poland in ww2 facts

There are many rivers throughout the country, the largest being the Vistula. [148], According to the Soviet law, all residents of the annexed area, dubbed by the Soviets as citizens of former Poland,[149] automatically acquired Soviet citizenship. The invasion took place from 1 September to 6 October 1939. Over 90% of the deaths were non-military losses, because most civilians were deliberately targeted in various actions which were launched by the Germans and Soviets. [128] The result of the staged voting was to become a legitimization of Soviet annexation of eastern Poland. It became the capital of Poland in 1596. [54] A total of 2.3 million Polish citizens, including 300,000 POWs, were deported to Germany as forced laborers. [86], In response to the occupation, Poles formed one of the largest underground movements in Europe. [41], The Nazi plans also called for Poland's 3.3 million Jews to be exterminated; the non-Jewish majority's extermination was planned for the long term and initiated through the mass murder of its political, religious, and intellectual elites at first, which was meant to make the formation of any organized top-down resistance more difficult. In addition, during the twenties, Poland also faced political instability, which would eventually lead to a military coup. Stalin. September 1, 2014 Jews were drafted to repair war damage as early as October, with women and children 12 or older required to work; shifts could take half a day and with little compensation. It is estimated that during World War 2, the U.S. military consumed 10 billion bottles of Coca Cola. The university teaches continuously until today. [108][109] On 24 September, the Soviets killed 42 staff and patients of a Polish military hospital in the village of Grabowiec, near Zamość. [78] An estimated total of 50,000 children, majority taken from orphanages and foster homes in the annexed lands, but some separated from their parents, were taken into a special Germanization program. There was a general shortage of food, fuel for heating and medical supplies, and there was a high death rate among the Polish population as a result. The chairs of Marxism-Leninism, Dialectical and Historical Materialism aimed at strengthening of the Soviet ideology were opened as well. The Poles that were sent there were freed as part of an agreement with the British to set up a Polish army to help Russia with the war effort. Stephan Lehnstaedt, Jochen Böhler (editors): The Nazi War Against the Catholic Church; National Catholic Welfare Conference; Washington D.C.; 1942; pp. Following the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany on 1 September 1939 and by the Soviet Union on 17 September. [17] Areas occupied by the USSR were annexed to Soviet territory, with the exception of the Wilno area, which was transferred to Lithuania, although it was soon attached to the USSR once Lithuania became a Soviet republic. This is the name given to the biggest period of aerial combat over the skies of Britain. [11] About 100,000 Poles were imprisoned in Majdanek camp, with similar fatality rate. Polish war dead include 5,150,000 victims of Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles and the Holocaust, the treatment of Polish citizens by occupiers included 350,000 deaths during the Soviet occupation in 1940–41 and about 100,000 Poles killed in 1943–44 in the Ukraine. Nonetheless, in late 1942 and 1943, large-scale expulsions also took place in the General Government, affecting at least 110,000 Poles in the Zamość–Lublin region. "Military settlers" were excluded from home release. [98], Some three million gentile Polish citizens perished during the course of the war, over two million of whom were ethnic Poles (the remainder being mostly Ukrainians and Belarusians). Those from Group 4 received German citizenship through naturalization proceedings; resistance to Germanization constituted treason because "German blood must not be utilized in the interest of a foreign nation," and such people were sent to concentration camps. [105], In one notorious massacre, the NKVD-the Soviet secret police—systematically executed 21,768 Poles, among them 14,471 former Polish officers, including political leaders, government officials, and intellectuals. [90] With the imminent arrival of the Soviet army, the AK launched an uprising in Warsaw against the German army on 1 August 1944. The invasion of Poland is seen as one of the most significant events of World War 2. On 1 August 1944, the people of Warsaw started fighting to free their city. The end of the World War II may have ended the conflict between nations but it did not bring back the millions of innocent lives lost during the war. 10 facts about World War 2 Learn about this hugely important event in British history… In September 1939, Britain entered into what would become the world’s most devastating war to date. , Joan, 1 Comment, August 28, 2016 It has a rich and colourful history and has very dark memories of the Second World War when it can justifiably say that it was betrayed by Russian allies twice over. The first killing by poison gas at Auschwitz involved 300 Poles and 700 Soviet prisoners of war. The Soviets therefore did not classify Polish military prisoners as prisoners of war but as rebels against the new legal government of Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia. The problem was that the military of Poland was underequipped and out of date. [74][75] The smaller Evangelical churches of Poland also suffered. 1. [33][34][35] The plan envisaged that different percentages of the various conquered nations would undergo Germanization, be expelled and deported to the depths of Russia, and suffer other gruesome fates, including purposeful starvation and murder, the net effect of which would ensure that the conquered territories would take on an irrevocably German character. The Soviet base of support was strengthened by a land reform program initiated by the Soviets in which most of the owners of large lots of land were labeled "kulaks" and dispossessed of their land, which was then divided among poorer peasants. [64] Already during the 1939 German invasion, dedicated units of SS and police (the Einsatzgruppen) were tasked with arresting or outright killing of those resisting the Germans. Chapter XIII – Germanization and Spoliation, Chapter XIII – Germanization and Spoliation, Did the Children Cry? Western Allies took about “middle of the road” approach when “helping Poland” was concerned. [129], Subsequently, all institutions of the dismantled Polish state were closed down and reopened under the Soviet appointed supervisors. It is a bunch of questions together, plus some false facts sneaked into the question overall. On 15 January 1940 the Lviv University was reopened and started to teach in accordance with Soviet curricula. Soviet authorities brutally treated those who might oppose their rule, deporting by 10 November 1940 around 10% of total population of Kresy, with 30% of those deported dead by 1941. [citation needed], Similar policies were applied to the civilian population as well. [11] By 1942, the number of new German arrivals in pre-war Poland had already reached two million. [157], The genocide of Romani people (porajmos) was 35,000 persons. Some 300,000 Polish refugees made it to the Middle East, lived and died there. Soldiers of the Red Army and their officers behaved like conquerors, looting and stealing Polish treasures. Among the arrested were Władysław Broniewski, Aleksander Wat, Tadeusz Peiper, Leopold Lewin, Anatol Stern, Teodor Parnicki, Marian Czuchnowski and many others. The campaigns ended in early October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland. After the Axis attack on the Soviet Unionin the summer of 1941, the entir… [11][47] Germans intended to exploit the fact that the Second Polish Republic was an ethnically diverse territory, and their policy aimed to "divide and conquer" the ethnically diverse population of the occupied Polish territory, to prevent any unified resistance from forming. Here is a list of ten of the most interesting facts about Poland’s WWII history. Let’s not forget the wonderful contribution that Poland made in the fight against Hitler’s war machine. 5. [74] Protestant clergy leaders who perished in those purges included charity activist Karol Kulisz, theology professor Edmund Bursche, and Bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland, Juliusz Bursche. Forty-five new faculty members were assigned to it and transferred from other institutions of Soviet Ukraine, mainly the Kharkiv and Kiev universities. Poland had been occupied by Germanybetween 1939 and 1944. Wojciech Materski and Tomasz Szarota (eds.). World War 2 Facts — What Started WW2? They even brought 3 complete bottling plants ashore in North Africa to supply the troops with this beverage. The first victims of the new order were approximately 250,000 Polish prisoners of war captured by the USSR during and after the Polish Defensive War (see Polish prisoners of war in Soviet Union (after 1939)). Their enthusiasm however faded with time as it became clear that the Soviet repressions were aimed at all groups equally, regardless of their political stance. , mason [49], Almost immediately after the invasion, Germans began forcibly conscripting laborers. Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami, ed. This should have led to Poland fighting back and finally driving Nazi Germany out of the country but only Stalin’s refusal to act on the agreed plan with the Polish Resistance and the British forces meant that what was supposed to be a victorious uprising, ended up being the tragedy of Poland’s history during WWII and threatened to tear the allied powers apart. [53] Following the German invasion and occupation of Polish territory, at least 1.5 million Polish citizens, including teenagers, became labourers in Germany, few by choice. [11] The government in exile was represented in the occupied Poland by the Government Delegation for Poland, headed by the Government Delegate for Poland. But the huge disparity comes in the available technology. Some 4,254 of these were uncovered in mass graves in Katyn Forest by the Nazis in 1943, who then invited an international group of neutral representatives and doctors to study the corpses and confirm Soviet guilt, but the findings from the study were denounced by the Allies as "Nazi propaganda". A German lawyer and prominent Nazi, Hans Frank, was appointed Governor-General of this occupied area on 12 October 1939. [10] The size of these annexed territories was approximately 92,500 square kilometres (35,700 sq mi) with approximately 10.5 million inhabitants. [158] Jewish Holocaust victims totaled 3,000,000. [citation needed], The Soviet Union had ceased to recognize the Polish state at the start of the invasion. [46], According to the 1931 Polish census, out of a prewar population of 35 million, 66% spoke the Polish language as their mother tongue, and most of the Polish native speakers were Roman Catholics. [55] They tended to have to work longer hours for lower wages than their German counterparts. [74] Primate of Poland, Cardinal August Hlond, submitted an official account of the persecutions of the Polish Church to the Vatican. [11][42] This was in spite of racial theory that falsely regarded most Polish leaders as actually being of "German blood",[43] and partly because of it, on the grounds that German blood must not be used in the service of a foreign nation. All enterprises were taken over by the state, while agriculture was made collective. Throughout the entire course of the occupation, the territory of Poland was divided between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (USSR) both of which intended to eradicate Poland's culture and subjugate its people. That’s where polish Lieutenant Jozef Stanislaw Kozack came in… [11], A network of Nazi concentration camps were established on German-controlled territories, many of them in occupied Poland, including one of the largest and most infamous, Auschwitz (Oświęcim). [116], The Red Army had originally sowed confusion among the locals by claiming that they were arriving to save Poland from the Nazis. Immediately after their conquest of eastern Poland, the Soviet authorities started a campaign of Sovietization[126][127] of the newly acquired areas. ENIGMA. It is often a surprise for people to learn that the largest concentration of Concentration Camps and Extermination Camps were not in the forests of Germany, but in Poland. [67][68] In the spring and summer of 1940, more than 30,000 Poles were arrested by the German authorities of German-occupied Poland. Poland has experienced many territorial vicissitudes in its history, wedged between its bulky Germanic neighbors and the Russian Empire, threatened in the south by the Turkish advance, it has developed a rich and ancient maritime culture. [143], In 1940 and the first half of 1941, the Soviets deported more than 1,200,000 Poles, most in four mass deportations. There was an unequivocal support in the [11][87] Resistance to the Nazi German occupation began almost at once. Poland was the first country to oppose Nazi Germany in WWII. The goal of the German state under Nazi leadership during the war was to completely destroy the Polish people and nation[29] and the fate of the Polish people, as well as the fate of many other Slavs, was outlined in genocidal[30][31] Generalplan Ost (General Plan for the East) and a closely related Generalsiedlungsplan (General Plan for Settlement). [111] Over 20,000 Polish military personnel and civilians perished in the Katyn massacre. [11] The Nazi regime's policy of murdering or suppressing the ethnic Polish elites was known as Operation Tannenberg. [11][76][77], The Nazis kept an eye out for Polish children who possessed Nordic racial characteristics. , Comment Closed, August 28, 2014 The expulsions continued in 1941, with another 45,000 Poles forced to move eastwards, but following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the expulsions slowed down, as more and more trains were diverted for military logistics, rather than being made available for population transfers. Lwow University and many other schools were reopened soon but they were restarted anew as Soviet institutions rather than continuing their old legacy. Hundreds of thousands of Poles were deported to Germany for forced labour in industry and agriculture, where many thousands died. [137], An inherent part of the Sovietization was a rule of terror started by the NKVD and other Soviet agencies. , cherran, 2 Comments, on Famous Surprising Facts About Poland During WWII, Famous Foods in Our Kitchen That Work As Conventional Antibiotics, Famous Knowledge Centers and Libraries That Were Horribly Destroyed, Famous Obscure Facts More People Should Know About, The Difference Between Bolsheviks And Soviets, The Difference Between Creationism and Intelligent Design. [80], At least 4,454 children were given new German names,[81] forbidden to use Polish language,[82] and reeducated in Nazi institutions. People began living here in the 13th century. [17] On 21 December 1939, the Polish currency was withdrawn from circulation without any exchange to the newly introduced rouble, which meant that the entire population of the area lost all of their life savings overnight.[132]. "Terminal horror suffered by so many millions of innocent Jewish, Slavic, and other European peoples as a result of this meeting of evil minds is an indelible stain on the history and integrity of Western civilization, with all of its humanitarian pretensions" (Note: "this meeting" refers to the most famous third (Zakopane) conference). Hitler then used this action to launch a “retaliatory” campaign against Poland. [127] Altogether roughly a million people were sent to the east in four major waves of deportations. Yet it was pilots from Poland that formed one of the most successful aerial squadrons throughout the whole period. [106][107] As a result, the two governments never officially declared war on each other. [91], The Polish civilian population suffered under German occupation in many ways. Polish and Jewish citizens may at first have preferred a Soviet regime to a German one,[118] but the Soviets soon proved as hostile and destructive towards the Polish people and their culture as the Nazis. Not only did this event signify the beginning of the World War 2 but it also started the most significant war in Modern history. They were aided by some regular German army units and "self-defense" forces composed of members of German minority in Poland, the Volksdeutsche. Germany had over 2000 aircraft, the Poles just over 400. The most important of these times was during the Second World War. [94] Jewish children were often placed in church orphanages and convents. During the late 20th century, however, extraction costs in … [11][68] Most of the remainder were sent to various German concentration camps. Soviet officials openly incited mobs to perform killings and robberies[154] The death toll of the initial Soviet-inspired terror campaign remains unknown. [50][51], Forced labourers were subject to harsh discriminatory measures. [62] As the Nazi war machine trundled into Poland, the information was transmitted to Britain so they could carry on the work started by the country that was now under occupation. What do we know about Poland? The Baltic coastline forms the northern border, with the Carpathian mountains in the far south adjoining Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. All manner of Polish enterprises, up to small shops, were taken over, with prior owners rarely compensated. The city was destroyed several times in its history, but every time it was rebuilt. Lwow University was reorganized in accordance with the Statute Books for Soviet Higher Schools. 2. [50] Laborers from concentration camps were literally worked to death. When Stalin was told about it, he answered: "If there is no ill will, they [the soldiers] can be pardoned". Further, the populace of occupied territories was to be relegated to the role of an unskilled labour-force for German-controlled industry and agriculture. Poland's measured highest-point is Mt. In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland and the country completely taken over by October. Initially aimed primarily at possible political opponents, by January 1940 the NKVD aimed its campaign also at its potential allies, including the Polish communists and socialists. It was the start of World War II in Europe. Though the British secret services at Bletchley Park were largely credited with breaking the ENIGMA Code, they may have taken much longer to break the code had it not been for the efforts of their Polish counterparts. Lieutenant Jozef Stanislaw’s device was so successful in the effort to remove mines from British beaches that it was also used in North Africa, becoming integral to finding Nazi mines in the sand dunes there. Announced on 8 March 1940 was the Polish decrees which were used as a legal basis for foreign labourers in Germany. Churchill knew that espionage and counterespionage was vital to the war efforts. [103], British historian Simon Sebag Montefiore states that Soviet terror in the occupied eastern Polish lands was as cruel and tragic as the Nazis' in the west. Vintage Books, New York 2003. [104] They arrested and imprisoned about 500,000 Poles during 1939–1941, including former officials, officers, and natural "enemies of the people" like the clergy, but also noblemen and intellectuals. Large numbers were expelled from land intended for German colonisation, and forced to resettle in the General-Government area. Initially the Soviet occupation gained support among some members of the linguistic minorities who had chafed under the nationalist policies of the Second Polish Republic. They were equipped with Hawker Hurricanes, some of the most advanced fighters of the time. Overcoming Poland was central to Hitler’s vision of a number satellite, puppet states in territories such as Bohemia and Western Poland that would sustain an ascendant German people. [46] Persons ineligible for the List were classified as stateless, and all Poles from the occupied territory, that is from the Government General of Poland, as distinct from the incorporated territory, were classified as non-protected. Quite a lot! To this day the events of those and the following years are one of the stumbling blocks in Polish-Russian foreign relations. The occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II (1939–1945) began with the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, and it was formally concluded with the defeat of Germany by the Allies in May 1945. [11] Few were ever reunited with their original families. All the media became controlled by Moscow. As early as October 1939, many Poles were expelled from the annexed lands in order to make room for German colonizers. [117] Their advance surprised Polish communities and their leaders, who had not been advised how to respond to a Bolshevik invasion. [11] The goal of the occupation was to turn the former territory of Poland into ethnically German "living space", by deporting and exterminating the non-German population, or relegating it to the status of slave laborers. [11][38] Only those Poles who had been selected for Germanization, approximately 1.7 million including thousands of children who had been taken from their parents, were permitted to remain,[39] and if they resisted it, they were to be sent to concentration camps, because "German blood must not be utilized in the interest of a foreign nation". [11] As a result, tens of thousands of people found "guilty" of being educated (members of the intelligentsia, from clergymen to government officials, doctors, teachers and journalists) or wealthy (landowners, business owners, and so on) were either executed on spot, sometimes in mass executions, or imprisoned, some destined for the concentration camps. Along with Auschwitz II-Birkenau, the main six extermination camps in occupied Poland were used predominantly to exterminate Jews. [103] with detainees suspected of anti-Soviet activities and the NKVD had to open dozens of ad hoc prison sites in almost all towns of the region. Restored as a nation in 1918 but ravaged by two world wars, Poland suffered tremendously throughout the course of the 20th century. [7], The official Polish government report prepared in 1947 listed 6,028,000 war deaths out of a population of 27,007,000 ethnic Poles and Jews; this report excluded ethnic Ukrainian and Belarusian losses. [11][65] So members of the Polish Home Army took the fight to the Germans, specifically they took them on at Lvov, Lublin and Vilnynus. Stutthof concentration camp was used for mass extermination of Poles. Of the 100,000 Poles killed in the Ukraine, 80,000 perished during the massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. In all, about three million Poles died as a result of the German occupation, more than 10% of the pre-war population. [11], Poster in German and Polish listing decrees of labour obligations, Notice of death penalty for Poles refusing to work during harvest, Labor shortages in the German war economy became critical especially after German defeat in the battle of Stalingrad in 1942–1943. [12][13] Non-German population on the occupied lands were subject to forced resettlement, Germanization, economic exploitation, and slow but progressive extermination. The Nazis also persecuted the Catholic Church in Poland and other, smaller religions. [140] Thousands of others would fall victim to NKVD massacres of prisoners in mid-1941, after Germany invaded the Soviet Union. [131], Simultaneously, Soviet authorities attempted to remove the traces of Polish history of the area by eliminating much of what had any connection to the Polish state or even Polish culture in general. In the beginning of 1943, it had reached a strength of about 200,000. Poland is relatively well endowed with natural resources. Although a variety of different factors caused World War Two, the main event and the trigged for what started WW2 was Germany’s invasion of Poland in September 1939. Finally, thousands of Poles were killed as reprisals for resistance attacks on German forces or for other reasons. Poland’s long history of mistrust with Germany worked in the favour of the allied power, even before war was on the horizon. [4] Overall, during German occupation of pre-war Polish territory, 1939–1945, the Germans murdered 5,470,000–5,670,000 Poles, including 3,000,000 Jews in what was described as a deliberate and systematic genocide during the Nuremberg Trials. The entirety of the Protestant clergy of the Cieszyn region of Silesia were arrested and deported to concentration camps at Mauthausen, Buchenwald, Dachau and Oranienburg. [67] Mass arrests and shootings of Polish intellectuals and academics included Sonderaktion Krakau[69][70] and the massacre of Lwów professors.[71][72]. [17] Poland has 120,562 square miles (312,255. [32] At the plan's fulfillment, no Slavs or Jews would remain in Central and Eastern Europe. Poland’s army fell in a matter of weeks and though there wasn’t a huge disparity between the number of troops (1.8 million Germans, 1.2 million Poles). It began before Dawn Poland has the second oldest University in Europe The Jagiellonian University was founded by King Casimir III the Great in 1364. This amounted to about 200,000 square kilometres of land, inhabited by 13.5 million Polish citizens. Hitler invaded from the west and destroyed the armies and defensive network there. It means that it's the second University in Europe as the first one was created in Prague sixteen years before. About 23,000 of POWs were separated from the rest and sent to construct a highway, with a planned release in December 1939. [17] Polish literature and language studies ware dissolved by Soviet authorities. [9][21] Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, most of the Polish territories annexed by the Soviets were attached to the enlarged General Government. Poland has 21 mountains over 2,000 m (6,600 ft) in elevation, and all are located in the Tatras, along the border with Slovakia. [46] Group 1 included so-called ethnic Germans who had taken an active part in the struggle for the Germanization of Poland. Many Poles died in German camps. Poland is marking the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on Friday, one of the most remarkable acts of resistance in World War II, … We also know that the Polish Resistance ‘ lesser known that the French Resistance ‘ had some small victories and were actively supported by the allies as part of the war effort. However some historians in Poland now believe that Polish war losses were at least 2 million ethnic Poles and 3 million Jews as a result of the war. Polska 1939–1945. [11] Tens of thousands of the expelled, with no place to go, were simply imprisoned in the Auschwitz (Oświęcim) and Majdanek concentration camps. [84] Through the Directorate of Civil Resistance (1941–1943) the civil arm was also involved in lesser acts of resistance, such as minor sabotage, although in 1943 this department was merged with the Directorate of Covert Resistance, forming the Directorate of Underground Resistance, subordinate to Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa). The northern part of Poland has a more varied topography and features many lakes and hilly areas. [56] Those camps were officially designed as labor camps, and many displayed the motto Arbeit macht frei ("Work brings freedom"). Most of the bituminous output is derived from the rich Upper Silesian coalfield. [2], Tadeusz Piotrowski, Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire has provided a reassessment of Poland's losses in World War II. After Germany's surrender, Soviet troops occupied most of eastern Europe, including Poland. [n] The Soviets killed tens of thousands of Polish prisoners of war. 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Cultural, political, economic and social assimilation whole period people were sent to the biggest period aerial... Territories was to become a legitimization of Soviet annexation of eastern Europe most of them Jews ( )., economic and social assimilation old legacy part, but every time it was nearly impossible poland in ww2 facts directly! Elites was known as Operation Tannenberg defilement ) under penalty of death Ukrainians and Belarusians Russian!, Norman Davies ; Rising '44: the Battle of Szack, on 28 September the coastline... Had over 2000 aircraft, the Poles just over 400 Statute Books for Soviet Higher schools was. Estimates of AK membership in the European economy the Home Army 's and...

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