Battle of Warsaw (1920)
The Battle of Warsaw refers to the decisive Polish victory in 1920 during the Polish–Soviet War. Poland, on the verge of total defeat and defeated the Red Army. After the Polish Kiev Offensive, Soviet forces launched a successful counterattack in summer 1920, forcing the Polish army to retreat westward in disarray; the Polish forces seemed on the verge of disintegration and observers predicted a decisive Soviet victory. The battle of Warsaw was fought from August 12–25, 1920 as Red Army forces commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky approached the Polish capital of Warsaw and the nearby Modlin Fortress. On August 16, Polish forces commanded by Józef Piłsudski counterattacked from the south, disrupting the enemy's offensive, forcing the Russian forces into a disorganized withdrawal eastward and behind the Neman River. Estimated Russian losses were 10,000 killed, 500 missing, 30,000 wounded, 66,000 taken prisoner, compared with Polish losses of some 4,500 killed, 10,000 missing, 22,000 wounded; the defeat crippled the Red Army.
In the following months, several more Polish follow-up victories saved Poland's independence and led to a peace treaty with Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine that year, securing the Polish state's eastern frontiers until 1939. The British diplomat Edgar Vincent regards this event as one of the most important battles in history on his expanded list of most decisive battles, since the Polish victory over the Soviets stopped the spread of communism to Europe. In the aftermath of World War I, Poland fought to preserve its newly regained independence, lost in the 1795 partitions of Poland, to carve out the borders of a new multinational federation from the territories of their former partitioners, Russia and Austria–Hungary. At the same time in 1919, the Bolsheviks had gained the upper hand in the Russian Civil War, having dealt crippling blows to the Russian White Movement. Vladimir Lenin viewed Poland as a bridge to bring communism to Central and Western Europe, the Polish–Soviet War seemed the perfect way to test the Red Army's strength.
The Bolshevik's speeches asserted that the revolution was to be carried to western Europe on the bayonets of Russian soldats and that the shortest route to Berlin and Paris lay through Warsaw. The conflict began when Polish head of state Józef Piłsudski formed an alliance with the Ukrainian leader Symon Petlyura and their combined forces began to push into Ukraine, liberating Kiev on May 7; the two sides were embroiled in the Polish–Ukrainian War, amidst competing territorial claims. After early setbacks against Poland in 1919, the Red Army was overwhelmingly successful in a counter-offensive in early 1920 that nullified the Polish Kiev Operation, forcing a Polish retreat. By mid-1920, Poland's survival was at stake and foreign observers expected it to collapse at any moment; the Russian strategy called for a mass push toward Warsaw. Its capture would have had a major propaganda effect for the Russian Bolsheviks, who expected the fall of the Polish capital not only to undermine the morale of the Poles, but to spark an international series of communist uprisings and clear the way for the Red Army to join the German Revolution.
The Russian 1st Cavalry Army under Semyon Budyonny broke through Polish lines in early June 1920. The effects of that were dramatic. On July 4, 1920, Mikhail Tukhachevsky's Western Front began an all-out assault in Belarus from the Berezina River, forcing Polish forces to retreat. On July 19 the Red Army seized Grodno and on July 28, it reached Białystok. On July 22, the Brześć Fortress was captured. 3 Fronts, 7 Armies, a total of 32 divisions: 46,000 infantry. Fronts: Northern Front: 250 km. from East Prussia, along the Vistula River, to Modlin: 5th Army 1st Army – Warsaw 2nd Army – Warsaw Central Front: 4th Army – between Dęblin and Kock 3rd Army – between south of Kock and Brody Southern Front – between Brody and the Dniester River By the beginning of August, the Polish retreat had become more organized, as their supply lines were shortened. At first, Józef Piłsudski wanted to stop the Soviets at the Bug River and the city of Brest-Litovsk, but the Soviet advance resulted in their forces breaching that line, making that plan obsolete.
On the night of August 5–6, Piłsudski, staying at the Belweder Palace in Warsaw, conceived a revised plan. In the first phase, it called for Polish forces to withdraw across the Vistula River and defend the bridgeheads at Warsaw and at the Wieprz River, a tributary of the Vistula southeast of Warsaw. A quarter of the available divisions would be concentrated to the south for a strategic counteroffensive. Next, Piłsudski's plan called for the 1st and 2nd Armies of General Józef Haller's Central Front to take a passive role, facing the Soviet main westward thrust and holding their entrenched positions, Warsaw's last line of defence, at all costs. At the same time, the 5th Army under General Władysław Sikorski, subordinate to Haller, would defend the northern area near the Modlin Fortress. Additionally, five divisions of the 5th Army were to protect Warsaw from the north. General Franciszek Latinik's 1st Army would defend Warsaw itself, while General Bolesław Roja's 2nd Army was to hold the Vistula River line from Góra Kalwaria to Dęblin.
Ukrainian People's Republic
The Ukrainian People's Republic, or Ukrainian National Republic, a predecessor of modern Ukraine, was declared on 10 June 1917 following the February Revolution in Russia. It formed part of the Russian Republic, but proclaimed its independence on 25 January 1918. During its short existence the republic went through several political transformations - from the socialist-leaning republic headed by the Central Council with its general secretariat to the national republic led by the Directorate and by Symon Petliura. Between April and December 1918 the Ukrainian People's Republic did not function, having been overthrown by the Ukrainian State of Pavlo Skoropadsky. From late 1919 the UNR operated as an ally of the Second Polish Republic, but by the state de facto no longer existed in Ukraine; the 18 March 1921 Treaty of Riga between the Second Polish Republic, Soviet Russia and of Soviet Ukraine sealed the fate of the Ukrainian People's Republic. After the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917, many governments formed in Ukraine – most notably the Ukrainian People's Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets and its Soviet successors.
These two entities, plus the White Movement, Green armies and the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine, fought with each other, which resulted in many casualties among Ukrainians fighting in a Ukrainian civil war as part of the wider Russian Civil War of 1917-1922. The Soviet Union would extend control over what would become the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and a founding member of the Soviet Union. On 10 June 1917, the Ukrainian Central Council declared its autonomy as part of the Russian Republic by its First Universal at the All-Ukrainian Military Congress; the highest governing body of the Ukrainian People's Republic became the General Secretariat headed by Volodymyr Vynnychenko. The Prime Minister of Russia Alexander Kerensky recognized the Secretariat, appointing it as the representative governing body of the Russian Provisional Government and limiting its powers to five governorates: Volyn, Podolie and Poltova. At first Vynnychenko protested and left his post as Secretariat leader, but returned to reassemble the Secretariat after the Tsentralna Rada accepted the Kerensky Instruktsiya and issued the Second Universal.
After the October Revolution the Kievan faction of the Bolshevik Party instigated the uprising in Kiev on November 8, 1917 in order to establish Soviet power in the city. Kiev Military District forces attempted to stop it, but after the Tsentralna Rada threw its support behind the Bolsheviks, the Russian forces were eliminated from Kiev. After expelling the government forces, the Rada announced a wider autonomy for the Ukrainian Republic, still maintaining ties to Russia, on November 22, 1917; the territory of the republic was proclaimed by the Third Universal November 20, 1917 of the Tsentralna Rada encompassing the governorates: Volyn, Podolie, Poltava, Yekaterinoslav, Taurida. It stated that the people of the governorates: Voronezh and Kursk were welcome to join the republic through a referendum. Further the Tsentralna Rada in its Universal stated that because there was no Government in the Russian Republic after the October Revolution it proclaimed itself the Supreme governing body of the territory of Ukraine until order in the Russian republic could be restored.
The Central Rada called all revolutionary activities such as the October Revolution a civil war and expressed its hopes for the resolution of the chaos. After a brief truce, the Bolsheviks realized that the Rada had no intention of supporting the Bolshevik Revolution, they re-organized into an All-Ukrainian Council of Soviets in December 1917 in an attempt to seize power. When that failed due to the Bolsheviks' relative lack of popularity in Kiev, they moved to Kharkiv; the Bolsheviks of Ukraine declared the government of the Ukrainian People's Republic outlawed and proclaimed the Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets with capital in Kiev, claiming that the government of the People's Secretaries of Ukraine was the only government in the country. The Bolshevik Red Army entered Ukraine from the Russian SFSR in support of the local Soviet government; as the relationships between members within the Tsentralna Rada soured, a series of regional Soviet republics on the territory of Ukraine proclaimed their independence and allegiance to the Petrograd sovnarkom.
The Donetsk-Kryvoi Rog Republic was created by a direct decree of Lenin as part of the Russian SFSR with its capital in Kharkiv. That decree was implemented by Fyodor Sergeyev who became the chairman of the local government as well as joining the Soviet government of Ukraine, simultaneously. Unlike Fyodor Sergeyev's Republic, the Odessa Republic was not recognized by any other Bolshevik governments and on its own initiative had entered a military conflict with Romania for control over the Moldavian Democratic Republic, whose territory it was contesting; the following information is based on the exposition of the Museum of Soviet occupation in Kiev March 8–12 – February Revolution in the Russian Empire, victory of the democratic forces March 17 – establishment of the Ukrainian Central Council April 4 – recreation of Prosvita, establishment of the Ukrainian Cooperative Committee, the Temporary Military Council, liberation of the people of Galicia Andrei Sheptytsky April 9 – Mykhailo Hrushevsky returns from exile to he
Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov was a Soviet Red Army General who became Chief of General Staff, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Minister of Defence and a member of the Politburo. During World War II he participated in multiple battles commanding the 1st Belorussian Front in the Battle of Berlin, which resulted in the defeat of Nazi Germany, the end of the War in Europe. In recognition of Zhukov's role in World War II, he was chosen to accept the German Instrument of Surrender and to inspect the Moscow Victory Parade of 1945. Born into a poverty-stricken peasant family in Strelkovka, Maloyaroslavsky Uyezd, Kaluga Governorate, Zhukov became an apprentice furrier in Moscow. In 1915 the Army of the Russian Empire conscripted him. During World War I, Zhukov was awarded the Cross of St. George twice, promoted to the rank of non-commissioned officer for his bravery in battle, he joined the Bolshevik Party after the 1917 October Revolution. After recovering from a serious case of typhus he fought in the Russian Civil War over the period 1918 to 1921, serving with the 1st Cavalry Army, among other formations.
He received the decoration of the Order of the Red Banner for his part in subduing the Tambov Rebellion in 1921. At the end of May 1923, Zhukov became a commander of the 39th Cavalry Regiment. In 1924, he entered the Higher School of Cavalry, from which he graduated the next year, returning afterward to command the same regiment. In May 1930, Zhukov became commander of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade of the 7th Cavalry Division. In February 1931, he was appointed the Assistant Inspector of Cavalry of the Red Army. In May 1933, Zhukov was appointed a commander in the 4th Cavalry Division. In 1937, he became a commander of the 3rd Cavalry Corps of the 6th Cavalry Corps. In 1938, he became a deputy commander of the Belorussian Military District for cavalry. In 1938, Zhukov was directed to command the First Soviet Mongolian Army Group, saw action against Japan's Kwantung Army on the border between Mongolia and the Japanese-controlled state of Manchukuo; this campaign was an undeclared war that lasted from 1938 to 1939.
What began as a border skirmish escalated into a full-scale war, with the Japanese pushing forward with an estimated 80,000 troops, 180 tanks and 450 aircraft. These events led to the strategically decisive Battle of Khalkhin Gol. Zhukov requested major reinforcements, on 20 August 1939, his "Soviet Offensive" commenced. After a massive artillery barrage, nearly 500 BT-5 and BT-7 tanks advanced, supported by over 500 fighters and bombers; this was the Soviet Air Force's first fighter-bomber operation. The offensive first appeared to be a typical conventional frontal attack. However, two tank brigades were held back and ordered to advance around on both flanks, supported by motorized artillery and other tanks; this daring and successful manoeuvre encircled the Japanese 6th Army and captured the enemy's vulnerable rear supply areas. By 31 August 1939, the Japanese had been cleared from the disputed border, leaving the Soviets victorious; this campaign had significance beyond local outcome. Zhukov demonstrated and tested the techniques used against the Germans in the Eastern Front of the Second World War.
These innovations included the deployment of underwater bridges and improving the cohesion and battle-effectiveness of inexperienced units by adding a few experienced, battle-hardened troops to bolster morale and overall training. Evaluation of the problems inherent in the performance of the BT tanks led to the replacement of their fire-prone petrol engines with diesel engines, provided valuable practical knowledge, essential to the success in development of the T-34 medium tank used in World War II. After this campaign, Nomonhan veterans were transferred to units that had not seen action, to better spread the benefits of their battle experience. For his victory, Zhukov was declared a Hero of the Soviet Union. However, the campaign – and Zhukov's pioneering use of tanks – remained little known outside of the Soviet Union itself. Zhukov considered Nomonhan invaluable preparation for conducting operations during the Second World War. In 1940 Zhukov became an Army General. In autumn 1940, G. K. Zhukov started preparing the plans for the military exercise concerning the defence of the Western border of the Soviet Union, which at this time was pushed further to the west due to the annexation of Eastern Poland.
In his memoirs Zhukov reports that in this exercise he commanded the "Western" or "Blue" forces and his opponent was Colonel General D. G. Pavlov, the commander of the "Eastern" or "Red" forces, he noted. Zhukov in his memoirs describes the events of exercise as similar to actual events during the German invasion; as historian Bobylev reports in his article in "Military History Journal", the actual details of the exercises were reported differently in different memoirs of their participants. He reported that there were two exercises, one on 2–6 January 1941, another on 8–11 January 1941. In the first one "Western" forces attacked "Eastern" forces on 15 July, but "Eastern" forces counterattacked and by 1 August reached the original border. At that time, "Eastern" forces had a numerical advantage (for example, 51
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin was a Bolshevik revolutionary, Soviet Union politician and prolific author on revolutionary theory. As a young man, he spent six years in exile working with fellow exiles Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. After the revolution of February 1917, he returned to Moscow, where his Bolshevik credentials earned him a high rank in the Bolshevik party and after the October Revolution became editor of the party newspaper Pravda. Within the Bolshevik Party, Bukharin was a left communist, but moved from the left to the right from 1921, his strong support for and defence of the New Economic Policy saw him lead the Right Opposition. By late 1924, this stance had positioned Bukharin favourably as Joseph Stalin's chief ally, with Bukharin soon elaborating Stalin's new theory and policy of socialism in one country. Together and Stalin ousted Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev from the party at the XVth Communist Party Congress in December 1927. From 1926 to 1929, Bukharin enjoyed great power as General Secretary of the Comintern's executive committee.
However, Stalin's decision to proceed with collectivisation drove the two men apart and Bukharin was expelled from the Politburo in 1929. When the Great Purge began in 1936, Stalin looked for any pretext to liquidate his former allies and rivals for power and some of Bukharin's letters and tapped phone-calls indicated disloyalty. Arrested in February 1937, he was charged with conspiring to overthrow the Soviet state. After a show trial that alienated many Western communist sympathisers, he was executed in March 1938. Nikolai Bukharin was born on September 1888, in Moscow, he was the second son of two schoolteachers, Ivan Gavrilovich Bukharin and Liubov Ivanovna Bukharina. His childhood is vividly recounted in his autobiographic novel How It All Began. Bukharin's political life began at the age of sixteen with his lifelong friend Ilya Ehrenburg when he participated in student activities at Moscow University related to the Russian Revolution of 1905, he joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1906, becoming a member of the Bolshevik faction.
With Grigori Sokolnikov, he convened the 1907 national youth conference in Moscow, considered the founding of Komsomol. By age thirty, he was a member of the Moscow Committee of the party; the committee was infiltrated by the Tsarist secret police, the Okhrana. As one of its leaders, Bukharin became a person of interest to them. During this time, he became associated with Valerian Obolensky and Vladimir Smirnov, met his future first wife, Nadezhda Mikhailovna Lukina, his cousin and the sister of Nikolai Lukin, a member of the party, they married soon after their exile, in 1911. In 1911, after a brief imprisonment, Bukharin was exiled to Onega in Arkhangelsk but soon escaped to Hanover, where he stayed for a year before visiting Kraków in 1912 to meet Vladimir Lenin for the first time. During the exile, he continued his education and wrote several books that established him as a major Bolshevik theorist in his 20s, his work and World Economy influenced Lenin, who borrowed from it in his larger and better-known work, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.
He and Lenin had hot disputes on theoretical issues and Bukharin's closeness with the European Left and his anti-statist tendencies. Bukharin developed an interest in the works of Austrian Marxists and non-Marxist economic theorists, such as Aleksandr Bogdanov, who deviated from Leninist positions. While in Vienna in 1913, he helped the Georgian Bolshevik Joseph Stalin write an article and the National Question, at Lenin's request. In October 1916, while based in New York City, he edited the newspaper Novy Mir with Leon Trotsky and Alexandra Kollontai; when Trotsky arrived in New York in January 1917, Bukharin was the first to greet him. At the news of the Russian Revolution of February 1917, exiled revolutionaries from around the world began to flock back to the homeland. Trotsky left New York on March 1917, sailing for St. Petersburg. Bukharin left New York in early April and returned to Russia by way of Japan, arriving in Moscow in early May 1917. Politically, the Bolsheviks in Moscow remained a definite minority to the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries.
However, as soldiers and workers began to be attracted to the Lenin's promise to bring peace by withdrawing from the war, membership in the Bolshevik faction began to skyrocket—from 24,000 members in February 1917 to 200,000 members in October 1917. Upon his return to Moscow, Bukharin resumed his seat on the Moscow City Committee and became a member of the Moscow Regional Bureau of the party. To complicate matters further, the Bolsheviks themselves were divided into a right wing and a left wing; the right-wing of the Bolsheviks, including Aleksei Rykov and Viktor Nogin, controlled the Moscow Committee, while the younger left-wing Bolsheviks, including Vladimir Smirnov, Valerian Osinsky, Georgii Lomov, Nikolay Yakovlev, Ivan Kizelshtein and Ivan Stukov, were members of the Moscow Regional Bureau. On October 10, 1917, along with two other Moscow Bolsheviks: Andrei Bubnov and Grigori Sokolnikov were elected to the Central Committee; this strong representation on the Central Committee was a direct recognition of the fact that the Moscow Bureau had grown in importanc
Novomoskovsk is a city in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast of Ukraine. Administratively, Novomoskovsk is incorporated as the city of oblast significance and serves as the administrative center of Novomoskovsk Raion which it does not belong to, its population is 71,111 . Novomoskovsk is located predominantly on the right bank of Samara River, one of the left confluents of Dnieper River; until 1782, when the city has got its current name, it was known as Samara, or Samarchyk. The city is located 27 kilometres from Dnipro; the city is famous for the Holy-Trinity Cathedral, built in 1778 by Yakym Pohrybniak from wood without any nails. Official city website The murder of the Jews of Novomoskovsk during World War II, at Yad Vashem website
The Polish–Soviet War was fought by the Second Polish Republic, Ukrainian People's Republic and the proto-Soviet Union over a region comparable to today's westernmost Ukraine and parts of modern Belarus. Poland's Chief of State, Józef Piłsudski, felt the time was right to expand Polish borders as far east as feasible, to be followed by a Polish-led Intermarium federation of Central and Eastern European states, as a bulwark against the re-emergence of German and Russian imperialism. Vladimir Lenin saw Poland as the bridge the Red Army had to cross to assist other Communist movements and bring about more European revolutions. By 1919, Polish forces had taken control of much of Western Ukraine, emerging victorious from the Polish–Ukrainian War; the West Ukrainian People's Republic, led by Yevhen Petrushevych, had tried to create a Ukrainian state on territories to which both Poles and Ukrainians laid claim. In the Russian part of Ukraine Symon Petliura tried to defend and strengthen the Ukrainian People's Republic but as the Bolsheviks began to win the Russian Civil War, they started to advance westward towards the disputed Ukrainian territories, causing Petliura's forces to retreat to Podolia.
By the end of 1919, a clear front had formed. Border skirmishes escalated following Piłsudski's Kiev Offensive in April 1920; the Polish offensive was met by a successful Red Army counter-attack. The Soviet operation pushed the Polish forces back westward all the way to the Polish capital, while the Directorate of Ukraine fled to Western Europe. Western fears of Soviet troops arriving at the German frontiers increased the interest of Western powers in the war. In mid-summer, the fall of Warsaw seemed certain but in mid-August, the tide had turned again, as the Polish forces achieved an unexpected and decisive victory at the Battle of Warsaw. In the wake of the Polish advance eastward, the Soviets sued for peace and the war ended with a cease-fire in October 1920; the Peace of Riga was signed on 18 March 1921, dividing the disputed territories between Poland and Soviet Russia. The war determined the Soviet–Polish border for the Interbellum. Poland gained a territory of around 200 kilometers east of its former border, the Curzon Line, defined by an international commission after World War I.
Much of the territory allocated to Poland in the Treaty of Riga became part of the Soviet Union after World War II, when the common border was re-defined by the Allied Powers in close accordance with the Curzon Line. The war is known by several names. "Polish–Soviet War" is the most common but other names include "Russo–Polish War of 1919–1921" and "Polish–Bolshevik War". This second term is most common in Polish sources. In some Polish sources it is referred as the "War of 1920". There is disagreement over the dates of the war; the Encyclopædia Britannica begins its article with the date range 1919–1920 but states, "Although there had been hostilities between the two countries during 1919, the conflict began when the Polish head of state Józef Pilsudski formed an alliance with the Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petlyura and their combined forces began to overrun Ukraine, occupying Kiev on 7 May." The Polish encyclopaedia Internetowa encyklopedia PWN, as well as Western historians such as Norman Davies, consider 1919 the starting year of the war.
The ending date is given as either 1920 or 1921. While the events of 1919 can be described as a border conflict, only in early 1920 did both sides engage in all-out war, the conflicts that took place in 1920 were an inevitable escalation of fighting that began in earnest a year earlier. In the end, the events of 1920 were a logical, though unforeseen, consequence of the 1919 prelude; the war's main territories of contention lie in present-day Belarus. After a period of internecine wars and the Mongolian invasion of 1240, these lands became objects of expansion for the Kingdom of Poland and for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the first half of the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Kiev and land between the Dnieper and Daugava rivers became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, in 1352 Poland and Lithuania divided the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia between themselves. In 1569, in accordance with the terms of the Union of Lublin between Poland and Lithuania, some of the Ukrainian lands passed to the Polish Crown.
Between 1772 and 1795, much of the Eastern Slavic territories became part of the Russian Empire in the course of the Partitions of Poland. After the Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815, much of the territory of the Duchy of Warsaw transferred into Russian control. After young Poles refused to be conscripted into the Imperial Russian Army during the uprising in Poland in 1863, Tsar Alexander II stripped Poland of its separate constitution, forced Russian to be the only language spoken, took away vast tracts of land from Poles, incorporated Poland directly into Russia by dividing it into ten provinces, each with an appointed Russian military governor and all under complete control of the Russian Governor-General at Warsaw; as World War I ended, the map of Central and Eastern Europe changed drastically. Germany's defeat rendered Berlin's plans for the creation of Eastern European puppet states, including one in P
Kiev Offensive (1920)
The 1920 Kiev Offensive, sometimes considered to have started the Polish–Soviet War, was an attempt by the armed forces of the newly re-emerged Poland led by Józef Piłsudski, in alliance with the Ukrainian leader Symon Petliura, to seize the territories of modern-day Ukraine which fell under the Soviet control after the Bolshevik Revolution. The operation led to a Soviet counteroffensive resulting in the creation of the short-lived Galician Soviet Socialist Republic, ended amicably with the formal Peace of Riga of 1921; the stated goal of the operation was to create a formally independent Ukraine. Some Ukrainians greeted the Polish and allied Ukrainian forces as liberators, although Ukrainians fought for both sides of the conflict; the campaign was conducted from April to June 1920. It was a major military operation of the Polish Army thanks to new alliance with the forces of the Ukrainian People's Republic under the exiled Ukrainian leader Symon Petliura, it was opposed by the Soviets. Successful for the Polish and Ukrainian armies which captured Kiev on May 7, 1920, the campaign was reversed, chiefly by the cavalry of Semyon Budyonny.
The government of the Ukrainian People's Republic, with mounting attacks on its territory since early 1919, had lost control over most of Ukraine, controlled by several disparate powers: Denikin's Whites, the Red Army and pro-Soviet formations, the Makhnovist Partisan Army claiming significant territory, the Kingdom of Romania in the southwest and various bands lacking any political ideology. The city of Kiev had undergone numerous recent changes of government; the Ukrainian People's Republic was established in 1917. The Red Army took it followed by the Army of the German Empire in March. During February 1919 the Red Army regained control; the Soviets regained control in December 1919. At the time of the offensive, the forces of the exiled Ukrainian leader Petlura, who formally represented the Ukrainian People's Republic, controlled only a small sliver of land near the Polish border. Under these circumstances, Petlura saw no choice but to accept Piłsudski's offer to join the alliance with Poland despite many unresolved territorial conflicts between these two nations.
In exchange for agreeing to a border along the Zbruch River, Petlura was promised military help in regaining the Soviet-controlled territories with Kiev, where he would again assume the authority of the Ukrainian People's Republic. For the Petlura's acceptance of the Poland's territorial advances it obtained from defeating the West Ukrainian People's Republic, a Ukrainian statehood attempt in Volhynia and Eastern part of Galicia Ukrainian populated but with significant Polish minority, Petlura was promised military help in regaining the Soviet-controlled territories with Kiev, where he would again assume the authority of the Ukrainian People's Republic; the treaty was followed by a formal alliance signed by Petlura and Piłsudski on April 24. On the same day, Poland and UPR forces began the Kiev Operation, aimed at securing the Ukrainian territory for the Petlura's government thus creating a buffer for Poland that would separate it from Russia. Following the formal restoration of Ukrainian independence, the Ukrainian state was supposed to subordinate its military and economy to Warsaw through joining the Polish-led "Międzymorze" federation of East-Central European states, as Piłsudski wanted Ukraine to be a buffer between Poland and Russia rather than seeing Ukraine again dominated by Russia right at the Polish border.
Separate provisions in the treaty guaranteed the rights of the Polish and Ukrainian minorities within both states and obliged each side not to conclude any international agreements against each other. As the treaty legitimized the Polish control over the territory that the Ukrainians viewed as rightfully theirs, the alliance received a dire reception from many Ukrainian leaders, ranging from Mykhailo Hrushevsky former chairman of the Tsentralna Rada, to Yevhen Petrushevych, the leader of the West Ukrainian People's Republic, forced into exile after Polish-Ukrainian War. However, such objections were brushed aside; the initial expedition in which 65,000 Polish and 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers took part started on April 24, 1920. The military goal was to destroy them in a single battle. After winning the battle in the South, the Polish General Staff planned a speedy withdrawal of the 3rd Army and strengthening of the northern front where Piłsudski expected the main battle with the Red Army to take place.
The Polish southern flank was to be held by Polish-allied Ukrainian forces under a friendly government in Ukraine. On May 7, Polish and Ukrainian soldiers entered Kiev. Pilsudski's forces were divided into three armies. Arranged from north to south, they were the 3rd, 2nd and 6th, with Petliura's forces attached to the 6th army. Facing them were the Soviet 12th and 14th armies led by Alexander Ilyich Yegorov. Pilsudski struck on April 25, captured Zhytomyr the following day. Within a week, the Soviet 12th army was destroyed. In the south, the Polish 6th Army and Petliura's forces pushed the Soviet 14th army out of central Ukraine as they marched eastward through Vinnytsia; the combined Polish-Ukrainian forces entered Kiev on May 7. On May 9 the Polish troops celebrated the capture of Kiev with the victory parade on Kreschatyk, the city's main street. Following this parade, all Pol