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

11/27/2012 • Ask Mr. History

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
World History Group
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