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Polish Underground in WWII ( interview with Dr. Wojciech Muszynski)


PennBoy 76 | 2,438    
3 Mar 2012  #1
- 70 years ago, 14 February 1942, under the order of the Supreme Commander General Wladyslaw Sikorski, in place of the Union of Armed Struggle, AK (Armia Krajowa) was created. Was it only a name change?

- UAS was an underground military organization. The AK became a state institution, an integrated part of the Polish State Underground structures and the Polish Armed Forceswhich were fighting in the west. Let us remember that just before the collapse of the Warsaw uprising General Bor-Komorowski, commander of the Army, was appointed Supreme Commander of Polish Armed Forces. And although this appointment was political, it best demonstrates the importance of AK.

-At its peak 380 000 soldiers served in the AK, including 7.5 thousand officers. How did it's rivals look in comparison - the Communist underground, which did not recognize the Polish Government in Exile?

- The whole of the armed communist underground during the German occupation had no more than 10 thousand people in the military and had no meaning. Against this background organizations of truly Polish political parties were incomparably more numerous. The National Military Organization which merged with AK in 1942 had about 80 thousand people, the National Armed Forces - merged in 1944 - about 70 thousand., the Peasant Battalions had 50 000 soldiers, most of which also became part of the Army.

- The People's Republic taught us that the AK hardly fought the Germans, but the constant "with arms at their feet." Militarily, how did the Polish Underground look in comparison to other occupied countries?

- In Norway and Slovakia, the Germans were able to create a puppet regime. In France, Marshal Petain collaborated closely with Germany and the French partisans presented themselves best in the post-war films. The Dutch resistance is demonstrated by the fact that there were many enlistings in the German army that they formed three divisions of the Waffen - SS. The AK could not win a war and you should always keep in mind when assessing the military effort of our fathers and grandfathers. Therefore, its purpose was primarily to protect the Polish people against all forms of German extermination. The partisan troops played a role in policing, protecting the Polish population. Another priority task was to train officers and non-commissioned officers in the event of widespread outbreak of a national uprising. It was only third place I would put the following operations: acquisition of weapons, supplies, issuing the underground press, the production of false documents, clandestine, underground health care, addressing particularly dangerous traitors or important German officers. A separate chapter was the activity of intelligence, such as in the famous V - The development of technology, the German V1 and V2 rockets.

- Some historians believe that the Army did, however, too little, because the German forces in the General Government and in areas annexed to the Reich again, so were not very numerous.

- It depends on what period. When the front line was on our land, the German forces were counted in the millions of soldiers. Professor Marek Jan Chodakiewicz calculated that in 1942, when the Germans were at the peak of power, in one county Kraśnik members of all German armed formations (Wehrmacht, the Gestapo, police, gendarmerie, Forest Service, railway security, etc.) there were no more than a few hundred . After the German attack on Soviet Russia Polish communists tried to provoke a national uprising. They wanted as many German forces to be tied down on Polish territory as possible, which would relieve pressure off the retreating Red Army and cut off German supply lines. All this had the intention to achieve hands of Poles, or AK. Had they managed to persuade the Polish Underground State for a national uprising, the Germans in a few weeks without problems would be able to download hundreds of thousands of Polish troops from Germany, the occupied countries of Europe and drown the country in blood. Army Command could not be provoked, because even ordinary, ordinary Poles remember well what was the Soviet occupation of 1939 - 1941. They knew that the outbreak of the Soviet-German war many Communists cooperated with the Germans. We have documented evidence that the Communists denounced Army soldiers, sending long letters to the Gestapo Home Army, which the accused that they are ... Communists.

- In 1943, Blanka Kaczorowska, Ludwig Kalkstein and Eugeniusz Swierczewski denounced to the Gestapo General Grot-Rowecki, commander of AK. However, some historians believe that the Communists were behind this.

- None of the three agents of the Gestapo was a communist. However, some evidence suggests that the denunciation of General Rowecki could have been the Soviet work . No lets get back to the communists trying to start a nationwide uprising. How would it look like, can be traced on the example of Yugoslavia. There, in 1941 the Communists provoked a completely uncoordinated and totally senseless armed instance, what caused the reaction of the German troops occupying Serbia, Bulgaria, to some extent also cooperating with Italian and German Croats, who together made a gigantic massacre of Serb civilians. In addition there must be fighting Tito's communists from power pre-war legal representative offices of General Mihailovic. Some sources say that from 1941 to 1942 more than a million Serbs were killed, a nation which is much less numerous than our own.

- Is in occupied Poland - like in Yugoslavia - there were fratricidal fighting among various underground formations?

- In 1944, Holy Cross Brigade of the National Armed Forces killed about 400 communists. They were mainly the People's Army guerrillas, members of the Polish Workers Party and their informants, but the scale of fratricidal fighting in Poland and Yugoslavia, is incomparable.

- You can estimate how many Germans were killed in battles with AK?

- Such a statement seems to me irrelevant. In the Warsaw uprising, according to the sources, 1.5 to 10 thousand Germans were killed. How many died during the whole of the occupation - it's pure speculation.

- When the Red Army was coming to our borders, AK as part of the storm trying to liberate the Polish cities and villages, to the Russians to act as host. In PRL historians put allegations against AK that they supposedly wanted to enter their own anti-Soviet administration. After 1989, many researchers believed that, as in the case of the Warsaw Uprising was an unnecessary waste of lives and ammunition.

- Those were rather acts of desperation. AK liberated Vilnius alone. 27th Volyn Infantry Division liberated many localities in Volhynia. Armia Krajowa troops along with the Soviets won the Lvov and Lublin. There is a famous photo published in PRL-U in all possible ways of two police officers standing in front of a post office in liberated Lublin. Those were in fact not citizens militia but National Armed Forces soldiers which were a part of AK.

- History has remembered many of AK's operations
- First and foremost the assassination of Franz Kutschera, the SS and Police Leader of the Warsaw district,. Attack on an truck with 100 million zlotys. The operation by the arsenal, the recapture of Jan Bytnar (Rudy). The killing of General Renner, commander of the 174th Infantry Division. Capturing and sending too the West part of the V2 rocket.

- AK fought not only with Germans but also with tha Soviets, and after the Red Army entered our country there were many shootings and deportations to the East. What was the price AK paid in human lives?

- The numbers aren't know for sure. It is genreally accepted that from the hands of the Germans and Soviets around 100 thousand AK soldiers perished. That fugure also includes AK soldiers who were sent to Siberia after 1944 and died there. Around 50 thousand AK soldiers ended up in Soviet prisons and gulags. Most were freed from 1946-1947. Yet some had to wait until 1957 to return to Poland. 20% of died there or were killed.

- With the end of the war some AK soldiers decided to continue the struggle and fight with the communist regime.
- Roughly 150 thousand Poles fought in the post war underground, that's more than in the January Uprising. From 1944 to 1956 the communist regime killed or tortured to death about 50 thousand Poles.

pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx



Vincent 9 | 800  Moderator  
3 Mar 2012  #2
please supply a proper link to this story as it doesn't seem to be in the one you posted. If the text you posted (over 100 words) is not your own, then you should also shorten it to a few lines.
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,438    
3 Mar 2012  #3
It is the proper link its just that if you're not a member of that site you can't read the entire article. Plus I had to translate it into English.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,658    
3 Mar 2012  #4
- The whole of the armed communist underground during the German occupation had no more than 10 thousand people in the military and had no meaning.

That's a bit unfair - the Communists fought in the Warsaw Uprising too. Their role was well documented by one guy, but I've completely forgotten his name - while they weren't on the level of the AK, they still did their part.

It's an interesting read PennBoy, a bit biased (especially the stuff about Serbians getting slaughtered in WW2 - much of that had nothing to do with Tito) - but interesting all the same. Thank you for taking the time to translate it.
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,438    
3 Mar 2012  #5
No problem. I was rushing and made a few typing errors, for instance two or three times Army should have been AK. Although the Polish resistance did in fact have have close to or even surpassed 400 thousand troops by late 1943, I think the Yugoslav was largest. Surpassing half a million by 1944. Being truthful and fair, it must be noted that the Yugoslav resistance fighters suffered much higher casualties than the Poles. Nearly 250 thousand Yugoslav soldiers were killed compared to 100 thousand Polish AK soldiers. Also, the historian states that up to 10 thousand German soldiers were killed during the Warsaw Uprising, and that the figure for the whole period of occupation in the entire country is unknown. Most historians agree that up to 40 thousand German soldiers were killed by AK fighters (Warsaw Uprising, operations in the areas of Zamosc, Lublin, Kielce, Wilno and elsewhere...) How many German troops were killed by the Yugoslavs i don't know, maybe one of our Serbian friends has the stats for that.
gumishu 11 | 4,902    
3 Mar 2012  #6
That's a bit unfair - the Communists fought in the Warsaw Uprising too. Their role was well documented by one guy, but I've completely forgotten his name - while they weren't on the level of the AK, they still did their part.

but you are happily unaware of what AL's and previously GL's main activity was during the occupation - that they participated in the rising does not make good theri previous sins
isthatu2 4 | 2,708    
3 Mar 2012  #7
The Jugoslavs were for sure the most succsefull partizan army of ww2,they liberated an entire country and I will never take that from them,but,they were in a backwater,neither germany nor the soviet union *needed* to send or keep troops there .

If Poland had been *blessed* with the terrain the Jugoslavs operated in Im sure the AK would have been unbreakable,whether in the long run this would have mattered as the Soviets would still have had to get to germany and would have either flooded Poland with a full on ,gloves off publically invasion or just bypassed north and south and let you guys sit up in the mountains till you got bored.

Edit,interesting that even academic papers take that immature line that anything judged with hindsight as "bad" was never actually Polish or carried out by *real Poles*.............. its maybe time to grow up? No one in Britain talks about the British fascists ,the BUF, as being anything other than a British party full of British people.....doesnt mean we are collectivly proud of having had wannabe fascists amongst us.
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,438    
3 Mar 2012  #8
If Poland had been *blessed* with the terrain the Jugoslavs operated in Im sure the AK would have been unbreakable

That's exactly what I was gonna say. Poland is a flat almost undefendable country. The only 'hiding places' the AK had were a few dense forests in the east. Most of Yugoslavia is a mountainous country where partisans could have escaped to and hid. Also Poland right next to Germany and a buffer zone and transit country to the Eastern front had to be held at all costs.

Edit,interesting that even academic papers take that immature line that anything judged with hindsight as "bad" was never actually Polish or carried out by *real Poles*

Well communists like fascists who collaborated with a regime and country who did so much harm to Poland and it's people can't be called Poles but traitors.
Crow 143 | 7,411    
4 Mar 2012  #9
That's exactly what I was gonna say. Poland is a flat almost undefendable country.

Actually, among other arrangements, in time after the WWI Poland had defensive agreements with Yugoslavia and counted on Yugoslavia as leading country of so called `Little Entente` Alliance (Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Romania). But the resurgence of German power after 1933 and finally assassination of Yugoslav King Alexander at Marseille (France) in 1934 organized by the Nazi Germany had gradually undermined sharpness of Little Entente that began to break down in 1936 and was disbanded completely in 1938. Still, being aware of the coming threat prior to the WWII, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia re-activated some charters of the alliance. In any case, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia reminded to be very interesting for the Poland`s defensive doctrine. Poland and Yugoslavia organized even maneuverings in order to prepare their armies for combined activities on the front.

France had great influence onto the `Little Entente` alliance and countries. Weakening of France combined with rising German influence there, among other factors, contributed to the destruction of alliance. After that, after 1936, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia relied on Britain as a main foreign power that maintained friendly relations with two countries. It was Yugoslav fatal mistake. We mistaken for we relied on Britain because Britain sold as and betrayed. First of all, Britain didn`t act to fulfill its obligations to Poland and support Polish defense against Hitler. Then, British hesitation furthermore strengthened pro-German factors on the Balkan and within Yugoslavia. Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania- all became satellites of the Nazi Germany. Within Yugoslavia, German influence raised in Croatia to the level of pro-German hysteria and open negation of even Slavic origin of Croatians.

YU wwii

Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941; Yugoslavia was attacked from all sides while Croatian treachery and active support to German troops destructed Yugoslav defensive capabilities from within

All in all, Yugoslavia was unable to support Poland due to outside and internal reasons, due to its own problems. When German invasion on Yugoslavia began, our western front crumbled without any resistance. Croatia opened wide door for the German advance. Complete divizions and regiments of Yugoslav army that consisted mostly from the Croats turned to the German side.

Culmination of British betrayal of Yugoslavia happened at the beginning of WWII, when Britain reached secret agreement with the Soviet Union by which Yugoslavia needed to be given to the communists and to the influence of Soviet Union. All Yugoslavs and Yugoslav royal army founded itself in terrible situation and in agony due to British betrayal.
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,438    
4 Mar 2012  #10
King Peter of Yugoslavia at Polish manoeuvres - Król Jugosławii Piotr na polskich manewrach

Nice video Crow. As for my previous question

How many German troops were killed by the Yugoslavs

According to wikipedia it was twenty some thousand killed during the conflict.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,658    
5 Mar 2012  #11
Edit,interesting that even academic papers take that immature line that anything judged with hindsight as "bad" was never actually Polish or carried out by *real Poles*.............. its maybe time to grow up?

I think Poland is still struggling to deal with the nasty truth that the nasty people were indeed Poles and not something else. The same issues can be seen in Germany - they were even actively teaching "Germany within the borders of 1937" in West German schools.

It is a rather curious Polish trait to insist that anyone who was dislikable was most definitely not Polish.
OP PennBoy 76 | 2,438    
5 Mar 2012  #12
Oh Poles know fully well the there were people who sold out Jews, or collaborated with Germans. However, it is rather upsetting when it is all greatly exaggerated and Poland is singled out by the media. By comparison, people in Lithuania, Latvia, the Ukraine collaborated on a much grander scale than Poles did. No nation saved as many Jews as Poles did either.

Last night Michal Issajewicz, one of the last living participants in the killing of Franz Kutschera, the SS and Police Leader of the Warsaw district, passed away at the age of 91.


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