Rokossovsky, Konstantin

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Rokossovsky, Konstantin

Konstantin Rokossovsky (kənstəntyēn´ rŏkŏs-sôf´skē), 1896–1968, Soviet general, b. Warsaw. He entered the czarist army and in 1917 joined the Bolshevik forces in the Russian Revolution. Purged in 1937, he was rehabilitated in 1940. In World War II he distinguished himself at Moscow, Stalingrad (later Volgograd), and Kursk and became (1943) commander on the central front. His armies stood by without aiding the tragic Warsaw uprising of 1944 against the Germans. In 1949, Rokossovsky was made commander in chief and minister of defense of Poland and from 1952 he was deputy prime minister; in this capacity he was an important symbol of Soviet influence in Poland. After the assertion of Polish nationalism under Gomułka as leader of the Polish Communist party in 1956, Rokossovsky resigned and was recalled to the Soviet Union. From 1956 to 1958 he twice served as Russian deputy minister of defense.

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