By Commemorating The 1944 Warsaw Uprising, We Refute Stalin’s “Black Legend”
On August 1, Poles and all who value freedom from totalitarian oppression commemorate the 78th anniversary of the beginning of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. This heroic struggle lasted for two months and was the largest battle fought by any anti-Nazi German armed resistance organization during World War II.
The uprising was militarily aimed against the Nazi German occupiers of Warsaw and politically directed against Stalin’s Soviet Union. The goal of Operation Tempest, Burza, was for the Polish Home Army to drive the German army out of Warsaw and liberate Poland’s capital BEFORE the Soviet Army could do so. When the Warsaw Uprising began, Stalin’s army was deployed just across from Warsaw on the east bank of the Vistula River. The Soviet Army watched as the Nazi Germans sent reinforcements to crush the Home Army. Stalin refused to allow British and American planes to fly over Soviet occupied territory to drop supplies for the Home Army. It is clear that Stalin wanted the Nazi Germans to defeat the Polish Home Army.
Readers recall that at this moment, August 1944, Poland and the Soviet Union were allies. Nevertheless, after the Soviet Army advanced into Poland in January 1944, communist troops started to kill Polish fighters in the anti-German Nazi Polish Home Army. It is important for our fellow Americans to remember that the Polish Home Army fought the Nazi Germans since many of them still believe Stalin’s “Black Legend” confected by communist propagandists to persuade Western public opinion that contrary to the facts Poland and the Poles were pro-Nazi German and Poland needed to be occupied by the Soviet Army to stop the Poles from continuing Hitler’s Judeocide.
This self-serving lie of Stalin’s today is still widely believed, because it has been publicized by the main stream media, sympathetic to communism, and serves as the justification for pressuring today’s Poles to pay extravagant compensation for private property formerly owned by Jews on conquered Polish territory that was despoiled by Nazi Germany and then nationalized by the communists. The bill for these crimes should be paid by Berlin and Moscow, not Warsaw. Yale University historian Timothy Snyder observed that many more Jews fought in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising than in the April 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Moreover, ‘Stalin’s “Black Legend” has been recycled by Putin who claims that he invaded Ukraine to defeat Nazism. Not only does Putin want to restore the former Soviet Union, he wants to re-purpose Stalin’s lies to foment anti-Polonism in order to justify conquering Ukraine to stop Nazism.
The commander of the Polish Home Army, General Tadeusz Komorowski, nom de guerre, Bór, gave the order to start Operation Tempest in Warsaw, on August 1, 1944, at 5 p.m. This was W hour. It was the largest military operation of the Polish Home Army. During the two-months of fighting, the losses of the Polish troops amounted to about 16,000 killed and missing, 20,000 wounded and 15,000 taken prisoner. As a result of air raids and artillery fire, harsh living conditions and massacres organized by German troops, at least 150,000 and as many as 200,000 civilian residents of Poland’s capital were killed.
Today we also remember Warsaw’s brave civilians, including those who died in Wola. During the first days of the Uprising , August 5-7, 1944, a crime that fits Raphael Lemkin’s definition of genocide took place in Wola. Following the orders of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, the Germans murdered in Wola at least 40,000 and as many as 60,000 Poles among whom were the elderly, the wounded, and children.Readers recall that Lemkin disliked the UNO’s 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, a neologism coined by Lemkin, because the UNO Convention, drafted by Stalin’s lawyers omitted killings for political reasons from the definition of genocide. Stalin and two members of the Politburo, in April 1940, signed death warrants as enemies of communism and the Soviet Union for the 25,000 Polish prisoners of war shot by the NKVD at Katyn and several other killing fields in the then western Soviet Union.
The Uprising planned for a few days lasted over two months. The Polish Home Army suffered heavy casualties during the fighting in Warsaw including child soldiers serving in the Scouts, like Julian Kulski, who wrote his memoir of the Warsaw Uprising, The Color of Courage.
The Germans expelled 500,000 of Warsaw’s remaining inhabitants from the ruins of the burned city. When the Soviet Army marched in they installed their communist puppet government officials in Warsaw. Few of today’s Varsovians come from families who lived in Poland’s capital before 1944 when it was destroyed by Nazi Germans and then conquered by Stalin’s communists. By defeating the Warsaw Uprising, waged by anti-communist Polish soldiers, Hitler made it easier for Stalin to set up a puppet communist government in Poland. The Soviet Army, after 1991, the Russian Army, finally withdrew all of its troops from Poland on 15 September 1993.