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Government in Exile

While the AK and AL cooperated in local matters, political factions disagreed, sparred and fought for control or dominance (Davies 1981; Nowak, 1983). The AK was in direct contact with the Delegatura or Home Delegation who administrated the whole of the underground movement. Many of the pre-war politicians and administrators had fled to Rumania and then to London via France. General Sikorski formed the Government in Exile and became the symbol of resistance to Nazism. Policy was managed by the Consultative Political Committee (PKP), which had representatives supporting the process of political consultation and attempts in convergence of ideology.

Sikorski's strength lay in his ability as prime minister and head of armed forces to manage the various political and military factions. After Sikorski's death, his military successor General Kazimierz Sosnkowski surrounded himself with pre-war supporters of Pilsudski. The new premier, Stanislaw Mikolajczyk leader of the Peasants Party, had an intense dislike of Pilsudski's cronies or even that era of politics. Even the famous courier Jan Nowak found dealing with the military and political intrigue in London interfered with his own missions. The level of infighting may have caused Churchill and his team of advisors like Hugh Dalton (Head of SOE) to be less generous in funding and supporting the underground army despite their special status in London. Other factors like distance and availability of arms and personnel or even suitability of aircraft may have sidelined Polish projects in favour of mainland Europe and the Balkans.

The Teheran Conference was the nemesis for the Bolshevik defeat in 1921. Stalin demanded that Poland would move its frontiers to the Curzon Line (boundary proposed by Lord Curzon in 1920 which follows the River Bug) in the reorganization of post war Europe. Woodward (1971) saw the Teheran Conference as a success for Stalin as Poland would be subservient politically and geographically to Russia. The 'Iron Curtain' had been created and the foundation of the 'Cold War'. Sosnkowski saw a military solution would settle for a 'greater' Poland and felt Mikolajczyk was no match for Churchill or Stalin and would settle for less (Nowak, 1983). Churchill saw that Soviet influence in post war Central and Eastern Europe would be negotiable with Britain sidelined along with the Government in Exile. The Eastern frontier became a major issue between the Poles and Churchill who would not support the demands for Greater Poland. Even when Zygmunt Berezowski, leader of the National Democratic Party headed up a delegation smuggled out of Poland in April 1944, Churchill would not yield (Nowak, 1983; Stafford, 1997).

Sosnkowski grew suspicious of the allies and concluded shift in policy and support in other war zones like Yugoslavia would also impact upon both military and political support for Poland (Nowak, 1983). The final betrayal was worked out at Yalta. At the close of the war, all Polish war personnel would become in effect 'mercenaries' and the country trimmed to suit Soviet demands.

SOE in the Allied chain of command March 1944. (Source: Foot, 1990)
The Grand Alliance 1941-1945
(Source: Davies, 1981)

Tarrant Rushton Airfield
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Women of the SOE

The Warsaw Rising

The Polish Air Force - Pictures with Questions

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