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An apology to Poland from Australia


Harry  
17 Feb 2009 /  #1
While surfing through David Irving's highly amusing attempts at being a historian, I stumbled across this article from The Sydney Morning Herald from 19 April 2001. I must admit to being completely unaware of the facts contained in this article. As an Australian citizen (although not one who would describe himself as Australian, my having Australian citizenship is purely an accident of birth) I would like to apologise to Poland for the disgraceful sell-out of Poland by Australian proposed by the elected leader of Australia.

Trust Hitler: Menzies the appeaser revealed

A SECRET letter written by Prime Minister Robert Menzies eight days after World War II started, with Hitler's armies invading Poland, said that "nobody cares a damn about Poland" and that "it is really quite indefensible for us to be dictating to the German people what sort of government they should have".

The self-styled "gloomy" letter questioned the ability of the Allies to sustain war against the "incredibly strong" German defensive position and said that Germany, Italy and Japan "may very well decide that the time has come to carve up Great and Greater Britain".

Menzies expressed confidence that Hitler "had no desire for a first class war" and would offer peace talks after defeating Poland.

fpp.co.uk/online/01/04/SMH190401.html

No doubt Australians members will post here also apologising for the actions of Australia.
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
17 Feb 2009 /  #2
yeah, as an accidental australian i too am really really sorry for what this guy menzies said.

its obvious he had no idea what he was talking about - you just have to look at the speed that england went to poland's aid to see how much we cared
OP Harry  
17 Feb 2009 /  #3
you just have to look at the speed that england went to poland's aid to see how much we cared

Britain was giving Poland aid even before the first shots were fired (cf. the Polish navy's heroic 'run to the safety of the nearest British naval base' Peking Plan which took place at the same time as the Royal Navy was moving British forces into positions closer to German forces). And the first mission against German was launched by British forces one hour and a few minutes after war was declared.

It is also interesting to note the differences in the declarations of war.
Britain: "This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final Note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."

i.e. We're going to war because Germany won't get its troops out of Poland.

Australia:"Fellow Australians, it is my melancholy duty to inform you officially, that in consequence of a persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war. No harder task can fall to the lot of a democratic leader than to make such an announcement."

i.e. We're at war because Britain is.

The ending paragraphs of the announcements are also of interest:
Britain: "Now may God bless you all and may He defend the right. For it is evil things that we shall be fighting against, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution. And against them I am certain that the right will prevail."

i.e. We're going to win!

Australia:"I know that, in spite of the emotions we are all feeling, you will show that Australia is ready to see it through. May God in His mercy and compassion grant that the world may soon be delivered from this agony."

i.e. Who cares about Poland?! Let's just hope this damn war ends.

Odd that after all this time not one single Australian member will post here and offer an apology to Poland.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
3 May 2009 /  #4
Maybe the lack of response is because so many of the Polish and pseudo-Polish members who discuss this sort of thing make comments like "Why didn't Britain immediately drop bombs on Germany (with Britain's then tiny airforce) and send in troops to rescue Poland from the German forces (probably by means of magic and miracles because there was no such army capable of doing this) and that Britain, including all those alive today who were born decades later) are guilty of invading Poland themselves due to their lack of action against Germany in September 1939, and finally, that it would have been better to do nothing because an unfulfilled promise made in good faith is worse than colluding with an enemy or ignoring the evil that that enemy perpetrates. Sorry, but I've seen too many threads about subjects like this.

Another thing is that Australia is probably a bit too far off the radar of many here, whereas the UK is still Poland's evil enemy that welcomed Poland into the EU and opened its borders to Poles and others when other countries offered no such priviledges (or EU rights, if that's what they are) and kept their borders closed to eastern European workers. Of course, that's just cynicism. But it's good that Australia can look back at things like this and do something to show that it made mistakes.
McCoy 27 | 1,276  
3 May 2009 /  #5
Polish soldiers remember Aussies as a good colleagues. always ready to drink and to kick some british asses.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
3 May 2009 /  #6
to kick some british asses.

This is precisely the kind of level of idiocy I have come to expect on Polish Forums.
Wyspianska  
3 May 2009 /  #7
Just what I thought, osiolku :-)
McCoy 27 | 1,276  
3 May 2009 /  #8
This is precisely the kind of level of idiocy I have come to expect on Polish Forums.

and what exacly are you talking about? in books with the polish doctor - soldier Adam Majewski memories among others there are nice stories about polish-australian (good) relations during the 2WW. guy wrote about how aussies sincerely disliked brits and how they provked them ( sometimes with a little help from polish soldiers-comrades )to start a tussle. when i bring the book with me to Krakow ill post some quotes especially for you.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
3 May 2009 /  #9
ww2australia.gov.au
This next bit i thought was interesting.
ww2australia.gov.au/wardeclared/ - Australia at war 3 September 1939

aussies sincerely disliked brits

There could well have been, of course.
Plenty of "prisoners" hated Britain.

No doubt Australians members will post here also apologising for the actions of Australia.

It strikes me as strange that you are looking for an apoligy from Australians.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
3 May 2009 /  #10
and what exacly are you talking about?

These forces were working together on the same side. Your post makes it look, not like there was friendly rivalry between allies, but like something as idiotic as the idea that Poles were on the same side as Germans or something. There has been antipathy between Britons and Australians. Read what has already been written about the two countries' responses to the war against Germany. Shall we all start rewriting history now?
McCoy 27 | 1,276  
3 May 2009 /  #11
These forces were working together on the same side.

and some of them still dislike each other

Shall we all start rewriting history now?

cooldown your hormones osiol cause you are starting to sound like a overexcited sissy. we all know that everyone in the whole world loves you brits.
osiol 55 | 3,922  
3 May 2009 /  #12
Stop talking about people as though their opinions and their culpability for wrong-doings of the past are dictated by what country they happen to come from. I'm not here to be liked or hated for my nationality. It's irrelevant. You just keep repainting the picture.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
3 May 2009 /  #13
always ready to drink and to kick some british asses.

Maybe a little less drinking and a bit more fighting germans next time eh?

ill post some quotes especially for you.

zzzzzzz and i'll post quotes where( english) Paras kicked (english)commandos butts,speaking of butts,stop talking through yours,maybe a spell in the armed forces might teach you that soldiers of different units always have and always will get pished and fight each other,usuall keyboard warrior crap again.

As for the other stuff, Donkey puts it so well :)
Sokrates 8 | 3,346  
3 May 2009 /  #14
Shall we all start rewriting history now?

Thats rubbish, Austrialia supported Hitler.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
3 May 2009 /  #15
An apology to Poland from Australia

No doubt Australians members will post here also apologising for the actions of Australia.

Stop talking about people as though their opinions and their culpability for wrong-doings of the past are dictated by what country they happen to come from.

Osiol, is this a response to Harry's thread?.

a spell in the armed forces might teach you

I have to ask, were you ever stationed in Ireland?.
There was a thread, when I first started this forum, and some guy went on about Ireland, the north to be exact.
I was just wondering if it was you?.

------------------------------------------------------------------

I have come to expect, nationalism/patriotism from a forum that has a nation in it's title.
McCoy 27 | 1,276  
3 May 2009 /  #16
...

im not suprised why people describe you as boring
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
3 May 2009 /  #17
I have to ask, were you ever stationed in Ireland?.

No. Im sure Ive said it before but just to be clear the most Ive served is 4 years with the air cadets and 7 tuesdays and a long weekend with the TA (reservists) :)

Thats rubbish, Austrialia supported Hitler.

Lol, Was that bcause hitler was born there?

im not suprised why people describe you as boring

oh,dont pick on me,I dont want you to go and get a few lines from a book to hit me with....
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
3 May 2009 /  #18
Back on topic (for me).

I would not blame one man's ill informed message on the nation.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
3 May 2009 /  #19
SeanBM

A few times,the old Chipmunk,you know,the aeroplane that looks like it belonged to the pre war Polish airforce(see,back on topic) all white and red and was ,I think,made under licence in Austrailia ;)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
3 May 2009 /  #20
It comes across like this:

Dave is my enemy.
Steve and George are my friends.
I had a bit of an argument with Steve. Not a bad argument or anything.
I tell you all about the minor argument with Steve, but neglect to say anything about Dave.
Who looks like the enemy?

By the way, Steve and I have settled out differences and decided to settle down for a beer.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
3 May 2009 /  #21
By the way, Steve and I have settled out differences and decided to settle down for a beer.

i think I understand your point but as an English man, is your disagreement with McCoy's, Harry's opinion or both?. That was the bit, I found unclear.
bolek 6 | 330  
3 May 2009 /  #22
McCoy:
to kick some british asses.

This is precisely the kind of level of idiocy I have come to expect on Polish Forums.

This is a very accurate statement, and should be taken in context, The Australian soldier was a happy go lucky type of person and resented the strict discipline of the British. The Australian soldier believed the British to be inferior soldiers made worse by the fact that the British made the major military decisions. They made fun of Officers and all the crap associated with the war.

The Australian soldier had a very high regard to Polish soldiers in the WW2
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
3 May 2009 /  #23
For a reason behind this,a real reason,not some whingey jingoistic guff as spread by some just google "Galipoli"

The Australian soldier believed the British to be inferior soldiers made worse by the fact that the British made the major military decisions.

No,the austrailian soldier felt the british OFFICERS were inferior,relations between the diggers and the poms were fantastic in the Far East where they often but not always worked in mixed units. But hey,who on Polish forums is interested in the war in the Pacific seeing as no Polish forces turned up for that show or made any attempt to defend their allies Australia against the Japs.....
bolek 6 | 330  
3 May 2009 /  #24
the diggers and the poms were fantastic in the Far East

Sure I meant the British officers.
King Sobieski 2 | 716  
4 May 2009 /  #25
No doubt Australians members will post here also apologising for the actions of Australia.

so, being an australian citizen but whose polish grandprents/parents migrated after the war, who am i to apologise to?
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
4 May 2009 /  #26
who am i to apologise to?

The "blackfellas" ? ;)
Krzysztof 2 | 973  
4 May 2009 /  #27
said that "nobody cares a damn about Poland"

Well, he was basically right. With no TV news 24 hrs/day and the distance, and of course much longer travel time (still by ships) and no real attachment to Poland (unlike to the UK), what an average Australian could have known about Poland - absent on the maps of the world for over 100 years - nothing.

It was just an empty name, a spot on the map, with no real meaning to Australians.

Of course we can laugh now or criticize him to no end, because he was a political fool (what Hitler proved by invading France and trying to conquer Britain and Russia), but politicians are not clairvoyants and most of them fail in predicting the future anyways.

As a Polish citizen, I'd never expect from today's and Australians (or even from people who lived in the 30's and 40's) any kind of apology, after all Australia DID fight on the right side, but even if they remained neutral (like Sweden or Switzerland) or allied with Germany (like Romania or Hungary, even like Italy) it's not a problem for Poles, really and I doubt that people in Poland hold some WWII grudges against any nations other than the Germans and the Russians.

make comments like "Why didn't Britain immediately drop bombs on Germany (with Britain's then tiny airforce) and send in troops to rescue Poland from the German forces (probably by means of magic and miracles because there was no such army capable of doing this) and that Britain, including all those alive today who were born decades later) are guilty of invading Poland themselves due to their lack of action against Germany in September 1939, and finally, that it would have been better to do nothing because an unfulfilled promise made in good faith is worse than colluding with an enemy or ignoring the evil that that enemy perpetrates.

So was it Poles who first used those terms:

The Phoney War, also called the Twilight War by Winston Churchill, der Sitzkrieg in German ("the sitting war": a play on the word Blitzkrieg),[1] the Bore War (a play on the Boer War) and la drôle de guerre ("the funny war")

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoney_War

Of course the communist propaganda used this fact many times and with pleasure to compromise the image of Poland's Western allies - they needed this after cutting Poland off with the Iron Curtain, but for anyone who knows anything about history the biggest "sins" of Britain, France and USA happened at Yalta. And that's the only thing about WWII Brits could be ashamed of. At least those who care about such distant events (i.e. a small percentage).
King Sobieski 2 | 716  
4 May 2009 /  #28
The "blackfellas" ? ;)

maybe you didnt read what i posted, my family migrated here after ww2.

am i to apologise for something that happened 160 years before they set foot on australian soil?
eric_the_nave - | 30  
4 May 2009 /  #29
I'm Australian and I am not too sure about any apology to Poland for those events.

Unlike Britain and France we had no treaty with Poland so no obligation to go to war when Poland was invaded. So yes we only joined because Britain did. Furthermore, unlike Britain and especially France, we had some pretty genuine reasons for doing nothing to assist whilst Poland was being invaded. We were too far away (and besides which for the first two years of the war Britain pretty much decided when and where Australian soldiers would fight)

So whilst Menzies words were indefensible, his actions (joining the war when Britain did regardless of the reasons) were not.

Now when Poles talk about British and French "betrayal", I'd agree to some extent that they are going over the top when talking about Britain but France really should have kept it's treaty obligations and invaded Germany whilst there were so few German divisions bothering to defend their border.

As for Poles having to "thank" Britain and France for going to war for them, I also think that this is over the top. Britain and France were simply following their treaty obligations and if they had no treaty with Poland in the first place, then the Polish government would have had no choice but to make pretty big concessions in being prepared to make an alliance with either Germany or the Soviets. Had they done so they probably would have had a less brutal occupation as a result.
Ozi Dan 26 | 569  
4 May 2009 /  #30
I would like to apologise to Poland

Thank you Harry - coming from someone who said words to the effect that "the only good Pole is a dead Pole", it appears you are redeeming yourself - have you yet placed flowers on the graves of Polish soldiers (INCLUDING JEWISH ONES because you refused previously on this basis) in Warsaw who you see fit to defame and mock? You've avoided this about 4 times now, so please do it.

I recommend you place red and white flowers and utter a few words of thanks to the many who fell trying to save the city you live in, my ancestors included. It would be appropriate to take a few digital photos of your pilgrimage to share with the forum. There's a good lad...

Maybe the lack of response is because so many of the Polish and pseudo-Polish members who discuss this sort of thing make comments like "Why didn't Britain immediately drop bombs on Germany (with Britain's then tiny airforce) and send in troops to rescue Poland from the German forces (probably by means of magic and miracles because there was no such army capable of doing this) and that Britain,

I think we're well past that old chestnut now aren't we? Perhaps review some of my latter posts on my thread about what Poland got out of wars etc for others. The issue in a nutshell was not telling Poland that they had been sold out and continuing to use Polish soldiers thereafter in a forlorn hope.

Your little story fails to mention that Steve and George got a new friend, Ivan. Steve did a shady deal with Ivan... care to finish the rest...

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