Polacy w radzieckiej generalicji wojskowej w latach 1935–1941
Polish Officers in the Soviet Military Elite in 1935–1941
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Poles were present in all ranks of the Soviet military hierarchy since the foundation of the Soviet Union. Polish officers played a particularly important role in the Red Army in the 1920s. Although the number of Polish officers in the Soviet military elite decreased with Stalin’s rise to power, Poles constituted a conspicuous minority in the Soviet Union’s multinational officer corps, including the general corps, until the Great Purge. The process of granting officer ranks, which began only after 1935, testified to the above. Before the Great Purge, Poles accounted for more than 2% of the Red Army’s 1700 high-ranking officers. Stalinist repressions brought a radical change. Nearly all top-level Polish officers were removed from the Red Army on disciplinary grounds, most of them were arrested, many were executed or exiled to forced labor camps. Some purge victims were rehabilitated in 1939–1940, but Polish officers’ role in high command of the Soviet army was irretrievably weakened. In 1940, only five Polish military men were awarded general and admiral ranks as opposed to more than one thousand Soviet generals and admirals.
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