On the eve of the 82nd anniversary of the establishment of the Polish Underground State, PM Mateusz Morawiecki paid tribute to all Poles who upheld Polish statehood in the conspiratorial conditions.
“Warsaw was still standing tall against the onslaught, the Hel [Peninsula] and the [Warsaw outskirts] of Modlin keeping up their defences, the Independent Operational Group ‘Polesie’ under General [Franciszek] Kleeberg wending its way towards the besieged capital of Warsaw where the conspiratorial Service for Poland's Victory [SZP] was established,” reads PM Morawiecki’s Facebook post.
“The secret military organisation under General Michał Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz was tasked with continuing the struggle against Germans and the Soviet Union in conspiratorial conditions. This decision was equivocal to the birth of the Polish Underground State, namely, a conspiratorial organisational structure operating in the name of the Republic of Poland on its territory occupied by both of the occupiers,” reads the PM’s post.
The head of the government wrote on Facebook that the functioning of the Polish Underground State in the then-present conditions was a phenomenon on a global scale.
“Not only structures of the conspiratorial army were created but also of the civil authorities, including the parliament, the office of the government’s plenipotentiary, courts, structures of education, including universities. The underground press was published informing of the actions undertaken in the country and abroad. Thus the fighting spirit was kept alive amongst Poles and the information circulation monopoly of the occupiers was being compromised,” the PM pointed out.
The PM remarked that the Polish Underground State was not the first organisation of this kind in conspiratorial conditions. During the January Uprising of 1863, underground state structures were also brought to life to manage the struggle against the occupier.
“In the 1980s, Solidarity and Fighting Solidarity movements effectuated the idea of resistance in conspiratorial conditions as well, with the latter drawing inspiration from the time of WWII conspiracy,” the PM added.
The Polish Underground State was a single political and military entity formed by the union of resistance organisations in occupied Poland, that were loyal to the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile in London. The first elements of the Underground State were established in the final days of the German and Soviet invasion of Poland, on September 27, 1939.
The Underground State was perceived by supporters as a legal continuation of the pre-war Republic of Poland and its institutions that waged an armed struggle against the country's occupying powers: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Underground State encompassed not only military resistance, one of the largest in the world, but also civilian structures, such as education, culture and social services.
Also created on September 27, the Service for Poland's Victory (SZP) was the first Polish resistance movement in WWII. It was created by the order of General Juliusz Rómmel when the siege of Warsaw, capital of Poland, the Rómmel commanded Polish defence, was nearing its end.
The Home Army (AK) numbered over 400,000 at its peak, and is thus recognised as one of the three largest, or even the largest, resistance movement of WWII. The Polish underground dealt a lot of damage, including up to 150,000 fatalities on the part of the Axis. The Polish Underground State as a whole contributed immensely to the outcome of WWII, tipping the balance in the Allies’ favour.