May 20 we observe the 140 anniversary of the birth of General Wladyslaw Sikorski.
This brilliant Polish strategist and commander in the 1920 Battle of Warsaw (he led the formed Polish 5 Army) got his early training amidst Jozef Pilsudzki's Polish Legions. Serving as Prime Minister from 1922-1923, Minister of Military Affairs (1923-1924)-General Sikorski worked successfully to solidify a new Polish-French strategic alliance. Anticipating Hitler's invasion of Poland-Polish officials and planners envisioned a Polish government in exile. The city of Angers in France was chosen as its seat and General Sikorski started operations as Chief of the Polish Armed forces in the West. In 1940 France chose to surrender to Hitler. Gen. Sikorski refused French Marshal Petain's proposal to capitulate. The Polish government moved to its London HQ. From here as Polish PM and C-in-Chief, Sikorski would travel to Moscow in the aftermath of the German Barbarossa operation-invasion of the Soviet Union. The August 1941 Sikorski-Maiski Pact saved thousands of Polish lives and enabled the formation of Polish Armed forces in the East. They would become the backbone of Poland's 2 Corps. General Sikorski flew to America in 1941/1942, several times for talks with President Roosevelt. He stopped in Chicago and came to see our Polish Museum of America. In 1943 Gen. Sikorski inspected Polish troops deployed to the Middle East, like the Independent Carpathian Riflesman Brigade stationed at Tobruk. General Sikorski blamed the Russian dictator Stalin for ordering the assassination of tens of thousands of Polish Officers and intellectuals at Katyn Forest and other Russian locations. He died in a mysterious plane crash off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4, 1943. We salute Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski's sacrifice for a free and strong Poland!
Photos display PMA Library book with General Sikorski decorating his Polish heroes.