Polska Siła Zbrojna

Royal Polish Army contemptuously nicknamed die Polnische Wehrmacht by Imperial Germany (Polish: Polska Siła Zbrojna) was a military formation created during World War I in direct response to Piłsudski's refusal to swear an oath of allegiance to Germany.[1] It was intended as the armed forces of a puppet Kingdom of Poland envisioned by the Prussian Mitteleuropa Plan. The results of the recruiting campaign were dismal.[2] The Polska Siła Zbrojna was nevertheless established, as part of the German Army and under complete German command. The commander-in-chief of the Polska Siła Zbrojna became general-governor Hans Hartwig von Beseler, while the de facto commander was General der Infanterie Felix von Barth, head of the training branch.[3]

Uniform of lieutenant of Polnische Wehrmacht
Polnische Wehrmacht Chief of Staff Tadeusz Jordan-Rozwadowski in an Austro-Hungarian military uniform, 1918

The Polska Siła Zbrojna was created on 10 April 1917, as a result of the Act of 5th November of 1916 and the creation of Kingdom of Poland. The backbone of the formation were the soldiers of the Polish Legions, fighting together with the Austro-Hungarian Army against Russia.

As a result of the Oath Crisis of July 1917, 1/4 of the soldiers of the Polish Legions declined to pledge loyalty to the German Kaiser. Approximately 15,000 of them were confined in internment camps in Beniaminów and Szczypiorno, while almost 3,000 were drafted to the Austro-Hungarian Army. The planned force of 50,000 which out of the 70,000 force happen and declare loyalty to the kaiser. After the command of the unit was transferred to the Polish Regency Council on 19 October 1918, the number soon reached 9,000. After Poland declared her independence on 11 November 1918, the Polnische Wehrmacht became the basis of the newly formed Polish Army.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ David G. Williamson (2011), Poland Betrayed: The Nazi-Soviet Invasions of 1939 Stackpole Books, page 3. ISBN 0811708284
  2. ^ Jesse Curtis Kauffman (2008), Sovereignty and the Search for Order in German-occupied Poland, 1915-1918 ProQuest, page 61. ISBN 0549846204
  3. ^ Jerzy Jan Lerski (1996), Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945 Greenwood Publishing, page 462. ISBN 0313260079