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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 10:14 AM   #1
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Another Date to Remember

Today, Sept. 1st, 2009, marks the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II with the unprovoked German invasion of Poland.

Germany's pre-dawn invasion began when the battleship Schleswig-Holstein fired on the Westerplatte military base in Gdansk harbor on September 1, 1939.

The attack set off a chain of events that eventually embroiled all of the world's major powers in the war. The conflict lasted until September 2, 1945 when Germany's ally Japan signed an unconditional surrender.

Lest we forget.

As John Kennedy once said, "Man must put and end to war, or war shall surely put an end to mankind."

Paix, mes amis.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 10:27 AM   #2
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Today, Sept. 1st, 2009, marks the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II with the unprovoked German invasion of Poland.
Very sad date indeed. Poland suffered more than any other country during the war. What few people remember is that she was invaded by the Soviets on the 17th (a noble interpretation of pan-slavism). Though her people fought with valour in the extreme, and her underground makes the French Resistance look pathetic, she never stood a chance.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 10:33 AM   #3
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Very sad date indeed. Poland suffered more than any other country during the war. What few people remember is that she was invaded by the Soviets on the 17th (a noble interpretation of pan-slavism). Though her people fought with valour in the extreme, and her underground makes the French Resistance look pathetic, she never stood a chance.
All too true, chas. Poland lost 6 million Poles from 1939-45. Three million were Polish Jews , which represented about 20% of their population, and the other three million were Polish citizens and soldiers. Amazing how they rebuilt their country with nearly 40% of their population killed in six years.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 12:26 PM   #4
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On that note...

(Sorry for posting the complete article, it's from the NY Times & you may not have a password)

Quote:
MOSCOW —Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, in Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II on Tuesday, praised Polish soldiers and citizens for their bravery in the war, even as the Russian government unveiled what it said were previously classified documents showing Polish cooperation with Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the war.

Mr. Putin’s conciliatory remarks appeared to be aimed at dampening a row between Russia and Poland over each country’s role in the war, a debate that grew heated in the weeks leading up to the war’s anniversary.

“Russia has always respected the bravery and heroism of the Polish people, soldiers, and officers, who stood up first against Nazism in 1939,” Mr. Putin said in a meeting with his counterpart, Donald Tusk, in the port city of Gdansk.

Mr. Tusk responded that relations between the two countries had never been better.

“Our meeting showed from the first minute that we are making another step toward strengthening confidence in the past so that we can build our future on it,” Mr. Tusk said.

Many in Poland are angered by what they see as Russia’s failure to acknowledge atrocities committed by the Soviet Union after its troops occupied eastern Poland just weeks after the Nazis invaded.

“They split Poland in two parts,” Andrzej Halicki, chairman of the Polish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said by telephone. “We were under occupation by Russians and by Germans.”

Such sentiments have incensed the Russian government, which sees the Soviet Union’s role in World War II as that of liberator and not occupier. Recent attempts by Poland to equate Nazi atrocities during World War II to the actions of Soviet troops have prompted a backlash among Russian officials and in the media.

Russia’s Foreign Security Service unveiled archival documents on Tuesday purporting to show Polish cooperation with Nazi Germany ahead of World War II as well as active Polish attempts to sow discord within the Soviet Union among ethnic nationalities to destabilize the country.

“Without a doubt, a portion of the blame for unleashing the Second World War lies with Poland, which is why they are attempting to distort historical fact,” Lev F. Sotskov, a major general in the Foreign Security Service, said at a press conference in Moscow.

In Poland, however, Mr. Putin seemed to step back from the debate.

“History is complex and is not painted just one color,” he said. “A lot of wrong steps were made in Europe, which eventually caused the tragedy,” he said.

He had said as much in a lengthy article published on Monday in the Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, characterizing the Nazi-Soviet pact to divide Poland at the outset of World War II in 1939 as immoral, but he stressed that it was just one of a series of such deals that countries struck with the Nazis at that time.

Mr. Putin called the nonaggression pact, which included secret amendments defining spheres of influence in Eastern Europe, “analogous” to the agreement by Britain and France a year earlier at Munich to accept the German invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Mr. Putin released his historical interpretation on the eve of his visit to Poland for a commemoration of the start of World War II, 70 years ago this week.

The pact — which was followed by German and Soviet invasions of Poland — remains a source of anger in Poland and the article heightened expectations of what Mr. Putin would say during his visit.

Ria Novosti, an official Russian news agency, reported that Mr. Putin would use the trip to counter what the Russians call efforts by Eastern Europeans to recast the causes and lessons of World War II. Russia looks upon the war as a searing event in its history, one in which, by some estimates, 25 million Soviet citizens died.

In his article, Mr. Putin wrote that he was compelled to discuss the pact, named Molotov-Ribbentrop for the Soviet and Nazi foreign ministers who negotiated the accord, because it was being cited today by countries who have traced their postwar Soviet occupation to this agreement.

“It is indicative that history is often slanted by those who actually apply double standards in modern politics,” he wrote.

The article, posted in Russian on the Russian government Web site, did not backtrack on earlier Russian condemnations of the pact or apologies for the subsequent massacre of Polish officers at Katyn Forest.

But it did highlight a theme that has been prominent on Russian state television in recent weeks: that even Poland was complicit in making deals with the Nazis. The article notes that the Polish Army occupied two provinces of Czechoslovakia at the same time the German Army invaded that country following the Munich agreement with France and Britain in 1938.

Mr. Putin argues that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was inevitable after the Western allies had accepted the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

He called that an effort by the West to “ ‘buy off’ Hitler and redirect his aggression to the east.”

Stalin’s government, Mr. Putin wrote, signed the agreement because it was facing aggression in the east from Japan and did not want war on two fronts.

Mr. Putin did not mention that the Nazi-Soviet pact also restored a portion of the Russian empire lost after World War I and coveted by Stalin.
Some interesting responses.

Quote:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's bid to reduce tension between his country and Poland - in the form of an article in a Polish newspaper - has been largely welcomed by some Polish commentators.

Others, however, felt he should have gone further and offered an apology for crimes committed against Poles by the Soviet Union.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 01:02 PM   #5
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It also stands that it was the groundwork laid by the Poles that lead to the breaking of the Enigma, and a few thefts of such machines in the 30's from Germany - that lead to not only the cracking of the codes, but of the establishment of Bletchley Park, which lead to the massive saving of life. Not only that, it lead to the creation of some of the earliest digital computers as designed in part by Turing, like Witch and Collossus - which brought about everything we have had since then - the Digital Age!

It all happened because the Poles wanted to know what the Germans were up to...
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 01:53 PM   #6
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It also stands that it was the groundwork laid by the Poles that lead to the breaking of the Enigma, and a few thefts of such machines in the 30's from Germany - that lead to not only the cracking of the codes, but of the establishment of Bletchley Park, which lead to the massive saving of life. Not only that, it lead to the creation of some of the earliest digital computers as designed in part by Turing, like Witch and Collossus - which brought about everything we have had since then - the Digital Age!

It all happened because the Poles wanted to know what the Germans were up to...
Interesting, EP. Sadly, Churchill kept warning about "what the Germans were up to" for years prior to the second World War.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 03:12 PM   #7
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Interesting, EP. Sadly, Churchill kept warning about "what the Germans were up to" for years prior to the second World War.
People just wanted to ignore reality, and hoped it would just go away.

It's one thing to want peace, it is another thing to be so attached to peace as to remain passive when injustice is dished out. Of course, the Nazis did a top drawer job of making Versailles look like a bad deal for all, gaining the sympathies of public opinion for years, until the Nazis made the final profane act that demonstrated that they were liars and had ulterior motives. America remained passive for a further two years, until war was delivered to them...
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 03:16 PM   #8
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Smart guy, that Churchill; as he also predicted the threat that the Soviets would pose.
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Old Sep 1st, 2009, 03:25 PM   #9
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Smart guy, that Churchill; as he also predicted the threat that the Soviets would pose.
I recall his "iron curtain" speech in the early 50s (not at the time, mind you, but years later).
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