POLISH MILITARY UNITS IN THE FRENCH ZONE OF OCCUPATION IN GERMANY (1945–1946) (Polskie oddzialy wojskowe we francuskiej strefie okupacyjnej Niemiec (1945-1946))
This article, which deals with an attempted expansion of the Polish Armed Forces to the French Zone of Occupation in the aftermath of Germany's surrender in 1945, is based on data gathered from various sources in the collections of the Polish Institute and General Wladyslaw Sikorski Museum in London. Brief references to the idea of forming Polish military units in the south-western parts of Germany under French can be found primarily in reports and memos written by liaison officers of the Polish Military Mission in Germany. After the end of the war large numbers of Polish prisoners of war and labourers eligible for conscription still found themselves in Germany. The Polish government in London tried to tap these reserves of manpower to bolster the Polish Armed Forces in the West. New recruits were directed to the Polish 2nd Corps in Italy, but it was not long before the British command put the brakes on any expansion of the Polish forces. It was then that the Poles tried to find a place for the newly-formed units with the French army of occupation. By the end of 1945 three Polish battalions and a few smaller units were collaborating with the French. However, in 1946 a political decision made in Paris dashed all hopes of an agreement: members of the Polish units were ordered to remove all signs which declared their national origins or allegiance. As a result some Polish troops moved on to the American Zone and were incorporated into the Polish Auxiliary Guard Companies, some enlisted with Groupement des Auxilieres Étrangeres, organized by the French, and the rest sought employment in civilian DIP camps. The article also mentions the creation in the French Zone of Polish military units under the auspices of the Communist-led government in Warsaw. These were the only Polish units that returned to Poland from the West without having to give up their arms.
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