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Norman Davies - the Brit who loves Poland and becomes one of Us


Sire Brenshar 1 | 61
17 Aug 2010 #121
Harry and Poland simply don't mix properly...

Like putting lots of salt in ice cream... Take the salt out!
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #122
WHAT? Wasn't Poland already for quite a long time at war with them before Britain actually made any move? The deal was if any of the countries gets attacked, the rest declare war on the attacker and help his ally. That actually did not happen and Poland fought on their own for initial period of time.

according to my textbook of history GB declaird war 3rd of September but didn't do any move. It was called "strange war" (drole de guerre) due to the lack of any military moves in the all sides while Poland was defending up to 3rd of October. Then in April of 1940 Germany attacked Denmark and Norway. Norway seaports were good point to start invation on Great Britain so IN THAT MOMENT Britain become activated in war. There were send corps from GB to fight for Narvik.

So it seems we were the first to fight.
Harry
17 Aug 2010 #123
If you would consider to pause and think a bit you would realize that he uses that term to denote the fact the Poland was the FIRST to fight the Germans. hence....

And if you would think about it for a moment, you would realise that Britain was Poland's first ally because Britain joined the war in support of Poland.

The deal was if any of the countries gets attacked, the rest declare war on the attacker and help his ally. That actually did not happen and Poland fought on their own for initial period of time.

That wasn't actually the deal. If you can list the way(s) in which Britain did not keep to its commitments in the Anglo-Polish treaty, there are millions of Poles who'll thank you: they love to claim that Britain didn't keep to its obligations but I've never met even a single one who can list any ways in which Britain did not do that.
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #124
That wasn't actually the deal. If you can list the way(s) in which Britain did not keep to its commitments in the Anglo-Polish treaty, there are millions of Poles who'll thank you: they love to claim that Britain didn't keep to its obligations but I've never met even a single one who can list any ways in which Britain did not do that.

GB back in the 1939 didn't send any corps to help Poland fight out the Nazis. That's not the point? Polish had not enough military forces to defend Poland from Germany. But even though after few loses and backing east of the polish armies, we started to have a lil bit ascendance, but then in the east Soviet Union (17th of September) attacked Poland.

If the polish allies had sent the military help Germans would never occupied Poland and would be strangle in the begining, am I wrong?
Harry
17 Aug 2010 #125
GB back in the 1939 didn't send any corps to help Poland fight out the Nazis. That's not the point?

How and to where would you have liked those forces to have been sent? Perhaps an amphibious assault on Hamburg?
Richfilth 6 | 415
17 Aug 2010 #126
I'm not supporting Harry's concept of a Blameless Britain, but I've yet to see exactly how Britain could have helped Poland back then. How exactly do you deliver enough troops to Poland to make a difference, without going through Germany?

I know one of the plans was to come in through Finland, but the Finno-Russian war (Winter War) didn't allow that to happen. Planes couldn't have airdropped that many and returned, ships couldn't have got through the Baltic with that many men; I just don't see how Britain, or any other Western force, could have directly come to Poland's aid.
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #127
How and to where would you have liked those forces to have been sent? Perhaps an amphibious assault on Hamburg?

So you suggest that our allies wanted help but couldnt? What about attacking Germany if their already had to declare war and couldn't find path to Poland? Why not sending some destroyer boat to attack Schleswig Holstein. I'm not historican I don't know what possibilities there were. Maybe just bombing the enemies by planes, why not?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
17 Aug 2010 #128
It was a time when agreements were broken with alarming regularity. That was the spirit of the age. It was all political maneuvering.

The British government claimed they weren't ready but that was nonsense as their foreign secretary pretty much knew what Hitler was up to. He had strong suspicions. But if Poland can invoke the lack of mobilisation argument, Britain can too to an extent. They weren't sure of Hitler's exact plans.

Also, how would British forces have got across the North Sea? They weren't gonna grant safe passage, were they? ;) ;) (The Nazis)

Still, when you make an international agreement, you should at least try and honour it. That much is true! Shame that we haven't learned that as far on as 2010. The British government is probably the single most selfish across the course of history. To defend it is to do a Barry Scheck/Johnnie Cochrane ;)
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
17 Aug 2010 #129
am I wrong?

Actually, yes :) Britain's force at the time wasn't by far strong enough to withold the German troops entering Poland. The only thing that would've happened is that the battle for Poland would take longer. And given the fact that the SU attacked Poland 2 weeks later, it would not have made any difference at all if the British were to send a corps. And: how could they send troops? The waterways to Poland were all firmly guarded by the German navy and pass Germany for a substantial part. If they would send troops over water, I doubt if they would ever make it to any of the Polish harbours.

But you were right in one sense and that was indeed that Poland was the first to fight. Memel, earlier in 1939 was the last bit of territory Germany would get without violence.

It was a time when agreements were broken with alarming regularity.

True, but diplomacy was still in its infancy after the long 19th century and one can regard failures like this as "child diseases". Britain kept at least part of her agreement with Poland: she declared war on Germany. Like France did. And the "phoney war" phase as ZY mentioned was mainly due to Hitlers attempts to seduce Britain back into peace with Germany as he didn't want to go to war with GB - he considered them a fellow Germanic ppl.

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #130
It was a time when agreements were broken with alarming regularity. That was the spirit of the age. It was all political maneuvering.

yes agree. but I hear some Brits who tell me to be grateful to Britain for declairing war. I've read a comment in some forum: "we declared war just because of Poland and they are not thankful for that, those bastards"...
Olaf 6 | 956
17 Aug 2010 #131
Good information Zetigrek. Thanks.
Harry: What I know is that both parties of the treaty were obliged to provide full and instant support to the other party who got attacked. Declaring war without even loading your guns is... not what I'd expect.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
17 Aug 2010 #132
Well, they are misguided. Britain was ready for a glorious defence of the mainland but got lucky a couple of times. In war, much is about timing and they came down on the side of luck in a couple of air battles with the Luftwaffe. However, to claim that it was all for Poland is a load of BS.

I recommend Martin Gilbert. He gave a speech on Kraków and nobody knows the archives of Churchill better than him. He tries to give a balanced account.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
17 Aug 2010 #133
Maybe we could go back to a discussion about Norman Davies (and perhaps other historians) ? Before we know somebody will claim Norman Davies was a Serb :)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
17 Aug 2010 #134
This is interesting :) youtube.com/watch?v=3OoSdnebLxw Just over 8 mins worth from Norman Davies.

youtube.com/watch?v=x22Alfgv0DY&feature=related his Polish is really good. I can hear mistakes but he's really pretty fluent.
Harry
17 Aug 2010 #135
Why not sending some destroyer boat to attack Schleswig Holstein. I'm not historican I don't know what possibilities there were. Maybe just bombing the enemies by planes, why not?

Royal Navy vessels sailed past Polish navy vessels in late August 1939: the British vessels were moving to take up their positions patrolling the Obrestad line ready for the outbreak of war; the Polish vessels were escaping to the safety of British ports before a shot had even been fired. The first British air force mission against Germany took off slightly more than one hour after Britain declared war against Germany and, contrary to the lies that some Poles love to tell, Britain did make bombing raids against Germany.

What I know is that both parties of the treaty were obliged to provide full and instant support to the other party who got attacked.

Perhaps you'd like to actually read the treaty?
sobieski 107 | 2,128
17 Aug 2010 #136
What irritates me in Norman Davies - and other posters already have mentioned this - is that he is highly selective in his books on Polish history (by the way I did not have this feeling in his book on Europe).

He tends to paint Poland as the martyr number one in European history (First Ally). Deletes anything remotely controversial in his narratives or drowns it in meaningless statistics or unreadable graphics.

In Poland he might be a hero (PIS for sure loves him) but there are other and better historians.
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #137
This is interesting :) Just over 8 mins worth from Norman Davies.

An interview with him: ...

he speaks really well polish :)

The first British air force mission against Germany took off slightly more than one hour after Britain declared war against Germany and, contrary to the lies that some Poles love to tell, Britain did make bombing raids against Germany.

Do you suggest that I spread lies? Its just my school textbook don't mention it. How do I and average Pole can know that?
sobieski 107 | 2,128
17 Aug 2010 #138
The first British air force mission against Germany took off slightly more than one hour after Britain declared war against Germany and, contrary to the lies that some Poles love to tell, Britain did make bombing raids against Germany.

Do you suggest that I spread lies? Its just my school textbook don't mention it. How do I and average Pole can know that?

What Harry is talking about is the bombing raid on Wilhelmshaven by 89n Squadron on 3 Sep. It was of course a glorious failure. Nothing to do with the courage of the crews, everything to do with pre-war politics.
Harry
17 Aug 2010 #139
Do you suggest that I spread lies? Its just my school textbook don't mention it. How do I and average Pole can know that?

No, I was referring to Poles who deliberately claim that Britain made no attacks on German targets, not Poles like you who simply don’t know about such attacks. I can’t remember if my school textbook mentioned those raid. I first remember finding out about them when checking to see if there was any truth in the claims made by certain Poles. The fact that Polish school textbooks don’t see fit to mention British attacks is symptomatic of the problems with the Polish view of history.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
17 Aug 2010 #140
I miss IS here. But I guess he is only reading Dmowski publications, his suscription on Nasz Dziennik, and for sure Piotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky.
And where is the Serb ????? The expert on eveything Polish on this forum?
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #141
And where is the Serb ????? The expert on eveything Polish on this forum?

oh no please, nie wywołuj wilka!
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
17 Aug 2010 #142
better historians

Oh for sure there are better historians than Norman Davies. I don't know what he was thinking (money perhaps?) when embarked on this populistic-historical path. But that doesn't matter now since he went down that road. I ordered last night two books by Adam Zamoyski "Poland" and "Warsaw 1920" :) Both got good reviews and my book-budget allowed me their purchase. Now I just have to wait for them to be delivered.

Let's call Norman Davies a "home-writer". Sobieski, you as Flemish (yes I've said it again:) ), surely remember this American Historian who wrote about the Dutch (and Flemish, after all, the Low Countries) in the same manner that Norman Davies writes about Polish history? His name is Simon Schama, rings a bell? But instead of adoring him like the Poles adore Norman Davies, nearly all Dutch and Flemish historians just laughed at Schama for his obvious inaccuracies and glorification of the Low Countries. They knew it wasn't as glorious as Schama wrote. You remember that?

>^..^<

M-G (wonders)
sobieski 107 | 2,128
17 Aug 2010 #143
Well me being Flemish :)... Yes of course I know Simon Schama. I have his book "Citizens" about the French revolution (by the way, good book but way too tame and too nice on Robespierre. See "Terror - Civil War in the French Revolution" by David Andress). Also have his "Britain" trilogy on DVD and in print".

That said and done, I never read his book about your Dutch Golden Age :) Which was started by an influx of gifted Flemish immigrants I might like to remind you...

But we will not go down that road here :)

MG, did you read any books by Jan T. Gross? IS must hate his guts :)
Gross can be and is overbearing but still very good.

Serb....you as the expert on Polish history... Can you recommend maybe some books on Polish history? Please enlighten us....
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
17 Aug 2010 #144
Which was started by an influx of gifted Flemish immigrants I might like to remind you...

Also the Jews played a big part in it and yeah, you've reminded me a few times already, so it's my place and time here to remind you that NL took most Belgian refugees in WW1 (over a million) and as a thank you after that war it got slapped in the face by weird claims by the Belgians for Dutch territory.

But I won't go down that road either :)

I like the Flemish as they are very much alike the ppl from the area where I come from in NL. And even though you had perhaps bad experiences with some Dutch, not all Dutch ppl are the same - some of us do know how to behave when visiting your nice little country :)

Anyway - Low Lands is Low Lands :)

MG, did you read any books by Jan T. Gross? IS must hate his guts :)
Gross can be and is overbearing but still very good.

Yes - I did read Neighbours. Gross is indeed a bit over the top at times, but he gives a fair overview of things and he is a brave man as well, imo.

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #145
MG, did you read any books by Jan T. Gross? IS must hate his guts :)

Yes - I did read Neighbours. Gross is indeed a bit over the top at times, but he gives a fair overview of things and he is a brave man as well, imo.

do you know how Gross answered the question why he doesn't write about the good aspects of polish-jewish relationship?

He used a flower metaphor: if someone decided to write a book about pansy he don't write about gillyflowers, daisies and other flowers...

well in such context:

he is just somewhat selective in what he includes and what he leaves out.

Gross doesn't sound like objective writer too ;P
Am I wrong?
:)
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
17 Aug 2010 #146
Am I wrong?

Don't ask that question again - the door is too open with this one :) Instead, write isn't it so? This leaves the door hardly open and avoids quirky answers.

Just a tip :)

>^..^<

M-G (always glad to help ZY)
sobieski 107 | 2,128
17 Aug 2010 #147
Gross doesn't sound like objective writer too ;P
Am I wrong?
:)

As I said, he can be overbearing and at times tiresome. But also, as MG wrote Gross is a brave man, exposing most unpleasant truths in recent Polish history.

By the way his book "Revolution from Abroad - The Soviet Conquest of Poland" is a brilliant decription of Stalinist terror in Poland in 1939-1940
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #148
Don't ask that question again - the door is too open with this one :) Instead, write isn't it so? This leaves the door hardly open and avoids quirky answers.

Just a tip :)

Well I open deliberately the doors too widely as I acknowledge the fact that my history knowledge is limited (or maybe you have something diffrent in mind... e.g. my awful english?;). I've read none of these authors just heard some opinions about and seen/read interviews with them. That's all.

Gross is controversial because ppl afraid that some who will read his books by accident not knowing anything about poland can draw misleading conclusions. That's why in some tv interview I've seen few years ago there was such question. I thought it would be funny to bring it in that context ;)
sobieski 107 | 2,128
17 Aug 2010 #149
Still waiting for IS to declare which history books he likes.
Furnish me with particulars, my dear :)

The Protocols, maybe ?
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #150
The Protocols, maybe ?

what protocols?

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