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Published on May 2, 2010
The Armed Forces in the East refers to military units composed of Poles created in the Soviet Union at the time when the territory of Poland was occupied by both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in the Second World War.
Broadly speaking, there were two such formations. First was the Polish government-in-exile-loyal Anders Army, created in the second half of 1941 after German invasion of the USSR led to the 30 July 1941 Polish-Soviet Sikorski-Mayski Agreement declaring an amnesty for Polish citizens held captive in the USSR. In 1942 this formation was evacuated to Persia and transferred to the Western Allies, whereupon it became known as the Polish II Corps and went on to fight Nazi German forces in Italy, including at the Battle of Monte Cassino.
Following this, the remaining Polish forces in USSR were reorganized into Soviet-controlled Polish I Corps in the Soviet Union, which in turn was reorganized in 1944 into Polish First Army (Berling Army) and Polish Second Army, both part of Polish People's Army (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie, LWP).