Border Guard (1928-1939)

Article

July 5, 2022

Border Guard - a Polish border formation established in 1928 to protect the southern, western and northern borders of the Second Polish Republic with Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

Protection of the western and southern state borders in 1918–1927

The first works on establishing a formation intended to protect the borders were started in October 1918 by the Ministry of Provision in the government of Józef Świerzyński. The organized formation under the name of the Economic and Military Guard was aimed at, inter alia, preventing the illegal export of food products, fighting against speculation, usury and exploitation. Col. Adolf Małyszko was appointed the commander of the Economic and Military Guard. On December 6, 1918, the first unit started service at the railway station in Lublin. Parallel to the formation of the Economic and Military Guard, the Ministry of the Treasury started the organization of the Tax Guard Corps intended to "guard the state borders and cooperate with other tax authorities in collecting taxes". The position of the Ministry of the Treasury towards the Economic and Military Guard organized by the Ministry was definitely negative. The theory was promoted that the organization of the Economic and Military Guard is pointless, and its functions will be taken over by the organized Tax Guard. It was believed that "linking the Tax Guard to the provisioning service would benefit both the tax and monopoly service, and the provisioning agencies, would save the state from double expenses, would not expose the administration to the risk of friction, inevitable with the existence of two watchdog organizations with similar competences. and would obviate the need for new organizational work ”. The economic and political situation in which Poland found itself forced the government of Jędrzej Moraczewski to start work on creating a new concept of border protection. During the debates, the most controversial issues were the decisions about the nature and size of the border formation to be established. On December 18, 1918, the Head of State Józef Piłsudski, the Prime Minister Jędrzej Moraczewski and the Minister of Provision, Antoni Mińkiewicz signed the Provisional Decree on the establishment of the Border Guard. The newly established Border Guard was to consist of separate units of the Polish Army. It was subordinated to the Ministry of Supplies, and it was headed by Lt. Col. Adolf Małyszko. The Border Guard was to prevent illegal exports of goods from the country, control transport and passenger traffic across the border, and supervise provisioning stores. From the spring of 1919, the formation operated under the name of the Military Border Guard, and the former command of the formation was transformed into the Military Border Guard Inspectorate and subordinated to the second Deputy Minister of Military Affairs. The structure was modeled on the organization of the Tsarist Military Border Guard. Border units were subordinate to the General District Headquarters. At the turn of 1919/1920, the reform of the Military Border Guard was initiated by the order of the deputy minister of military affairs of March 3, 1920. It was decided to conduct it without disturbing the basic organizational structure of the army and the combat readiness of individual border units, and above all, to better adapt the formation to the requirements of the border service. In order to emphasize the more civil nature of the formation, it changed its name from the Military Border Guard to Border Guards. In fact, however, the corps fully retained its military character. Border shooters were uniformed in the cavalry pattern with dark green rims on their caps. Searching for more effective methods, it decided to entrust the formation of Customs Battalions to the protection of the western and southern borders. The intention was to unify the complete protection of the state border and entrust it