September the 1st

On the 1st September 2009, 70 years after the breakout of the Second World War, world leaders will come to Westerplatte in Gdańsk, Poland, where it all began. They will pay tribute to the victims, line the paths of reconcilliation and vow to make sure similar things don’t happen again. But as delegations iron their shirts and pack bags, many people feel let down again.

Germany and Russia, the perpetrators of the 1939 attack on Poland they conducted in agreement and concord with each other, are sending the highest authorities: Angela Merkel, who is engaged in a longstanding genuine effort for German-Polish (and other) reconcilliation, and Vladimir Putin, who isn’t. Among those attending are many heads of states. The EU will be represented by the prime minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt, a country currently holding the presidency. Jerzy Buzek, the newly appointed speaker of the European Parliament, former Polish prime minister, will act as a symbol of a new era in Central Europe.

It is however the absentees, who are most talked about. It is a very important occasion for Polish politicians, and diplomatic world knows it. Absence, therefore, says a lot. French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown the prime minister of the UK and the American president Barack Obama decided they had more important things to do, are sending their representatives of lower rank. These decisions received very cold reception among many Poles. They feel France and Britain have betrayed Poland in 1939, by not providing military help to which they have commited themselves in treaties. And thay say, together with the USA they betrayed Poland once again after the war, leaving her for Soviet occupation. Therefore Poland, an ally that managed to defend longer than France, has become the only ally that didn’t actually win the war. And today, many feel, that these leaders can’t even manage to find three hours to appear on official celebrations. This is noted, and Poles have a good memory – as one of commentators put it on a Polish news channel.

This is a very important day. For many decades we weren’t allowed to talk freely about what happened during the Second World War. Communist dictatorship blanked out half of our war fate from official memory. Some Western countries were able to remember what happened and have moved on. We didn’t, we are remembering it now. It is the last big anniversary when witnesses are still alive. We need this – a Warsaw pedestrian told Polsat News.

Popular feelings are reflected in the press, which comments that relations with Poland have become the last priority for the United States. And that she is not getting anything in return for being America’s faithful ally. Polish effort in Iraq, and Afghanistan turn out not to be “lives and money well spent”. Oil contracts did not happen. Promised investment (off-set in return for aircraft deal) is not coming. USA are pulling off the missile shield. And on top of that Poles still need visas to travel to the US. Opinion polls on Poland’s participation in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are falling flat.

Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy are not coming either. Is it only because standing in Gdansk, they would have to refer to their countries performance as Poland’s allies? Or the opportunities their countries missed, after the war, to talk about Stalin’s atrocities? Or is it just relations with Poland are on the far end of important issues? After all Gordon Brown did bother to visit the shores of Normandy, when Nicolas Sarkozy invited him for remembrance ceremony.

Some point this could mean that the world is going back to making politics over the heads of smaller nations.

What happened 70 years ago changed the world and shaped today’s reality, we should make sure that it is accurately remembered. It involved two wicked ideologies, that co-operated until 1941. One executing a racist plan of cleansing the Europe of Jews, Slavs and other peoples, and their cultures, treasures and sights, to make room in the East for the German ‘race’. The other intended to expand its model of murderous dictatorship and dominane worldwide on the basis of changing the social relations. Hundreds thousands were enslaved and maked forced-labourers, millions of men, women and children were killed in concentration camps and gulags. Shot in łapankas, bombings, killed in battle. It all happed in the cultured Europe, among the statues of great philosophers and musicians.
We failed to remember what happened. Most people until this day are not fully aware of the atocities of Stalin. Being among the “winners” of the war, he and his people never got their Nurenberg Trial. We failed to make sure similar things don’t happen again.

As Mrs. Angela Merkel said in her video address, it is right and it is important to be in Gdansk for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. Maybe we can stop failing?

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84 thoughts on “September the 1st

  1. kuba says:

    As an American I can say the people voted for “Hope and Change” and things are changing. We now have an avowed communist as one of the new administration Czars. Many want Marxism here in the US.

  2. Jörg says:

    I’d like to comment on one particular issue you mentioned, “Most people until this day are not fully aware of the atocities of Stalin.”. I think you are absolutely right. I’m from Germany, and while I have really been taught a lot about the cruelties and war crimes conducted by the Germans, those of the Soviets remain mostly unregarded in the class room as well as during memorial days. For Polish people, in particular those affected, it must feel degrading if a part of their suffering is just neglected. But as far as I know, after 1989 at least in Poland itself there was put a lot of effort to come to terms with what people weren’t allowed to talk about for so many years?

  3. Steven says:

    I really think they should have some cake and tea, and remember in a few minutes of silence and get over it. Poland, just like the jews, has this attitude that they are the only ones betrayed and screwed over by the Germans and Stalin. Every year they go through this big deal acting offended when every head of state in the world does not attend. Stalin killed more of his own people then Poles. Have some cake and get over it. Obama does have more important things to attend to…like helping those still alive 70 years later.

  4. mjn says:

    It’s nice to see how Germans in general (of course with a few exceptions) and Merkel in particular do nothing to try to weasel out of the German responsibility for the atrocities of the war. In the video Merkel clearly says “Germany attacked Poland”, not Nazigermany or the Nazis, but Germany.

    Compare that to the rubbish that keeps popping up on Russian official(-ish) websites and TV-channels; how Stalin was a nice chap and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was all fine and dandy because the evil Poles conspired with the Germans and the Japanese and and and…

    I will actually be travelling from Germany to Poland on Tuesday (not via Westerplatte though) and will try to pick up a FAZ or Die Zeit to see what they write about it on the day.

  5. Steven says:

    And I am sorry Pawel, but the only reason Poland is a faithful friend to the US is becuase 25% of all Poles on earth live in the US. Has not much to do with what happened when Stalin swept accross Poland to attack Berlin.

  6. Pawel says:

    I have heard many justifications by Polish politicians on why Poland should be an ally to the USA, but I swear I have never heard this one. Poles living abroad, Polonia, have never been an issue in Polish politics. Have you heard this argument somewhere?

    After all, aren’t they just a small fraction of American society?

  7. Pawel says:

    You can see what a big deal USA makes of 9/11. Imagine now that it’s not 2000 people killed and two buildings brought down, but 18% of people and the whole capital, and that it has defined the fate of a people for 60 years.

    Does the Polish obsession with war and betrayal become more justified now?

  8. Pawel says:

    mjn, when you do pick up FAZ or Die Zeit, please share with us your conclusions.

    Yes, Germany and Russia are on two opposite sides when talking about dealing with the past.

  9. Pawel says:

    Poland was a strange place in the communist camp, where people still talked about what wasn’t allowed, in private. Memories lived, there was just no official expiration.

    It seems that, for various reasons, in other places such as Western Europe or Russia, it was a different story.

  10. Pawel says:

    Who are you talking about as the new Czar in US administration?

    Why do you think they are a communist?

    Soviet regime and Marxism weren’t that close together… Anyway there has been a lot of progress in leftist ideologies in XX century so I wouldn’t worry that much. I think.

  11. Steven says:

    Not an issue, just an overlooked fact due to an emotion 70 years old..

  12. Steven says:

    Yea, but we will not be expecting heads of state to attend the memorial service 60 years from now Pawel. Representatives of state, will be ok, have some cake and tea, a moment of prayer and silence, and get on with living in the cool new EU.

  13. Pawel says:

    The thing is we weren’t allowed to have that sort of thing one, two or ten years after the war. First time we did was 55 years after the war, and Soviet army was still here then…

  14. dev says:

    @kuba Somebody in the USA wants to start proletariat revolution (fight between working class and bourgeoisie)? Is there a class consciousness, required for Marxism at all?
    If not, stop talking about Marxism and communism, because I have an impression, that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    @Steven
    We don’t think that we are the only ones that have been screwed by Stalin.
    The Poles perfectly know about for example Ukrainian victims of Stalin’s regime.
    Can you write why do you think we have this sense of alleged uniqueness?

  15. kuba says:

    Pawel, it is the ‘Green Czar’
    “Green Jobs” czar, Van Jones, is an environmental extremist with a communist and racial radicalism background.

  16. Pawel says:

    I think what kuba meant is that this Green Tsar calls himself a communist. I at least that’s what I googled.

    Apart from the Marxism of the days, leftist ideologies concentrate today not only on the living conditions (labour, capital, means of production) but on culture. I’m not an expert here, but from what I uderstand cultural Marxism (not called that way) focuses on uncovering power relations within culture (understood broadly, as all texts, films, drawings, customs, habits, communication) and ending the domination on those who… dominate there. Which in the USA would be propbably the white rich heterosexual Anglo-Saxon male with no disabilities:)

  17. Pawel says:

    When I hear “Green Tsar” what comes to my mind is the Green Giant commercial telling kids to eat peas to grow:)

  18. Steven says:

    Yes,
    Ukraine for example does not get all bent and offended if we send an Ambassador instead of the President for tea and cake to thier war memorial services,,,

  19. Steven says:

    So now every head of every state must attend every sept 1, for how many years ? If not the poles will be very offended? Sounds the painted bird nonsense all over again.

  20. Malaysian says:

    I understand Poles’ deep emotional attachment to what happened 70 years before. You have a great country in a new era of the 21st century EU.

    Poles should move on and stop wondering the ‘if only…’ of the yesteryears. History should not be a burden to move forward, but instead the fuel to a bright future.

    The Nazi generation of Germans were most guilty of committing one of the biggest cruelties in human history, but today’s Germans should not bear the brunt of what their grandfathers did.

    Likewise, I will not bear hatred towards my Japanese friends because of their grandfathers let my grandfather lived through during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in the second world war.

  21. Peter says:

    Obama isn’t going because he just doesn’t care, and he wouldn’t want to piss off the great Putin.

    Speaking of Putin, him being there should be fun. The Russian version of the war is still quite perplexing.

    Obama certainly isn’t a communist but what he is doing with states is really sad. I can’t wait how he will have to explain away all his campaign promises that he did not keep (could not keep) in the next election. Very stupid for people to simply vote a person in based on his oratory skills, his celebrity and the color of his skin, which is exactly the reasons Obama got voted in to power.

  22. guest says:

    You are 100% right malaysian.

    And Poland IS moving on. The relations between Poland and Germany are very good. Poland is the 10th most important trade partner of Germany. And Germany is the most important trade partner of Poland. There are many thousands of Polish-German marriages. Angela Merkel has a Polish grandmother and Donald Tusk has a german grandmother…and so on.

    The only problem is Russia. The Russian occupation in Poland began in 17.9.1939 and ended in 16.9.1993. Poland lost 80.000km2 of Land, economic growth, thousands of Polish professors, Russians destroyed the Polish industry plundered Polish museums…AND NOW in 2009 nobody seems to realize what happened. Russia even says that Poland and Hitler wanted to start the IIWW together and invade other countries lol.

    If Russia changes his mind and the west finally realizes what happened and not only blames Hitler but also Stalin, Jalta and co., then Poland can move on completely…

  23. guest says:

    ps: 16.9.1993 last Russian troops left Poland.

  24. Pawel says:

    @ Steven

    “So now every head of every state must attend every sept 1, for how many years ? If not the poles will be very offended? Sounds the painted bird nonsense all over again.”

    They don’t have to, but they can – if they want to send a very good signal to the Polish public, and improve relations. Not all heads of States: USA, UK, Germany, France, Russia – as the parties involved – will do just fine IMHO.

  25. Pawel says:

    I’m baffled as to what exactly Americans understand as “communism”. European social democracies must be teh devil den for them:)

    Haven’t the same reasons decided on who was elected previous times as US president? Only then it was required to be white.

  26. Pawel says:

    I couldn’t agree more with our Malaysian commentator. But on the other hand, it is still important to remember what happened. Just like about the Holocaust.

  27. Malaysian says:

    I can understand Poland’s uneasiness over it’s mighty former occupier, especially with Russia’s 19th and 20th century imperialist attitude.

    I believe it’s happening right now due to 70 years of West (the use of West and East concept is overly simplistic in today’s modern world but I’d stick to the ‘popular’ term) exclusion of Russia in world affairs.

    Post-World War 2 world has seen so many young countries springing up like mushrooms after rain – largely due to the fall of former colonial great great powers like Britain and France (the fall itself was due to lack of resources to maintain huge overseas empire because most resources had been spent to fight the German agresssion). The West quickly imposed upon these young non-western countries their idea of democracy and capitalism.

    Most of these countries during the cold war period had to take sides or risk losing aids which were crucial to run a new country. America as we know, became super-rich running a war economy in world war 2, and you can imagine the reach of her influence in these new countries.

    It was always a case of ‘with us or against us’ with the Americans. In the immediate post-world war 2 times, the new countries had to choose between being with the Americans or against the Americans by being with the Russians.

    Sure, in the later stage of cold war, these new countries came together and formed what is called a Non-Aligned Movement – a movement by countries not wanting to take sides in the cold war. But as you might observed, in this period, countries were either with the Americans, or with nobody.

    This is not withstanding the methods in which international institutions like IMF, World Bank and United Nations were formed. The structure of these institutions was formed with America always at the top of it, or at a power of influence position.

    A combinations of all these factors reduced Russia from a victorious superpower in world war 2 to a loser country – to put it in a laymen’s term. However, world war 2 could have never been won without the Russians, and we all know that.

    It will be an understatement to say that the Russians are disillusioned about their position in international politics. They will try all ways possible to prove that they are indeed a superpower, and if they can’t, they will defend at all cost whatever that is remain with them.

    I feel sorry that Poland, out of all the former USSR-occupied countries, has to go through this again after 20 years of embracing democracy and capitalism.

    The key to this is the engagement of Russia in international affairs by allowing them to play a role in it, and hopefully over time, they will step out of their 19th and 20th century communist mindset, and move into the 21st century world of diplomacy and democracy.

  28. DC says:

    To your first question: in the US, communism = socialism = Marxism = something bad to be feared = anti-American. The words are being thrown around as the fight (by some) against health care reform relies less and less on rational debate. The understanding is really no deeper than that.

  29. DC says:

    Trying to get back to your original questions, Paweł: Compared to what we know happened under the Nazis, the atrocities committed in Stalin’s name are at present less well known. With first hand witnesses becoming fewer every day, shouldn’t there be some urgency to preserving and communicating what knowledge can be collected?

    The Norman Davies article mentioned by “guest” mentions a WWII museum in Poland. But no museum of the victims of Stalinism. Does such a thing exist in Poland?

    In Leipzig, the tiny but profound Museum in der Runden Ecke does a fine job preserving what happened in the DDR. You can also visit the former Stasi prison in Berlin. Stasi records are available to be examined by the public. “Das Leben der Anderen” is a clear portrait of the times that even outsiders can understand. While “Katyń” is a fine work of art, it’s a bit subtle for those of us with no personal sake or knowledge of the events.

    Do you see a need for these kind of museums in Poland? (I’m not being rhetorical – I’m simply not aware of where to find them if they exist.)

  30. kika says:

    You know Steven your attitude is amasing..
    This is not every 2-3 years, it is a big round number 70 years and it does not deserve respect and some reflection, just a piece of cake , some tea and chit-chat?

    Strangely UK authorities visit France battle fields more often than that , every year there is a celebration , end of the WWII , end of WWI, this or that.
    And all big names are there – all allies , shaking hands as usual , but forgetting where and how it all started.
    Poland may have been under the Nazi occupation, we NEVER surrended. We fought at all fronts and in the air , arm in arm with the western “alliens” who betrayed us in the first place.
    We suffered substantial losses – 6 mln people and the country was practically flattened – and then we were left alone again, given to the lion.
    And still we are here and if someone tells me know we count as little as we do not deserve to celebrate this big anniversary TOGETHER with the ones whose countires we fought for too – sorry , but I can’t accept this and I can’t respect you for your views.

  31. guest says:

    Did the Ukraine send you Kuklinski ?

    h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryszard_Kukli%C5%84ski

    Did the Ukraine save the asses of your CIA agents in Iraq ?

    h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Simoom

    I can go on if you want….

    But to be honest i have better things to do than teaching some ignorants what Poland has done to your country.

  32. Scatts says:

    Just ahead of 70th anniversary ceremonies to be held in Gdansk commemorating the start of WW II, Polish media is reporting more Russian allegations of cooperation between Poland and Nazi Germany.

    http://www.polskieradio.pl/thenews/international/?id=114941

    The Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) has published a new report, Poland 1939 – 45: human losses and repression under two occupations which downgrades estimates of the amount of people killed during WW II.

    Poland 1939-1945. Human losses and victims of repression under two occupations, edited by Tomasz Szarota and Wojciech Materski estimates the number of Polish victims of World War II from 5.5 to 5.8 million, including Polish and Jewish nationals. [Polish and Jewish nationals??? ED]

    “Germans are responsible for the significant majority of those victims. Soviet repression was less focused on direct extermination. To a larger extent they were aiming at total economic exploitation,” says Janusz Kurtyka at the IPN.

    http://www.polskieradio.pl/thenews/national/?id=114849

    Regarding opinions towards Stalin/Russia as opposed to Hitler/Germany – is the difference not simply due to the fact that Germany has moved on, acknowledged, apologised and is a modern & open democracy whereas Russia is the complete opposite? What point is there in rattling on about Stalin while Russia is governed the way it is today? Perhaps when Russia finally joins the rest of the world things will change, from inside and out. With Hitler and the Germans there can be a two way dialog with some hope of resolution, with Stalin and the Russians that is still impossible – therefore people don’t tend to bother. Human nature.

  33. wu/tee says:

    I’m with Kika now. We Poles may celebrate the past a bit too often, but this is a too important date to just “get over it”.
    What happened in the past us still affecting us (look at e.g. Russians and their ludicrous claims… just how are we going to rebuff them, if West is now – at least symbolically – with us!?). Not to mention that we have barely 20 years as an independent nation, so it’s been barely 20 yeas since we can celebrate things properly, the way they should be celebrated. Don’t take it away from us, just because you live/d comfortably in a free and rich West.

  34. wu/tee says:

    Oh, on the contrary Steven. A huge migration of Poles to States during and after War had a lot to do with Stalin…

  35. wu/tee says:

    Agreed, but Russia won’t change by itself alone. If no one would like Russia as a new empire of sorts, then everyone should say Russian administration a big “no – we don’t want you like this”.

  36. adthelad says:

    Don’t agree Malaysian.
    The war might have ended a lot sooner had, 15 days after the war started, the French and British opened a front on Germany as agreed by treaty with Poland. And had Russia not had a secret treaty with Germany not to split Poland. The only reason the ‘west’ has Stalin to thank for the ending of the war is because they didn’t keep their end of the bargain. Stalin waited till the 17th before sweeping into Poland crushing any chance of further resistance. So the millions of ensuing murdered and sacrificed in battle have Stalin (and Hilter) and the Allies to thank. Thanks a bunch! (handing Poland over to Uncle Stalin we’re persumably to treat as an added bonus) LOL!!
    So as much as many people want the Poles to say ‘bygones’ it is difficult to do so when their most recent is not taken seriously by those very same Allies (who are supposed to be allies now as well).

    I just hope Tusk thanks Putin and Merkel for attending as without their countries the reason for the commemorations would not have been possible.

  37. adthelad says:

    correction. It should be ‘And had Russia not had a secret treaty with Germany to split Poland.’

  38. island1 says:

    The Polish view that Britain “betrayed” them was a shocking revelation for me when I first heard it. That’s no bad thing, it’s always good to have your assumptions challenged, and for a while I felt chastened, but the more I hear it the more annoying it becomes. Here’s why:

    1. There is no way Britain could have directly attacked Germany shortly after its invasion of Poland. It was logistically impossible. We weren’t even ready to defend ourselves let alone launch an effective expeditionary force against Germany, even leaving aside the question of exactly how we could have attacked Germany what with us not having a border with them—a D-Day style invasion on Hamburg perhaps?

    2. Britain was a broken force by the end of the war and had no effective voice at Yalta or anywhere else. I’m sure Stalin would have been terrified had we threatened to invade. The so-called betrayal at Yalta was entirely an American thing if it existed at all. It’s odd that we Brits repeatedly get blamed for this. It reminds me of the German / Italian prejudice—everybody remembers the Germans as the evil bad guys but forgets the Italians had their own death camps and mad fascists. Somehow Germans have been painted black for the past 60 years while Italians are just cheeky chappies who somehow didn’t really know what they were doing, bless ’em.

    3. I understand the decision of the French and British premiers not to be in Gdansk. Westerplatte was, arguably, the first battle of the war, but the war wasn’t about Poland, it was a much wider ideological confrontation. Poland suffered horribly, more than any other nation, but that’s kind of coincidental. If Britain and France had happened to have the same treaty with Czechoslovakia as they had with Poland WWII would have “started” sooner and the commemorations would be somewhere else. I think it’s appropriate that Germany and Russia should be present at the Gdansk memorial—it was a German, Russian, and Polish conflict. Britain, France and the rest of the world were drawn into conflict because of what happened in Poland, but the invasion of Poland was just that, it wasn’t a declaration of war on the rest of the world—they thought they could get away with it. I still maintain that the fact that they didn’t get away with it, in the long run, is a credit to both Britain and France. It would have been a lot easier for us to avoid war for a few more years.

  39. DC says:

    Holy crap! Can I get a hit of whatever you just had?

    1. So what then was the purpose of Britain’s guarantee to Poland in 1939 if there was nothing Britain could do?

    2a. By your logic, what should have happened at Yalta? You seem to suggest that Britain knew not to trust Stalin but was simply too tired and therefore the US and perhaps the French should have continued fighting to press the Soviets back clear of Polish territory.

    2b. So Britain is parallel to Germany, and the US, like the Italians should have been more widely condemned? I really don’t get this.

    3. I can’t really understand this paragraph. The Germans entering Poland really wasn’t about Poland but about ideology, but then later “the invasion of Poland was just that.” I wonder how many Poles think that the Nazis didn’t get away with it. But luckily in the long run Britain and France saved the day – all by themselves!

    This is a joke somehow, right?

  40. kuba says:

    Book titled Storm on the Horizon,
    Quote from the book.

    To several figures, Poland’s fall did not simply result from its leadership. Joseph P Kennedy asserted England would rather “sell 100 Polands down the river than risk the life o a British soldier or the loss of a British pound” Even if Poland was restored, declared Mencken, Britain would make it a “puppet state” similar to Egypt and India”
    This is one reason I never liked the Kennedy’s.

  41. guest says:

    OK, I will skip the “annoying” 1. and 2. and just forget the past for a few minutes. Forget how the Brits treated Polish soldiers after the war, how they forced the Dutch government not to help Polish soldiers after 1945, because the proud Brits were ashamed that Poles saved their butts, and did not want to make it public

    watch it closely (the important parts are in english)
    http://archief.netwerk.tv/player.php?id=10539

    how Churchill treated Poland in Jalta, how the Brits treated Poland before the war

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/30/martin-gilbert-chamberlain-iraq

    and so on.

    lets forget all these things for few minutes.

    But it is really sad that you actually understand the decision of the French and British premiers not to be in Gdansk. Because it shows that the British mentality (ignorance toward Poland) has not really changed.

    14.000 Polish airmen flew for the RAF and helped to save British towns.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_Air_Forces_in_France_and_Great_Britain

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_contribution_to_World_War_II

    On the nights of May 4 and May 5, 1942, a polish destroyer was instrumental in defending the Isle of Wight town of Cowes from a potentially devastating air raid by 160 German bombers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORP_B%C5%82yskawica

    I could go on, but you have heard all these things 10000times and are probably sick to hear them over and over.

    The point is that if the 1.9.39 (70th anniversary) is such an important date for Poland, then a British prime minister should go there and just show respect for the Polish tragedy, even if for Britain 1.9.39 means absolutely nothing. This is how allies/friends should be treated/respected…and not ignored…once again.

  42. kuba says:

    I for one am not sick of remembering those things.

    Enigma, Monte Cassino, RAF Polish Squadron, The Underground.
    We should stick by our friends always.

  43. Peter says:

    I completely agree with islands’ second point. It was the Americans that screwed the Poles at Yalta. Its like FDR could not see through the facade that was uncle Joey. I know hindsight is 20/20 but come on. What the Americans were doing (and British should get blamed here too just not as much as they are currently) was basically reliving circumstances that lead to WWII except they substituted Stalin for Hitler.

    Finally. There are so many aspects of World War II that are just simply ignored. In the west people practically forget about the ridiculous battles on the eastern front. They always talk about Normandy, but Normandy means jack shit if the Germans just walk over the Soviets. No one talks about the Soviet attacks on Finland. No one talks about how ruthless the UPA was. And of course the Pacific is totally ignored unless you are American and in which case it is overblown.

    One more P.S. – There are Russians to this day that swear that the great patriotic war started in 1941.

  44. Malaysian says:

    Dear adthelad,

    I hope by now Poland has learnt it’s lesson that every single country in the world has really only herself to survive in this resource-starved world.

    When Stalin decided to commit his countrymen to end German agression, I believe he did so because :
    1. German fucked up Russia by attacking Moscow even though they had a non-agression pact. The Germans were really close of taking over this city, the nucleus of soviet politics, and the Russians could not bear to be ‘surprised’ anymore by the Germans – or for that matter any European powers : the English and French.

    2. Apart from spreading their communist ideology to ‘Eastern’ Europe, Stalin had intended to create a buffer zone between Germany and Russia, so that such ‘surprise’ would be make much more improbable, since the Germans (if they rised again) would have to pass through these soviet-influenced / soviet-controlled lands before reaching Russia. This reasonsing probably would not make sense anymore, with the development of long-range guided missiles and the possessing of nuclear weapons by more and more countries. Which was why I mentioned in the first place, that the Russians have been extremely disillusioned with their position in international affairs and they are still in their 19-20th century colonialist mindset.

    3. And of course, Russia wanted ‘Eastern’ Europe to produce finished products and provide raw materials for her people (see the striking resemblance of the Russians to the Germans? Same shit, different day)

    The Allied Forces knew from the very beginning that Stalin’s commitment of troops would not come ‘free’. I think that the Western Allies underestimated what Stalin really wanted, and by the time that they realised East Berlin became the defining border between East and West, it was all too late. The war was officially over, the Germans were defeated and stripped of all resources and lands, the Allied exhausted of resources, and obviously all sides would be on the losing end if the Western Allies were to pursue another war with Russia.

    The Western Allies then decided to stick to whatever that was under their control (ie : ‘Western’ Europe), and they should develop these past of Europe into free democratic capitalist societies. The Americans were by and large, enriched by this engagement with Western Europe. I don’t think that Americans were deeply involved with Europe because of their European origin. The Americans just emerged from their great depression in the 1930s and war brought great prosperity to them. Besides that, American presidents have always pursued diplomatic policies of ensuring the America’s security (read: America remains unchallenged militarily the world over and not so much about American soil being intruded by foreign countries) and economic interest as their goals.

    As they disengaged from ‘Eastern’ Europe which was now controlled by the Russians, I do not believe that the ‘West’ had abandoned ‘Eastern’ Europe. They simply begun to fight from a different way, ie cold war – the propaganda war.

    Propaganda of democracy and capitalism was spread to the peoples of the ‘East’ – always by showing the material prosperity and high standard of living of the ‘Westerners’.

    —-
    In short, I simply am of the opinion that all countries are really on their own. If Poland still thinks that she can depend on her fellow Europeans for support after being time and time again being so-called betrayed, perhaps Poland should start building herself to being self-sufficient.

    The recent economic crisis is one obvious example that Poland should stop her reliance on her fellow Europeans. At a time when Polish zloty value fell spiral downward, together with various economies of the ‘East’, the ‘West’ warned that they would not consider a fast path to EURO zone to save these economies – which they think are being inefficient and incompetent.

    Technically speaking, it was the right thing to do. But this attitude at the lowest point of the crisis said a lot about the ‘West’ sincerity in embracing her new ‘Eastern’ brothers as their own.

  45. news says:

    Re Brown and Sarkozy not goint to Gdansk. Each country remembers the war in its own way, created by the experiences of its own people. Therefore, for the British, WW2 can be summarised as the Phoney War, the Battle of Britian, Dunkirk, The Battle of the Atlantic, Fall of Singapore , North Africa, Greece, Italy, Monte Cassino, the Blitz, D-Day, liberation of France, Netherlands, Belgium, entering Germany, liberation of concentration camps, Nuremberg trials. Add to the the POW experience in Europe and the Far Eat, the Blitz, the Home Front, the arrival of American soldiers and recently the codebreakers of Bletchley Park. The closest the British account gets to Eastern Europe is the assistance given to Tito’s Partisans by SOE and the Arctic convoys to Murmansk and Archangel.

    Each other country has its own account of the war. The British, and their politicans, remember where their own soldiers died. That’s is why the PM visits Normandy, but he doesn’t visit Gdansk. No mass British graves to visit, no old soldiers visiting the graves of their comrades.

  46. mucio says:

    1. The purpose was causing anxiety to Hitler, Hitler thought quite impossible a declaration of war by England and French. I don’t know why Polish expected (in ’39 and now) something different. The Poland, after the first WW was only a buffer state, like the other state in eastern Europe, to limit Germany and Soviet Union.

    2. What did Polish want from Yalta? the world was about to be divided in two parts and Poland wanted to be the third superpower and why? ah, I know, because they are Polish.

    3. When Hitler invaded the Poland, he was not ready to fight a long conflict, he wanted only to capture the Polish territories, he didn’t expect a worldwide conflict escalation.

    And about the original post, it really pissed me off, like a lot of discussion with Polish people about history.

    I’m sorry for Polish people, but I will never consider Poland a winner of WWII, at the end the Russian army arrived to Berlin not the Polish.

    I’m sorry but Poland is not the first friend of the USA, G. W. Bush used Poland against the Russia and Poland used the USA against Russia, but both were stupid politics, the dialog is the only way to improve this world not the place missiles here or there.

    Sometimes I heard that the Poland is the first friend of the USA, because the Polish are always agree with them, but a friend is not always agree, that is a dog, not a friend.

    In short, Poland can be a little country in the world or a big country in the UE, if you will decide to really support the UE and the integration with UE, you will change the opinion that other countries have about Poland.

    Now you have a good economy, you can learn from errors of other countries and you have the possibility to demonstrate that you are better than others, but you have to change your mind, to forget your victimization and to look ahead

  47. guest says:

    What a bunch of BS !

    2.Yalta was not only about deviding the world, it was about HOW you devide the world. If Stalin wanted a Stalinist Soviet Union, OK.

    But if he wanted other countries to become Stalinist, then there should be a big NO.

    In 1945 Stalin was VERY WEAK, USA was the 1st country with nuclear weapons. Deep down Stalin feared that the west could attack HIM (together with Germany) right after the war, but the western powers were to stupit to realize it, and accepted everything what uncle Joe told them.

    3.When Hitler invaded Poland he knew exactly that this will be a WORLD WAR, because HE WANTED it.

    Hitler wanted to invade Poland, France, England, Russia and all teh other smaller countries. Just read some books befor you talk about history. Read what German historians say about Hitler’s plans.

    For example here:
    http://polskatimes.pl/opinie/wywiady/156120,hitler-nie-chcial-sojuszu-z-polska,id,t.html

    “Dlaczego Polska była pierwszym celem Hitlera?

    III Rzesza miała wtedy trzech wrogów: mocarstwa zachodnie, Rosję sowiecką oraz Polskę. Przed wybuchem wojny Hitler zwierzał się, że właściwie to najpierw chciałby uderzyć na Zachód, ale ze względów bezpieczeństwa musi zlikwidować Polskę.”

    And last but not least read this, before you write something about who enteed Berlin and other stupid things.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_contribution_to_World_War_II

    Poles were in Berlin together with the Russians. And Poles did the dirty job there becuse they had expierience in “street fights”. All you need to do is to read German sites.

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlacht_um_Berlin

    They are much more objective than the western/russian propaganda which still can not accept the facts.

  48. guest says:

    “In short, Poland can be a little country in the world or a big country in the UE”

    Poland has 39.000.000 mostly Polish ! citizens + 20.000.000 in other countries
    Canada has 33.000.000 citizens
    Australia has 21.000.000 citizens

    And a fast growing economy. Now Poland is in the top 20 already.

    Poland is bigger than the UK, Italy, despite losing 80.000km2 in the east.

    So plz stop talking crap. Poland deserves its right place in the world and this is not a place among some midget countries. Even if it is hard to accept for you.

  49. Scatts says:

    Well, I was in Moscow last year just before the Mayday parades and was surprised that the dates written on all the decorations started with 1941. You can see it in this photo I took on April 30th 2008 – http://www.pbase.com/scatts/image/96412290

    (The first time large military hardware had been reintroduced to the parade by the way – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7391537.stm )

    So, I suspect 1941 is not only what some Russians swear by but also what the nation dictates is the appropriate starting point for WWII.

    As for Yalta, et al. I wrote a post about it in Jan 08, here – http://scatts.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/yalta/

    I think the only hope Poland had at that stage was for Patton & others to be allowed to continue in the direction they were heading and try to drive the Soviets back beyond Poland’s borders. However, sadly for Poland, Roosevelt was never going to agree to that while up to a million American lives depended on Russia’s support in the war against Japan. (and also while he seemed to be the only one who couldn’t see the darker side of Stalin, or appeared not to see)

    Ironically, it may be that the earlier arrival of a proven atomic bomb was the only way Poland could have escaped its time behind the iron curtain because this would have meant;
    1/ Roosevelt didn’t need the Soviets help with Japan
    2/ Roosevelt would have had a bigger stick with which to threaten Stalin.

    If “Little Boy” had been dropped BEFORE Yalta, the outcome of the conference might have been considerably different. Amazing really, you’re only talking about a matter of a few months – Yalta – Feb ’45, atomic bomb – Aug ’45.

  50. Scatts says:

    On the question of betrayal. Can anyone tell me why Poland feels more betrayed by Britain than it does by France, or the US (at Yalta)? After all, Warsaw has a Rondo Charles De Gaulle and numerous other French and American landmarks but doesn’t have even a stinky little alleyway called Ul. Churchill. Thinking about it, is there a single geographical feature in Warsaw named after something British?

    The French had also made promises to Poland, including the provision of air support, and these were not honoured.

    The French had advanced tentatively into the Saar in early September, but after the Polish defeat, they retreated behind the Maginot Line on 4 October.

    [don’t get me started on French retreats!]

  51. guest says:

    Why not France ?

    1. Louis XVIII of France lived in Warsaw in the Lazienki “white house” and was a friend of Poland.
    2. Napoleon had a Polish wife+child and fought for the Polish independence.
    h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Alexandre_Joseph_Colonna-Walewski
    3. Charles De Gaulle lived in Warsaw (ate paczki in blikle) and fought together with Poles in 1920 against Lenin’s Russia.
    4.Many Poles (Polish elite) lived in France during the partitions.
    5.And France did not parcitipate in the Yalta conference, France did not make deals with Stalin, did not treat Polish soldiers like** and so on.

    Thats why Poland is less critical when it comes to France. But of course it was a shame how they reacted in September 1939.

  52. island1 says:

    Before we get bogged down in the usual disputes about who’s read what and whether this disqualifies them from being an idiot or not, can we get back to the main point. It bugs me that the message never seems to get through. There are two points that I think Poles have completely the wrong end of the stick about:

    1. Not helping Poland in ’39.
    The idea that Britain could somehow have come running to Poland’s rescue like the 5th cavalry is just ludicrous. It doesn’t work like that. There was no physically possible way for us to launch a direct, effective attack on Germany within a few days or weeks, even if we had had the men and equipment to do it, which we didn’t. I’ve never heard a single sensible argument against this point. Even if Poland had had a cast-iron treaty with a fully tooled up United States in 1939 they couldn’t have saved her either. The US declared war on Germany in 1941 but it took more than three years to get D-Day together and the best part of another year to fight their way to Germany. How could this possibly have been done in the few weeks Poland resisted Germany?

    So what was the point of the treaty? It was a commitment that we would declare war on Germany if she invaded Poland, and that’s exactly what we did. We didn’t have to do this, it got us into a war we could have avoided and that cost us a great deal. As I said before the war wasn’t about Poland (for us) it was about German expansion. Poland was the line drawn in the sand that said “if you go this far we will declare war on you.”It was never our responsibility to look after Poland, that’s your own affair, and no Polish politician or general at the time would have expected the British army to magically come marching over the hill.

    2. Yalta
    This one really is a no-brainer. Britain had no effective influence on global affairs at that time. The US made the decision and we agreed because we were their ally. Had we not agreed it wouldn’t have made the slightest difference. Poles complain that our declaration of war on Germany in ’39 was an empty gesture, and then go on to insist we should have made another empty gesture at Yalta by opposing America.

    While we’re on the subject can we get over this strange obsession with the idea that Poles saved England. It just isn’t true. Did Poles fight bravely and well in the Battle of Britain? Yes they did. Should Britain always be grateful and appreciative of this? Yes it should, and often is. Would we have lost the Battle of Britain without the Polish airmen? I seriously doubt it. They may have been effective pilots, but they were few in number even among the few, and its not as if those planes would have been sitting empty if the Poles hadn’t been there. Battles aren’t about the skill and daring of a few individuals, they’re about putting the right resources in the right place at the right time. Its not romantic but its true. The Battle of Britain was won because we were able to make sufficient planes of sufficient quality supported by a sufficient infrastructure to stop a German campaign that was badly planned and executed.

  53. guest says:

    1.the plans were that if Germany attacks Poland, then Polish troops “bond” the German forces and England+France attacks western Germany. The western German front was VERY WEAK in 1939.

    Poland is not bitter that England did not send troops to Poland in 1939 or somethnig like that. Because it was of course impossible for England.

    Poland is bitter that Fench and Brits had millions of soldiers READY for battle but did absolutely nothing. There was a german documentary which showed these troops

    h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKr5gjlC3M4

    French were dancing and Brits were sunbathing in london, sending their Children to schotland and preparing sandbags.

    2.Of course Poles DID NOT “save England”. Nobody sees it like this.

    But thousands of Poles fought and died for England. 60% of the “British”secret service stuff was provided by Poles. Churchill said that without Polish help the war would have lasted 2-3yrs longer.

    Of course you can ignore it if you want, but do not wonder if Poles find this ignorance “strange”.

  54. kuba says:

    A Slap in the Face to Poland
    Here is the whole article.

    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/08/28/a-slap-in-the-face-to-poland/

    The US did screw Poland at Yalta

  55. Pawel says:

    Funny thing I always wondered why do Varsavians have places named after De Gaulle and Wilson etc. Now I know. De Gaulle ate pączki at Blikle. Wow.
    Hoestly, I doubt they had such huge merits for Poland or Warsaw to have their own streets.

  56. Pawel says:

    I love the term “midget country”:) Must wrie that down :>

  57. guest says:

    Wilson, Regan and De Gaulle of course had their merits for Poland. Plac Wilsona, Rondo Regana and De Gaulle’ is fully understandable.

    The Brits just did not really care about Poland, thats why there are not many British streets and places. In Warsaw there is a John Lennon street, IMO Margaret Thatcher should be honored in some way for her fight against the communism and the BBC free europe channel was also very important for Poland.

  58. Pawel says:

    Margaret Thatcher should have a statue showing her hitting table with her handbag as it happened in the EU when she fought for British rebate ha ha

    You say there are merits, maybe there are some, but are they substantial enough? Whata re these merits?

  59. guest says:

    Photographer Julien Bryan comforts a ten-year-old Polish girl named Kazimiera Mika, whose older sister was killed in a field in Warsaw during a German air raid.

    In the words of photographer Julien Bryan, “As we drove by a small field at the edge of town we were just a few minutes too late to witness a tragic event, the most incredible of all. Seven women had been digging potatoes in a field. There was no flour in their district, and they were desperate for food. Suddenly two German planes appeared from nowhere and dropped two bombs only two hundred yards away on a small home. Two women in the house were killed. The potato diggers dropped flat upon the ground, hoping to be unnoticed. After the bombers had gone, the women returned to their work. They had to have food.

    But the Nazi fliers were not satisfied with their work. In a few minutes they came back and swooped down to within two hundred feet of the ground, this time raking the field with machine-gun fire. Two of the seven women were killed. The other five escaped somehow.

    While I was photographing the bodies, a little ten-year old girl came running up and stood transfixed by one of the dead. The woman was her older sister. The child had never before seen death and couldn’t understand why her sister would not speak to her…

    The child looked at us in bewilderment. I threw my arm about her and held her tightly, trying to comfort her. She cried. So did I and the two Polish officers who were with me…” [Source: Bryan, Julien. “Warsaw: 1939 Siege; 1959 Warsaw Revisited.” Warsaw, Polonia, 1959, pp.20-21.]

    never forget.

  60. island1 says:

    I’m glad we agree on some things at least. However, in answer to your points:

    1. As I understand it France did attack Germany from the West on 7th September. The British Expeditionary Force began deploying to France on the 10th (by the 10th of course the Germans were already on the outskirts of Warsaw and had captured Krakow), but it took months to get them up to fighting strength and when a serious German attack did come, the BEF was found to be woefully underequipped to deal with it. If the BEF had gone blundering into Germany in that state they may have advanced a few miles into German territory but they would inevitably have been torn to shreds as soon as they encountered real resistance or a counter attack. It would have been highly remiss, even treasonous, of a British government to have thrown away its army in such a manner.

    It very dangerous as non experts to get into this kind of detail. I’m certainly not expert enough to give these facts their proper weight. It’s absolutely clear that both Britain and France failed militarily in the opening months of the war. A massive and well-coordinated attack on Germany from the West by a well-prepared French and British force could conceivably have brought Hitler down and Germany to the negotiating table (exactly what the Russians would have done at that point is anybody’s guess, but I’m not sure they would have just meekly withdrawn from Poland). The fact is that this attack did not happen and, given the forces and their disposition at the time, could not have happened. It remains a fantasy. It’s all very well saying Britain and France had “million” of troops at their disposal but it’s just not that simple. An invasion force is a very different thing to a dug-in defensive force. It doesn’t have the necessary training or equipment to suddenly turn around and launch a major attack. It’s not a pretty or satisfying answer, but I think it’s the reality.

    2. You may not believe that Poland saved England, but a surprising number of Poles do seem to. I also disagree that Poles fought and died “for England.” I suspect they were fighting for Poland or at least just against Germany. Absolutely nothing wrong with that and, I repeat, Britain should always acknowledge and be grateful they were there are willing to fight. I am not, and I did not, ignore this fact.

  61. island1 says:

    Getting back to the even-more-original-point Michael Dembinski has an interesting piece on Putin’s statement to Poland about 1939 and all that: http://jeziorki.blogspot.com/2009/08/what-putin-wrote.html

  62. guest says:

    In the German documentary (the youtube link is above) the historians said that the French had mobilized fully equipped 5.000.000 soldiers and the germans had about 2.000.000 on the western front.

    If the French and Brits had attacked Germany on Sep. 1-3 then the war could have lasted 6 minths and not 6 years.

    5miles beihind the western border Germany was an empty field without any resistence, because most of the German troops were already on Polish territory.

    This is what German historians say (and show in this documentary film)

    here i will stop it. A further discussion makes no sense..

  63. Anonymous says:

    Caro Mucio!

    I read your post and really got terrified.
    I am really sorry that you try to act as a teacher to Poland from the height of you being born in the Western country.

    I will not try to reply to the historical flaws in your post. Other people did. I just recommend to read books about history, written by historians – by profession, the best would be to read sth by Polish writer and by some foreign, to get a better picture.

    You seem to neglect Polish law to claims in Yalta. Do you think that Poland cannot be proud of being Poland? If you compare history of Italy and Poland, which nation according to you can be more proud of its history and its deeds?

    What terrifies me is the approach that is reflected in your post and can be found among young people in the West. I have been living in Italy and UK for some time and I can say that the historical awareness in these countries is so low!!! I met single people I could talk about history with. The majority didn’t have a clue and was not even interested in touching what had happened so many years ago. They seem to think that it is not their problem. They cannot be more wrong about it.

    Take a look at Italy – this beautiful country is overwhelmed since the end of IIWW by strong communist influence or on the other hand by fascist inclinations. And I use strong words because it is so. On one hand Brigade Rosse, attempts in Milan, Bologna. Nowadays communist parties very active among students (I met them many times). On the other hand new so shameful law about immigrants and the volunteer brigades with symbols from fascist era running the streets in hunt for illegal immigrants.And Italy seems to see itself as a victim of IIWW. What a short sight view! What an ignorance! What a selfishness!

    And in UK, it is even worse I guess – people just don’t give a single thought about what’s happening among them, just do not care at all. BNP is growing in power.

    It doesn’t mean that there are no sensible people, there are, but a society as a mass is a disaster.

    And… what is the reason that we shouldn’t have our Great War, our holocaust? What protects us from that? If we loose this precious memory. The truth about what had happened 70 y ago, there will be no reason for us to avoid mistakes of our grandfathers.

    That is why it is so important for 1st Sept to be celebrated. Russia to start saying truth, West to say that they were not faithful, that they were playing their own interest, which ended badly.

    Poland doesn’t claim to be the most important country in the world. It is just a country, that has had so many history lessons in the past, that is well aware of what it takes to be responsible and independent. And wants its voice to be heard.

    Didn’t you notice that Poles in their countries and abroad do not trust authorities, try to play it their own way. Poles on the motivation trainings of big international corporations, tend just to smile politely – they heard all it before. “Pomozecie? Pomozemy!”
    Poles do not differ from other nations, just hope to remember something more. It is harder to forget when almost each family lost someone during IIWW or communism times.

  64. mucio says:

    I’m sorry for you but to say NO to Stalin was no possible. The war had to have a end and nobody wanted to continue. The history is this, sorry for east Europe.

    Only a Polish can think that USA had to launch nuclear bomb on the USSR, an allied. You are very funny.

    3 Hitler wanted to conquer the world, but he hoped the England and France were quiet like after the Anschluss

    And I’m sorry again but for me 78000 Polish soldier between 2.5 millions of Russian soldiers (from your link) are not enough to say Polish conquered Berlin, in that way Italians won war with the Americans.

    Can you explain me why the occidental propaganda is better than Polish propaganda?

  65. mucio says:

    “little country/big country ” was a metaphor, but you lost this and you didn’t understand what I wrote. Sorry.

  66. mucio says:

    Szanowny Anonimous,

    I think to talk drinking a beer or two in a pub will be more easy than to talk using blog comments.

    I think each country have its history and can be proud of it, usually the winner writes the history and sometimes it’s possible to rewrite it, when the times are right.

    But I think also sometimes we need to have the sense of proportion.

    I’d like to reply you about your knowledge of Italy after WWII, but it’s long and very different. I’m in Warsaw and I’d like to talk about alla these things calmly drinking a beer or two.

  67. guest says:

    quote by mucio:

    “And I’m sorry again but for me 78000 Polish soldier between 2.5 millions of Russian soldiers (from your link) are not enough to say Polish conquered Berlin, in that way Italians won war with the Americans.”

    ———————-

    Look mucio this is exactly the stupid western ignorance.

    1. Soviet soldiers ARE NOT russian soldiers !!!

    In the Soviet Army there died soldiers from:

    Russia 6,750,000
    Armenia 150,000
    Azerbaijan 210,000
    Belarus 620,000
    Georgia 190,000
    Moldova 41,000
    Ukraine 1,620,000
    Estonia 13,000
    Latvia 18,000
    Lithuania 27,000
    Kazakhstan 310,000
    Kyrgyzstan 70,000
    Tajikistan 50,000
    Turkmenistan 70,000
    Uzbekistan 330,000
    (and also many Jews and Poles)

    h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

    2. In the eastern-german front there were about 400.000 Polish soldiers and about 180.000 were in Berlin. Poles and Russians were the largest group in Berlin and there were not that many Russians than Poles. All you need to do is to read the GERMAN (much more detailed) sources.
    ————————————————————
    “Am 29. April stießen Einheiten der Roten Armee bis in das Regierungsviertel, in dem sich Hitlers Befehlsstand befand, vor.

    An der Umzingelung Berlins nahmen 180.000 polnische Soldaten der I. und II. Armee teil.

    Im Norden schirmte die 1. Polnische Armee den äußeren Flügel der 1. Weißrussischen Front gegen die Armeegruppe Steiner ab. Die 2. Polnische Armee kämpfte im Süden gegen Reste der Heeresgruppe Mitte unter Generalfeldmarschall Schörner.

    Als einzige Formation, die außer der Roten Armee in der deutschen Hauptstadt kämpfte, nahm an der Erstürmung des Zentrums von Berlin die 1. Kościuszko-Division teil. Die im Mai 1943 in Lenino aufgestellte 1. Infanterie-Division Tadeusz Kościuszko unter General Bewziuk griff mit General Spychalski in die Straßenkämpfe Berlins ein. Sie verfügte noch von Kämpfen in Warschau bzw. Praga über besondere Erfahrungen im Straßenkampf und rückte im Verband mit der sowjetischen 2. Garde-Panzerarmee des Generals Bogdanow vor.

    Die polnischen Streitkräfte hatten am 1. Mai 1945 400.000 Soldaten, 3.000 Geschütze, 508 Panzer und 320 Flugzeuge.

    Der 1. Kościuszko-Division gelang es entlang der neuen Kant- und Pestalozzistraße, am Karl-August-Platz, vorzurücken und die Technische Hochschule, den S-Bahnhof Tiergarten sowie vier weitere U-Bahnhöfe zu besetzen. Weitere Kämpfe wurden entlang der Franklinstraße, der Englischen Straße, bei den Mercedes-Werken sowie in Tiergarten selbst und am hinteren Teil der Reichskanzlei geführt.
    Sowjetischer Panzer vor dem Brandenburger Tor, 1945

    Eines der letzten heftigen Gefechte entwickelte sich um das Reichstagsgebäude, das von Wilhelm Mohnke mit SS-Männern bis zum 30. April gehalten wurde. Dann war auch dieser Kampf entschieden, als um 14:25 Uhr zwei Rotarmisten erstmals die sowjetische Flagge aus einem Fenster des deutschen Reichstags hissten. Um 22 Uhr desselben Tages wehte die rote Fahne auf der Kuppel des Gebäudes. Der sowjetische Michail Petrowitsch Minin (1922–2008) hat als erster Rotarmist die sowjetische Fahne auf den Reichstag gehisst.[5] Da am nächsten Tag der symbolisch so bedeutungsvolle «1. Mai» war, ließ Stalin die Szene wiederholen und sie im berühmten Photo festhalten, allerdings mit anderen Soldaten.

    Über den Ruinen der Stadt wurde am 2. Mai 1945 um 6.55 Uhr früh (Moskauer Zeit) auf dem Brandenburger Tor neben der sowjetischen auch die weiß-rote polnische Flagge gehisst.”

    h ttp://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlacht_um_Berlin

    google translator will help you.

    And on the western Front (Engladn, Holland, France, Italy) Poles had 250.000 soldiers…

  68. Steven says:

    OH….MY …….GOOOOOOAAAAAAAD.

  69. Steven says:

    Yes the US sold Poland for 78 million dollars and then used the money to buy Alaska.

  70. Steven says:

    Yes, my Grand father was getting stinking rich from the war, until his ship blew up and sank.. then he drowned.

  71. guest says:

    Britain finally honours Polish war effort with first official memorial

    Seventy years after start of second wold war, memorial and book commemorates 500,000 Poles who fought under UK command

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/01/polish-war-effort-memorial-book

  72. mucio says:

    1 Ok, can you write the same statistics for the battle of Berlin? I’m a western ignorant, and sometimes I use Russian and Soviet as synonym, but you not, so you are certainly able to show me the same information for that battle.

    2 In wikipedia you can see quite the same, also in other languages, but don’t worry I used also google translate. And I have few questions.

    Can you confirm that Polish First and Second Army of Red Army are leaded by soviet officials and Polish people didn’t like those soldiers? (h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Polish_Army)

    Can you confirm that Polish First Army was close to Warsaw during Warsaw Uprising and they were unable to help citizen and partisans because Soviet orders were different?

    Can you confirm that they had to obbey to Soviet orders?

    Ok, they didn’t help, they were considered Soviet by population and they had to act as Soviet soldiers, but now they are the big Polish army in Berlin. Ok, I’m with you.

  73. mucio says:

    France had a population of 47 millions of people and 5 millions of soldiers?

    Hitler knew the western countries reticence to begin a new war and he considered them weak and stupid

  74. dev says:

    “In the immediate post-world war 2 times, the new countries had to choose between being with the Americans or against the Americans by being with the Russians”.

    In Poland the head of Polish Army was… Konstantin Rokossovskiy – member of Bolshevik Party and Red Army. Do you remember victory parade in Moscow? Zukov was riding on the white horse, our new commander rode the black one.
    80% of the officer cadre were Soviets in 1945, Communist government was instituted by the Soviet Union. We were a satellite state subordinate to the USSR. Red Army forces were stationed in Poland – 500 000 in 1945, 120 000 in 1955.
    What choice you are talking about?
    Read about Yalta Conference, about the People’s Referendum (3xTAK).

  75. dev says:

    Poland saved England? Who says so?

  76. dev says:

    I meant – What ‘surprising number of Poles?
    I don’t know one Pole who think so.

  77. mjn says:

    German Newspaper report Sept 1st: As can be expected, most of the papers were devoted to the thumping CDU suffered in the weekend’s local elections, but in the daily FAZ there where two shorter articles on the front page covering the 70th anniversary: one about Putin’s letter, and the Polish press’s reactions to it, and one about the ceremony itself with a bit about the snub the Americans gave it.
    Moreover, there is a full page (broad sheet) article about the German exterminations of villages in Poland, in particular about the village Borów.

    In Die Zeit, a weekly (from Aug 27) there is a long interview with Marek Edelmann, and a full page about the “Reign of the master race” in Poland. As far from apologist as can be imagined. Further, there is a shorter article referring to the latest issue of the scholarly journal Osteuropa, which is completely devoted to the Hitler-Stalin pact (as they call it in Germany).

    I somehow don’t expect Russian newspapers to come close…

  78. MaterialGirl says:

    guest,

    Wer versteht Deutsch hier? :D

  79. magsymags says:

    You know, as a Polish girl I have to say I’m tired of all this 1st September crap. We should honor every soldier and every country that suffered from WWII, but in Poland we still act like we are the one and only who has the moral right to be honored. Was this WORLD war or just German and Russian invasion? We had so many of them in our history, but somehow we just celebrate 1st September.
    I mean, we still like to play these brave and poor little peasants while I think we should concentrate on the fact, that it was WORLD war, that many nations suffered and that many people died and even Putin was so international and conciliatory while our president posed as if we are still mad and full of anger. I repeat, we should honor soldiers and those who died fighting, but I don’t get why Poland should be in the center of attention.

  80. Brettr says:

    No mention of Poland being involved with the partition of Czechoslovakia.

    I get quite sick of hearing Poles going on about how Poland was abandoned by the Western Allies, the whole war started because of the invasion.

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