Historical calendar

The history of the Poles' Odyssey is a chronological sequence of events and actions in the years 1939-1947.

Historical calendar

    • 1939

    • 1-Sep-39

      Nazi Germany invades Poland.

    • 3-Sep-39

      France and Great Britain declare war on Nazi Germany.

    • 3-Sep-39

      Franco-Polish agreement was signed to form a Polish army division in France

    • 12-Sep-39

      Anglo-French Supreme War Council meeting in Abbeville with France represented by prime minister Edouard Daladier and Britain by PM Neville Chamberlain (decided not to send military support to Poland).

    • 16-Sep-39

      Polish Navy Submarine Orzeł escapes from internment from Talinn to Great Britain

    • 17-Sep-39

      Soviet invasion on Poland. The Polish government and Polish Army units start to evacuate to Romania.

    • 22-Sep-39

      German–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk.

    • 28-Sep-39

      Germany and Soviet Union sign the German–Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty establishing the new Soviet-German border.

    • 30-Sep-39

      Polish Government-in-Exile is established in France. General Sikorski becomes Prime Minister-in-exile and  Commander-in-Chief  Władysław Raczkiewicz becomes the President of Poland in exile. After Hitler's invasion of France, the government moves to Great Britain in 1940.

    • 1939-Nov-01 - 02

      Supreme Soviet of the USSR issues a decree approving annexation of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus (eastern Polish lands invaded by the Red Army after September 17) to the USSR.

    • 11-Nov-39

      The French 2nd Infantry Division is born

    • 18-Nov-39

      Anglo-Polish agreement is signed in London under which the Polish Navy would fight alongside the British Royal Navy, and be subordinated to the operational control of the British Admiralty.

    • 5-Dec-39

      The Council of People's Commissars of the USSR adopts a resolution that ordered the NKVD to carry out the deportation action on the Polish population from the territories of Western Belarus and Western Ukraine.

    • 1940

    • 4-Jan-40

      Franco-Polish agreement is signed to form a Polish army  in France

    • 15-Jan-40

      The Polish Independent Highland Brigade is formed

    • 10-Feb-40

      First mass deportation of 140,000 Poles from the Eastern Poland invaded by the USSR to Siberia.


    • 5-Mar-40

      The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) agrees to murder Polish prisoners of war held in the Soviet camps at Kozelsk, Starobelsk and Ostashkov as well as Polish prison inmates held by the NKVD on the pre-war eastern provinces of the Republic of Poland. This genocidal decision exterminated about 22 thousand Polish citizens.

    • 27-Mar-40

      The Polish Montpellier Squadron, the first Polish Air Force in France is ready for combat

    • 12 - 13.04.1940

      Second mass deportation amassing 61 thousand Poles from the Eastern Poland invaded by the USSR to Siberia.

    • 5-Jun-40

      Polish Independent Highland Brigade fights in the Battles of Narvik

    • 16-Jun-40

      The broadcast speech of the Prime Minister-in-exile and Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sikorski informing soldiers to evacuate to Great Britain after the fall of France

    • 28-Jun-40

      Order to form the first no 300 Polish Bomber Squadron in Great Britain

    • 29-Jun-40

      Third mass deportation of 80 thousand Poles from the Eastern Poland invaded by the USSR to Siberia

    • 13-Jul-40

      The first Polish Rifle Brigade forms in Biggar under the command of Gen. Gustaw Paszkiewicz, the 2nd Rifle Brigade forms in Douglas, commanded by Gen. Rudolf Dreszer

    • 1940

    • 20-Jun-41

      Fourth mass deportation of 90 thousand Poles from the Eastern Poland invaded by the USSR to Siberia

    • 22-Jun-41

      Nazi Germany and their allies invade USSR thus launching the codename Operation “Barbarossa”.

    • 30-Jul-41

      Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile Gen. Władysław Sikorski and the USSR ambassador in London Ivan Maisky sign an interstate agreement between Poland and the Soviet Union. The Soviet authorities grant “amnesty” to Polish citizens: political prisoners and exiles detained in the USSR in prisons and Gulag camps. As a result legal means are obtained to release Polish detainees and use them to form the Polish Armed Forces in the USSR.

    • 4-Aug-41

      After being detained in Moscow prison since February 1940, Władysław Anders is released. (December 1939 on he was held in the Lviv prison, after having been arrested by the NKVD.)

    • 10-Aug-41

      Władysław Anders is appointed commander of the Polish Armed Forces in the Soviet Union and is promoted to General.

    • 12-Aug-41

      Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet issues a decree granting amnesty to all Polish citizens deprived of their freedom on Soviet territory.

    • 21-Aug-41

      Polish Independent Highland Brigade fights in the Siege of Tobruk

    • 22-Aug-41

      Władysław Anders issues his first orders on the formation of the Polish Armed Forces and appeals to Polish citizens to join the army. The recruitment begins in the NKVD camps for Polish Prisoners of War on 23 August 1941 and they recruit 24,828 of POWs and internees by September 12. A total of 25,115 people have been drafted into the Army, including 960 officers.

    • 27-Aug-41

      The officers appointed to command the army are briefed in the building of the Polish embassy in Moscow.

    • 1941-09

      Women's Auxiliary Service is established — a Polish women's auxiliary military formation.

    • IX-XI.1941

      Staff and general headquarters of the Polish Army formed in the USSR are set up in Buzuluk. The formation begins to take place in September in Buzuluk, Tatishchevo, Saratov oblast, and in Totskoye on the Kuybyshevskaya Railway, in Chkalov.

    • IX-XI.1941

      Fifth "Wilno" Infantry Division is being formed in Tatishchevo. On 22 September 1941, the division reaches a state of affairs which makes it ready to commence combat training. On 15 October the numbers of soldiers in the division are as follows: 475 officers and 8,617 privates.

    • 24-Apr-05

      Sixth Lviv Infantry Division is being formed in Totskoye. By mid-October, the 6th Infantry Division includes: 393 officers, 11,344 NCOs and privates, and 69 women.

    • 20-Oct-41

      An order to form the 7th Infantry Division in Kermine is out.  On 5 January 1942, the Division has 663 officers and 13,386 NCOs and privates.

    • 6-Sep-41

      Polish-Soviet agreement on raising the number of the Polish Army soldiers in the USSR to 44 thousand.

    • 03-04.12.1941

      The Kremlin discussions between Joseph Stalin and Gen. Władysław Sikorski, also attended by Gen. Władysław Anders. The Polish-Soviet declaration of mutual assistance is signed. Its provisions include the formation of seven divisions of the Polish Army on Soviet territory.

    • 1942

    • 01-02/1942

      The Polish Army in USSR recruitment centers are moved south, mainly to Uzbekistan.

    • 01-02/1942

      General Anders protests against the Soviet proposal to send the 5th “Wilno” Infantry Division to the front (for fear of suffering heavy losses).

    • 25-Feb-42

      The organization of the 1st Armored Division under the command of Gen. Stanisław Maczek has begun.

    • 19-Mar-42

      General Anders orders an evacuation of some units of the Polish Army and Polish civilians from the USSR to Iran.

    • 24.03-05.04.1942

      First evacuation of 44,000 Polish soldiers and civilians from Central Asia to Iran.

    • 15-Apr-42

      A group of over 170 orphans with guardians, deported to the USSR, arrive in Bombay.

    • 15-Apr-42

      A shipment of Polish children arrives in Bandra, India

    • 1942-08

      Second evacuation of troops and civilians to Iran (about 45,000 soldiers and about 25,000 civilians).

    • 27-Sep-42

      The first refugee transport arrives at the African port of Tanga in Tanganyika, Tanzania.

    • IX-X 1942

      Moving the troops evacuated from the USSR to Iraq. The Army headquarters are located in Qizil Ribat (northeast of Baghdad). Regrouping of forces.

    • 1943

    • 13-Apr-43

      The Germans announce the discovery of graves of Polish officers murdered by the NKVD in Katyn in 1940.

    • 25-Apr-43

      The USSR breaks off diplomatic relations with Poland.

    • 26.05-3.07.1943

      General Sikorski visits the Middle and Near East. A decision is made to reorganize the Polish Army in the East.

    • 4-Jul-43

      A plane crash in Gibraltar kills the Commander-in-Chief and Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile, General Władysław Sikorski. Stanisław Mikołajczyk becomes the new Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile.

    • 21-Jul-43

      By order of Commander-in-Chief General Władysław Sikorski, the units of the Polish Army in the East served to form the Polish II Corps under the command of General Władysław Anders.

    • 1943-08

      The Polish II Corps is moved to Palestine.

    • 25-Nov-43

      Commander-in-Chief, General Kazimierz Sosnkowski, provides "Organizational Guidelines for the Polish Army in the East". The Polish Army in the East is divided into three echelons. The first echelon includes the Polish II Corps and the Polish Army Base in the East. The second echelon consists of the army staff and units that were not part of the Polish II Corps. The third echelon lists army units remaining in Palestine, Syria and Iran.

    • 28.11. – 01.12.1943

      The Tehran conference of the three powers.

    • XI 1943 - I 1944

      Commander-in-Chief, General  Kazimierz Sosnkowski inspects the Polish units in Palestine. Regrouping of II Corps to Egypt to Qassassin area (near Alexandria and Port Said). The II Corps includes over 52,000 soldiers at the time.

    • XII 1943 - IV 1944

      The Polish II Corps is transferred from Egypt to Italy, where its units become an independent part of the British Eighth Army. A division enters combat of the front on the Sangro river.

    • 1944

    • 12-May-44

      First assault of Polish II Corps on Monte Cassino.  

    • 17-18.05.1944

      Second assault of Polish II Corps and the capture of Monte Cassino.

    • 20-Jun-44

      Pope Pius XII receives Gen. Władysław Anders in an audience.

    • 18-Jul-44

      The pursuit and capture of Ancona (city and port on the Adriatic Sea) by the 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division.

    • 21-Jul-44

      The Polish Committee of National Liberation is created in Moscow under the patronage of Joseph Stalin.

    • 27-Jul-44

      The Polish Committee of National Liberation signs agreements with the USSR in Moscow on the course of the Polish-Soviet border. It has been agreed that the eastern Polish border would run along the so-called Curzon Line.

    • 9-Aug-44

      The battles of the Polish II Corps to breach the “Gothic Line".

    • 6-Sep-44

      The 3rd Rifle Brigade captures Ypres

    • X 1944 - I 1945

      Combat operations of the Polish II Corps in the mountains of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.

    • 29-Oct-44

      The Polish First Armoured Division under command of general Maczek liberated the city of Breda

    • 1-Nov-44

      A group counting over 800 Polish children arrives from Iran to the capital city of New Zealand.

    • 29-Nov-44

      After the resignation of Mikołajczyk on 24 November, Tomasz Arciszewski becomes the new prime minister of the Polish Government-in-Exile.

    • 1945

    • 04.02. – 11.02. 1945

      The Yalta conference of the three powers.

    • 21-Apr-45

      Polish II Corps captures Bologna. The Battle of Bologna was the last battle of the Polish II Corps in Italy and its last battle in World War II.

    • 5-May-45

      The 1st Polish Armoured Division accepts the capitulation of the Wilhelmshaven Fortress

    • 8-May-45

      The capitulation of Nazi Germany and the end of hostilities in Europe. Polish II Corps commanded by Gen. Anders  temporarily remains in Italy.

    • 5-Jul-45

      The Western powers recognize the Provisional Government of National Unity as the legitimate Polish authority.

    • 17.07.-02.08 1945

      The Potsdam conference of the three powers.

    • 1-Sep-45

      The opening ceremony of the Polish war cemetery at Monte Cassino designed by architects Hryniewicz and Skolimowski. 1051 Polish soldiers of all nationalities (Poles, Belorussians, Ukrainians and Jews) were laid to rest here after being taken by Gen. Władysław Anders from the "inhuman land"

    • 2-Sep-45

      A peace treaty is signed with Japan to mark the end of the World War II hostilities.

    • 1946

    • 9-Aug-46

      Polish Resettlement Corps is formed - to facilitate the demobilization process for soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces.

    • 1947

    • 10-Jul-47

      A symbolic closing of the Polish Armed Forces activity in the West, handing over the banners to the Polish Institute named after General Sikorski in London.

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