Invasion of Poland
The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, in Germany as the Poland Campaign, was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union; the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty. German forces invaded Poland from the north and west the morning after the Gleiwitz incident. Slovak military forces advanced alongside the Germans in northern Slovakia; as the Wehrmacht advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish–German border to more established defense lines to the east.
After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected support and relief from France and the United Kingdom. While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was limited. On 17 September, the Soviet Red Army invaded Eastern Poland, the territory that fell into the Soviet "sphere of influence" according to the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland; the success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, though Poland never formally surrendered.
On 8 October, after an initial period of military administration, Germany directly annexed western Poland and the former Free City of Danzig and placed the remaining block of territory under the administration of the newly established General Government. The Soviet Union incorporated its newly acquired areas into its constituent Belarusian and Ukrainian republics, started a campaign of Sovietization. In the aftermath of the invasion, a collective of underground resistance organizations formed the Polish Underground State within the territory of the former Polish state. Many of the military exiles that managed to escape Poland subsequently joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West, an armed force loyal to the Polish government-in-exile. On 30 January 1933, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, under its leader Adolf Hitler, came to power in Germany. While the Weimar Republic had long sought to annex territories belonging to Poland, it was Hitler's own idea and not a realization of Weimar plans to invade and partition Poland, annex Bohemia and Austria, create satellite or puppet states economically subordinate to Germany.
As part of this long-term policy, Hitler at first pursued a policy of rapprochement with Poland, trying to improve opinion in Germany, culminating in the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934. Earlier, Hitler's foreign policy worked to weaken ties between Poland and France, attempted to manoeuvre Poland into the Anti-Comintern Pact, forming a cooperative front against the Soviet Union. Poland would be granted territory to its northeast in Ukraine and Belarus if it agreed to wage war against the Soviet Union, but the concessions the Poles were expected to make meant that their homeland would become dependent on Germany, functioning as little more than a client state; the Poles feared that their independence would be threatened altogether. How can they demand the rights of independent states?"The population of the Free City of Danzig was in favour of annexation by Germany, as were many of the ethnic German inhabitants of the Polish territory that separated the German exclave of East Prussia from the rest of the Reich.
The so-called Polish Corridor constituted land long disputed by Poland and Germany, inhabited by a Polish majority. The Corridor had become a part of Poland after the Treaty of Versailles. Many Germans wanted the urban port city of Danzig and its environs to be reincorporated into Germany. Danzig city had a German majority, had been separated from Germany after Versailles and made into the nominally independent Free City. Hitler sought to use this as casus belli, a reason for war, reverse the post-1918 territorial losses, on many occasions had appealed to German nationalism, promising to "liberate" the German minority still in the Corridor, as well as Danzig; the invasion was referred to by Germany as the 1939 Defensive War since Hitler proclaimed that Poland had attacked Germany and that "Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes. The series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier."Poland participated with Germany in the partition of Czechoslovakia that followed the Munich Agreement, although they were not part of the agreement.
It coerced Czechoslovakia to surrender the region of Český Těšín by issuing an ultimatum to that effect
Occupation of Poland (1939–1945)
The occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II began with the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, it was formally concluded with the defeat of Germany by the Allies in May 1945. Throughout the entire course of the foreign occupation, the territory of Poland was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union with the intention of eradicating Polish culture and subjugating its people by occupying German and Soviet powers. In summer-autumn of 1941 the lands annexed by the Soviets were overrun by Germany in the course of the successful German attack on the USSR. After a few years of fighting, the Red Army drove the German forces out of the USSR and across Poland from the rest of Central and Eastern Europe. Both occupying powers were hostile to the existence of sovereign Poland, Polish people, the Polish culture aiming at their destruction. Before Operation Barbarossa and the Soviet Union coordinated their Poland-related policies, most visibly in the four Gestapo–NKVD conferences, where the occupants discussed plans for dealing with the Polish resistance movement and future destruction of Poland.
About 6 million Polish citizens—nearly 21.4% of Poland's population—died between 1939 and 1945 as a result of the occupation, half of whom were Polish Jews. Over 90% of the death toll came through non-military losses, as most of the civilians were targeted by various deliberate actions by Germans and the Soviets. Overall, during German occupation of pre-war Polish territory, 1939–1945, the Germans murdered 5,470,000–5,670,000 Poles, including nearly 3,000,000 Jews. In September 1939 Poland was invaded and occupied by two powers: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, acting in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Germany acquired 48.4% of the former Polish territory. Under the terms of two decrees by Hitler, with Stalin's agreement, large areas of western Poland were annexed by Germany; the size of these annexed territories was 92,500 square kilometres with 10.5 million inhabitants. The remaining block of territory was placed under a German administration, of about the same size and inhabited by about 11.5 millions, were called the General Government, with its capital at Kraków.
A German lawyer and prominent Nazi, Hans Frank, was appointed Governor-General of this occupied area on 12 October 1939. Most of the administration outside local level was replaced by German officials. Non-German population on the occupied lands were subject to forced resettlement, economic exploitation, slow but progressive extermination. A small strip of land, about 700 square kilometres with 200,000 inhabitants, part of Czechoslovakia before 1938 was returned by Germany to its ally, Slovakia. After Germany and the Soviet Union had partitioned Poland in 1939, most of the ethnically Polish territory ended up under the control of Germany, while the areas annexed by the Soviet Union contained ethnically diverse peoples, with the territory split into bilingual provinces, some of which had large ethnic Ukrainian and Belarusian minorities. Many of them welcomed the Soviets due in part to communist agitation by Soviet emissaries. Nonetheless Poles comprised the largest single ethnic group in all territories annexed by the Soviet Union.
By the end of the invasion the Soviet Union had taken over 51.6% of the territory of Poland, with over 13,200,000 people. The ethnic composition of these areas were as follows: 38% Poles, 37% Ukrainians, 14.5% Belarusians, 8.4% Jews, 0.9% Russians and 0.6% Germans. There were 336,000 refugees who fled from areas occupied by Germany, most of them Jews. All territory invaded by the Red Army was annexed to the Soviet Union, split between the Belarusian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR, with the exception of the Wilno area taken from Poland, transferred to sovereign Lithuania for several months and subsequently annexed by the Soviet Union in the form of the Lithuanian SSR on August 3, 1940. Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, most of the Polish territories annexed by the Soviets were attached to the enlarged General Government. Following the end of the war, the borders of Poland were shifted westwards. For months prior to the beginning of World War II in 1939, German newspapers and leaders had carried out a national and international propaganda campaign accusing Polish authorities of organizing or tolerating violent ethnic cleansing of ethnic Germans living in Poland.
British ambassador Sir H. Kennard sent four statements in August 1939 to Viscount Halifax regarding Hitler's claims about the treatment Germans were receiving in Poland. From the beginning, the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany was intended as fulfilment of the future plan of the German Reich described by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf as Lebensraum for the Germans in Central and Eastern Europe; the occupation goal was to turn former Poland into ethnically German "living space", by deporting and exterminating the non-German populace, or relegating it to the position of slave labour. The goal of the German state under Nazi leadership during the war was to destroy the Polish peoples and nation and their fate, as well as many other Slavs, was outlined in genocidal Generalplan Ost and a related Generalsiedlungsplan. Over 30 years 12.5 million Germans were to be resettled into the Slavic are
Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Integrated Authority File
The Integrated Authority File or GND is an international authority file for the organisation of personal names, subject headings and corporate bodies from catalogues. It is used for documentation in libraries and also by archives and museums; the GND is managed by the German National Library in cooperation with various regional library networks in German-speaking Europe and other partners. The GND falls under the Creative Commons Zero licence; the GND specification provides a hierarchy of high-level entities and sub-classes, useful in library classification, an approach to unambiguous identification of single elements. It comprises an ontology intended for knowledge representation in the semantic web, available in the RDF format; the Integrated Authority File became operational in April 2012 and integrates the content of the following authority files, which have since been discontinued: Name Authority File Corporate Bodies Authority File Subject Headings Authority File Uniform Title File of the Deutsches Musikarchiv At the time of its introduction on 5 April 2012, the GND held 9,493,860 files, including 2,650,000 personalised names.
There are seven main types of GND entities: LIBRIS Virtual International Authority File Information pages about the GND from the German National Library Search via OGND Bereitstellung des ersten GND-Grundbestandes DNB, 19 April 2012 From Authority Control to Linked Authority Data Presentation given by Reinhold Heuvelmann to the ALA MARC Formats Interest Group, June 2012
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile, was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, the subsequent occupation of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, which brought to an end the Second Polish Republic. Despite the occupation of Poland by hostile powers, the government-in-exile exerted considerable influence in Poland during World War II through the structures of the Polish Underground State and its military arm, the Armia Krajowa resistance. Abroad, under the authority of the government-in-exile, Polish military units that had escaped the occupation fought under their own commanders as part of Allied forces in Europe and the Middle East. After the war, as the Polish territory came under the control of the People's Republic of Poland, a Soviet satellite state, the government-in-exile remained in existence, though unrecognized and without effective power. Only after the end of Communist rule in Poland did the government-in-exile formally pass on its responsibilities to the new government of the Third Polish Republic in December 1990.
The government-in-exile was based in France during 1939 and 1940, first in Paris and in Angers. From 1940, following the Fall of France, the government moved to London, remained in the United Kingdom until its dissolution in 1990. On 17 September 1939, the President of the Polish Republic, Ignacy Mościcki, in the small town of Kuty near the southern Polish border, issued a proclamation about his plan to transfer power and appointing Władysław Raczkiewicz, the Marshal of the Senate, as his successor; this was done in accordance with Article 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, adopted in April 1935. Article 24 provided as follows: In event of war, the term of the President's office shall be prolonged until three months after the conclusion of peace. Should the President's successor assume office, the term of his office shall expire at the end of three months after the conclusion of peace, it was not until 30 September 1939 that Mościcki resigned. Raczkiewicz, in Paris took his constitutional oath at the Polish Embassy and became President of the Republic of Poland.
Raczkiewicz appointed General Władysław Sikorski to be Prime Minister. After Edward Rydz-Śmigły stepped down, Raczkiewicz made Sikorski Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces. Most of the Polish Navy escaped to Britain, tens of thousands of Polish soldiers and airmen escaped through Hungary and Romania or across the Baltic Sea to continue the fight in France. Many Poles subsequently took part in Allied operations: in Norway, in France in 1940 and in 1944, in the Battle of Britain, in the Battle of the Atlantic, in North Africa, Italy, at Arnhem and elsewhere. Under the Sikorski–Mayski agreement of July 1941 Polish soldiers taken prisoner by the Soviet Union in 1939, were released to form Anders' Army, intended to fight Nazi Germany in the USSR, but instead transferred via Iran to fight with US and British forces. Berling's Army, formed in the USSR in 1944, fought under Soviet command; the Polish government in exile, based first in Paris in Angers, where Władysław Raczkiewicz lived at the Château de Pignerolle near Angers from 2 December 1939 until June 1940.
Escaping from France the government relocated to London, it was recognized by all the Allied governments. Politically, it was a coalition of the Polish Peasant Party, the Polish Socialist Party, the Labour Party and the National Party, although these parties maintained only a vestigial existence in the circumstances of war; when Germany launched a war against the Soviets in 1941, the Polish government in exile established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union against Hitlerism, but in order to help Poles persecuted by the NKVD. On 12 August 1941 the Kremlin signed a one-time amnesty, extending to thousands of Polish soldiers, taken prisoner in 1939 by the Red Army in eastern Poland, including many Polish civilian prisoners and deportees entrapped in Siberia; the amnesty allowed the Poles to create eight military divisions known as the Anders Army. They were evacuated to Iran and the Middle East, where they were needed by the British, hard pressed by Rommel's Afrika Korps; these Polish units formed the basis for the Polish II Corps, led by General Władysław Anders, which together with other, earlier-created Polish units fought alongside the Allies.
During the war from 1942 on, the Polish government in exile provided the Allies with some of the earliest and most accurate accounts of the ongoing Holocaust of European Jews and, through its representatives, like the Foreign Minister Count Edward Raczyński and the courier of the Polish Underground movement, Jan Karski, called for action, without success, to stop it. The note the Foreign Minister, Count Edward Raczynski, sent on 10 December 1942 to the Governments of the United Nations was the first official denunciation by any Government of the mass extermination and of the Nazi aim of total extermination of the Jewish population, it was the first official document singling out the sufferings of European Jews as Jews and not only as citizens of their respective countries of origin. The note of 10 December 1942 and the Polish Government efforts triggered the Declaration of the Allied Nations of 17 December 1942. In April 1943, the Germans announced that
Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski was a Polish military and political leader. Prior to the First World War, Sikorski established and participated in several underground organizations that promoted the cause of the independence of Poland from the Russian Empire, he fought with distinction in the Polish Legions during the First World War, in the newly created Polish Army during the Polish–Soviet War of 1919 to 1921. In that war he played a prominent role in the decisive Battle of Warsaw. In the early years of the Second Polish Republic, Sikorski held government posts, including serving as Prime Minister and as Minister of Military Affairs. Following Józef Piłsudski's May Coup of 1926 and the installation of the Sanation government, he fell out of favor with the new régime. During the Second World War, Sikorski became Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, a vigorous advocate of the Polish cause in the diplomatic sphere, he supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Soviet Union, severed after the Soviet pact with Germany and the 1939 invasion of Poland—however, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin broke off Soviet-Polish diplomatic relations in April 1943 following Sikorski's request that the International Red Cross investigate the Katyń Forest massacre.
In July 1943, a plane carrying Sikorski plunged into the sea after takeoff from Gibraltar, killing all on board except the pilot. The exact circumstances of Sikorski's death have been disputed and have given rise to a number of different theories surrounding the crash and his death. Sikorski had been the most prestigious leader of the Polish exiles, his death was a severe setback for the Polish cause. Sikorski was born in Galicia, at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he was the third child in his family. His grandfather, Tomasz Kopaszyna Sikorski, had fought and been wounded at the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska in the November Uprising, during which he received the Virtuti Militari medal. Sikorski attended the gimnazjum in Rzeszów from 1893 to 1897 transferred for a year to a Rzeszów teachers' college. In 1899 he attended the Lwów Franciszek Józef Gymnasium, in 1902 he passed his final high school exam there. Starting that year, young Sikorski studied engineering at the Lwów Polytechnic, specializing in road and bridge construction, graduated in 1908 with a diploma in hydraulic engineering.
In 1906 Sikorski volunteered for a year's service in the Austro-Hungarian army and attended the Austrian Military School, obtaining an officer's diploma and becoming an army reserve second lieutenant. In 1909 he married Helena Zubczewska. In 1912 they had Zofia. After graduation he lived in Leżajsk and worked for the Galician administration's hydraulic engineering department, working on the regulation of the San river, was involved in private enterprises related to construction, real estate and petroleum trade. During his studies at the Polytechnic, Sikorski became involved in the People's School Association, an organization dedicated to spreading literacy among the rural populace. Around 1904–1905 he was involved with the endecja Association of the Polish Youth "Zet", drifted towards paramilitary socialist organizations related to the Polish Socialist Party, intent on securing Polish independence, he made contact with the socialist movement around 1905–1906 through the Union for the Resurrection of the Polish Nation.
In 1908, in Lwów, Sikorski—together with Józef Piłsudski, Marian Kukiel, Walery Sławek, Kazimierz Sosnkowski, Witold Jodko-Narkiewicz and Henryk Minkiewicz—organized the secret Union for Active Struggle, with the aim of bringing about an uprising against the Russian Empire, one of Poland's three partitioners. In 1910 in Lwów, Sikorski helped to organize a Riflemen's Association, became the president of its Lwów chapter, became responsible for the military arm within the Commission of Confederated Independence Parties. Having a military education, he lectured other activists on military tactics. Upon the outbreak of the First World War in July 1914, Sikorski was mobilized, but through KSSN influence he was allowed to participate in the organizing of the Polish military units, rather than being delegated to other duties by the Austro-Hungarian military command. In the first few weeks of the war he became the chief of the Military Department in the Supreme National Committee and remained in this post until 1916.
He was a commissioner in charge of the recruitment to the Polish Legions in Kraków, choosing this role over the opportunity to serve in the Legions as a frontline commander. On 30 September 1914 he was promoted to podpułkownik, soon after that he became the commander of a Legions officer school; the Legions — the army created by Józef Piłsudski to liberate Poland from Russian and Austro-Hungarian and German rule — fought in alliance with Austria-Hungary against Russia. From August 1915 there was growing tension between Sikorski, who advocated cooperation with Austria-Hungary, Piłsudski, who felt that Austria-Hungary and Germany had betrayed the trust of the Polish people. In 1916 Piłsudski campaigned to have the