chief of the Military Department in the Polish Committee. Later, as
as Commissioner of the Polish Legions in Krakow ( an army created by Jozef Pilsudski ), he officiated over
recruitment. Pilsudski and Sikorski were eventually interned at Magdeburg, by the Austro-Hungarian army
for their refusal to swear an oath of allegiance to the Austro-Hungarian emperor. Sikorski served with distinction
in World War I, and in the new Polish army during the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921), particularly in the Battle
of Warsaw.

In the Second Polish Republic, Sikorski held the position of Prime Minister (1922-1923), and Minister of Military
Affairs (1923-1924). He was popular among the Polish people for the reforms he instituted, and for improving
Poland's foreign policy initiatives. Sikorski was a democrat, and a staunch supporter of the Sejm (Parliament).
During Pilsudski's coup d'etat in May 1926, Sikorski remained neutral but soon joined the ranks of those who
were opposed to Pilsudski's harsh regime. In 1928, Pilsudski dismissed Sikorski from public service. Since then,
and in the years leading up to World War II, Sikorski resided in Paris, and spent much of his time writing on the
subject of the future of warfare. In his most prominent work, entitled " War in the Future: Its possibilities and
charachter and associated questions of national defence ", Sikorski was the first to introduce the concept of the
Blitzkreig theory. In 1938, as the political situation in Europe was rapidly deteriorating, Sikorski returned to Poland
to serve his country.

When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Sikorski escaped to France, travelling through Rumania
and joined President Raczkiewicz, and Stanislaw Mikolajczyk in Paris, to form the Polish government-in-exile. Tens
of thousands of Polish armed forces, and navy, also escaped to France. Many soldiers went by ship, train, or car
and some even made the perilous journey on foot, or skied across the Carpathian mountains. They were not
refugees, but combattants with one goal in mind - to remobilize and fight for Poland's freedom. The Polish armed
forces regrouped in France and French-mandated Syria. More troops were arriving every day having escaped from
occupied Romania. At that time Poland was the third most powerful ally, showing a military strength of more than
80,000 troops in France alone.

When Marshall Henri Petain capitulated, the armistice he signed stipulated that France was to prevent the
evacuation of Polish troops. The French Commander-in-Chief General Maxine Weygard ordered to Poles to lay
down their weapons. Prime Minister Sikorski refused to capitulate. Within days, he had flown to England and met
with Prime Minister Churchill. On August 5, 1940, they signed a Military Agreement, by which Britain pledged to help
Poland evacuate its' forces from France, and consolidate their armies under the command of the British Eighth Army.
Churchill assured Sikorski, "Tell your army in France that we are their comrades in life and in death. We shall
conquer together or we shall die together.” On Sikorski's command, the Polish military started heading for ports in
southern France, and waited for British and Polish ships to arrive. Polish pilots headed for the airfields but French
authorities had guards posted on the tarmac forbidding the Poles to board the planes. About 75% of the Polish Air
Force was able to make it to England. Of the ground troops, approximately 20,000 troops were able to escape. The
remainder, who had fought for France before she capitulated, were captured by the Nazis, and interned in
concentration camps. England, already home to the exiled governments of five Nazi-occupied countries, now
welcomed a sixth - Poland.

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, it changed the balance of power. The Soviets were
suddenly transformed from the enemy, to that of ally of the West. At the urgings of the British government, Sikorski
began negotiations with Ivan Maisky to re-open diplomatic relations between Poland and Russia, and signed the
Sikorski-Maisky agreement. (Russia subsequently nullified the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement) made with Germany
in August 1939.) According to the Polish-Soviet agreement, Stalin promised to release tens of thousands of Polish
prisoners from Soviet camps. Of the 1.5 million Poles that were deported to the gulag by the Soviets in 1939, only
about 100,000 were released. These men were to become the II Polish Corps, under the command of General
Wladyslaw Anders. Despite Stalin' s agreement to release the Polish prisoners, he ordered his NKVD agents to
prevent as many Polish refugees as possible from reaching the army checkpoints.

Many Poles were ordered off transports in the middle of nowhere, and left stranded as their transports left without
them. Thousands of Poles died in the bitter sub-zero temperatures. Thousands more walked the distance and died
from starvation and exhaustion. Having reached the sanctuary of the army checkpoint the refugees faced more
difficulties under the Soviets. Stalin agreed only to provide enough food rations for about 26,000 refugees - there
were over 100,000 military and civilians. The situation was critical and promised to get worse. General Anders
negotiated for an immediate evacuation of troops from Russian soil, and from there they recouped in the Middle East,
to recover and commence training.

It was apparent to General Anders that over 15,000 Polish officers had not reported for duty, and their whereabouts
were unaccounted for. In the spring of 1943, the German army discovered mass graves in the forests of Katyn where
the bodies of the Polish soldiers were buried. The Germans accused the Russians of having committed the atrocity,
but the Russians denied any responsibility. Sikorski did not tolerate these denials, and on April 16 called for an
investigation by the International Red Cross. On April 26, the Soviets broke off diplomatic relations with Poland,
accusing the Sikorski government of having colluded with the Germans. It was clear that Stalin had his sights on
Poland. In the words of Ambassador Maisky to Churchill, Poland was "a country of 20 millions next door to a country
with 200 millions." It was enough to intimidate Churchill, and he did all he could to apply pressure on Sikorski to give
in to Stalins' demands. Sikorski never gave in, asserting that it was not his mandate to cede any part of Poland's
territory without the consent of the Polish people.

On July 4, 1943, at Gibraltor, Sikorski's plane crashed into the sea seconds after take-off. He was killed together with
his daughter, and several members of the military staff. The sole survivor was the pilot, Eduard Prchal, who Sikorski
had personally selected. Prchal was known for never wearing a life preserver. But this time he did.

A British Court of inquiry investigated the crash of Sikorski's plane and concluded that it was only an accident. But
theories had began to circulate that the crash was caused by sabotage by the Soviets and, or the British. Sikorski's
briefcase was salvaged from the wreckage but was never restored to Polish authorities. Strangely, six weeks before
the crash, an anonymous telephone call was made to the Polish government-in-exile in London, informing them that
Sikorski had died in a plane crash. On two previous occasions, Sikorski's plane had to make an emergency landing
due to mechanical trouble - one in Montreal on November 30,1942. Sabotage was also suspected. With Sikorski out
of the way, the Allies were able to proceed at improving relations with Stalin without further ado. Sikorski's successor,
Stanislaw Mikolajczyk did not have the authority nor influence to challenge Stalin's claims on Poland's eastern
territory. (See Curzon Line)

Stalin called Mikolajczyk's government, an "illegal and self-styled authority" and Churchill lambasted Mikolajczyk in an
effort to force his cooperation. In a final coup de grace, Stalin introduced the Committee of National Liberation in
Poland and promptly recognized it as the only legitimate authority in Poland. Britain, the US and the entire Westen
world obediently followed suit, and recognized the puppet government, revoking recognition of the legitimate Polish
government-in-exile in London. There was nothing left for Mikolajczyk to do but resign.


Postscript: Lech Walesa became the President of Poland in December 1990. After 45 years of Soviet
oppression, Poland was finally free. Walesa officially recognized the legitimacy of the Polish
government-in-exile during World War II, and re-stablished the continuity of the Republic of Poland.

In 2003, the Sejm commemorated the 60th Anniversary of Sikorski's death by declaring 2003 as the
Year of Sikorski.


Wladyslaw Sikorski : Poland - History

The Fourth of July is a very significant day in American history. Nothing can be more important for the nation than its independence. For Polish-Americans, especially for veterans of WWII, the Fourth of July is also a day of remembrance of their commander General Wladyslaw Sikorski.

Gen. Sikorski was one of the leading Polish politicians during WWI and a hero of the Polish-Bolshevik War. After the invasion by Germany and the Soviets on Poland in 1939 he formed the Polish Army in France, which fought bravely against German troops attacking France. And, after the collapse of France he formed the Polish Army in Great Britain and continued the fight for freedom of Poland. He was the commander in chief of the Polish Army and the prime minister of the Polish Government in Exile. He built political relations with Poland’s allies to accomplish his primary goal – regaining an independent Poland – a strong and democratic country!

It was Gen. Sikorski who found the way to pull out tens of thousands of Poles from the hell of Stalin’s gulags. He faced a rebellion of Polish officers who didn’t understand the necessity of keeping part of Poland’s troops in the Soviet Union so as not to give Stalin a free hand in forming an alternative government and army led by Polish communists. He made an enormous political effort trying to build the coalition of all middle European countries (including even Greece and Denmark), as a counterbalance to the big trio’s (Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt) plans to divide the postwar world according to the political interest of only those superpowers.

The massacre of Polish officers in Katyn by the Soviets in 1940, revealed by the Germans in April 1943 triggered enormous political outcry not only among Polish political elites. The aim of Hitler’s propaganda was to break the coalition of the USA, Great Britain and Soviets using Poles. Churchill was afraid that Stalin would use the Katyn crisis not only as a political excuse for breaking relations with the Polish Government in Exile but also for negotiating with Hitler (Churchill needed the Soviet troops fighting the Germans).

Gen. Sikorski asked the International Red Cross for an independent investigation of the Katyn massacre (against advice received from Churchill). Some Polish “politicians” wanted to use this tragic situation to remove Gen. Sikorski from power.

Tadeusz Kisielewski in his book Zamach. Tropem zabojcow generala Sikorskiego (Coup d’etat. On the trace of the assassins of General Sikorski) brings together a lot of information connected to the death of Gen. Sikorski and proves its thesis about assassination of the general. The interview with Antoni Chudzynski, the MI-5 agent and a secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Polish Government in Exile, provided information that Gen. Sikorski was not in the airplane which crashed after the take-off from Gibraltar on July 4, 1943. The journalist conducting this interview concluded that Gen. Sikorski was assassinated in the palace of the gubernator of Gibraltar, and a plane “crash” was a set up to cover the assassination (the interview is available on internet: http://sikorskich. republika.pl/gibraltar.html).

A few months after the death of Gen. Sikorski, during the conference in Teheran, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt decided the new division of the world. Poland was “sold” to Stalin. Polish soldiers were sacrificing their lives fighting for freedom but after WWII they couldn’t even get back to Poland under the communistic regime.

The Katyn massacre has a long political shadow. It was used against the highest rank of Polish politicians. Gen. Sikorski was too independent in his political plans and fight for a strong and independent Poland – so he had to die! In April 10, 2010 the history has been repeated again. How long will we wait for the truth to be revealed?

I felt obligated to write this article not only because of being Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski’s relative but first of all to honor and keep in our memories great Polish patriots and to call for searching for the truth!


8. Honours and awards

  • Cross of Valour – four times
  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour France
  • Order of the Cross of Grunwald, I Class – July 2, 1946, posthumously by the State National Council
  • Cross of Liberty Estonia, Classes I and II Estonia
  • Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold Belgium
  • Order of the White Eagle posthumously in 1943
  • Gold Cross of Merit
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion Czechoslovakia
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta previously awarded the Commanders Cross
  • War Cross – August 1943, posthumously Norway
  • Commanders Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari in 1923 previously awarded the Silver Cross in 1921
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Romania, with spades Romania

Watch the video: Otwarcie wystawy Władysław Sikorski - generał, premier, wódz