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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


10 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!

  5. 5
    Peter says:

    In November 1943, the Big Three (USSR, USA, and the UK) met at the Tehran Conference. President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill officially agreed that the eastern borders of Poland would roughly follow the Curzon Line. The Polish government was not a party to this decision made in secret and under cover of a press release claiming that \We await the day, when all nations of the world will live peacefully, free of tyranny, according to their national needs and conscience\. The resulting loss of the Kresy, or \eastern territories\, approximately 48% of Poland's pre-war territory, to the Soviet Union is seen by the London Poles in exile as another \betrayal\ by their Western \Allies\.

  6. 6
    Peter says:

    - Warsaw Uprising:
    Lack of outside support during the Warsaw Uprising.
    Since the establishment of the Polish government-in-exile in Paris and then in London, the military commanders of the Polish army were focusing most of their efforts on preparation of a future all-national uprising against Germany. Finally, the plans for Operation Tempest were prepared and on August 1, 1944 the Warsaw Uprising started. The Uprising was an armed struggle by the Polish Home Army to liberate Warsaw from German occupation and Nazi rule.
    Despite the fact that Polish and later Royal Air Force (RAF) planes flew missions over Warsaw dropping supplies from 4 August on, the United States Air Force (USAF) planes did not join the operation.

  7. 7
    Peter says:

    - Yalta
    The Yalta conference initiated the era of Soviet domination of Central and Eastern Europe, which lasted until the end of the Cold War in early 1990s and left bitter memories of Western betrayal and Soviet dominance in the collective memory of the region. To many Polish Americans the Yalta conference \constituted a betrayal\ of Poland and the Atlantic Charter. \After World War II,\

  8. 8
    Decima Wraxall says:

    It was a disgrace that the Polish 303 Squadron were banned from the Victory Parade, whatever the reason. Without their ferocity and almost suicidal courage in the skies of England in 1940, the outcome of the Battle of Britain could have been entirely different. They took the fight right up to the enemy, about 100 yards away, making the Hun a perfect target, and broke up formations by sheer bravado. Unlike the RAF pilots of the time, many of whom had only received two weeks training before being let loose on the enemy, the Poles had received the finest training in a Flying Academy and had some prior experience. The inexperienced young RAF guys were dying at the rate of about a hundred a week at the time.

  9. 9
    Paul (Pawel) says:

    When I first learned about the fact Poles were not allowed to participate in the 1946 Victory Parade I was totally disgusted.My father was a regular Polish Air Force Officer who escaped from Poland, via France sand then on to England where he navigated Wellington Bombers. My dad was shot down and became a GUEST of the German Government. He was MURDERED after escaping from Stalag Luft 111.

    If it was not for the 'CONTINENTALS' you Brits could spreken en Deutsch.

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