Polish Military Attachés in the Interwar Period
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Although the Polish military attachés belonged to the personnel of embassies and diplomatic missions, they were directly subordinated to the Chief of General Staff, or more precisely to the Chief of its Department Two. In addition to taking care of the areas where military affairs and diplomacy overlapped, an attaché was supposed to find out about the military installations of the host country, the structure and command chain of its armed forces, their tactics, weapons, logistics and supply base. He was also expected to make ongoing assessments of the mobilization and combat readiness of the host country's army and navy. It was not at all unusual for them to get involved, or even mastermind, some underhand intelligence operations. The functioning of the attaché post in Poland's diplomatic missions can be divided into three phases: 1919 -1921, a dramatic phase between the proclamation of independence and the end of the Polish-Soviet War; 1921-1928, an era of consolidation in which the intelligence gathering functions of the post were scaled down; and 1929 -1939, a time when these functions became more and more important within the framework of intelligence operations run by Department Two (especially in the Soviet Union and in Germany). In line with the priorities of Department Two, the activities of Poland's military attachés were targeted at Soviet Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia and Lithuania. In 1928 the functioning of the military attachés came up for a major shake-up, triggered off by the unmasking of Soviet agents (the Trust spy scandal). Poland reacted by dismantling whole sections of its intelligence apparatus and replacing them with new networks.
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