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Feb 22, 2024

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Collective Security For All

And The Contemporary Relevance of the Warsaw Uprising

By John Czop

In 2024 we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the August 1944 Warsaw Uprising.  Throughout 2024 we need to underline the fact that Poland was the victim of a failed collective security system set up between the two world wars of the twentieth century.  Poland’s tragic fate is a cautionary example for our times.  We must build a collective security system that protects all peace loving countries from those intent on aggression.

The August 1944 Warsaw Uprising especially is relevant in the contemporary context of Russian aggression, and in the effort to persuade Germany to pay Poland World War II reparations.

For the past ten years Vladimir Putin has been praising and emulating the ruthless policies of Joseph Stalin. We recall that the Uprising by the Polish Home Army was militarily aimed against the Germans, who occupied Warsaw, and politically directed against Stalin’s Soviet Union.  Some wonder why the Uprising was politically directed against the Soviet Union, because in August 1944, that powerful communist country and Poland were allies in the war against Nazi Germany.

 On January 1, 1944 the Red Army crossed the Polish border with the Soviet Union that was established by the 1921 Treaty of Riga. The communists acted as if they owned Poland’s Eastern Provinces. Following Kremlin policy, the Red Army systematically disarmed and arrested officers and other ranks in formations of the Home Army that had been fighting the retreating Germans in Poland’s Eastern Provinces.  The Red Army feared that the Home Army would defend their country from conquest by the Soviet Union, so they executed Home Army officers as bandits and put other ranks into prison, or forced them to join communist armed forces.

 At the Teheran Conference, in December 1943, the Big Three, FDR, Churchill, and Stalin, decided that Poland would receive German territory in the West and Polish territory east of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Line, of September 1939, would be given to the Soviet Union. This gave Western agreement to the territorial settlement in the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Furthermore, the Big Three agreed that Poland, with her eastern border on the Bug River, would be independent. The Warsaw Uprising showed that Stalin’s agreement at Teheran to an independent Poland was worthless and that the Red Army would behave in Poland west of the Bug River just as treacherously and brutally as it did in Poland’s eastern provinces.

On August 12, 1944, Churchill asked Stalin to aid fighting Warsaw to comply with the agreement signed by the Big Three in Teheran.  Stalin refused to do so.  This made it clear that Stalin reneged on his agreement that west of the Bug River a free and independent Poland would emerge after the war.

Putin’s praise for Stalin’s ruthless and dishonest leadership makes it difficult to see how the Russian Federation’s leaders can be plausible partners in negotiations.  Can the Kremlin’s leaders be trusted to fix our collective security system after they themselves broke it by invading Georgia, Crimea, Donbas, and then all Ukraine?  Stalin’s continuing influence on Putin’s policy making strongly suggests a negative answer.

 Unlike the Red Army, the German Army did observe the Geneva Conventions on combatant prisoners of war.  After Churchill and Roosevelt reminded the Nazi German leadership that the Home Army was part of the Polish Army fighting in the United Nations Alliance against Nazi Germany, Home Army soldiers fighting in the Warsaw Uprising were taken prisoner.

The Germans carried out extensive demolitions with explosives of buildings and even streets in Warsaw.  It is high time for today’s Germany to pay reparations for crimes against Polish people and their property perpetrated by Germans during their World War II occupation of Poland.

This is why most Polish Americans strongly support the demarche of Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk to enlist the aid of the United States Government to persuade Germany to pay long overdue reparations to Poland.

WARSAW’ 44: 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising is the theme of the 2024 calendar of THE POLISH AND SLAVIC FEDERAL CREDIT UNION.  

We need to use Poland’s heroic and tragic history during World War II to establish in our times collective security for all countries. Poland was the principal victim of a failed collective security system established between the twentieth century’s two world wars.  After World War II, two organizations were set up to guarantee collective security, the United Nations Organization and the Organization on Collective Security in Europe.  These two organizations have failed to do so, because the revanchist  Russian Federation is a member of both organizations.  This is why a new organization is necessary that will exclude countries that use armed force to change internationally recognized borders, as the Russian Federation has been doing since its invasion of Georgia in the summer of 2008.

This is why COLLECTIVE SECURITY FOR ALL, a new 501 (c) (3) organization, needs to be established in 2024. Today peaceful countries must not suffer from aggression as did Poland during World War II.  COLLECTIVE SECURITY FOR ALL is what we urgently need to avoid more death and destruction caused by armed aggression.

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