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January 19, 1945

Order to dissolve the Home Army given by Home Army Commander-in-Chief General Leopold Okulicki

Historical context

The first underground groups in German-occupied Poland began to be established as early as in the autumn of 1939. The Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), an underground army subordinate to the Polish government in exile and the Commander-in-Chief, took its final shape in February 1942. Its Commanders-in-Chief in chronological order were: Stefan Rowecki ‘Grot’ (arrested in June 1943), Tadeusz Komorowski ‘Bór’ (in captivity since October 1944), and Leopold Okulicki ‘Niedźwiadek’ (appointed in January 1945). The Home Army dealt with military training, obtainment of weapons, communications, information, propaganda, etc. The AK unit for sabotage operations, special operations, and carrying out death sentences on representatives of the German repression apparatus was the Directorate of Diversion (Kierownictwo Dywersji, Kedyw), established in January 1943. The Home Army was one of the largest military organizations in occupied Europe, with the number of its members reaching approx. 390,000 in the spring of 1944.     

The AK’s political situation became more complicated when in January 1944 the Red Army crossed the border of the Second Republic of Poland in pursuit of the retreating German troops. The Polish government in exile had not maintained official diplomatic relations with the USSR since the spring of 1943, when it learned the truth about the Katyn massacre. Consequently, the Home Army had acted against the Germans without consulting the Red Army. Within the framework of Operation Tempest the Home Army had organized local uprisings in the rear of the German army since January 1944. Their objective was for the AK to act as host toward the Red Army on the liberated terrains. The Soviets used the AK’s support, but when the fighting was over they disarmed the Polish detachments and arrested their commanders, while the AK soldiers were either deported to camps in the USSR or incorporated into the Polish People’s Army (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie), established by Stalin.

Initially, the capital of Poland was not included in the plans for Operation Tempest, but when the Red Army was nearing Warsaw the Home Army command decided to stage an uprising there. The Warsaw Uprising broke out on 1 August 1944 and ended 63 days later in a fiasco.

Until December 1944 Polish territory east off the River Vistula was occupied by the Red Army. On 31 December Stalin formed the puppet Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland. Faced with the new Soviet occupation the Polish government in London deemed it necessary to reorganize the underground structures, as actions against the Soviet occupier and the communist authorities, which he established, required a different strategy and different methods. The Home Army was officially dissolved on 19 January 1945. One of the reasons for that was to prohibit the Soviets from accusing the AK of hostile activity and persecuting its soldiers as members of a military organization deemed illegal by the Soviets and the communist authorities subordinate to them. Most AK soldiers were gradually demobilized. As the same time began the formation of the cadre underground structures, which were then transformed into an organization called Freedom and Independence (Wolność i Niezawisłość).

Document text

ŻOŁNIERZE SIŁ ZBROJNYCH W KRAJU  !
 
Postępująca szybko ofensywa sowiecka doprowadzić może do zajęcia w krótkim czasie całej Polski przez Armię Czerwoną. Nie jest to jednak zwycięstwo słusznej sprawy, o którą walczymy od roku 1939. W istocie bowiem - mimo stwarzanych pozorów wolności - oznacza to zmianę jednej okupacji na drugą, prowadzoną pod przykrywką Tymczasowego Rządu Lubelskiego, bezwolnego narzędzia w rękach rosyjskich.
 
Żołnierze! Od 1 września 1939 r. Naród Polski prowadzi ciężką i ofiarną walkę o jedyną Sprawę, dla której warto żyć i umierać: o swą wolność i wolność człowieka w niepodległym Państwie.
 
Wyrazicielem i rzecznikiem Narodu i tej idei jest jedyny i legalny Rząd Polski w Londynie, który walczy bez przerwy i walczyć będzie nadal o nasze słuszne prawa.
 
Polska, według rosyjskiej receptury, nie jest tą Polską, o którą bijemy się szósty rok z Niemcami, dla której popłynęło morze krwi polskiej i przecierpiano ogrom męki i zniszczenie Kraju. Walki z Sowietami nie chcemy prowadzić, ale nigdy nie zgodzimy się na inne życie, jak tylko w całkowicie suwerennym, niepodległym i sprawiedliwie urządzonym społecznie Państwie Polskim.
 
Obecne zwycięstwo sowieckie nie kończy wojny. Nie wolno nam ani na chwilę tracić wiary, że wojna ta skończyć się może jedynie zwycięstwem jedynie słusznej Sprawy, tryumfem dobra nad złem, wolności nad niewolnictwem.
 
Żołnierze Armii Krajowej !
 
Daję Wam ostatni rozkaz. Dalszą swą pracę i działalność prowadźcie w duchu odzyskania pełnej niepodległości Państwa i ochrony ludności polskiej przed zagładą. Starajcie się być przewodnikami Narodu i realizatorami niepodległego Państwa Polskiego.
W tym działaniu każdy z Was musi być dla siebie dowódcą. W przekonaniu, że rozkaz ten spełnicie, że zostaniecie na zawsze wierni tylko Polsce oraz by Wam ułatwić dalszą pracę - z upoważnienia Pana Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej zwalniam Was z przysięgi i rozwiązuję szeregi AK.
 
W imieniu służby dziękuję Wam za dotychczasową ofiarną pracę

Wierzę głęboko, że zwycięży nasza Święta Sprawa, że spotkamy się w prawdziwie wolnej i demokratycznej Polsce.

Niech żyje Wolna, Niepodległa, Szczęśliwa Polska.
 

Dowódca Sił Zbrojnych w Kraju
/-/ Niedźwiadek
Gen. Bryg.
M.p. 19 stycznia 1945.

© Muzeum Kierownictwa Dywersji Armii Krajowej
SOLDIERS OF THE ARMED FORCES FOR POLAND!
 
The swiftly approaching Soviet offensive might quickly lead to the Red Army’s capture of the entire Polish territory. This is not, however, a victory of the just cause which we have been fighting for since 1939. For in fact, despite the pretense of freedom, this situation means exchanging one occupation for another, under cover of the Lublin Provisional Government, which is a listless tool in Russian hands.
 
Soldiers! Since 1 September 1939 the Polish Nation has been fighting fiercely and with devotion for the only Cause worth living and dying for: for its freedom and the freedom of man in our independent State.
 
The expresser and representative of the Nation and this ideal is the only legal Polish government in London, which has fought nonstop and shall continue to fight for our legitimate rights.
 
The Poland made according to the Russian formula is not the one we have been fighting for against the Germans for over five years now and for which Poles have not only shed their blood, but also endured great agony and the destruction of their Country. Though we do not wish to fight against the Soviets we shall never consent to a life other than in a truly sovereign, independent Poland, justly governed by its citizens.

This Soviet victory does not end the war. Not even for a moment can we lose faith that this war can end in a victory of the only just Cause, a triumph of good over evil and freedom over slavery.
Soldiers of the Home Army!
 
I give you my final order. Work and act in the spirit of reinstatement of Poland’s full independence and protection of the life of the Polish population. Try to serve as guards of our Nation and executioners of Polish independence. In this activity each of you must be their own commander. Convinced that you shall carry out this order and that you shall remain forever faithful to Poland only, and also to facilitate your future work, I hereby release you from the oath and dissolve the AK ranks on behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland.
 
On behalf of our service I thank you for your devoted work so far.
I firmly believe that our Sacred Cause shall prove victorious and that we shall meet in a truly free and democratic Poland.
Long live Free, Independent, and Happy Poland.
 
Commander of the Armed Forces for Poland
 
Brigadier General
Place of stay, 19 January 1945
 
Translated © by Jerzy Giebułtowski
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