The facts must match the thesis

Michael Jabara Carley, professor of history at the Université de Montréal, has written about Poland’s guilt in unleashing World War II. Only, he “forgot” some facts and simply distorted others. Here are excerpts from his article “What Poland Has to Hide About the Origins of World War II”, with comments from “Kresy 1939”.

 Soviet poster

The Polish state was re-established at the end of World War I; it was led by conservative Polish nationalists who sought to recreate Poland as a great power within its frontiers of 1772. General (later Marshal) Józef Piłsudski, immediately set about gathering in eastern territories in the Ukraine and Byelorussia, leading to war with Soviet Russia. 

First, Jozef Pilsudski was never a general. Secondly, he was never a conservative nationalist – in the past he had belonged to the Polish Socialist Party. And it was not Poland that started the war with Soviet Russia – it was Soviet Russia that wanted to spread Bolshevik revolution throughout Europe.

What is more, Piłsudski wanted to create a federation between Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania – not a nationally homogeneous Polish state – and he closely cooperated with the authorities of the Ukrainian People’s Republic.

In 1933 (…) Soviet and Polish diplomats were talking, but the Poles were also talking to the Germans. Soviet diplomats did their best to bring Poland on side, but they had indications that the Polish government had gone courting in Berlin. (…) A few months later, on 26 January 1934, the Poles signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi-Germany.

The author is upset by the Polish non-aggression agreement with Germany. Why doesn’t he notice the Non-Aggression Pact between Poland and the USSR of 1932? Marshal Piłsudski wanted a balance in Poland’s relations with Germany and the Soviets, hence the non-aggression agreements with both countries.

Litvinov concluded that Soviet-Polish cooperation against Nazi Germany was dead in the water. In fact, it was worse than that. Poland began to side with Nazi Germany to block Soviet efforts to build a system of collective security in Europe. 

How does the author know that Poland, together with Germany, blocked “Soviet efforts to build a system of collective security in Europe”? These Soviet efforts were very questionable, in any case. Poland was already convinced previously that the USSR had aggressive intentions. The goal of Soviet Russia in 1920 had not been to defend itself, but to create a Polish Soviet Republic. They had even created the puppet “Temporary Revolutionary Committee of Poland”, which was to be the new Bolshevik government of Poland. Thanks to Polish resistance, the “Committee” had to flee to Moscow.

The Polish role in the Anglo-French betrayal of Czechoslovakia was the inevitable dead-end of the “Piłsudski line”. In 1938 Poland was a Nazi ally and accomplice before it became a Nazi victim in 1939. 

In 1935, before his death, Piłsudski gave instructions to the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Józef Beck. He believed that good relations with Germany and the Soviets should be maintained as long as possible. It was important to maintain an alliance with France and try to engage the Great Britain in this alliance. After 1935, Beck performed these tasks.

In the case of Czechoslovakia, the Polish government had its intentions. Poland wanted to regain the territory taken by the Czechs by force in 1919, what is known as Zaolzie region. Taking action at the same time as Germany was a serious mistake and could give the impression that Poland was cooperating with the Germans. But, no, this was an independent action.

Poland had one last chance to save itself in 1939. There were negotiations between Britain, France, and the Soviet Union to organise resistance against further Hitlerite aggression. The Soviet door was still open if Poland cared to walk through it. Unfortunately, the Polish government declined to participate in any organisation of mutual assistance which included the Soviet Union. In early May, Vyacheslav M. Molotov, who succeeded Litvinov as commissar for foreign affairs, offered Soviet assistance against Nazi Germany. No thank you, came the Polish reply.

In 1936, the Soviet Union deported 100,000 Poles from the Ukrainian SSR to Kazakhstan, where they lived in tragic conditions for years. In 1937, the Polish Operation NKVD was carried out in the USSR, during which 111,000 Poles were murdered. The suggestion that Poland could agree to the Soviet army marching through the Polish Territory would mean that Poland wanted to commit suicide. Soviet soldiers would enter Poland –not to fight against Germany, but to occupy Poland.

The Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was the direct result of British, French, and Polish policy, and especially of the Munich accords selling out Czechoslovakia.

The Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was the result of Stalin’s strategic decision to benefit from the German attack on Poland and to take half of its territory – as well as Latvia, Estonia and Rumanian Bessarabia. Later, the Germans and Soviets exchanged the Lublin region (Germany took it) for Lithuania (later occupied by the Soviets).

Piotr Kościnski


Michael Jabara Carley published his story on The writes: Overall, we rate the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) a Questionable source based on extreme right wing bias, promotion of Russian

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