© 2016 – Routledge
The "Polish Question" was both the immediate cause of the Second World War, and because of Stalin’s imposition of Soviet rule on Poland at the end of the war a cause of the Cold War which followed. How to resolve the "Polish Question" was a theme which affected international relations and planning for the post-war world throughout the war, and complicating the picture hugely was the Polish government-in-exile, which was led until 1943 by General Sikorski based in London, which had its own very strong views on the future for Poland, but which was divided by intense factional in-fighting. This book examines the Polish government-in-exile, discusses its internal factions and why they existed, and assesses the government-in-exile’s wider impact. It shows how Polish exile diplomacy was more important than hitherto recognised in shaping Allied wartime policy, how the Polish exiles’ tenacious clinging to ideals of Polish nationhood shaped their policies, though not in a united way, and how Sikorski struggled, controversially in the teeth of opposition from some of his colleagues, and ultimately unsuccessfully, to establish a Polish military presence in the east alongside the Red Army, with the aim of establishing a future Poland which would be independent, but an ally, though not a subordinate, of the Soviet Union. Overall, the book demonstrates the importance of the Polish exiles in maintaining the Polish sense of nationhood, with its attendant obsession with history, martyrdom and defining insecure borders.
Preface Introduction: Historical Legacy: The Rise and Fall of Independent Poland 1. Fresh Start: The Government-in-Exile and the Phoney War (September 1939 - May 1940) 2. La Débâcle: Sikorski, the Exiles and the Fall of France (June 1940 - May 1941) 3. False Dawn: The Polish-Soviet Agreement and its Aftermath (June - August 1941) 4. Broken Promise: The Demise of Sikorski’s Eastern Front (August 1941 - August 1942) 5. Downfall: The Collapse of Sikorski’s Policies, August 1942 - July 1943 Conclusions: Bitter Fruit Notes Bibliography