October 11, 2018




Casimir Pulaski died on October 11, 1779. At the Battle of Savannah, while leading a daring charge against British forces, he was gravely wounded, and died shortly after. Pulaski's memory is honored around the world. He was a hero who fought for independence and freedom in both Poland and the United States. Numerous places and events are named in his honor, and he is commemorated by many works of art. Pulaski is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship. (see also March 6, 1745)  Benjamin Franklin was very impressed by Pulaski, and wrote of him: "Count Pulaski of Poland, an officer famous throughout Europe for his bravery and conduct in defence of the liberties of his country against the three great invading powers of Russia, Austria and Prussia ... may be highly useful to our service." Franklin recommended to General George Washington that Pulaski be accepted as a volunteer in the Continental Army cavalry.  He was impressed with Pulaski and noted that he "was renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery...displayed in defense of his country's freedom." Pulaski departed France from Nantes in June 1777 and about a month later arrived in Marblehead, Massachusetts, near Boston. Upon his arrival, Pulaski wrote a letter to Washington stating, "....I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it......"  In 2009 the United States Congress passed a joint resolution conferring honorary U.S. citizenship on Pulaski. It was sent to then- President Barack Obama for approval, which he duly signed on November 6, 2009.  This makes Casimir Pulaski the seventh person to receive such a honour.


Alexander Sachs, a close friend of President Franklin Roosevelt, met with him to discuss a letter written by Albert Einstein, warning FDR of the dangers of nuclear bombs.  In the letter, written in August of that year,  Einstein informed Roosevelt of research on uranium and chain reaction of fission, which would make possible the construction of "extremely powerful bombs".  After some delay,  Roosevelt finally wrote back to Einstein on October 19, 1939, informing him that the US would set up a committee of civilian and military officials to study the matter.  Roosevelt did not want to risk the possibility that Hitler would be the sole nuclear power.  This was the first step by the US that led towards the founding of the Manhattan Project.


General Kazimierz Sosnkowski died on October 11, 1969.   He was a Polish general, an outstanding commander, diplomat, and held a key place in Polish history.  When World War One broke out, Piłsudski formed the 1st Brigade of the Polish Legions, and appointed Sosnkowski as his Chief of Staff and second-in-command.  When Piłsudski instructed the Polish Legion to refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Sosnkowski obeyed, and was subsequently arrested along with his commander and imprisoned in Magdeburg.  At the outbreak of World War Two, Sosnkowski was appointed commander of the Polish group of southern armies, and conducted several victorious battles. But the September 17 invasion by the Soviets made it impossible for Polish troops to continue the fight two enemies along all fronts.  Sosnkowski evacuated Poland, along with many of the Polish armed forces, and the Polish government.  Wearing a disguise, he was able to cross through Soviet occupied Polish territory and enter Hungary. From there he made his way to France.  Polish President-in-exile Władysław Raczkiewicz selected him as his successor, despite the wishes of General Władysław Sikorski.  Genral Sosnkowski was also appointed the Commander of the Union of Armed Struggle (ZWZ).  After the death of General Sikorski in July 1943, Sosnkowski was appointed Commander in Chief.  After Sosnkowski's death, he was buried in France, but in 1992 his ashes were returned to Poland and interred inside St. John'’s Cathedral in Warsaw.

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