to Poland's King Stanilaus II, Poniatowski had the strange upbringing
of living in the capital of his country's oppressor, Austria, for
his early years.
in the Austrian army from 1780, Poniatowski honed his military skills
against the Turks but, when offered a senior command, returned to
abilities saw regular offers to join either the Russian - whom he
fought against during the Polish uprising during the 1790s - or
Austrian armies, but his prime aim was to have a strong, independent
saw France's emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
as the key to winning independence for his nation and so agreed
to form Polish units for him.
countrymen proved excellent troops and, in 1809, they led the campaign
to expel Austria from Polish territories.
Russia in 1812 he led the French
right wing at Borodino, where
his troops performed heroicly.
by the emperor's lack of speed at giving Poland independence, Poniatowski
nevertheless continued to support France during the 1813
campaign and received promotion to marshal only days before
drowning while trying to cross the Elster River after Leipzig.
much a nationalist to be fully trusted by Bonaparte, Poniatowski
was still a man upon whom the emperor relied to fight mutual enemies.