Friday, May 8, 2015

II - The military situation overview on Sept. 1, 1939


While I will not dwell on the Polish people's plight in WWII,  I do have to comment on is the scale of carnage, murder, mayhem, massacre, deceit and suffering by the Polish people. Reading accounts of atrocities on a case by case basis really drives it home. Personal accounts are much more horrendous than an abstract "millions killed" statistic. The volume of innocent victims is like reading a NYC phone book only  with unique, individual, unimaginable, tragic personal stories that could happen to anyone. No one was spared, peasants, farmers,civilian bystanders, women, children or active military, Given the similar precursor events, it could happen anywhere.

Following years of preparation, on Sept. 1, 1939 the German offensive began in the West of Poland.

  • Neutralizing Poland in the East was key to Hitler's conquest of Europe
  • Hitler gained a secret non-aggression pact with the Soviets (so they wouldn't help the Poles)
  • The bulk of Poland's defense resources were on the West fortifying against a massing German juggernaut, not realizing the Soviet treachery and the German-Soviet plan to divide Poland between the Germans in the West and Soviets in the East
Another key date is September 17, 1939
  • Soviets invaded Poland from the East
  • This was a"sucker punch" to the Poles in violation of numerous pacts and treaties between these 2 countries
  • The 1500 km Eastern border was lightly defended as there was mortal battle for 17 days in the West against the German onslaught with no knowledge of Soviet-German secret pact and impending 2nd invasion from the East.
  • Orders not to engage the Soviet advance were given  but often ignored. Some Soviet fighters were actually waved in by the Poles thinking them reinforcement allies.
  • The battles in the East are the ones I will look at on the key date of Sept. 19, 1939 for Dad's capture location as it clear from the record that Soviets  captured him then did a prisoner swap with the Germans. This is part of the complexity of the records.

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