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Why were there no Polish troops in the London Victory Celebration?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: November 27, 2012 
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Good Day

Great Britain declared war on Germany September 3, 1939, in the defense of Poland. Yet, in 1946 with the London Victory Celebration after the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II, there were no Polish Armed Forces represented. Polish forces fought valiantly along side the British during the war—consider what happened during the battle of Monte Cassino and which troops finally captured the abbey at great cost to themselves.

My question: why were the Polish forces not represented? Was the friendship of that blood-stained dictator Stalin and his phony Polish government more important to Britain?

Thank You in Advance.

R. Smoot

? ? ?

Dear Mr. Smoot,  

It seems to me you answered your own rhetorical question. Yes, I'm afraid the exclusion of the Polish forces-in-exile was largely a diplomatic sop by a Winston Churchill unwilling to start a new war with Josef Stalin over Poland's fate and the general division of postwar Europe into spheres of influence so soon after the war with Germany. Ironically (or not), the Polish First Army, which had participated in the taking of Berlin as a component within the Soviet Army, did participate in the victory parade in Moscow.  



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


5 Responses to “Why were there no Polish troops in the London Victory Celebration?”

  1. 1
    John R. Woodard says:

    Were their not Polish troops serving in allied commands tha were honored with these commands when the war ended?


  2. 2
    Larry C. says:

    Other than the answers above, the Brits cannot handle the fact that someone is better than they are. Squadron 303 (a Polish unit) which fought in the Battle of Britain and had the highest kill numbers of any allied squadron during the war was specifically disallowed to participate.
    Go to the British War museum and you will think that the Brits won the war single handedly without anyone’s' help. There is no acknowledgement of the Canadians and very little said about the US troops and flyers.
    Another factor is that at the top of the British government were several pro-communist if not outright communist. This was proven later by the Brits themselves.

    • 2.1
      Joe Long says:

      I thought that the decision to exclude the Polish troops in the London Victory Parade was not made by Winston Churchill but the Labour Party. Mr. Churchill gave a speech to The House of Commons, three days before the Victory Parade, stating the exclusion of Polish forces was wrong. Churchill had lost the 1945 election to the Labor Party and was considered the opposition party at the time of the parade.

  3. 3
    Larry C. says:

    I believe that you are correct. The Labor Party was loaded with Soviet sympathizers if not outright communists. That said, Churchill, in spite of his speech was not sympathetic to the Polish either.

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    #$%@ Churchill. If Polish Army not resisted Wehrmacht for over a month, they can even lose the war!

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