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

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 Clement Attlee 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
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


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

  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. 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.

    • 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. 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. Anonymous says:

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

  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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  10. Barry Cunliffe says:

    Jon Guttman, Winston Churchill’s government lost the election in July 1945. So how could he be responsible. I think you will find that the Labour government prevented the Polish from marching after bowing to pressure from the Russians.

  11. Barry Cunliffe says:

    Actually, if you knew your history you would know that part of Churchill’s loss in popularity politically was that he was of the view that the Allies should have gone to war against Russia following their land grab in Eastern Europe.

  12. Barry Cunliffe says:

    By the way, the victory parade/celebration too place on 8 June 1946.

  13. Barry Cunliffe says:

    Reading you answer to this question again, Jon Guttman, your answer is absolute BS. Where did you learn your history?

    • Steve says:

      Not from the biased and re jerked rubbish that is on your shelf.. that’s for sure. Use Wikipedia arrogant englishman. Learn the truth and go to your bed with your head held in shame.

  14. dktrdktr says:

    If any country can be declared one of the true losers of WWII, rather than one of the victors, it has to be Poland. Invaded by both Germany and the USSR, betrayed and abused by England, the US and USSR and generally flattened by battle, the Poles had little to celebrate at the end of WWII. Now why they weren’t there, I don’t know; but they certainly had nothing to celebrate in 1946 except that the fighting was finally over.

    • Barry Cunliffe says:

      Betrayed and abused by England?

      • dktrdktr says:

        Absolutely! Having declared war on Germany based on their rash promises to Poland, England and France stood by and did nothing when they could have while Germany’s Western front was almost completely denuded of armed forces for the Polish campaign. England then conceded Poland to Stalin in the end-stages of the war producing 46 years of misery for the Poles relieved only by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      • Barry Cunliffe says:

        An incredibly distorted and subjective view of the reality.

      • szydan says:

        Barry Cunliffe – this can be viewed in a bit more broader context – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_betrayal

      • Barry Cunliffe says:

        All subjective opinion, which in OK but do not judge history with hindsight. At the start of the second world war GB was not in a position to take on Germany and/or Russia militarily as is clearly shown by the events. And the views and intentions of Churchill are well documented, only the USA had the resources and political influence to continue in 1945, GB was bankrupt and ravaged by the war. Churchill was kicked out of power immediately in 1945.

        All views can have equal merit, but one thing is true,GB bankrupted itself twice and gave the lives of its men and women, that cannot be denied.

      • Steve says:

        Nor can the destruction of Europe and the holocaust of millions of Jewish people and Polish people.. all innocent! All of Europe lost their lives and wives and children. Not just england you dozy fool… excuses excuses!!

      • Steve says:

        Yes! Betrayed and abused exactly!

      • Ann M says:

        Another version from Polish soldiers that fought the battle is English anger that the Poles wouldn’t let the English raise their flag as the Poles won the battle and were waiting for their flag to be brought there and to be raised first

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