Poland is guilty

Russian President Vladimir Putin explicitly accused Poland of starting World War II. It turns out that Poland was guilty, and on September 17, 1939, there was no Soviet aggression.

German (blue) and Soviet (green) occupation of Poland in 1939.

Here are excerpts from Putin’s speech at the summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States on December 20, 2019.


I was surprised, even somewhat hurt by one of the latest European Parliament resolutions dated September 19, 2019 “on the importance of preserving historical memory for the future of Europe.” We, too, have always strived to ensure the quality of history, its truthfulness, openness and objectivity. I want to emphasise once again that this applies to all of us, because we are to some extent descendants of the former Soviet Union. When they talk about the Soviet Union, they talk about us.

What does it say? According to this paper, the so-called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany), as they write further, divided Europe and the territories of independent states between two totalitarian regimes, which paved the way for World War II. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ‘paved the way to WWII…’ Well, maybe.

In addition, the European parliamentarians are demanding that Russia stop its efforts aimed at distorting historical facts and promoting the thesis that Poland, the Baltic countries and the West really started the war. I do not think we have ever said anything like this, or that any of the above countries were the perpetrators.(…)

What did the Polish authorities do when Germany began to claim part of Czechoslovak territory? They also laid claim to their part of the “prey” during the partitioning of Czechoslovak territory and demanded that a certain part of Czechoslovakia be transferred to them. Moreover, they were ready to use force. They formed a special military group called ‘Silesia,’ which included three infantry divisions, a cavalry brigade and other units.

There is also a specific document from the archives. From a report from a commander of the Silesia Independent Operation Group, a Mr Bortnowski on preparations for the offensive operation, the capture of Tesin Silesia and the training of troops, the Polish authorities trained and sent militants to Czechoslovakia to carry out sabotage and terrorist attacks and actively prepare for the partitioning and occupation of Czechoslovakia.(…)

Immediately after the Munich Agreement was concluded on September 30, 1938, Warsaw, having imitated in fact Nazi methods, sent an ultimatum to Prague with an unconditional claim for part of the territory of Czechoslovakia – Tesin Silesia. France and Great Britain did not support Czechoslovakia, which forced it to yield to this violence. Simultaneously with Germany, which annexed Sudetenland, Poland began a direct seizing of Czechoslovak territory on October 1, 1938, thereby violating the agreement it had previously concluded with Czechoslovakia.(…)

Why did I say that the leaders of those countries, including Poland, at that time, actually threw their people under the chariot of Nazi Germany’s military machine? Because they underestimated the real reasons underlying Hitler’s actions.(…)

One more point concerning the Soviet Union’s actions after Germany launched a war against Poland. Let me remind you that in the west, in the area of Lvov, the Polish garrison was still resisting, this is true. When the Red Army advanced, they surrendered their weapons to the Red Army. Actually, the fact that the Red Army’s units entered there saved many lives of the local population, mainly the Jewish population. Because all those present here know that the percentage of the Jewish population in that area was very high. If the Nazis had entered, they would have cut out everyone and sent them to the furnaces.

Concerning Brest, for instance, the Red Army advanced there only after those territories were occupied by German troops. The Red Army did not wage any hostilities with anyone there; they were not fighting with the Poles. Moreover, by that time the Polish government had lost control over the country, over the armed forces, and stayed somewhere close to the Romanian border. There was nobody to have any negotiations with. Let me reiterate, the Brest Fortress, which we all know as a citadel for defending the interests of the Soviet Union and our common Fatherland and one of the most extraordinary pages in the history of the Great Patriotic War, was only occupied by the Red Army after the Germans left. They had already captured it, thus in reality the Soviet Union did not seize it from Poland.


A few words of comment.

First, of course, Poland’s participation in the partition of Czechoslovakia was a mistake, even if we took over a region inhabited by Poles (200 thousand out of 218 thousand inhabitants) and occupied by force in 1919 by the Czechs. But certainly this did not lead to the outbreak of World War II.

Secondly, remembering Lviv and the capitulation of the Polish city crew, Vladimir Putin completely forgets the fact that almost all Polish officers who surrendered to the Soviets on September, 22nd, 1939, were later murdered by them. Writing that the Red Army “saved the lives of local people” is a dramatic mockery of the Soviet occupation, of the tragic fate of our officers and civilian Poles (as well as Ukrainians and representatives of other nationalities) living in Lviv region.

Thirdly, remembering Brest (Brześć in Polish), Vladimir Putin completely forgot about the joint Soviet-German parade in this city, also on September 22nd.

German and Soviet officers during the common parade in Brest

Fourth, he forgot to mention the Polish resistance on the border, in (Wilno in Polish) , Grodno (three days of fight, 20-22nd), and the battles fought by General Kleeberg’s soldiers, as well as the battle of Kodziowce and Szack. “The Soviet Union took nothing from Poland.” If half the territory (52% of the Republic of Poland with 14 million inhabitants, including 5 million Poles)  is nothing, then Putin is actually right.


Piotr Kościński


(Excerpts from the speech of Vladimir Putin from the official website of the President of Russia. Map from the e-podreczniki,pl “Dwie okupacje”)

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