Despite the alliance with France and England, Poland is practically alone on military terrain against the overwhelming Nazi army (for military operations, see World War, in this second App., I, pp. 1130-31). On 17 September the remnants of the Polish army are surrounded in every point where resistance still continues. On this same day the entry of Soviet troops into Poland takes place: which practically leads to the end of the military campaign of September 1939. And on the same day, September 17, the President of the Republic Mošcicki and the entire Polish government cross into Kuty the Romanian border, leaving Poland almost completely occupied. The following day, Marshal Rydz-Śmigly also repairs in Romania. On 29 September, the first act of Polish politics outside the territory of the republic is carried out in Romania by President Ignacy Mościcki, who transfers the powers to Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz: the latter, having reached France, then entrusts the post or to form the first Polish government that emigrated to gen. Wladysiaw Sikorski (6 October 1939). Sikorski also assumes the post of Supreme Commander (7 November) and prepares to organize Polish military units in France.
In the meantime, the consequences of the military catastrophe are developing in Poland. German troops and Soviet troops stand facing each other along a demarcation line established between the two occupation zones (28 September). On 10 October a Lithuanian-Soviet pact is signed in Moscow whereby the USSR recognizes Lithuanian sovereignty over Wilno; the Foreign Minister of the Polish emigrant government, Zaleski, protests against this agreement (18 October). On 12 October Hitler orders the establishment of a “General Governorate” for the occupied Polish territories. The office of Governor General based in Krakow is entrusted to Reichsminister H. Frank. In the eastern territories of the Polish republic at the same time elections are held between the Ukrainian and Belarusian populations, under which the Soviet regime is introduced. The definitive separation of these eastern territories of Poland was subsequently sanctioned by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in the session of 1 and 2 December 1939. Minister Zaleski also protests against this decision in Paris. The year 1939 ends in Poland with the first tragic experiences of the Nazi occupation. On 26 December, the first mass execution takes place in Wawrza, near Warsaw. Hundreds and hundreds of similar massacres will have to repeat themselves in the following years of the Nazi occupation, in the towns and villages of Poland and in the concentration and extermination camps set up by the Hitlerite authorities. Nazi domination will express itself more and more clearly in a colossal system of extermination. In the fields of annihilation (Vernichtungslager) millions of men, women and children are shot, ended up in gas chambers and crematory units. The annihilation camps of Oświącim (Auschwitz), Majdanek, Treblinka, Bełżec, Sobibór, Chełmno become sadly known in Poland. The Polish history of the war years takes place against the backdrop of this martyrdom. The Poles therefore resist and fight even after the end of the campaign in September 1939, both in Poland and on the other fronts of the war. Already on January 4, 1940 the gen. Sikorski signs an agreement in Paris for the constitution of a Polish army in France, which will then fight until the French collapse. After the Dunkirk disaster and the occupation of Paris on 19 June 1940, Sikorski met in London with the new head of the British government, Winston Churchill.
The Polish government moves to England, the Polish army from France is transported to Scotland. The major problems that the Sikorski government now has to face are relations and contacts with the clandestine political life, which is developing in Poland, and relations with the Soviet Union. To avoid a detachment between the country and the Polish government, London is appointed in Poland a “delegate of the government” (delegat rządu).
Polish clandestine political life during the occupation (1939-45) is, out of necessity, dominated by the organization of the armed struggle against the Germans. Partisan formations spontaneously arise in large numbers. In January 1940, 127 secret military organizations were already operating in Poland. As the contacts between the emigrant government and the country improve, the armed resistance to the Germans takes on a more unitary aspect. The organization SZP (Służba Zwycigstwu Polski “Service for the victory of Poland”), created in October 1939, joins the organization ZWZ (Związek Walki Zbrojnej, “Union of Armed Struggle”) under the orders of gen. Sosnkowski who resides in London. The commander of the SZP, Rowecki (aka “Grot”) first became commander of the Warsaw sector of the ZWZ and then supreme commander of the underground armed forces in Poland. The Union of Armed Struggle (ZWZ) is transformed on July 15, 1942, by order of Sikorski, into the “National Army” (Armia Krajowa, AK), which gathers all the underground resistance forces, led by representatives of the Polish government in London. Alongside them, the “Political Committee of Understanding” (Polityczny Komitet Porozumiewawczy), formed by four parties, gathers all the political forces of the underground loyal to the government. which gathers all the underground resistance forces, led by representatives of the Polish government in London. Alongside them, the “Political Committee of Understanding” (Polityczny Komitet Porozumiewawczy), formed by four parties, gathers all the political forces of the underground loyal to the government. which gathers all the underground resistance forces, led by representatives of the Polish government in London. Alongside them, the “Political Committee of Understanding” (Polityczny Komitet Porozumiewawczy), formed by four parties, gathers all the political forces of the underground loyal to the government.
The problem of relations with the Soviet Union is approached by Sikorski with a desire for a clear and lasting understanding, especially after the start of the Russo-German war. However, Sikorski’s position is not shared by some of his cabinet colleagues, who are decidedly anti-Soviet. On July 28, 1941, the ministers Sosnkowski, Zaleski and Seyda, hostile to the signing of a Polish-Soviet agreement, resigned. However, on 30 July the pact was also signed in London. It is decided to create a Polish army in the USSR, whose command is entrusted to gen. Władyslaw Anders. This army was later to form the essential nucleus of the Polish anti-communist emigration. The gen. Anders, organized his forces in the USSR, then directed them, for lack of armament and equipment, through thea British Army) in Africa and Italy. The Polish-Soviet rapprochement, desired and carried out by Sikorski in 1941, was however neither maintained nor developed thereafter. On the occasion of the discovery of the massacre of Polish officers in Katyn, relations between the two countries became tense, until on April 26, 1943 the USSR decided to break off relations with the Polish government in London. On July 4, 1943, gen. Sikorski perishes in a plane crash near Gibraltar. He is succeeded as prime minister by Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, while the post of supreme commander is assumed by gen. Sosnkowski.