Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Making the worst of a bad situation : how the interpersonal conflict between Foreign Minister Jozef Beck and Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly affected Poland's perception of the German threat in the run-up to the Second World War
Author: Kostus, Anna Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 0458
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The institutional conflict examined in this thesis can be traced back to the successful military coup of 1926, which elevated Marshal Jozef Pilsudski to dictatorship. Given the Marshal's interest in military and foreign policy matters, he was actively involved in the formation of both, ensuring their coherence. Unfortunately, following Pilsudski's death in 1935, the 'Sanacja' regime plunged into internal conflict. Rydz-Smigly, who succeeded Pilsudski as the General Inspector of the Armed Forces, soon became involved in the domestic power struggle. Named the Second Person in the state in 1936 and promoted to Marshal, Rydz-Smigly sought greater involvement in foreign policy. This interference met with resistance from the Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck. The troubled relationship between both men embodied the civil-military conflict in 1930s Poland and is the main subject of this doctorate. This thesis examines the extent in which it affected Polish military preparedness in 1939 by delaying the process of defensive planning. It also subject considers the impact that the tension between the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff had on the flow of strategically important information. Save for Roman Wapinski, whose work focuses on the dynamic between Polish foreign and domestic policy, the historiography to date has failed to address the importance of this institutional and personal rivalry and tended to focus on either diplomatic (e.g. Piotr Wandycz, Anna Cienciala, Marek Kornat, Stanislaw Zerko, Michal Zacharias) or military (e.g. Marian Zgorniak, Marian Leczyk, Mieczyslaw Cieplewicz, Leszek Gadek, Piotr Stawecki) history. This dissertation looks at both and contrasts the diplomats and military men’s different attitudes to Germany. It argues that this dissonance in approach impaired the Polish military and civilian authorities' ability to accurately assess the German threat and, consequently, affected Poland's defence in September 1939.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available