Józef Beck

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Beck, Józef

 

Born Oct. 4, 1894, in Warsaw; died June 5, 1944, in the village of Steneşti, Rumania. Polish statesman.

During World War I, Beck served as a colonel in the Polish legion of J. Piłsudski. He actively participated in Piłsudski’s military uprising of May 12–14, 1926. From 1926 to 1930 he was in charge of the Ministry of Military Affairs; in 1930, vice-premier; from 1930 to 1932, vice-minister; and from 1932 to 1939, foreign minister. He followed a policy of collaboration with fascist Germany. In May 1939, despite the military threat from Germany, he rejected the USSR’s proposal of a mutual-assistance pact, thus placing Poland in danger from the Hitlerites. After the fascist German invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Beck fled to Rumania.