Konrad II
King of Poland
Reign 28 September 1930 – 6 December 1969
Coronation 23 November 1930
Predecessor Leopold I
Successor Leopold II
Spouse Princess Bona Margherita of Savoy-Genoa
House House of Wittelsbach
Father Leopold I of Poland
Mother Archduchess Gisela of Austria
Born 22 November 1883
Munich, Bavaria, Germany Flag of the German Empire.svg
Died 6 December 1969 (aged 85)
Kraków, Poland Flag of Poland (1928-1980).svg
Religion Roman Catholicism

Early life[edit | edit source]

Konrad was born in Munich, Bavaria. He was the youngest child of Prince Leopold of Bavaria, later King Leopold I of Poland, and his wife Archduchess Gisela of Austria. During the Great War, like his older brother Georg, Konrad served in the German army mainly on the Eastern Front as a commander of the 2nd Royal Bavarian Heavy Cavalry “Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria” Konrad reached the rank of Major and resigned from the military on 6 February 1919 when he heard his father was offered the Polish crown.

His elder brother Prince George refused any rights to the Polish throne to persue a career as a Catholic priest. This made Konrad the heir to the new throne. On 3 November 1921, he joined the Polish army and instantly became a colonel. He dedicated his free time to learning the Polish language and educated himself on the customs of his new nation. He even helped in securing the pardon for Józef Piłsudski allowing his return to Poland from Germany. Piłsudski and Konrad surprised the world when the met for the first time by hitting it off. After the May coup Konrad wrote a private letter to Piłsudski supporting him.

King of Poland[edit | edit source]

His father, Leopold I, died in September 1930. He became known as Konrad II Bawarski. As king, Konrad was subservient to Piłsudski, never openly showing dissent from any aspect of the colonel's leadership. After Piłsudski's death in 1935, Piłsudski's followers divided into two main factions: those supporting the king and those supporting Prime Minister Walery Sławek.

With a view to eliminating Sławek from the game, Konrad concluded a power-sharing agreement with General Rydz-Śmigły, which saw Sławek marginalized as a serious political player by the end of the year. As a result of this agreement, Rydz-Śmigły would become the de facto leader of Poland until the outbreak of the war, while Konrad remained an influential monarch. Konrad was the leading moderate figure in the regime, which was referred to as the "colonels' government" due to the major presence of military officers in the Polish government. Konrad opposed many of the nationalist excesses of the more right-wing Rydz-Śmigły, but their pact remained more or less intact.

Konrad did not want war with the Soviet Union but was under pressure from Berlin to declare war after the Red Army's attack on Ukraine. He authorized one division to be sent to the Eastern Front but argued that the remaining units would be needed to protect Poland if the Soviets advanced that far. By the autum of 1940 Poland was indeed invaded by the Red Army. He tried to stay in Warsaw with the Polish Army but was evacuated to Berlin where a government-in-exile was established. While he was in Germany he became a convinced Fascist believing it was the only reason Germany and Italy were able to resist the Soviets aggression. He convened the Council of National Unity (Rada Jedności Narodowej), a falangist quasi-parliament established by Bolesław Piasecki and the ONR-Falanga, from 1944 to 1947. With Piasecki and others, Konrad played a leading role in the establishment of fascism in Poland.

The events in Poland usually described under the March 1968 heading actually began after the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab countries in June 1967. On 19 June Naczelnik Piasecki spoke in Warsaw and implicitly referred to the Polish Jewish population as the fifth column. Konrad insisted that the term should be deleted from the published transcript of the speech, and it was. The widely publicized student demonstrations in Warsaw took place on 8 March 1968. On 19 March Piasecki delivered another major televised speech. Reviewing its text in advance Konrad objected to Piasecki's reference to "student youth of Jewish origin".

As events in Poland began to escalate Konrad died on 6 September 1969 at Wawel Castle in the Kraków region. He was succeeded by his only son Prince Eugeniusz who reigned as Leopold II. His son would later abdicate in 1990.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

On 8 January 1921 Konrad married Princess Bona Margherita of Savoy-Genoa, the daughter of Prince Tomaso of Savoy-Genoa and Princess Isabella of Bavaria. The wedding took place at the Castello Agliè in Piedmont, Italy.

The couple had two children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Princess Amelia Izabella of Poland 15 December 1921 28 March 1985 married Umberto Poletti; had issue
King Leopold II of Poland 16 July 1925 1 January 1997 married Countess Helene von Khevenhüller-Metsch; no issue

Titles, styles, honours, and arms[edit | edit source]

Titles and styles[edit | edit source]

Monarchical styles of
Konrad II
Grand Coat of Arms of the Polish Kingdom.png
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • 22 November 1883 – 5 March 1921: His Royal Highness Prince Konrad of Bavaria
  • 5 March 1921 – 28 September 1930: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Poland
  • 28 September 1930 – 6 December 1969: His Majesty The King of Poland
Konrad II of Poland
Born: 22 November 1883 Died: 6 December 1969
Polish royalty
Preceded by
Leopold I
King of Poland
1930 – 1969
Succeeded by
Leopold II
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