Rydz-Smigly, Marshal Edward, 1886-1943

Rydz-Smigly was the virtual ruler of Poland and Commander in Chief of the Polish Armed Forces when the Germans invaded in 1939. He did not mobilize his country in time and then conducted a defense which did not take account of the Germans’ speed of advance. His Army was in confusion within a week and unable to mount any delaying actions. Two weeks after the invasion, Rydz- Smigly ordered a withdrawal into southeastern Poland hoping to establish a concentrated center of resistance which could wait until British or French aid arrived. However at this point the Soviets invaded eastern Poland and the Army caved in. Rydz-Smigly and his government escaped to Rumania where they were imprisoned. Rydz-Smigly was dismissed from his posts by SIKORSKI and his government-in-exile in London. He escaped from Rumania in 1941 and returned to Poland to join the underground. He was probably killed by the Germans in 1943.

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