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Kregs
08-17-2010, 02:29 AM
The BBC made a documentary about the Allies' betrayal of Poland after the Warsaw uprising in 1944. There are six parts to this fascinating documentary that sheds light on the reasons behind "The Great Betrayal" of Poland.

Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reMFluRR2cc

Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fnKLydFJIU&feature=related

Part 3:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq9pmbeXW_4&feature=related

Part 4:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8Xbs-Uf2Sw&feature=related

Part 5:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlJco9u9-JU&feature=related

Part 6:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxDYOSRn3ho&feature=related

enjoy!!

Kregs
08-20-2010, 01:29 AM
The questions that have puzzled me all these years all surround Stalin's motives in keeping the eastern half of Poland and then making it a political satellite.

Why was Stalin so keen on taking property that belonged to the Second Polish Republic despite its overwhelming Ukrainian and Belorussian populations? Couldn't Stalin settle for the three Baltic states as specified in the Ribbentrop- Molotov pact of August 1939 and give eastern Poland back to the Poles? The documentary doesn't give specifics, only that Stalin secretly did not want an independent Poland.

Also, why was Churchill so willing to cooperate with Stalin's motives in Eastern Europe? Was it because Churchill didn't want to further entangle the United Kingdom into "petty" continental affairs, especially those of the Poles, or did it have something to do with Stalin's contributions to the war effort in the east? The documentary doesn't specific this either: only that Churchill was willing to give back part of the territory lost to the Poles in the agreement, but Stalin put his foot down. Churchill tried appeasement but the guarantees, if there were any given, were shaky.

Is my train of thought incorrect or am I missing something from the picture?

Helga
09-10-2010, 07:53 PM
Yeah, it looks like if you are missing the fact that freedom and integrity of Poland was the main reason brandished by Churchill to declare war on Germany. Afterwards, he put huge pressure and demanded the Poles to accept the Russian usurpation of the eastern part of the country.
Moreover, Churchill and Roosevelt covered up the slaughter of thousands of Polish officials in the bloody hands of Stalin, at Katyn , as it was demonstrated in the documentary of the BBC that you are referring.
Wouldn't had been better and cheaper for the Poles to simply return the german territory of Danzig to Germany?
Get your own conclusions.

Kregs
09-12-2010, 08:38 PM
Wouldn't had been better and cheaper for the Poles to simply return the german territory of Danzig to Germany?
.

Poland was never officially given the shipping port of Danzig after World War I but was given the small port of Gdynia and the corridor separating East Prussia from Germany in order to satisfy Wilson's thirteenth point (I believe it was the thirteenth point) regarding Poland's free access to the sea. The city was declared autonomous and free with its own senate and elected representatives; the League of Nations was to preside over the city and conflicts that might arise every so often.

What Churchill should have considered, however, was the danger of giving the western territories to Poland without German consent. If he were thinking clearly, he would have noticed how vulnerable that decision would make Poland, and how it would forever bound her to the Soviet Union. If Germany started to question again the validity and fairness of the lost eastern frontiers, the Soviet Union would convince Poland that it alone could defend her against the revisionist German threat. Churchill didn't see, or perhaps care, under whose tutelage Poland would fall: the cold war didn't start to heat up yet or become visibly apparent. It would take the Berlin blockade to fully realize the implications of throwing away Poland's independence.

These are my thoughts.

leccy
09-13-2010, 10:16 AM
Churchill probably more than most other leaders at the time voiced concerns over Stalins and the Soviet intentions. He was constrained though by the simple facts that he could not act alone, that the UK was broke with huge debts to the US that meant he could not afford to antagonise the US.
Churchill never trusted Stalin and part of the reason British troops were sent to the Balkans and Greece was to try and prevent the spread of communism.
There was also an ulterior motive for Churchills continuing support for the campaign in Italy, to try and forestall Soviet troops from gaining too much ground in Austria and Titos growing influence in Jugoslavia.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had announced at Yalta that after the defeat of Germany, U.S. forces would withdraw from Europe within two years, the parts of Eastern Europe that were assigned to the Soviet Union were promised self determination by Stalin. Poland was one of the many that was left to its own devices.
There was no stomach in the west to start another war especially with the Soviet Union who many people still considered to be allied. There was no way British or US troops could have been got to Warsaw to help and even supplying the Home Army was pretty much beyond the capabilities of the West. The Soviets were closer and could have probably reached Warsaw before the uprising was crushed, the West could not.

Some Quotes from the main three leaders

Stalin is not that kind of man. . . He doesn't want anything but security for his country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can, and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.

—Franklin Roosevelt

This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes his own social system on it. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise.

—Joseph Stalin

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an "iron curtain" has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.

Winston Churchill '5th March 1946'

Kregs
01-31-2011, 03:49 AM
Sorry for my late reply, leccy. I finally got my daughter's husband off my computer, a minor irritation, but I'll survive. Anyway back to the topic of Poland.

Churchill and Eden wanted to appease Stalin on most territorial issues, namely the border between Poland and Russia, because those issues would seriously divide the Allied Coalition and disrupt relations between Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Eden, therefore, was prepared to settle the Polish border issue on the Curzon line, mostly to the dismay of the exiled government because they were not consulted on the matter; despite this occurrence, the British Foreign Office secretly redrew the Polish borders between Germany and Russia, giving Poland control over Danzig, the Silesia coal mines and Lwow (see Professor Toynbee's map of the region). The entire eastern half of Poland was handed over to Stalin with only minor changes to the agreement made between the Soviet Union and Great Britain at Tehran.

I enjoyed your quotes from the "Big Three," especially these:

Stalin is not that kind of man. . . He doesn't want anything but security for his country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can, and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.

I wonder if Roosevelt remembers the speech he made in 1940 condemning the Soviet Union's "totalitarian dictatorship" and invasion of Finland, where he said: "the Soviet Union, as everyone who has the courage to face the fact knows, is run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship, and it has invaded a neighbor so infinitesimally small that it could do no conceivable possible harm to the Soviet Union, a neighbor which seeks only to live at peace as a democracy, and a liberal, forward-looking democracy at that." (World War II Behind Closed Doors, page 78)

This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes his own social system on it. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise.

I'll leave this quote alone because the point is so obvious. Stalin wanted two things from the conferences: servile Communist regimes in eastern Europe that could not conceivably pose a threat to Russia, and a host of "friendly, pro-Soviet" countries that could serve as reliable buffer states against western Europe's possible "military intrusions."

Banzai
02-01-2011, 12:28 PM
The documentary doesn't give specifics, only that Stalin secretly did not want an independent Poland.

Depends what you mean by 'independent'.
My view on this subject is more pro-Soviet.
Main worry for Soviet communist leaders in 1920-1930 was united Allied(or Western) effort to crush communism. Of course, this kind of view was absolute nonsense.
Poland pre 1939 was just one of many states that shared border with Soviet Union, and had hostile view towards whole idea of communism. If we look at parties that ruled Baltic states, and most of eastern Europe(including Poland), we can see that ruling parties are mostly right wing authocrats.
Border made between Poland and Soviet Union in early 1920. was resolt of war that two countries waged. Poland recived large areas, beyond Curzon line. Resolt of this was that, most of Eastern Poland was inhabited by Ukraininans and Belarus population.
In 1939. Stalin had 3 choices to make:
1. To do historic Ribo-Molotov pact
2. To side with Allies
3. To do nothing
Historic Ribo-Molotov pact would return areas mostly inhabited by Ukr. and Belarus, plus add Baltic states as nice bonus. Rib-Molotov pact was seen then, when we are talking about partition of Poland between Germany and Soviet U. as return of historic lands for western Ukranians and western Belarus. Border between New Germany and Soviet U would be now close to earlier proposed Curzon line.
After defeat of Germany, I dont think that Churchill or Roosevelt even bothered Stalin with question of Eastern Poland to be returned to 'reborn Poland'. Main topic was, how far Poland would move West. Soviets made their clear point that, borders made after Rib-Molotov pact couldnt be questioned.
Britain, who was only party interested on the Polish subject couldnt do much without support of USA, and USA had more realistic view on new world order. "Armies today create politics. Where are your troops, you can form a goverment you like." kind of thing.
After victory at great cost over Germany, Stalin of course didnt want to re create pre 1939 Europe, Europe that was 'hostile' shall we say, towards whole Red idea.
I dont see nothing strange what happened to Poland in those days. Cold war started in 1917, and lasted to very last day. Both sides wanted to improve base defenses. Soviets had Poland question, Allies had Italy (strong social-communism movement).

royal744
02-01-2011, 06:25 PM
Churchill probably more than most other leaders at the time voiced concerns over Stalins and the Soviet intentions. He was constrained though by the simple facts that he could not act alone, that the UK was broke with huge debts to the US that meant he could not afford to antagonise the US.
Churchill never trusted Stalin and part of the reason British troops were sent to the Balkans and Greece was to try and prevent the spread of communism.
There was also an ulterior motive for Churchills continuing support for the campaign in Italy, to try and forestall Soviet troops from gaining too much ground in Austria and Titos growing influence in Jugoslavia.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an "iron curtain" has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.

Winston Churchill '5th March 1946'

Right. I'm unsure as to why folks are bashing Churchill in this. If anything, Churchill distrusted Stalin completely and had distrusted the Reds from the time of the Russian Revolution. He was wise enough to realize that Russia's participation in fighting the Nazis was indispensible and crucial to victory, but he also knew that he trusted Stalin as far as he could throw him. Unfortunately, Roosevelt was in marked decline towards the end and he was willing to play games with Stalin. Truman had no such illusions about the Russians but was new in the beginning and not as sure-footed as he became later. The irony of the "taking" of Poland (and the rest of eastern Europe by the Russians after WW2 was not lost on Churchill especially in light of the reason England and France went to war in the first place.
England was a spent force at the end of the war and did not receive Marshall Plan aid as the rest of western Europe did. Leave the old guy alone - he was smarter than most.

royal744
02-01-2011, 06:38 PM
The only man that Stalin trusted was also the most paranoid, murderous and deceitful liar on the planet: himself. Nothing that Stalin did towards the end of the war and afterward until his death was normal, or honest, or above-board or anything other than murderous vengefulness of an out-of-kilter mind. Of course, he had been all of these things before WW2 as well - just read what Krushchev wrote about him. Amazing that the Russian people went along with him, but they had little choice because the alternative was just as bad if not worse.

Deaf Smith
02-02-2011, 07:12 PM
Right. I'm unsure as to why folks are bashing Churchill in this. If anything, Churchill distrusted Stalin completely and had distrusted the Reds from the time of the Russian Revolution. He was wise enough to realize that Russia's participation in fighting the Nazis was indispensible and crucial to victory, but he also knew that he trusted Stalin as far as he could throw him. Unfortunately, Roosevelt was in marked decline towards the end and he was willing to play games with Stalin. Truman had no such illusions about the Russians but was new in the beginning and not as sure-footed as he became later. The irony of the "taking" of Poland (and the rest of eastern Europe by the Russians after WW2 was not lost on Churchill especially in light of the reason England and France went to war in the first place.
England was a spent force at the end of the war and did not receive Marshall Plan aid as the rest of western Europe did. Leave the old guy alone - he was smarter than most.

Personally I think Churchill was the best leader out there. Better than our President Roosevelt. Churchill didn't like either Hiter or Stalin and knew both of them were murdering rats. And he acted accordingly!

Pity his own countrymen voted him out before the war was really even over.

Deaf

Kregs
02-03-2011, 02:23 AM
Poland pre 1939 was just one of many states that shared border with Soviet Union, and had hostile view towards whole idea of communism.

Most Poles in pre-1939 Poland were suspicious of the communist party (KPRP) for two reasons: Most citizens thought that the KPRP was controlled and influenced by Russia, a country that hadn't abandoned its heavy-handed approach to international relations (most Poles still believe that the KPRP forked over the Kresy, the eastern borderlands, to Stalin as part of a deal with Hitler); and, more seriously, the party downplayed nationalism, a sentimental current that held the Polish nation together after the partitions and national insurrections. So, if we are to soberly look at that time period, we can see that the Poles thought the KPRP an "eastern party," a party that reflected an imperialist "Russia," and not a genuine "Polish" party.



Poland recived large areas, beyond Curzon line. Resolt of this was that, most of Eastern Poland was inhabited by Ukraininans and Belarus population.

Yes, I agree. The Curzon line, although not a perfect ethnographic border, was the best solution the powers could come up with at the Paris conference. But, unfortunately, Pilsudski didn't recognize the line. He wanted a complete restoration of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth's borders, extending from the Baltic sea coast to Black sea despite the hostile Ukrainian and Belorussian populations.

Kregs
02-03-2011, 02:51 AM
After defeat of Germany, I dont think that Churchill or Roosevelt even bothered Stalin with question of Eastern Poland to be returned to 'reborn Poland'. Main topic was, how far Poland would move West. Soviets made their clear point that, borders made after Rib-Molotov pact couldnt be questioned.

But that's assuming Churchill and Roosevelt recognized the 1939 agreement. They didn't. As a result of that rejection, Poland's borders were fluid until the end of the war, meaning that the issue was still ripe for claims and challenges. In fact, Stalin started making them very early. In 1941, he demanded the eastern half of Poland, which would cut deep into Polish territory won in the 1920 war. The exiled government, as shown in the video, refused because of "ethnic" considerations as well as a possible plebiscite; as far as the government was concerned, the kresy still belonged to Poland, and the November incorporation wasn't permanent. But Churchill warned the Polish government that if Stalin's demands weren't satisfied, a pro-Soviet puppet government would control Warsaw.