Saturday, July 31, 2004

Polish Apology

More European lunacy as the Prime Minister of Poland, Marek Belka, suggests that an official apology from Great Britain and her allies (namely US!) is owed because we did not press the Soviet Union strongly enough to assist the Polish Underground Army during the August 1944 Warsaw Uprising. .

The fact of the matter is, We did not have very much political sway with Joseph Stalin. The Allies, mainly Great Britain and the United States, would send war material and aid to the USSR, but Uncle Joe would merely whine whenever we asked for co-operation. Well, he would whine AND sit down in the mud and act an overgrown moustachioed child.

On 4 August 1944, Churchill sent a telegram to Stalin saying that Britain was attempting to drop 60 tons, yes....tons, of equipment and supplies to the south west quarter of Warsaw. He appealed for Soviet aid. He heard nothing from Moscow until the next day when Stalin dismissed Polish claims as "exaggerated" and that it wouldn't be prudent for the Red Army to intervene.

Two RAF planes dropped supplies to the resistance on the 4th and three more planes made drops on the 8th. But they were flying from Italy and it was just plain too difficult to arrange mass drops from that distance.

Churchill and Roosevelt fired messages repeatedly to Stalin over the course of the struggle but could gain no co-operation, not even the use of Soviet Airfields.

This was mainly due to a disagreement over Soviet plans for post-war borders. Should we have acceded to their wishes at that time we would have had reason to apologize to Poland.

Stalin's telegram to Churchill on 16 August, in response to repeated personal entreaties and political maneuvering between the Allies and their diplomats in Russia, declared the Red Army's "disassociation" with the struggle in Warsaw. Effectively hanging the partisans out to dry.

Churchill recieved another telegram from Stalin on 22 August that referred to the Polish underground as a "group of criminals", I'm sure that this did not apply to the Polish communists who were being put in charge of areas overrun by the Soviet forces.

Stalin also justified abandoning Warsaw because in his military point of view, the situation in Warsaw was "unprofitable" to the Red Army and Poland.

The Allies continued fruitless pleading with Moscow into September.

What I don't understand is how we were expected to force Stalin to do anything that he did not want to do. If we with-held aid or assistance from him, he could have easily signed an armistace with Berlin, then we would have had the entire weight of the Wehrmacht to contend with on the Western Front and Warsaw still would have been reduced to rubble.

I want to hear Poland's apology for totally abandoning the Warsaw Ghetto jews and leaving them almost totally without assistance from the underground during their own uprising in 1943 before I hear them demanding apologies from others.

Then I want Poland to demand an apology from Russia, that is where the blame lies.