Warsaw Uprising

Warsaw Uprising


powstanie-warszawskie-23-300x198 Powstanie WarszawskieWarsaw Uprising (eng. Warsaw Uprising) was an armed action organized by the Home Army – Armia Krajowa against Germans who were occupying Warsaw. It lasted from August, 1 till October, 2 1944.

img_006_MAPA_WARSZAWA_1944_2_-300x231 Powstanie Warszawskie

Mapa Powstania Warszawskiego

According to different sources it united the following military organizations: the Home Army - AK 50 000 soldiers), National Armed Forces - NSZ (740 -3 500), People’s Army – AL, the Union of Youth Struggle - ZWM (270-800), Security Corps - KB (600-700) and the Polish People’s Army (120-500).

A few hundred foreigners (from 17 countries) are reported to have taken part in the Rising. All military organizations operated under the Home Army’s command.

Are known to have taken part in the Rising 95 Silent and Unseen soldiers Rising (they were soldiers of the HA for special duty assignments).

CC-PW-287x350 Powstanie WarszawskieAmong nine persons in the HQ of the Warsaw Rising there were two Silent and Unseen soldiers: gen. Leopold Okulicki “Kobra”, Deputy Chief of Staff of the HA HQ and Col. Kazimierz Iranek – Osmecki “Heller”, the Head of Department II (Intelligence) of the HA HQ.

There were 7 Silent and Unseen among the HA HQ (I rzut), 5 Silent and Unseen and 2 Silent and Unseen in the command of the Comm unit no. 39. The Silent and Unseen were commanders in the HA units, were Intelligence and Comm officers, served in all radiostations during the Warsaw Rising (Wanda 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 23, 23A).

See Silent and Unseen who took part in the Warsaw Rising (the list).

The Warsaw Rising was not the outcome of a concept of a national uprising  but it was an element of a separate HA operation named Operation Tempest. It was the greatest battle of the HA and the greatest battle of the Silent and Unseen, who were the soldiers of the HA for special duty assignments. What is more, it was the greatest armed action in conspiracy against Germans in the occupied Europe.


(oprac. KJW) Grzegorz Jasiński – Broń w Powstaniu Warszawskim
w: Biuletyn informacyjny AK nr 08 (340) sierpień 2018, s. 15 – 26


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Płonący gmach PAST-y podczas powstania, plik NAC

The Rising broke out to liberate the city before the Soviets and was aimed to stop or impede the expected postwar sovietisation of Poland. This strategic objective was not met and after 63 days of fighting the HA signed the capitulation act.

After the start of the Rising the Soviet Red Army stopped their offensive and was standing idly by on the right river bank of the Vistula River till the Rising fell. The Soviet dictator Józef Stalin Stalin did not allow for any help to be given to the insurgents. A limited support offered by the USA and Great Britain had no impact and did not change the military situation of the Rising.

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Przebieg Powstania

In the course of the Rising ca.16 000 soldiers were killed, 20 000 wounded and 15 000 taken prisoner. 

From the 95 Cichociemnych uczestniczących w Powstaniu Warszawskimthere were 20 wounded or seriously wounded (some several times), 18 were killed in fight or as a result of inflicted wounds.

PW-depesza6288-300x157 Powstanie Warszawskie

Depesza dowódcy Armii Krajowej, 2 sierpnia 1944

During the Warsaw Uprising, as a result of air strikes, artillery fire, German crimes - mass murder of civilians,as well as due to very difficult living conditions, about 150-200 thousand people died civilian residents of Warsaw.

According to historians apart from those who got killed in fight about 63 thousand Varsovians lost life because of German war crimes. 550 thousand inhabitants of Warsaw were expelled from their homes, and 100 thousand 000 inhabitants of the nearby localities. 150 thousand of them were sent to forced labour to the Third Reich.


Najważniejsze depesze i dokumenty Powstania Warszawskiego


Tadeusz M. Płużański – Powstanie Warszawskie
– największy niepodległościowy zryw Armii Krajowej
i największa akcja zbrojna podziemia
w okupowanej przez hitlerowców Europie
w: Biuletyn Informacyjny AK lipiec – sierpień 2006, s. 9 – 13


Powstanie-Warszawskie-obwody-AK-300x225 Powstanie Warszawskie

Powstanie Warszawskie – obwody Armii Krajowej

Powstanie-Warszawskie-gen-Komorowski-do-niewoli-263x350 Powstanie WarszawskieThe decision taken by the HA to start the Rising was of political character. Still today it is being discussed by historians as so many civilians got killed and planned demolition of Warsaw by the GermansHowever, the commanders of the Rising could have not imagined that Germans would have behaved the way they did eventually.

In the course of the Rising 25% of the architectural substance of the city was demolished on the left river bank of the Vistula river with almost 100% buildings of the Old Town. A substantial part of the „destruction plan” was a result of putting fire to the whole districts by Germans who acted upon the orders of their Command. Furthermore, Germans torn down to foundations ca.30% of the prewar buildings between October 1944 and January 1945.

In total, ca. 65% of the prewar Warsaw’s architectural substance was demolished which resulted in 20 mln square metres of debris…



Zbigniew S. Siemaszko – Łączność radiowa Sztabu N.W. w przededniu Powstania Warszawskiego
w: Instytut Literacki Paryż, 1964 r., Zeszyty Historyczne nr. 6, s. 64 – 116


Aleksander Dobraczyński – Kanały warszawskie. Ich rola podczas Powstania Warszawskiego 1944 r.
w: Koło Byłych Żołnierzy AK – Oddział Londyn, polishresistance-ak.org


Andrzej Paweł Przemyski – Amerykański zrzut lotniczy na powstańczą Warszawę
18 września 1944: kontrowersje – fakty
w: Rocznik Lubelski 1985-1986, nr 27-28, s. 177-187


On October, 9 1944 Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler issued an order upon which Warsaw was to be razed to the ground and serve solely as a transportation hub for Wehrmacht. All buildings were to be pulled down. Nothing left standing. Only the technical devices and railways indispensable for trains were to be spared from this act of devastation..

Over a period of 3 months anything of value was looted, be it from ordinary houses, factories or public institutions. Between August and December 1944 Germans sent to the Reich 26 319 train cars filled to the roof with raw materials and factory machinery 3 240 train cars of food and 850 lorries with looted things.

After pillage, buildings were set on fire by BrandkommandoAfter a few days buildings were inspected again and if they were “insufficiently” destroyed by flames they were set on fire again. The work of Sprengkommando consisted in detonating chosen buildings with priority to those of special cultural and sacral heritage.


„Miasto ruin” directed by Damian Nenow – a digital reconstruction of the destruction of Warsaw


The HA telegram with the text of the Capitulation Act
Source: The Polish Underground Movement Study Trust w Londynie


Powstanie-Warszawskie-po-kapitulacji-300x118 Powstanie Warszawskie

Po kapitulacji Powstania – wymarsz oddziałów AK z Warszawy…


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Text translated from Polish to English by Aleksandra Duda.
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