Konstantin Konstantinovich (Xaverevich) Rokossovsky (Russian: Константин Константинович Рокоссовский; Polish: Konstanty Rokossowski; 21 December 1896 – 3 August 1968) was a Soviet and Polish officer who became Marshal of the Soviet Union, Marshal of Poland, and served as Poland's Defence Minister from 1949 until his removal in 1956 during the Polish October. He was among the most prominent Red Army commanders of World War II.
|Birth name||Konstanty Rokossowski|
|Born||21 December 1896|
Velikiye Luki or Warsaw, Russian Empire
|Died||3 August 1968 71) (aged|
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Allegiance||Russian Empire (1914–1917)|
Soviet Russia (1917–1922)
USSR (1922–1949, 1956–1968)
Polish People's Republic (1949–1956)
|Years of service||1914–1937, 1940–1962|
|Rank||Marshal of the Soviet Union|
Marshal of Poland
|Commands held||7th Samara Cavalry Division|
15th Cavalry Division
5th Cavalry Corps
9th Mechanized Corps
1st Belorussian Front
2nd Belorussian Front
Polish Armed Forces
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Russian Civil War
Russo-Chinese Eastern Railroad War
Soviet occupation of Bessarabia
World War II
|Awards||Hero of the Soviet Union (twice)|
Cross of St. George 4th class
Born in Warsaw under Russian rule (today in Poland), Rokossovsky served in the Imperial Russian Army during World War I. After the war he joined the Red Army and fought with great distinction during the Russian Civil War. Rokossovsky held senior commands until 1937 when he fell victim to Joseph Stalin's Great Purge, during which he was branded a traitor, imprisoned and probably tortured.
After Soviet failures in the Winter War, Rokossovsky was reinstated due to an urgent need of experienced officers. Following Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, Rokossovsky played key roles in the defense of Moscow and the counter-offensives at Stalingrad and Kursk. He was instrumental in planning and executing part of Operation Bagration—one of the most decisive Red Army successes of the war—for which he was made Marshal of the Soviet Union.
After the war, Rokossovsky became Defence Minister and deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers in the newly established Polish People's Republic. He was dismissed in 1956 when Władysław Gomułka became the leader of Poland. Rokossovsky then returned to the Soviet Union, where he lived out the rest of his life until his death in 1968.