Eighty Years Ago, There Was War

Eighty Years Ago, There Was War

Eighty Years Ago, There Was War

Today marks eighty years since the Nazi invasion of Poland, which is remembered as the official beginning of World War II.

Nazi aggression and atrocities had been building for years up to that point, with appeasement being the foreign policy of far too many other countries when it came to Hitler’s demands. The Soviet Union had signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. When Poland was invaded on September 1, 1939, the Soviet Union followed two weeks later as part of their agreement with Germany. Poland was carved up between the two countries, until Germany attacked the Soviets in 1941.

Today, world leaders came to commemorate the beginning of nearly six years of death and destruction in Warsaw. Vice-President Pence came to represent the United States, and gave an address during the ceremonies.

President Donald Trump had originally been scheduled to attend the event, but canceled as Hurricane Dorian barreled toward the U.S. Pence spoke on behalf of the United States in Warsaw.”

“While the hearts of every American are with our fellow citizens in the path of a massive storm, today we remember how the gathering storm of the 20th century broke into warfare and invasion followed by unspeakable hardship and heroism of the Polish people,” he said.”

Pence said the Polish people “never lost hope” and “never gave in to despair.”

The “character, faith, and determination of the Polish people made all the difference,” Pence said. “Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken.”

Of course, at the end of World War II, six million people within Poland were dead, including three million Jews. The Soviet Union would not release its grip on Poland until 1989, when Soviet Union itself was on the edge of collapse. While Vladimir Putin attended ceremonies ten years ago, he was not invited to anything today, Germany sent its president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to the ceremony at Wielun, where Nazi air forces attacked with a bombing run that nearly destroyed the entire town.

With eighty years between the start of World War II and today, and with the Greatest Generation quickly leaving us, it seems sadder than ever that not only are the younger generations ignorant of history, but that they seem to revel in their ignorance and arrogance. This has to be stopped. How do you do that? Teach history yourself to the younger generation around you. Take them to historical sites and battlefields. Take them to museums. Watch good documentaries. Have them read age-appropriate history books. Teach them your family history, if that is applicable. You know the public education system cannot be relied on. This is something that we have to take responsibility for within our own spheres of influence.

It’s been eighty years, and in another ten to twenty years, all the eyewitnesses will be gone, and the stories will be all we have left. Don’t let anniversaries and days like this pass without remembering.

Featured image: Closeup of Warsaw Uprising Monument, via Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license free for commercial use

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  • GWB says:

    their thousand-year history
    Their thousand years of history is as a punching bag between Germany, Ukraine, and Russia. They sit in a bad spot given the history of Germans looking east and Russians looking west.
    But they’ve acquitted themselves pretty well at times. (The Winged Hussars* and the Polish Armed Forces in the West, for two examples.)

    (* I’m thinking of the 17th century ones, not the poor guys facing tanks in 1939, but the latter did as well as they could in their circumstances.)

  • Jim says:

    ”Today marks eighty years since the Nazi invasion of Poland, which is remembered as the official beginning of World War II.”

    I would add ”… in Europe” so as to ensure the so-called well educated children of today understand that the Japanese Empire began laying waste to the Asian region, especially China [Manchuria] in 1931 and, that for all their proclamations of racial equality for Asians, they killed and enslaved ”inferior races” just as did the Third Reich.

    • GWB says:

      Though, the Aixs treaty (Tripartite Pact) wasn’t signed until 1940, making it a separate war until then. But, technicalities.

      It’s good to keep the whole picture in view.

  • Kris A. Nietubyc says:

    Thank you for the article. I recognized the photo from the Warsaw Uprising Memorial having been there a few times. My mother was living in the Wola district when the Uprising began. All of her family survived and emigrated to the USA after the war.
    My father’s family were living in the eastern Borderlands of Poland, called the Kresy, and were subjected to Bolshevik tyranny after the 17 September invasion. Quite a few articles I’ve read this weekend failed to mention that date. But you did! Thank you for that. All my father’s family survived the war and also emigrated to the USA.
    I have learned more about my family’s experiences in the past two years than I knew in my entire lifetime. Now i’m dedicated to making this history, my family’s history, available to those who have an interest in learning. I feel as if it’s my responsibility to do so.


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