September 3Oth. 1939 The War Illustrated Gil Marshal Smigly Rydz-Poland’s Leader Poland captain's in her heroic fight against Nazi aggression is a man who already on many a hard -fou g ht field has shown his mettle as the commander o r men. I f anything sliould happen tome.” old Marshal Pilsudski, father of modern Poland, told President Moscieki. Rydz will replace me in tin* army.” A year later Pilsudski was dead, and within a .few hours of his passing the President appointed General Smigly Rydz Inspector-General, in other words, the Commander-iu-C'hief of the Polish army. That was on May J2. 1935, and the four years which have since elapsed did much to strengthen still further the ties binding the Marshal and the people whom he leads. Edward Rydz was l>orn at Brzezany in south-east Poland in 1880, and in his youth he was an art student at Cracow in that city’s art gallery hangs a picture of our Houses of Parliament which he painted from the Embankment. Erelong, however, he was drawn into politics, and became an ardent disciple of Joseph Pilsudski. He was one of the first to join Pilsudski’s semi-military organization, and during the Great War he played a distinguished part as an officer in the Polish legion. A colonel in 1910, in the following year ho was appointed by Pilsudski to command the army which was being informed secret ready for the day when Poland would l> cable to strike a blow for her own independence. When Pilsudski was imprisoned Rydz carried on. and after the Armistice, when Poland was in a state of indescribable chaos as a result of the withdrawal of the alien armies which for years had been battling heron soil, it was entirely due to Rydz. and his Polish military organization that order was re-established and the foreign invaders were repatriated. When, on November 10.1918. Pilsudski returned in triumph to Warsaw, his first act was to make Rydz a general. Defeating the Bolsheviks In 1919 General Rydz lead the Polish army which saved the independence of Latvia and freed Wilno from the Russians. During the war with the Soviets General Rydz commanded the Polish army which swept through the Ukraine and captured Kiev, and when, in 1920, the tide turned and the Russians invaded Poland, it was Rydz who defeated the attack of Budienny’s cavalry at Lwow. In August of that fateful vear. when the Russians wHere e see Mars halS m ig ly R y d z trans acting State business n this d e skin his home .Photo, Keystone were at the very gates of Warsaw and it seemed as if Europe were about to be submerged beneath a wave of Bolshevism, it was Rydz who led the centre of the Polish army to complete victory. In the last battle of the war. fought on the Xiemen shortly afterwards. Smigly Rydz was again the commander of the triumphant Poles. After the war with Russia Rydz cooperated whole-heartedly with Pilsudski. in the rebuilding of the Polish state, and on the-Marshal's death lie was appointed a marshal and designated the first person in Poland next to the President. His position as head of the army -that army to which Poland's independence is due and by which it has always been maintained makes him in effect the leader of his countrv. .Mars halS m ig ly R y d z is seen above arriving a t arC c o won August 8,1939 ,to pay t rib ute to another famous heroin P o land’s long struggle for freedom ,Marsh alP ils u d s k i.On that day 25 years ago P ils u d s k i marched into arC cow a t th heads o f his Polish legion aries .Photo, Keystone inTrust the Army Ilis lielief in the necessity for a strong army is grounded in a study of his country’s history as well as in the grim experience of today.£‘ Poland’s pathway has not been strewn with roses." he said once. "Although we honestly desire to live with the whole world in peace and concord, we remember the bitter past which proved that the fate of nations is decided by war. ...In order to be aide to devote oneself to art and learning, to cultivate civic and social virtues, to spend the Christmas holiday in pious repose, to muse how to build best our State and apply the wisest means.towards that end -a strong and valiant army is necessary.”*' In his company," said Pilsudski once of Smigly Rydz, 1 always felt the atmosphere of calm and security.” Never had the Polish people so needed a man of this character as in those early days of September 1939, when Poland was submerged by the full tide of Nazi aggression.