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In honor of the brave participants of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944

Discussion in 'World History' started by Kamilian, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Kamilian

    Kamilian Deity

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    I am writing this to commemmorate and honor the brave men and women (some of them still only boys and girls) - those fallen and those that lived to tell the tale - that participated in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

    Those 63 days were possibly some of the bloodiest days of Polish history - 200,000 people perished - and also, perhaps ironically, some of the most heroic and proudest days of Polish history.

    As the Soviet Red Army was literally on the banks of the Wisla River, they encouraged the Poles of Warsaw to rise up against the Nazis. On August 1st, 1944, at 5pm, the uprising began. Within the first week or so, the AK (Armia Krajowa - Home Army) led the resistance fighters to seizing much of the city, including some important strategic points.

    The Poles were expecting the Soviets to come in and set in motion the final phase of the rebellion - the liberation of the city. However, the Soviet armies didn't come. Instead, they watched as the German armies came in and began to slaughter the resistance fighters and civilians.

    The resistance did not know that a year earlier, the British and American leaders agreed to let Stalin have Poland. Also, in a sinister ploy, Stalin himself gave the order for the troops NOT to assist the AK. In fact, he only authorized one airlift on one day by the Western Allies, and Soviet anti-air guns as well as German anti-air guns shot down any other Allied planes. If and when the Germans slaughtered the AK, the path would be paved for the left-wing faction resistance, the AL (Armia Ludowa - People's Army), which was filled with communists and Soviet-sympathizers, to take over a pre-war Poland as a Stalinist puppet regime.

    The uprising was doomed as the resistance pleaded for the Western and Soviet Allies to help, with no effect. They were quickly becoming outnumbered by German troops sent to crush their rising. But the resistance fought on, and lasted for 63 days, until they could fight no more. Obviously, the uprising failed. The Germans "evacuated" the surviving citizens of Warsaw and leveled the city. In other cities, such as Krakow, they took measures to prevent a repetition - they arrested many young people, as it had been the youth of Warsaw and the AK that orchestrated the 63-day-long bid for liberation.

    For years afterwards, the communist regime in Poland suppressed any ex-AK members and suppressed any memory of the Warsaw Uprising. Because of that, this long heroic battle was eclipsed by the equally-valiant and brave Warsaw Ghetto Uprising staged by the ZOB (Zydowska Organizacja Zbojownicza - Jewish Fighting Organization) - the last remnant of the Jewish population in the Ghetto in 1943, which lasted only a month less than the Polish rebellion in 1944. Many people in the West and even in Poland itself either never knew about it, didn't care, or - especially in Poland - COULDN'T remember it or they'd be arrested.

    Today, people would say that the uprising was doomed right from the start, that the Soviets woulnd't help. But back then, it was the Soviets that encouraged the rebellion and promised liberation.

    Whether it was doomed from the start or not, it did happen, and it held out for 2 months - longer than even the participants expected, especially after they received no help. It was a struggle to regain independence and freedom. And for a while - at least the first week or so - it succeeded and liberty was restored. Even if that flame of freedom and hope was snuffed out by the Germans, it was rekindled for at least a few days.

    Did it succeed or fail?
    On the one hand, it failed. 200,000 people lost their lives, Warsaw - and the rest of Poland - was ruined, and the Poles were puppets for another half-century.
    But on the other hand, it succeeded. It was proof that the Poles would not just completely give up even after several years of occupation. It was proof that if liberty was taken, if paradise was lost, so to speak, that the Poles would fight to restore it, even if for at least a short while. It was this spirit and longing for liberty that eventually gave way to the nonviolent protest group Solidarnosc (Solidarity) that defeated the dictatorship and restored democracy in Poland - a government it had not had since 1926 when Pilsudski established his military dictatorship.
    Most of all, it sustained Polish patriotism and national pride, and kept the desire for independence and freedom alive.

    So, on behalf of myself and my fellow Poles - on CFC, in USA, Poland, and anywhere else in the world - I'd like to say thank you to the participants of the Uprising - whether fallen in the struggle, fallen after the war, or still alive: Thank you.
     
  2. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    IMO even if it had of succeeded (ie- if they had of gained control of the city). The Soviets would have moved in and probably killed all the participants anyway.

    It was very brave of the Poles though. Poland was probably Hitler's no 1 hate so the resistance did well to organise the uprising. Hats off also to the Western Allies for flying in euipment and supporting not only the Poles but all resitance movements throughout Europe.
     
  3. Kamilian

    Kamilian Deity

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    About the Soviets going in and killing them anyway... what's worse or better - telling the resistance that they will help and liberate them and then watch the massacre from across the river or telling them they'll help, and come through with the promise only to slaughter the resistance anyway? I don't think there is either that's worse or better, because in each of those 2 instances, it would be treachery, deception, false promises, betrayal, and slaughter.

    About the Western Allies, in all fairness, they DID try honestly to help via airlift and save the uprising, besides the fact that in the one airlift that was allowed by Stalin, the planes had to fly very high to avoid German anti-air guns so most of the supplies ended up in non-AK-controlled sections of the city.
    But they did, on the other hand, effectively give Stalin Eastern Europe. So it's kinda a bittersweet thing - they tried to save the resistance but gave the country to Stalin, the man who succeeded in his ploy to let the resistance get slaughtered.
     
  4. Vrylakas

    Vrylakas The Verbose Lord

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    Polska walczaca!
     

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  5. bigmeat

    bigmeat The weapon of choice

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    i think we should also commemorate all the Americans, british, anzacs, and canadians, who died liberating people from the oppresion known as the nazi government, they died so the could live in a world of freedom
     
  6. rilnator

    rilnator Emperor

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    Hey, I never said one was better than the other or visa-versa I simply made a point.
     
  7. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Ca. 400 troops in the Ghetto Uprising were from ŻZW (Żydowski Związek Wojskowy - Jewish Military Union) and only ca. 250 (according to Marek Edelman) were from ŻOB. ŻZW was also better equipped and better organized than ŻOB. The reason why ŻZW is largely forgotten, while ŻOB is widely recognized, is because there was only 1 surviving officer from the leadership of ŻZW (Kalmen Mendelson), while more high-ranking leaders of ŻOB survived the uprising. ŻOB was a left-wing organization, while ŻZW was right-wing and cooperated with the Polish Home Army (while ŻOB cooperated with Polish extreme-left and communistic - People's Guard and Polish Workers' Party). ŻZW was founded in November 1939, ŻOB - in July 1942.

    Among the founders of ŻZW were many Polish-Jewish officers of the Polish Army who fought in the Polish Campaign of 1939.
     
  8. dutchfire

    dutchfire Deity

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    Q: What is stronger than Polish resistance?
    A: Polish anti-semitism
     
  9. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    They did no such thing. The Polish liberals perceived that in order to have a say in post-war Poland, they must rise up and take back their city before the Soviets arrived, but while the Nazis were unable to deal with their uprising because of Red Army proximity.

    Their uprising failed, because they timed it poorly. The Red Army in the vicinity was at the point of exhaustion and wrapping up a Deep Battle thrust, and required weeks to regroup and rearm after receiving a serious pounding from a German counteroffensive. Had the Soviets been continuing West, their desperate attempt might have gone differently.
     
  10. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    I doubt you'll have much success convincing somebody who hasn't even been active in two years. :p
     
  11. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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  12. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Actually parts of Polish 6th, 8th and 9th Infantry Regiments from 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions (of the 1st Polish Army under gen. Berling), after capturing Praga district (14 September), crossed the Vistula river (in the night from 15 to 16 September and on 17 September) and attempted to help the insurgents. They established two bridgeheads - in Czerniakow district (16 September) and in Zoliborz district (17 September). However, they did not receive any reinforcements from the rest of Soviet forces and Polish forces were defeated or forced to retreat once again across the Vistula between 20 and 23 September.

    Some belated attempt of support, however, was. On 20 September in the afternoon 226th Soviet Infantry Regiment from the 74th Infantry Division of 8th Guard Army (gen. Chuikov) was ordered to cross the Vistula and support the bridgeheads. But at that time situation was already hopeless and in the end no support was provided, but instead remnants of Polish forces were evacuated from bridgeheads (until 23 September last resistance nests fell or were evacuated).

    ==========================

    From www.warsawuprising.com website ("Timeline" section, "September 11 - 23"):

    "Between September 11 and September 14 Red Army resumes its offensive towards Warsaw. German and Soviet airplanes engage in dog fights over the city. Soviet artillery shells German positions in Praga, Saxon Garden and Okenche Airport.

    With the fall of Praga to the Red Army on September 16 [actually it was September 14 AFAIK - Domen], German forces evacuate to Warsaw proper and dynamite remaining Vistula bridges. The Red Army is relieved by Soviet-sponsored General Berling's Polish First Army.

    Retreating from Praga, German front line troops augment Gen. von dem Bach's forces. To prevent the establishment of bridgeheads, the main German effort concentrates on shattering the resistance in Czerniakow and Zoliborz districts along the the river.

    From September 14 to September 16, bloody fighting erupted in Zoliborz with General Hans Lallner 19th Panzer Division. Berling's troops cross the river between September 16-17 in an abortive attempt to link up with Zoliborz insurgents. Civilians are executed in Marymont, a quarter of the Zoliborz district.

    09/15-09/23. For three consecutive nights, 1,600 soldiers from Berling's army cross the Vistula and join insurgents in the Czerniakow district. The attempted landing between September 17-18 in the Riverside district fails with most of the 1,050 soldiers killed or captured. Heavy fighting in Czerniakow continues until September 23. Some defenders evacuate across the river, others reach the City Centre. Germans execute all captured insurgents and take Berling's soldiers as POWs.

    09/18. First and last massive American day-time, high altitude airdrop; insurgents recover 16 tons, or 20 percent of the cargo; the rest falls into German hands.

    09/24–09/30. Mokotow offensive. Germans attack the suburb of Mokotow, which falls on September 27. Advancing Germans execute wounded soldiers and hospital personnel. The perimeter of the Polish defenses is reduced to several blocks. On September 26, 9,000 civilians leave Mokotow during two-hour cease fire.

    Some Mokotow defenders evacuate through sewers to City Centre. About 150 of them exit into German-held territory and are executed.

    09/27. Mokotow capitulates after General von dem Bach promises to observe the Geneva Conventions. For the first time during the Uprising, captured Home Army members are treated as POWs."
     
  13. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    The clear sign of anti-semitism is remembering forgotten Jewish heroes of WW2 (ŻZW - Jewish Military Union).

    So I guess that Jews who were members of a centre-right wing Jewish organization cannot be honored or remembered? Only a member of a leftist-Zionist Ha-Szomer Ha-Cair and leader of ŻOB (since 1942) can be remembered, even if his troops were less numerous and less important than troops of ŻZW ???

    Claiming that ŻOB was more numerous than ŻZW is a falsification of history. Just like claiming that Polish AL was more numerous than Polish AK.

    =================================

    Articles about ŻZW (which both in post-1945 Communist Poland and in post-1945 Israel was largely underrated, while ŻOB was glorified):

    "Jewish Political Studies Review - Deconstructing Memory and History: The Jewish Military Union (ZZW) and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising"
    by Dariusz Libionka and Laurence Weinbaum

    http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-libionka-weinbaum-s06.htm

    Wikipedia page about ŻZW:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Military_Union

    Even today Yad Vashem is underrating the role played by ŻZW, reducing its numbers to 250 (while in fact it had over 400 fighters):

    http://www.yadvashem.org/odot_pdf/Microsoft Word - 6384.pdf
     
  14. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

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    The argument that the soviets set the poles up doesn't make much sense, does it? I mean, why did the germans waste men and materiel killing the polish resistance if they believe that the soviets would fight them? Why would the poles rise if they thought that the soviets would attack them? Unless the poles were totally ignorant, and being in the thick of it after invasions from both sides they should be ignorant at all!
     
  15. aronnax

    aronnax Let your spirit be free

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    We seem to have a lot of commemorations of Polish historical events.
     
  16. Lord Baal

    Lord Baal Deity

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    If you aren't doing anything important or of note now, you might as well memorialise all the important things you did previously. If they don't exist, make them up, or blow something trivial out of proportion. Also, everything bad that happened wasn't your fault.
     
  17. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    Festung Warschau was important for them to keep it in their hands.

    The Soviets would not attack the Poles if the Poles emerged victorious from the uprising.

    This is obvious - in such case entire world would know that the Soviets attacked the Poles.

    =================================

    BTW - today is the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.
     
  18. Lord Baal

    Lord Baal Deity

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    The Soviets also certainly wouldn't launch a violent coup in a Central European country that had already given the communists a third of the vote in a free election. The whole world would know they were behind it.
     
  19. Domen

    Domen Misico dux Vandalorum

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    As I wrote, 70th anniversary of the Ghetto Rising is today. Commemorations took place in Warsaw.

    Simcha Rotem (one of the last surviving Ghetto ŻOB fighters) delivered a speech in Polish (which was being translated to English). Also Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski delivered a speech (everything was being translated to English) and decorated Simcha Rotem with a Polonia Restituta Order.

    It was also reminded, that many of survivors of the Ghetto Uprising, later fought again in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

    Simcha Rotem also listed surnames of 8 Polish people who contributed the most to his survival after he escaped from Ghetto. 2 of those Polish people (one woman and one man) were later executed by Germans for helping Rotem (there was a death penalty for helping Jews in German-occupied Poland).

    Which events and which election are you talking about?

    Anyway - doing such thing during the Cold War was something different than doing a similar thing during WW2.

    During WW2 Western Allies were allies of the Soviet Union - during the Cold War (which started shortly after WW2) - no.

    The Soviets also wanted to keep receiving Lend-Lease help - it was a significant addition to their war potential.
     
  20. Lord Baal

    Lord Baal Deity

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    Czechoslovakia.
     

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