John, you are confusing my statements about events leading up to the war with the events as it ended.
However, it is true that in both cases France and England were woefully unprepared and both had very strong anti-war political movements as was the case in the US.
Of course the greatest failure was by Britain's Chaimberlain with his "Peace in our time!" claim.
It was perhaps unfair of me to point to the corruption in Poland as the cause of its defeat. However, the nature of that corruption had the unique effect of leaving the armed forces woefully under equipped and un-modernized when it needed it most. It was under the best of circumstances a herliculian task to have brought the military completely up to date especially after the industrial stripping that took place on top of reparations paid in the form of surrendering coal and iron resources. But it did exist while similar profiteering in Germany lead to more war production not less.
There was also considerable bungling in going along with the Chamberlain negotiations in not fully mobilizing in the last days supposedly to not "antagonize" the Germans which of course was complete nonsense.
In any event it is all hindsight and I reject any attempt to tie it to current events not just because it is off topic here but because it is completely out of context with the events and situations of that time.
--- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, John Halucha <john.halucha@...> wrote:
> Thanks for acknowledging that you can't argue with raw facts, and telling me what I don't understand. I am here above all to learn.
> Some other things I don't understand and perhaps you can explain:
> If the capability was not there, why did Britain and France make pledges that they knew they could not keep? Why did France solemnly promise that it would launch a major ground attack on Germany in the west within 15 days of Poland being attacked? Why did Britain promise to bomb German cities if Germany bombed Polish cities, if "the capability was just not there"?
> If this was just a bluff on the part of France and Britain, why didn't they share that insider information with Poland? Maybe Poland would have reacted differently to the German invasion if it had known, as Czechoslovakia knew the year before, that it was really on its own.
> Hitler was confident that the Allies could not be trusted, and he brushed aside the concerns of his own generals who feared that Germany would be devastated by the huge, well-equipped French army in the west while the great mass of the German military was tied up in Poland. The smaller Polish military held back German forces longer than anticipated and exacted a high toll in lost German personnel and equipment, increasing the window of opportunity for the Allies to no avail.
> Since one can't argue with the facts, maybe you could share an opinion about what effect the failure of the Allies to live up to their end of the bargain had on convincing Stalin that attacking Poland from the east would be free of consequences? Do you think it may have played a part in Stalin's later dealings with Britain and how much trust he should put in anything the British pledged? The Americans arrived only later, but do you think that Stalin may have thought that Roosevelt was cut from the same cloth as Churchill?
> Also, do you think that the lack of action by Britain and France had any effect on anyone in Germany who did not already fully support Hitler? Do you think that the Generals who had advised caution about provoking the West now considered Hitler a genius? Do you think German public opinion rallied behind Hitler after his strike against Poland with impunity, and do you wonder if German public support for the war might have been different if France and Britain had brought it to inside the German borders at that time?
> Regarding the readiness of Poland for war against one superpower, less say two, I think we went through this recently. But perhaps some things bear repeating, especially if there are new members who can participate in the discussion now.
> Yes, there was corruption in Poland - same as there was in Germany, the Soviet Union, and I dare say Britain, the USA and Canada. Even if Poland had been squeaky-clean unlike any other nation on earth and all its resources had been marshaled against the threat, would that have made a substantive difference? Would Poland then have survived the combined assault from Germany and the USSR, on its own, a week longer? Two weeks? A month? Or are you contending Poland would have beat them off in perpetuity if it had prepared better, invested in better armaments?
> Poland had emerged as a free state a scant two decades earlier. Prior to that, for more than a century it had been partitioned by three powerful neighbours that took everything that was not nailed down and lots of things that were nailed down. What investment there was in infrastructure was built to three different standards and the newly reborn Poland had to reconcile the differences. For example, railways were not all the same gauge and rebuilding was required.
> The population of Poland was tiny compared to either of its superpower neighbours, less say the two of them combined. Since the country had regained its sovereignty so recently, not every citizen was committed to the new nation and some retained nostalgic yearnings for the "good old days" under the Austrians, Prussians and Russians. Others wanted to carve other nations out of parts of the recently reconstituted country.
> Poland had tried to build an economy and a nation practically from scratch during a period of global economic depression. If other countries had it hard, living in places with developed roads and canals and railways, how much harder was it for Poland to build on what had been a wild battlefield ruled by foreign overlords for more than a century?
> True, Poles had pulled off the Miracle on the Vistula two decades earlier. That's when the odds were more even with the disorganized Soviet hordes. Poland had no illusions that it could repeat the miracle twenty years later, though it did keep investing in a horse cavalry in anticipation that it could face an attack in the underdeveloped east again.
> BTW, I am sure you know but perhaps it will be new information to some others: not only Poland used horse cavalry in the Second World War. The Germans did too, especially in attacking south from East Prussia. So did the Soviets. So did the USA, using horse cavalry in the Philippines. Horse cavalry in battle in every instance, not just horses for supply transport.
> Another thing you probably know but some others may not, is that the Polish cavalry was actually mounted infantry. Contrary to Nazi propaganda fabrications that are still naively (or perhaps sometimes maliciously) parroted today, the Poles did not stupidly charge at German armour with lance and sword. They principally used horses to move soldiers quickly from one location to another, then dismounted and used typical infantry weapons against the foe - including anti-armour weapons.
> Knowing the limitations of their population size, development and economy, the Polish leadership pursued a policy of equal distance and nonaggression with both the superpowers. It refused to ally with either of the totalitarian despots against the other, so finally the two despots allied themselves against Poland.
> Instead, Poland sought alliances with other countries that had concerns about the superpowers, especially France and Britain. As it turned out, only Poland kept its word. The others betrayed their principles and broke their agreements from beginning to end.
> At every turn, they had a choice to make. Even if you consider that breaking pledges was justifiable from their perspective because it suited their own purposes no matter what assurances they had given, surely you will allow that their choices should be open to scrutiny and to criticism.
> Learning history could reduce chances of repeating it, as Santayana said. Maybe if today's leaders were aware that they will face future exposure and condemnation of their actions they might pause before breaking treaties or even making treaties they know they will not honour. Maybe some will think twice before waging war or genocide.
> Hitler was sure that the Allies would not keep their promises, based on past actions. He scoffed at concerns about persecuting Jews, observing that no one remembered the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. Stalin learned the same contempt of the Allies' "principles" as Hitler, and it guided his dealings with Churchill and Roosevelt - to great advantage for him. Even a monster like Stalin, who you point out had huge armies in place to force his bidding by the mid-1940s, somehow still wanted the blessing of Britain and the USA when he was carving out a chunk of Europe for himself. He got it.
> Who knows how things might have gone if Churchill and Roosevelt had refused to help Stalin hide his guilt for the Katyn murders from the beginning? At the moment they decided to participate in his lie, if not before, they became accessories after the fact. Stalin knew he had them in the palm of his hand, because from then on they would work to cover up their own guilt, not just his.
> Forgive me if I sound unsophisticated for agreeing with those Poles like my father who felt betrayed by the Allies. It took me awhile to get to this point, after everything I learned in school and read in books or saw in movies or on TV excused the Allies for their infamy, diminished or utterly hid the Polish contribution to defeating Nazi Germany, and made it look as though the Poles deserved what they got. Now, I see it differently.
> In case you include me in the remark about "bitterness," let me be clear. I have had and continue to have a wonderful life in Canada. If my father, who lived through the Soviet gulags and survived the battlefield, was not bitter, then why would I be?
> Just because things have turned out pretty nicely for me personally does not mean I have to turn a blind eye to what the Allies did or failed to do, does it? Do they deserve to be excused because all's well that ends well? Should I distance myself from what happened to my cousins who grew up under Soviet tyranny, because Poland is in relatively good shape today?
> My goals pursing this are twofold: first, purely selfish because I enjoy learning and keeping an open mind to new information as it emerges or I discover it. Second, sharing some of that with the wider community so prejudice might be diminished if not eliminated.
> I really welcome opportunities to explore these topics, and bet forgiveness for indulging myself and running so long here.
> John Halucha
> Sault Ste Marie, Canada
> From: bstar53 <bernard_starzewski@...>
> To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 7:29:26 PM
> Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: Eastern Europe "gift" to USSR/Russia
> I understand and cant argue with the raw fact.
> But you need to understand that the capability was just not there.
> England and France could not handle Germany alone in the first part of the war and England also had Japan to deal with at the same time. France was taken out already in 1940. Even the US had only about 175,000 in our army at the outset with not a single modern tank.
> Brittain had only limited ability to bomb Germany and it took thousands of planes and thousands of raids to put them out of business.
> Ive talked about the nuclear option before. Even with B29 Superforts we did not have bases close enough to hit Moscow.
> My grandfather had many recriminations against the Polish government as well. He claimed (with some validity as it turns out) that the politicians at the time simply would not admit that Germany was as big a danger as it was corruption or at least self interest in refusing to pay for the build up and modernization of the forces made for a forgone conclusion in Poland's sudden defeat. See the photo and comment on the very first chapter of Hil's book re the cavalry.
> If Poland had been armed properly its men would not have allowed Germany or Russia to defeat them. In the Russian war before that when things were more equal they certainly proved that.
> I understand the bitterness. But one has to live in the realities of what was possible and when.
> As they say, there was plenty of blame to go around.
> Bernie Starzewski
> Wisconsin USA
> --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, John Halucha <john.halucha@> wrote:
> > Bernie,
> > With some reservations about your characterization of "if we (?) had been pure and totally moral" (can one be a little bit moral, like a little bit pregnant?) I agree that the failure of the Allies to declare war on the Soviet Union in 1939 was a moral failure. So was failing to launch a substantive attack on Germany from the west and failing to bomb German armaments industries even as Germans were terror-bombing residential areas in Poland. That was just the beginning of a long string of betrayals.
> > If the enemy of our enemy is our friend, isn't the enemy of our friend our enemy? It didn't work out that way and the Allies did not even declare war on the Soviet Union after it attacked Poland in 1939.
> > In a related vein, I have often wondered if apologists for the deal with Stalin against Hitler would be equally passionate in defense of a deal being made with Hitler against Stalin. Both had attacked, invaded, murdered, enslaved and occupied friend Poland, after all, so the Allies had their pick when the warmongers quarreled. Moreover, just such a deal was proposed in 1945 as Dan posted.
> > Regarding "morality" of the West aiding Polish DPs after Germany was defeated, it was virtually the least they could do after what they had wrought. Borrowing from an analogy that we played with on forum some time ago:
> > Two criminals (let's call them Gerry and Russ, for convenience) kill your grandparents and take over their home. The police and other authorities stand back and watch as your grandparents try to fend off the home invaders on their own. Gerry takes one of the kids as a slave, Russ takes another kid, they both kill some of the other kids and they divide the home between them.
> > The criminals later quarrel and the police finally get into action and help one of the criminals (say, Russ) against the other. As a condition of police help, Russ releases your father from bondage. Your father immediately joins the police to fight Gerry, in expectation that he will be going home soon.
> > But when Gerry is almost wiped out, the police reveal that they have secretly agreed that Russ gets to keep your grandparents' home.
> > The best they can do is put the kids in an orphanage in another neighbourhood where they don't speak the language and everything is strange. But the freed slaves are healed, fed and educated. You are told to bless the authorities for letting your parents into the orphanage - it was proof of the authorities' superior morality - and are told to quit griping about the authorities giving the legal stamp of approval for Russ to keep your grandparents' home.
> > Does that about get it right?
> > I am grateful to have been born in Canada. One could indeed argue that I should therefore be grateful to Churchill, Roosevelt and others in the West who affected history to make that possible. It has also been suggested that I should be grateful to Stalin for "liberating" Poland from Hitler. I guess I should also be grateful to "Uncle Joe" for releasing my father from slavery (and, I suppose, for putting him there in the first place since it all turned out well for me in the end). Also, it appears I should be doubly grateful to Hitler: one, for enslaving my mother and putting her in position to emigrate to the West after surviving, and two, for attacking Stalin and helping convince him to let my father go.
> > Yes, I am alive and in the West thanks to all of them. Somehow, I don't get why I should feel gratitude to any. All acted in their own self-interest without regard to my grandparents or my ancestral home - which is fine, but pursuing self-interest at the expense of the interests of friends or anyone else doesn't sound particularly like any form of morality with which I am familiar.
> > Further, my father was not given a gift of being housed in the West. He paid for that in full by putting his life on the line to preserve the freedom of Britain and to return freedom to other countries that had been under the German yoke. Many of his comrades paid the supreme price and will spend eternity in those liberated lands. I am grateful to him and to other Poles who fought for the freedom of others - even after they had been told that their own homes had been betrayed by their allies. Now, that's superior morality.
> > John Halucha
> > Sault Ste Marie, Canada
> > ________________________________
> > From: bstar53 <bernard_starzewski@>
> > To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
> > Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 1:43:12 PM
> > Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: Eastern Europe "gift" to USSR/Russia
> > Â
> > John,
> > You could argue that point up and down the court all day long and not get anywhere.
> > The first compromise was in the alliance and support for Stalin in the first place. The enemy of our enemy was our friend.
> > If we had been pure and totally moral we probably would have declared war on both of them from the outset. But whether your attribute that to motives of empire or practical self preservation is largely a matter of opinion. Hitler was the greater threat and obviously aggressive as well as lethal.
> > As far as morality goes I can only point to the allied UN-RRA which took under its wing the millions of DPs scattered across Europe like my dad. The healed them and fed them and educated them and when they had no place else to go, took them in. We here are almost all the children of that morality including you I expect.
> > In that respect the empires of the west demonstrated to the world what the differences were. It was a great moral victory. We here are all alive because of it.
> > Bernie Starzewski
> > Wisconsin USA
> > --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, John Halucha <john.halucha@> wrote:
> > >
> > > Hmm. Your later post is exempt from the "current events (especially politics)" taboo? i.e., "Much of the Republican candidate's enthusiasm for that is just political talk and would itself moderate. In fact Romney's own campaign consultant referred to it as an "etch-a-sketch" policy that can be erased at well under different circumstances."
> > >
> > > My bad joke shows how current events could be tied to the eastern Kresy of Poland, to which I believe this site is dedicated. That is why after consideration I did not add "off topic" to the subject line.
> > > It is all in the spirit of Santayana's warning: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it."
> > > Also, "Its a basic fact of American politics that Presidents running for re-election are somewhat more constrained by those events." misses the point - which indicates that the point was not made well. The point is, that politicians hide their true agendas to manipulated the electorate. The parallels between 1943 and 2012 were too tempting to let pass.
> > >
> > > It shows how poor my joke was that the irony did not come through. Sorry if I gave offence. You can argue that the correct answer is "B".
> > >
> > > On a serious note, the war did not end for Poland in 1945. One of the two occupiers was still there, more firmly entrenched than ever. And the territory that Stalin took with Hitler's blessing he now took again with Roosevelt's and Churchill's blessing. That's why many Polish soldiers who had fought for the liberation of Western Europe did not care much that they were not invited to participate in Britain's "victory parade" - victory had not yet been won and the parade just added insult to injury.
> > > With the benefit of my Western education, I thought for a time that the Polish people were mistaken. With the benefit of expanded study, thanks in large part to this forum, I now see that the West colluded with Stalin long before and it is false to present Yalta as a snapshot, as being a "realistic" response to the troops on the ground at that time. Even if it was too late to back up a moral stance with military might, it was not too late to take a moral stance and repudiate Stalin rather than toast him and endorse his ill-got gains.
> > > What I have learned is that the Western Allies did not fight a "moral" war as they have been saying for decades. They fought a war for empire and their own financial/colonial reasons, and had no problem throwing an Ally under the bus to achieve their own goals.
> > >
> > > John Halucha
> > > Sault Ste Marie, Canada
> > >
> > > ________________________________
> > > From: bstar53 <bernard_starzewski@>
> > > To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
> > > Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 11:59:49 AM
> > > Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: Eastern Europe "gift" to USSR/Russia
> > >
> > >
> > > Â
> > > Yes, well I thought current events (especially politics) were taboo here?
> > > Its a basic fact of American politics that Presidents running for re-election are somewhat more constrained by those events.
> > >
> > > The reference to FDR is actually a false one as at that time there was no restriction on the number of times a President could run although it was obvious he was sick.
> > >
> > > I fully understand the sense of betrayal of Poles like my dad in leaving Poland behind the iron curtain. But as Ive posted before, it was time for the war to end. Poland did not need to be a battleground again. I think in the fullness of time things worked out for the better having waged a cold war instead of a hot one.
> > >
> > > Bernie Starzewski
> > > Wisconsin USA
> > >
> > > --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, John Halucha <john.halucha@> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Game show question, 15 years from now:
> > > >
> > > > Who said: "This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."
> > > > Multiple choice:
> > > > A) Incumbent U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin at the Teheran Conference in 1943, after agreeing to give half of Poland to Stalin and asking to keep it secret until after the pending U.S. election;
> > > > B) Incumbent U.S. president Barack Obama to Russian leader Dmitri Medvedev at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in 2012, asking to delay talk about missile defense changes until after the pending U.S. election;
> > > > C) All of the above.
> > > >
> > > > John Halucha
> > > > Sault Ste Marie, Canada