Poland During WWII Essay

This essay has a total of 2068 words and 11 pages.

Poland During WWII

Poland In The Second World War
Jozef Garlinski

The Macmillan Press LTD, 1985
Pages 387

Poland had gained independence after the First World War but unification of Poland, which
was apart for such a long time, created many problems. Weak economy, disrupted government,
and the population being mostly minorities group. Also the Poland had to deal with two
aggressive countries by her side, Germany and Russia. Hitler had known the situation
Poland was under. He knew that Poland would not agree to his demands because of their
concern with their freedom and their willingness to fight for it which gave him a chance
to attack. Poles also had not agree for the Russian to come in with the Red Army because
of their past history they knew that once they let them in the Red Army would never get
out. Poles decided to fight for their freedom. The war resulted in Polandís struggle once
again. They had not surrendered, but once again they were back were they had started. Even
though Polandís allies had won the war Poland remained under the influence of the Soviet
Union and throughout years regained control and power.

On September 1938 a conference took place in Munich, in which the participants were the
British Prime Minister, the French Premier, the German Dictator and the Italian Dictator.
It was unanimously decided that Czechoslovakia must cede Sudetenland to Germany (Garlinski
pg. 2). Forty-eight hours later, on October 1st 1938, the Czech bends under this massive
pressure and German units marched into Sudeten territory. On the same day the Czechs
accepted the Polish ultimatum and the Polish army begun occupying Trans-Olza (Garlinski
pg. 2).

Polandís participation in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia created a very bad
impression and harmed her greatly. Poland which herself had the experience of partition,
was now taking part in a similar act against on of her neighbors, in the company
more-over, of Germany, which had for years been directing revisionist slogans against
Poland. To Hitlerís satisfaction, Poland had fallen out with the Westerns democracies,
with the Soviet Russia and her treaty obligation toward Czechoslovakia, Poland found
herself completely alone.

Hardly a month later on October 25 the German Foreign Minister was having a conversation
with the Polish ambassador raising the question of Gdansk and its incorporation into the
Reich and also its transport links with East Prussia through Polish Pomeranian. To Hitler
these were very clear demands and he expected the Poles to accept them, but Poles refused.

In mid-March 1939 the Czech political Independence Day ended. On the same day Hitler took
the president of Czechoslovakia; Emil Hacha to Berlin and in a brutal conversation during
which the President suffered a heart attack, Hitler had forced him to accept Germ0an
protection. The following day German tanks entered Prague and the Protectorate of Bohemia
and Moravia was proclaimed.

The German occupation of Prague on March 15, 1939 brought a reawakening of Western public
opinion and revealed the true nature of Hitlerís aims. On March 31, the British government
extended a guarantee to Poland in which any action which would threatened Polish
government considered impossible to resist with their national forces, they will provide
all support in their power. On April 13, the French press published a statement accepting
the British-Polish agreement and mentioned the Franco-Polish mutual aid pack (Garlinski
pg. 6)

Poland was a poor country without heavy industry and without a modern army. Therefor, they
needed Russia to secure the joint for an anti-German front. The Western Allies were right
to seek an alliance with the Soviet Union, but their discussion in Moscow created a very
difficult situation for Poland. Polandís eastern neighbor was a historical enemy. For
London and Paris it was clear that Moscow must be able to move their divisions into
Poland, to surround Germany. The Polish government was afraid that the Red Army would
never leave Poland voluntarily. The lesson of history did not allow Poland to compromise
even though Franco-Russo-British agreement was of great importance to Poland. Such an
agreement would preclude the fatal threat of Berlin-Moscow pact (Garlisnki pg. 7,8).

On August 22 Moscow and Berlin signed a non-aggression treaty and it has gone down in
history as the Rubbentrop-Molotov pact. On the same day Hitler had a meeting with his
senior military commander at which he said: ďAnnihilation of Poland in foreground. Goal is
elimination of vital forces, not attainment of a specific lineÖ I shall provide the
propaganda pretext for launching the war, no matter whether it is credible the victory is
not asked afterwards whether or not he has told the truth. What matters in beginning and
waging the war are not righteousness, but victory? Close heart to pity, proceed brutally.
Eight million people must obtain what they have a right toÖ The stronger is in the right.
The Supreme hardness ď (Garlinski pg. 9).

On August 25 the German dictator issued the order that the attack on Poland was to begin
the following morning, but the same evening he received information, which caused him to
reflect. The information was the mutual assistance pact between Poland and Great Britain
had been signed In London. The agreement bound both partners for each other assistance in
the event of dictator or indirect aggression and even economic pressure. Hitler had called
off the attack to gain some time for further diplomatic maneuvering. There was an exchange
of letters between German and Poland. There was an exchange of letters between the French
Premier and the German dictator, but the courses of events could not be stopped.

On August 31 Hitler finally made up his mind. Late that evening a fake attack by Poles on
a radio station took place. Political prisoners from Sachsenhausen concentration camp
dressed in Polish uniforms carried it out (Garlinski pg. 30). On September 1, without
formal proclamation of war, the German armed forces crossed the Polish frontier.

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