First Marshal of Poland Józef Piłsudski’s titularcommand over the 16th Infantry Regiment of theArmy of the Kingdom of Romania

Issue: 1/2023

Pages: 151-178

Language: English

Author: Aleksander SMOLIŃSKI


In the historical practice of awarding actual or honorary colonels-in-chief to Polish Army units there could be only individuals with extraordinary merits throughout the centuries of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, or ones who had great significance for the history of the Polish nation. They were people who could be viewed as unanimously positive by every Pole, even a less cultured one. The goal was to play a great role in the patriotic education of citizens of the Polish Republic who were doing the mandatory military service. At the same time, the institution of colonels-in-chief was meant to serve as an element which integrated the army with the society.

The fact that not every unit which applied for a colonel-in-chief obtained such permission serves as evidence that having them was treated as a form of reward for an educational effort and cultivation of national military traditions and not only – as it is common in the armed forces of the Third Commonwealth – as an element of certain “military folklore”.

In the interwar period, for the whole duration of the alliance between Poland and Romania, both sides, despite certain difficulties and hesitation maintained political and military relationships, which at times were particularly close. The award of the First Marshal of Poland Józef Piłsudski as the colonel-in-chief of the 16th Romanian Infantry Regiment should be viewed as a consequence of exceptional courtesy which had existed before September 1939 in Polish-Romanian political and military relationships. It is also worth highlighting that the course of the celebrations related to it was deeply rooted in old, European, military tradition.

Keywords: military commands, Polish-Romanian military tradition, interwar,
Józef Piłsudski

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