Hanke was before the Polish campaign and the beginning of World War II on 1 September 1939 politically active as a member of the Christian Trade Union ( Chrześcijańskie związki zawodowe ) and the Workers' Party ( Stronnictwo Pracy ) in Silesia.
After he had gone into exile in London, he was a member from 1950 to 1954 the exile government as Ministers. On August 8, 1955, he was appointed by President August Zaleski exile as the successor of Stanisław Mackiewicz as prime minister of the Polish government in exile in London. However, this position which he held just under one month until his escape in the meantime communist Poland on 10 September 1955. Successor was subsequently Antoni Pająk.
According to some reports Hanke worked three years before his return to Poland as an agent for the Polish secret.