Friday, April 28, 2017
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Modern History XIX - XX

Poland & Poles in World War II - Books' Selection

Poland & Poles in World War II - Books' Selection
by Steve Zaloga, Howard Gerrard (Illustrator) - The fourth partition of Poland - invaded
by Tadeusz Piotrowski
The unremitting brutality of the Nazi and Soviet occupiers and their collaborators killed over 20% of Poland's population in WW2, while countless thousands were exiled to all corners of the globe....
by Janusz Kazimierz Zawodny
The Soviets imprisoned 220000 Polish soldiers in concentration camps (most did not survive) and in 1940 murdered 27000 officers and reservists, and buried them in mass graves at Katyn and other sites.
by Richard C. Lukas
Poland lost 2.2 million children during the second world war (all other countries put together lost 11 million).
Initially a concentration camp for Polish prisoners, later a death camp in which 1 million Jews were murdered.
Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944
by Norman Davies (Foreword), Richard C. Lukas
On August 22nd 1939 Hitler had authorised killing "without pity or mercy all men, women and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need"....
by Klaus Hergt
by T. Bor Komorowski
The formation of the Armia Krajowa (Europe's largest and most active resistance movement), the author's rise to command it and the Warsaw uprising of 1944, ending with his surrender and imprisonment.
An Army in Exile: The Story of the Second Polish Corps (Allied Forces Series)
by Wladyslaw Anders
On August 22nd 1939 Hitler had authorised killing "without pity or mercy all men, women and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need

The selection was prepared by Raytan (Kaysixon)
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On the Wrong Site of the Frontline

This is the third article devoted to World War II in Poland for a series started in the September edition on the anniversary of the war. Read the first article Long Shadows of War - Poland and World War II . This is also a first part of mu Uncle Franek memoirs.

wujek FranekAs I already pointed out in the previous article, the majority of Poles in the regions annexed to Germany during World War II, especially in Upper Silesia, were treated like second-class German citizens. The whole Silesian population was divided into four categories - the first two included people who were members of German political, cultural or sport organizations or had pure German blood. The third category, so-called "volksdeutch" (folk Germans or country Germans) were people of mixed blood and mixed culture who spoke either German or Silesian at home. The Silesian language is just a Polish dialect, mixed with some German and Czech words. These people, according to Nazi standards, were not completely germanized but had lived in the region of Silesia for generations. Originally, there was an idea that all of these people should be sent to the Reich in order to germanize them, but this task was simply impossible since there were so many people who would need "germanization." They therefore received temporary German citizenship for a period of ten years. Commonly, people who belonged to this group had all the duties of the first and the second categories: they were required to send their men to Wehrmacht, but they were denied the special privileges of the two higher class.

Read more: On the Wrong Site of the Frontline


Solving The Myth: Polish Cavalry Charge Against German Tanks.

A Clash at Krojanty

In the early morning hours of September 1, 1939, military forces of Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Later that day, events unfolded that would lead to one of the most fanciful and enduring legends of World War II.

The Polish 4th Army, or Army Pomorze, had been placed in the Pomeranian area known as the Polish Corridor to prevent Hitler from taking this northwest section of Poland unopposed as he had done in the Czech Sudetenland a year earlier. However, since a full-blown war had broken out, the Army Pomorze was in the process of withdrawing while continuing to oppose the German advance.

By late afternoon of that first day, the German 20th Motorized Infantry Division was approaching the city of Chojnice, in the Tuchola Forest, about 165 miles northwest of Warsaw, and it was threatening a key railroad junction in the village of Krojanty about four miles northeast of Chojnice. Army Pomorse forces in this area consisted primarily of the 18th Lancer Regiment of the Pomorska Cavalry Brigade, commanded by Colonel Kazimierz Mastelarz.

Read more: Solving The Myth: Polish Cavalry Charge Against German Tanks.


Polish Aviation History

commemorative stampThe first successful airplane was invented and flown by the Wright Brothers in 1903. But many nations and cultures dreamed of and experimented with human flight long before that. One of those was Poland. An Italian who became a Polish citizen named Burattini experimented with a muscle powered winged craft in the mid-seventeenth century and apparently was able to become airborne.

The first manned balloon flight occurred in 1783. In 1789 Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon flight in Poland, a 45 minute flight over Warsaw and across the Wisła. A year later Jan Potocki became the first Pole to fly in a balloon, over Warsaw, with his Turkish servant and Blanchard. Three years after that Blanchard made the first balloon flight in America in the presence of President George Washington.

Read more: Polish Aviation History


Memories of September 1939

Part I

On the first of September of 1939, the sky above Warsaw was unexpectedly filled with hostile military aircraft. Without declaring war, Germany crossed the border into Poland. Units of the German Air force, fighters and light bombers were prowling about Poland, nearing the capital.

I was returning by bus that day from Swider, a summer vacation spot. Going by Anin, I saw by the road a bombed out house and a dead white horse. That horse was the first casualty of the war that I was to see.

Read more: Memories of September 1939


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