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Why HMG (Her Majesty's Government) abandoned Poland to the Soviets


Ozi Dan 26 | 569
16 Oct 2014  #1
Hi all,

Those that know me on the forum would be aware of my most strong criticism of HMG (Her Majesty's Government) in respect of its treatment of Poland during WW2, and particularly in the dying days of WW2 when Poland's use to the Allied cause was fast becoming an equation of measuring the balance of continuing utility over potential embarrassment and inconvenience. Whilst there has been much speculation as to what actually occurred, and the geo-political dynamic behind it, such speculation is usually based on anecdote, opinion or downright hysteria.

It would seem to me that the best reference point is always the primary source. In this case, one would have had to have been a fly on the wall sitting in on the British Parliament's deliberations, and listening to the key Members (including Churchill) speaking as to the Polish Question. Thankfully, one of the cornerstones of open and transparent government is for the public to be able to access transcripts of what their elected representatives said in Parliament. In this case, such transcripts are available through Hansard.

HMG sat on 27 and 28 February 1945 to discuss, amongst other things, the Crimea Conference. Churchill spoke during these sittings. Large tracts of those sittings were devoted to the Polish Question, the transcripts of which are available online through Hansard.

The transcripts are revealing, and in some cases, shockingly so. Revealed is what HMG knew about the situation in Poland and what they knew about what the Soviets were doing to the Poles (they knew pretty much everything that we know now). Revealed is the triumph of handwringing Soviet apologists over those Members who had been at the coal face with the Poles. Revealed as well are those in HMG who steadfastly stuck by their Polish friends and allies and argued, cajoled, pleaded and almost begged for their colleagues to not abandon the Poles. As we know however, it was realpolitik that prevailed over justice, honour and the rule of law. That HMG adopted the position it did having known what it did is utterly shocking.

I urge anyone interested in the topic to read the transcripts and form your own views.
TheOther 5 | 3,801
16 Oct 2014  #2
Why HMG abandoned Poland to the Soviets

They already abandoned Poland when they didn't declare war on the Soviets in 1939.
OP Ozi Dan 26 | 569
16 Oct 2014  #3
I wasn't specifically referring to developments in 1939, but point taken. I'd still recommend reading the Hansard transcripts as they give an understanding not only of the Crimea Conference but also Teheran, and the Dumbarton Oaks conference were the UN was 'born'.
Dougpol1 30 | 3,066
16 Oct 2014  #4
You invite our views Ozi Dan?

Do you really want to know?

I'll tell you.

You need to go back to school and learn some history - and not learn brainwashing nonsense from your Polish grandmother.

Britain didn't have a pot to **** in - we honoured our word to the Poles and took the war to the Krauts - and only in the 60s did we recover somewhat.

It was Roosevelt and French cowardice that sold Poland down the river.

Nothing else.

Now I politely suggest you go and do one.

PS Mods please merge this with the 2011 thread. The convict aka Dan is on a (pointless) Churchill bashing wind-up again, because he lost the great uncle he never met at Gallipoli ;)

Like the Poles, Aussies like to make a big thing of suffering.
OP Ozi Dan 26 | 569
16 Oct 2014  #5
You need to go back to school and learn some history - and not learn brainwashing nonsense from your Polish grandmother.

Sadly, I never had the opportunity to speak to my babcia, as she having died quite a few years before my birth, a broken and traumatised woman who never recovered from the death of her husband during the Rising in 1944.

I'm profoundly disappointed in your response to me Doug. I've also thought of you as one of the best and most reasoned contributors here, and whilst I didn't necessarily agree with everything you said, I always found what you said to be interesting and thoughtful. It seems I was wrong.

You'll no doubt have seen I've been very careful in ascribing my criticism to your Government at the time, and not the British people of the time. If such rage was sparked within you on a misconception that I'm somehow holding the Brits as a nation to account for the sell-out, then imagine how one must feel when reading about what your Government at the time thought about the Poles, and ultimately did to them in the dying stages of WW2.

I've always thought of the Brits as being the archetypes of the notion of 'fairplay'. Indeed, that notion, and those of honour and obligation, are redolent in the Hansard transcript I'd referred to in some of the Member's speeches. It seems as though from reading what happened in Parliament in February 1945, those concepts were sidelined. If you choose to champion and try to justify that reality, then at the very least make sure you identify the actual argument that you are responding to.
Gdyniaguy14 - | 22
16 Oct 2014  #6
It's funny how the Poles always big up to the British but never the Americans. FYI Churchill wanted to re-arm the Germans in order to fight the Russians but was stopped by the Americans (in particularly Roosevelt). Had George Patton been the president then the war would have ended with an attack towards Russia and probably Armed Germans. However, it didn't.

Every Nation has history that we aren't proud of and admit to. The End of the War for my nation was a proud moment. People from peaceful villages took up arms and went overseas to fight against the Germans. My Granddad for one who landed on the beaches in Normandy and my other Granddad who was evacuated at Dunkirk. As a nation we were bankrupt and didn't have the public didn't have the will to fight Russia. After the war the British brought in swift legislation allowed Poles to settle.

Polish people on the whole however, are blind when it comes to their indiscretion's......

Maybe Ozi Dan would like to discuss Polish in the Nazi Party, Pogroms and retribution of land and property to the Jews since the end of the War, Poles fighting for the Germans in WW1, how the Poles used German invasion of Czechoslovakia to take land from the Czechs, ... I could go on. Or maybe he ignores these things?
gumishu 11 | 5,015
16 Oct 2014  #7
Pogroms

there ware just a handful of them you hate monger and most of them happened in very specific circumstances

Poles were fighting in all armies of the states that partitioned Poland - all of them - Russia, Austro-Hungary and Kaiser Germany - it was this or an execution platoon

in 1938 Poles only took back what Czechs stolen from Poland using the fact the Poland was fighting the bolsheviks on eastern front in 1920 - the region was inhabited by vast Polish majority - after the second world war the region went through massive czechisation but there are still people there who speak Polish at home

Poles in the Nazi Party? - just as I said before - just your imagination
Dougpol1 30 | 3,066
16 Oct 2014  #8
Sadly, I never had the opportunity to speak to my babcia, as she having died quite a few years before my birth, a broken and traumatised woman who never recovered from the death of her husband during the Rising in 1944.

Dan -I always bow to someone who is polite, so I apologise for the insult.

That you didn't know your grandmother is a pity - but you see, I guessed from your posts that you have an axe to grind. And for the last 30 years I have been often called out after a few vodkas by some very nice Polish gentleman for "Churchill's indifference" and British "lack of due diligence" or criminality, call it what you will.

My protests that we did what was possible and some very hard decisions had to be made (albeit some harsh and unnecessary deportations) to prioritise, were always scoffed at.

But neither I or said gentlemen had to make those decisions.

The Poles and the British had and have an excellent relationship ( whatever Cameron rants on about in the Daily Mail), and I don't know what those transcripts say - but the reality of the time was that Britain was screwed by war too, having to pay (as you would know) huge war bond debts to that place across the sea..... as well as funding the new social charter at home for the returning servicemen, plus the "loss" of empire.

Add rationing, austerity, loss of markets, personal and national bereavement etc etc - and all the time helping to deal with the priorities - vast populations displaced, millions starving or dying of dysentery in the camps, de-nazification of a brainwashed nation - when you take all that responsibility into account I reckon the fact that we took large quotas of Polish refugees, and fought our corner against the appeasement of Roosevelt and his mob, while facing down the Soviets, was a credit to Britain at that time.

So, yes I do take umbrage at pointless attacks on the greatest Briton to have lived in modern times.
gumishu 11 | 5,015
16 Oct 2014  #9
just to throw in my two cents - I don't believe the British had much say when Yalta arrangements were made - it was Americans who were leading the alliance and it was personally Roosevelt who fell for Stalin and held Stalin to be a democrat - in Teheran Churchill even insisted that the European ally front should be open in the Balkans so that the Balkan and Central European countries could be liberated by allies but Stalin strongly opposed and Roosevelt just gave in to Stalin - maybe i got something wrong so feel free to correct me
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
16 Oct 2014  #10
I don't believe the British had much say when Yalta arrangements were made

I think you are probably correct. From that time the British govt has more or less been told how things will be by the US.

Sadly a chippy Aussie is never going to admit that, it doesnt suit his weltanschauung.
Gdyniaguy14 - | 22
16 Oct 2014  #11
in 1938 Poles only took back what Czechs stolen from Poland using the fact the Poland was fighting the bolsheviks on eastern front in 1920 - the region was inhabited by vast Polish majority - after the second world war the region went through massive czechisation but there are still people there who speak Polish at home

I see you have selective Polish-led history. Before it was Polish who did it belong to? Whether or not it was stolen by any side (czechs, poles or whoever) prior to 907, 950, 1060, 1155......, 1918,1919 or 1920 doesn't excuse the fact that they stole it back using the Germans to help them. Or did they miss that bit out in Polish history lessons?
OP Ozi Dan 26 | 569
17 Oct 2014  #12
It seems to me as though the forum members posting here have not yet had the opportunity to read the Hansard transcripts for 27 and 28 February 1945. Had they, it would be clear that it is not a question of the British failing to 'start WW3 against Russia' for the benefit of Poles - indeed, I struggle to recall any accusation on this forum that has been made by "Poles" against the "Brits" that this should have occurred. Indeed, it seems to me as though it is the slogan, and in a sense the thought terminating cliché, that the "Brits" on this forum use whenever the issue pops up. It is misconceived.

Had the transcripts been read, it ought to be realised that it is in a sense the opposite - it was (to put it simplistically) to do with a vote of no-confidence in Churchill by certain Members as a result of their protests against Churchill 'underwriting' what was in fact the Soviet takeover of Poland.

And for the last 30 years I have been often called out after a few vodkas by some very nice Polish gentleman for "Churchill's indifference" and British "lack of due diligence" or criminality, call it what you will.

I think if you read the transcripts you'll perhaps find some uncomfortable truths there.

hansard.millbanksystems.com/sittings/1945/feb/27

My protests that we did what was possible and some very hard decisions had to be made

Of that there is no doubt. My criticism is levelled against HMG - not the British people. The ordinary people of the UK suffered immensely in WW2 and gave 110% to the war effort. I challenge anyone here to say otherwise.

Indeed, in the transcripts there's some touching anecdotes as to the futility and hopelessness felt by the rank and file regarding the geo-political developments becoming reality at the final stages of WW2.

Or did they miss that bit out in Polish history lessons?

I'd refer you to my comments on the Czech issue ("How different would WW2 turned out if Poland accepted Hitler's offer" - post 133) so as to disabuse you of your misconceptions. It will surprise you to read of Chamberlain's involvement in the whole affair. Indeed, given the simplistic and somewhat inflammatory way you've viewed the matter, an understanding of the correct factual matrix will prove a complete surprise to you.
Dougpol1 30 | 3,066
17 Oct 2014  #13
I think if you read the transcripts you'll perhaps find some uncomfortable truths there.

So spoke Churchill on the 18th January 1945:

"Government of the people, by the people, for the people, set up on a basis of free and universal suffrage election, with secrecy of the ballot and no intimidation. That is and has always been the policy of this Government in all countries. That is our only aim, our only interest, and our only care"

Anyway - Hansard is just a transcript of Prime Ministers' questions in parliament. What do you expect a Prime Minister to say in that situation? Lie? He/She says what is expedient at the time.

If we had the technology then that we have now we could have recorded Churchills' real views when in a state of " hyper-activity". We have endless anecdotes and academic testimony that he was free with his opinions in company - and from hearsay we can theorise about what Churchill may well have said in a restaurant setting with his aristo drinking buddy a la Sikorski (although obviously, as a member of the ruling class he had no need of restaurants and personal opinion quite rightly mostly stayed that way)

Here is a Dougpol mini screenplay for Ozidan's benefit:

Setting: Lady Astor's house (one of them). Time: Late in the evening ............post dinner.....

Churchill: "The Poles are an admirable race - belligerent though they be. They have a troubled history, surrounded as they are by great economic powers - beset by their geographical position in Central Europe. Their women are not ugly; to the contrary................ and that is to their credit. The men - and admittedly, some women too - drink some dangerous, tasteless rubbish they call vodka, but their leaders do enjoy good whisky - so we know they are inherently of the right stuff.

Anyone who threatens them will consequently receive the full might of our power - because they do in fact hold the power through their location, that is the essence of a free Europe of tomorrow - central Europeans that they so be. Who Poland leans to in a free democracy holds the key to leverage in Europe..... Roosevelt is dying; he is an apologist, and we must take on the mantle - leave the French be - we know they are not of fighting material, and conservative by nature - I hesitate to use the word "yellow" ( because that colloquial term hasn't come into general usage yet..........)

Bring forth Monty, and the ghost of Patton - we will fight for central Europe and the free Poles... and ......so, on to Moscow gentlemen! "

Real people always speak the truth when drunk. Think about it. So spoke Churchill - not in so many words tis true ... but it's all much of a muchness.
jon357 63 | 14,134
20 Oct 2014  #14
By that time it was an entirely American issue - nothing to do with Britain, a country in ruins whose soldiers were by the way still fighting on the Asian front). The US had the money and the manpower (Britain had neither) and our anti-British OP also pretends to forget that there was only one nuclear power in the world - the United States.

Anyway, what could Britain have realistically done against the Soviet Union who would not have given up one inch of their gains without the mother of all struggles?
Gdyniaguy14 - | 22
20 Oct 2014  #15
Maybe in 70 years time there will still be idiots on forums saying that the UK left Poland to the mercy of the Russians. Maybe Poland should man up as a nation and strengthen it's defences and stop expecting other mothers sons to be slaughtered for it.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
20 Oct 2014  #16
Maybe Poland should man up as a nation and strengthen it's defences and stop expecting other mothers sons to be slaughtered for it.

And I thought that's what allies are for... To help. Like Poles in Iraq, Afghanistan, in the Battle of Britain and other various fronts of WWII... Maybe the West should "man up" too so the US and Russia wouldn't have to save it again next time... :)
jon357 63 | 14,134
20 Oct 2014  #17
When the main ally, the US, made it clear the war was over and they were no longer prepared to help the devastated european nations, Britain included, to wage war, then it was done.

Paulina, your comments are a bit strange, as if you believe some of the Nationalist myths about betrayal. They also assume that Poles won the Battle of Britain etc; they didn't. They also beg the question (your 'man up' bit) about when nations - and I do mean Poland - should 'man up' and protect their own borders from partition, occupation and domination by neighbours.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
20 Oct 2014  #18
Paulina, your comments are a bit strange, as if you believe some of the Nationalist myths about betrayal.

What comments? There's only one comment of mine in this thread.
As for "myths", there's a whole Wiki note about this "myth":
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_betrayal
Have you read it?
This term "Western betrayal" doesn't refer to what happened after the WWII only:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_betrayal#Czechoslovakia

As for my personal opinion? If one is idealistic and has an emotional attitude towards it - one can call it betrayal (Yalta, I mean). If someone is cynical (like some Polish right-wingers - I've read their comments about this) - then they would call it Realpolitik and would say that Poland should always behave the way the West and Russia behave - thinking only about it's interests and forget about "honour", "friends" and such "silly things". There's also the realistic approach - maybe the West couldn't really do much about what happened. I would say my attitude is probably a mix of the first one and the last one, with advantage on the last option I guess. And maybe some small addition, really tiny, of the second one (Realpolitik). I think that majority of Poles have such attitude. I wouldn't say there's some great anger at the UK or sth over what happened. People usually are aware of the realities of those times, I think.

I don't have some kind of strong opinion about it either, I wasn't ever focusing on this part of history too much, to be honest. I would have to read more about it, maybe also those transcripts that Ozi Dan mentioned. It seems to me that the British here are fixated on this. I've never heard Poles ranting about it over and over again or sth. It's usually Russians who like to remind us about it when, for example, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is mentioned. It usually goes like this: "Oh, and what about the West, huh? What about your precious "allies"? They sold you like a sack of potatos! Haha! You're so stupid and naive... They would do it again without blinking!"

And probably they're right...

They also assume that Poles won the Battle of Britain etc; they didn't.

Sorry, I am not aware of such myth. I honestly don't care who won it, the important thing is that it was won. Although I think I remember that Polish participation was quite significant.

They also beg the question (your 'man up' bit) about when nations - and I do mean Poland - should 'man up' and protect their own borders from partition, occupation and domination by neighbours.

Gdyniaguy14 started with this "man up" and I returned the favour.
Then I guess the US should "man up" and Poland should not have been the part of coalition the US created to invade Iraq. And we shouldn't be in Afghanistan helping NATO. OK, I guess we should remember to stay away from Western wars in the future... lol Point taken.
jon357 63 | 14,134
21 Oct 2014  #19
Having a page made by the Polish Wikipedia Committee (yes, it exists) doesn't validate something - it very much an opinion and a controversial one at that. There are some very persistent myths that people like to promote, usually for political gain.

Yes, your 'man up' comment was quoting the previous poster however he is right in a way and so are you. When countries develop, some grow more powerful than others (we see this now in Russia's behaviour in the Ukraine) but essentially all come from the same starting point and all are responsible for their own gain - they may make treaties (and as has been said by some posters a thousand times here already the ones between Poland and western countries were broken by Poland) however all are essentially responsible for their own destiny.

The coalition thing was as I remember something that Poland particularly wanted and lobbied for, due in part to having a disproportionately huge army, very few of whom had ever seen active service (and that during the invasion of Czechoslovakia) and which the country could no longer afford. Nobody twisted their arm and Poland certainly benefitted more than other coalition partners.
Gdyniaguy14 - | 22
21 Oct 2014  #20
Paulina, Polish pilots made up less the 5% of the number. Some people on here would think that those 5% were only fighting for the UK and not against Fascism. Poland has to 'man up' and fight it's own battles and stop relying on others do it for them. As a nation Poland needs to become self sufficient stop relying on hand outs and blaming others using events 70 years ago for it's own failings. People like you will still be blaming the Allies for your demise in 100 years.

Get over it! Grow a pair of balls and try and become a great nation for once.
Lolek2lostmypas
21 Oct 2014  #21
Polish pilots made up less the 5% of the number.

at the right time and place they were worth more than millions too late.
It is not only about those pilots, Polish contribution to the war effort is much more than that. To the British war effort I must add.

Some people on here would think that those 5% were only fighting for the UK and not against Fascism.

If you take a look at the end result, they were fighting for the UK, as Poles had no real stake in fighting Germany after 1941.

Poland has to 'man up' and fight it's own battles and stop relying on others do it for them.

You are right, Poland should cut a deal with Germany in 1939 and let France and Britan fend for themslelves instead of relying on others do it for them like Poland did in 1939. How would you like to face Germany in 1939 rather than in 1940? I guess not very much.

As a nation Poland needs to become self sufficient stop relying on hand outs

You are much more of an oaf than I thought if you really believe in free lunches. There are no hand outs for nothing, there is always a price attached.

blaming others using events 70 years ago for it's own failings.

Setting the record straight is only right.

Grow a pair of balls and try and become a great nation for once.

Try to behave as if you were a great nation for once.
gumishu 11 | 5,015
21 Oct 2014  #22
Get over it! Grow a pair of balls and try and become a great nation for once.

well, you honestly need to move out of Poland - you seem not to like it very much here
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
21 Oct 2014  #23
Get over it! Grow a pair of balls and try and become a great nation for once.

you do know the basic geography of europe dont you? see where Poland is? Now look at that small strip of water between France and UK? that is what saved B ritish asses, along with American intervention.
Lolek2lostmypas
21 Oct 2014  #24
The coalition thing was as I remember something that Poland particularly wanted and lobbied for,

I bow to your old age, you must be over 100 by now. I need to point out that your memory is failing your sir, it was Britain that curried favor from Poland to the extend that they were ploting a coup to change regime in Poland in order to make Poland fight Germany.

and which the country could no longer afford.

I must ask you sir, are you making this up as you go?

Poland certainly benefitted more than other coalition partners.

Pry tell me in what way Poland benefitted more than all others coalition partners? huh?!

that is what saved B ritish asses, along with American intervention.

What saved B. asses along with few other things was a fact Poland went to war with Hitler instead making a deal with him as all other countries of the region.
jon357 63 | 14,134
21 Oct 2014  #25
I bow to your old age, you must be over 100 by now. I need to point out that your memory is failing your sir, it was Britain that curried favor from Poland to the extend that they were ploting a coup to change regime in Poland in order to make Poland fight Germany.

Over 100 to remember the Iraq war?? The sentence you were trying to understand was about events only a decade ago....

I must ask you sir, are you making this up as you go?

At least you address me correctly as Sir, however do be aware that in English it needs a capital S. If however you doubt the truth of that sentence (and that is likely since you are confusing events 60 years apart) I'll happily supply you with economic figures to show the state of the Polish economy and their level of defence spending prior to joining the US-led coalition. As you were assuming that the sentence you failed to understand was about the Second World War (in fact it was in reply to a post comparing Poland's alliances with other countries during both) I'll also be very happy to quote you some interesting bits of information about the run up to that war too - particularly the economic depression in Poland (and most of the world) together with the level of defence spending (and army size) compared with other European countries.

What saved B. asses along with few other things was a fact Poland went to war with Hitler instead making a deal with him as all other countries of the region.

That was not an option for Poland. Some there may have wanted it however very little in the mid-Twentieth Century in general and WW2 in particular was about what Poland actually wanted
Gdyniaguy14 - | 22
21 Oct 2014  #26
you do know the basic geography of europe dont you? see where Poland is? Now look at that small strip of water between France and UK? that is what saved B ritish asses, along with American intervention.

The channel didn't save British asses before 1066. We were invaded by people such as the Roman, Vikings and Normans. Again you seem to forget that it was the Americans that sold out Poland and didn't even join the war until Pearl Harbour. Historically you are seem a touch inept.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
21 Oct 2014  #27
Historically you are seem a touch inept.

we are not talking about the year 1000 or whatever are we? we are talking about ww2, about which you seem truly 'inept'
Gdyniaguy14 - | 22
21 Oct 2014  #28
I was merely pointing out that the strip of water hasn't always saved the British. I See you've still managed to gloss over why the Poles seem not to be able to talk about America's failing before, during and after the war with regards to Poland.

As i've said before Churchill was all for rearming the Germans to fight the Russians. This was blocked by the Americans. Why don't you and the original poster ask that question to the Americans? Us British are getting a bit tired of some Polish ingratitude.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,681
22 Oct 2014  #29
Us British are getting a bit tired of some Polish ingratitude.

nobody in Poland has anything to be 'grateful' to you for have they? if you are going to discuss history you have to detach yourself a bit and leave that 'them and us' mentality behind.
Lolek24gotmypas
26 Oct 2014  #30
The sentence you were trying to understand was about events only a decade ago....

Oh I understand, you are ranting about off-topic issues in the thread about wwii and somehow it is my fault.

At least you address me correctly as Sir, however do be aware that in English it needs a capital S.

You are sir with a very small s.

That was not an option for Poland.

Says someone who in the thread about wwii is going off-topic and show symptoms of doting with all that sir versus Sir isssue.

Contrary to your claim alliance with Germany in 1939 was an option for Poland. In the same way it was an option for Britain.

. Again you seem to forget that it was the Americans that sold out Poland and didn't even join the war until Pearl Harbour

American didn't promise anything to Poland and did not conspire to make Poland fight Hitler.

Us British are getting a bit tired of some Polish ingratitude.

Are you expecting gratitude? What for?


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