Polish formations in Russia after the overthrow of the Tsar
A new period in the history of the Polish military in Russia starts after the overthrow of the tsar. Its origins are connected with so important political acts as the message of the Petrograd Council of Workers and Soldiers from 27 March 1917, the Law on the Liquidation Committee for the Polish Kingdom of March 28 and the Manifesto of the Provisional Government of March 30 same year.
Advocates for expansion of the national Polish armed forces hoped to profit from the great opportunities arising from the large number of Poles serving in the Russian army. (see Poles in the occupation armies. Will come later. ts)
Further the mobilization projects took into consideration the large number of civil Poles living inside the territory of the Russian state, capable of military service plus the about 100,000 men of Polish descent (mainly prisoners from the Austrian Army) in Russian POW camps.
Opportunities to use such a strong capacity for enlisting were assessed optimistic, as Russia after the overthrow of Tsar already had accepted radical changes on liberalization in national questions. This encouraged the development of the Polish military movement, which can be seen in the creation of numerous Polish Military Associations (Związki Wojskowych Polaków).
From the beginning, their activities went the two directions. The first, under the influence of Polish left-wing political groups and revolutionaries, worked for social care and educational tasks, while the other was inspired by the Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczno-Narodowe) and National Party of Real Politics (Stronnictwo Polityki Realnej) and the objective of their efforts was the Polish armed forces in Russia. On the background of the military situation a fierce struggle started between the two factions.
The main clash took place during the 1st General Assembly of the Polish Military (I Ogólnego Zjazdu Wojskowych Polaków), which was held in Petrograd June 8 - 22, 1917.
As a result of the sharp disputes, there was a split and two distinct, warring, supreme Polish military authorities were establihed. The authority selected by the supporters for creation of a Polish army was supported by the vast majority of Military Poles, constituted under the authority of a young lawyer from Minsk, ensign Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz, who began to act through the Chief Polish Military Committee (Naczpol). Opponents to the creation of a Polish army, one of the most eminent was sztabskapitan Roman Łągwa, were assembled around the Main Committee of the Union of Military Poles (left-wing) - (Komitetu Głównego Związków Wojskowych Polaków), led by ensign Antoni Żaboklicki.
Implementation of resolutions on the formation of an Polish army was also supported by the anti-Russian Provisional Government, especially in the period preceding the failure of the 1917 summer offensive on the Galician front. A negative position from the Russian government was also revealed later, but no longer the Russian army commander, General Lavra Kornilov, objected to the establishing of a national Polish corps. (The national corps – Czechs, Poles and other - being assembled in this period, were considered and were more reliable in the fighting against the Germans than the Russian units.ts) The command of this formation, known as the I Polish Corps, got General Dowbor-Musnicki.