Kazimierz Sosnkowski

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For those of a similar name, see Kazimierz Sosnowski (disambiguation).
Kazimierz Sosnkowski
Sosnkowski Kazimierz.jpg
General Sosnkowski in the 1930s
Nickname(s) Baca, Godziemba, Józef
Born (1885-11-19)November 19, 1885
Died October 11, 1969(1969-10-11) (aged 83)
Arundel, Quebec
Years of service 1914 - 1944
Rank Generał broni LTG
Commands held Polish Armed Forces
Battles/wars Polish-Soviet War
World War II
Other work politician

Kazimierz Sosnkowski (Warsaw, 1885 – Arundel, Quebec, 1969) was a Polish independence fighter, politician and Polish Army general.


Born in Warsaw, Sosnkowski grew up in the Russian Empire. After meeting Józef Piłsudski in 1904 he joined the underground Polish Socialist Party. A dedicated follower of Piłsudski, his involvement in revolutionary activities forced him to go into exile. Together with Piłsudski he settled in Lwów, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where they organized a paramilitary group that opposed the Russian Empire's control of Poland. When these paramilitary units were expanded into the Związek Walki Czynnej (Active Combat Association), Sosnkowski served as part of the central command. After the Riflemen's Association was formed as a legal front, Sosnkowski became its Chief of Staff.

Following the outbreak of the First World War Piłsudski formed the 1st Brigade of the Polish Legions, with Sosnkowski serving as his Chief of Staff and second-in-command. During the Oath crisis, when Piłsudski instructed the Polish Legion to refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Sosnkowski was arrested along with his commander and imprisoned in Magdeburg.

After the end of the war he was released and became Deputy Minister for Military Affairs in the new Polish Second Republic, serving in that position during the Polish-Soviet War. Between 1920 and 1923 he was Minister for Military Affairs. Subsequently he served in a number of diplomatic roles, including a brief period as Polish Representative to the League of Nations. In 1925 he returned to active duty as Commander of the VII Corp District. Despite his long association with Piłsudski, he was not privy to the May Coup.

Despite this he continued to serve in Piłsudski's Sanacja Government, becoming Army Inspector in Warsaw and serving in diplomatic capacities. Sosnkowski was considered a possible successor to Piłsudski, but lost out to Edward Rydz-Śmigły. Thereafter he was largely excluded from power by Rydz-Smigly and President Ignacy Mościcki. During the Invasion of Poland he was recalled to command the Karpaty Army.

Following the defeat of the Polish Army, he made his way to France via Hungary and became involved in the Polish government-in-exile, initially as Minister without Portfolio. After Władysław Sikorski's death in 1943, he succeeded him as General Inspector of the Armed Forces. At the end of the Second World War he emigrated to Canada where he died in 1969. Originally buried in the Cemetery des Champeaux de Montmorency outside of Paris, his ashes were later interred in St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw.

Sosnkowski, over his career, used a number of noms de guerre, including "Baca" (Polish mountaineer term for "shepherd"), "Godziemba" (the name of his herditary coat-of-arms), "Józef" (Polish for "Joseph"), "Ryszard" ("Richard"), "Szef" ("Chief").

Sosnkowski was married to Jadwiga Sosnkowska. They had five sons.

Prohibition of bacteriological weapons[edit]

In 1925, the Polish Permanent Representative to the League of Nations, General Kazimierz Sosnkowski, initiated the adoption of the first international instrument addressing Biological weapons of Mass Destruction – the Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of Poisonous Gases and Bacteriological Methods of Warfare.[1][2]

Honours and awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Croddy, Eric and Wirtz, James, Weapons of Mass Destruction, An Encyclopedia of Worldwide Policy, Technology and History.
  2. ^ Mierzejewski, Jerzy (July 2003). "General Kazimierz Sosnkowski: The Creator of the First International Prohibition of Bacteriological Weapon Usage". FEMS Circular (Federation of European Microbiological Societies) (54): 10 and 11. 
Godziemba, Sosnkowski's hereditary coat-of-arms
Military offices
Preceded by
Władysław Sikorski
General Inspector of the Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski