After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and Poland’s official surrender, many underground organizations of armed resistance were formed to continue fighting for Polish independence. 80 years ago, on February 14th, 1942, the Association of Armed Struggle was renamed into Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa), starting the process of consolidation of the Polish Underground State.
Supreme General Sikorski’s decision to rename AAS was not only a manifestation of Polish central government (albeit underground, loyal to Polish government-in-exile), but it also represented the united fight for Poles’ independence. Home Army became the largest and the most important resistance movement in Poland, absorbing other groups such as National Military Organisation, Peasants’ Battalions, and Secret Polish Army. Among its most important initiatives are Operation Tempest and the organization of the Warsaw Uprising. Home Army consisted of almost 380 thousand soldiers at the moment of maximum combat capability.
For President Andrzej Duda it is important to celebrate Polish history and pay homage to the people who had affected its course. It’s no surprise to find him on Powązki Military Cemetery, putting flowers on the graves of Home Army’s officers. Powązki is the most prestigious cemetery in Poland, holding the burials of numerous politicians, poets, athletes, and soldiers, who all had had a notable impact on Poland, its people, and history. Among those is also the grave of Stefan Rowecki, the Commander in Chief of the Home Army.
“It [the Home Army] is a great chapter of our history, heroic and magnificent, one we’re incredibly proud of,” he says. He hopes, however, that Poles will never have to form an underground estate ever again.
“Let’s hope that it is something that became a part of our history, but will not take place in our future,” he emphasized during his speech at today’s ceremony.