Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski; May 20, 1881 – July 4, 1943) was a Polish military and political leader.
In 1918 the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and German empires collapsed, and Poland once again became independent, but the borders of the Second Polish Republic were not fully determined and unstable. In the east they would be formed in the escalating conflicts among Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Soviet forces in what culminated in the Polish-Soviet War (1919–1921). Winston Churchill commented: "The war of giants has ended, the wars of the pygmies began".
After his release from internment, from 1 May 1918 Sikorski worked for the Regency Council, organizing the new Polish Army. He was soon at the frontlines again, this time in the Polish-Ukrainian War, where troops under his command secured and defended Przemyśl in October–November 1918.
Polish independence came in November 1918 with the formation of the Second Republic of Poland. In the course of the Polish-Ukrainian War, and in the opening phase of the Polish-Soviet War, Sikorski, now a high-ranking officer of the Polish Army was involved in further operations in the Galicia region. In January 1919 he commanded troops defending Gródek Jagielloński; in March that year he commanded an infantry division, advancing to Stawczany and Zbrucz. From 1 August 1918 Sikorski commanded the Polesie Group, and the Polish 9th Infantry Division. In order to curtail excesses of the forces under his command, he oversaw trials of 36 officers. His forces took Mozyr and Kalenkowicze in March 1920, and he would command the Polesie Group during Poland's Kiev offensive in April 1920, advancing to Dniepr river and Chernobyl region. On April 1 that year he was promoted to brigade general.
As the Polish-Soviet War grew in intensity, in late April 1920 the Red Army of Russia's new Soviet regime pushed back Polish forces and invaded Poland. Subsequently Sikorski successfully defended Mozyr and Kalenkowicze until 29 June, but later failed to hold the Brest fortress, although he defended it long enough to allow the Polish forces in the region to retreat in an orderly manner. On 6 August he was named the commander of the newly formed Polish 5th Army, which was tasked with holding the front to the north of Modlin, between Narew and Wkra rivers. He distinguished himself commanding the 5th Army on the Lower Vistula front during the Battle of Warsaw. At that time Soviet forces, expecting an easy final victory, were surprised and crippled by the Polish counter-attack. During that battle (sometimes referred to as "the Miracle at the Vistula") Sikorski stopped the Bolshevik advance north of Warsaw and gave Piłsudski, the Polish commander-in-chief, the time he needed for his counter-offensive; beginning with the 15 August his forces successfully engaged the Soviet 5th and 15th Armies. After the Battle of Warsaw, from 30 August, Sikorski commanded the 3rd Army. His forces took Pińsk, and fought during the latter stages of the Battle of Lwów and the Battle of Zamość, and then after Battle of Niemen advanced with his forces toward Latvia and deep into Belarus. The Poles defeated the Soviets, and the Polish-Soviet Treaty of Riga (March 1921) gave Poland substantial areas of Belarus and Ukraine's (Kresy). For his valorous achievements Sikorski was promoted to divisional general on 28 February 1921, and was awarded Poland's highest military decoration, the order of Virtuti Militari, on 15 March that year.