Polish Tragedy: Warsaw Uprising Of 1944.

Warsaw Uprising 1944 German soldiers hiding behind pillarse Grand Opera Warsaw  crush  uprising
German soldiers hiding behind the pillars of the Grand Opera in Warsaw as they crush the uprising.

The Polish are a very fiercely proud people. So when the Treaty of Versailles gave birth to an independent Poland in 1919, it delighted the Polish heart. But not for long. In 1939 Germany and Soviet Russia swallowed it up after partitioning it.

1944. The Germans are being beaten thoroughly by the advancing Red Army. The Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, the non-communists) thought the time was ripe to throw the Germans out themselves so that they could claim the right to rule Poland in a post-German era.

The Home Army thought that the Red Army on the other side of the Vistula would lent a helping hand. But the Russians just watched as the Uprising was brutally crushed by the Germans.

Many say Stalin did not help the uprising because he wanted a pro-Soviet communist government in Poland. This is partly the truth. The Red Army had been on the heels of the retreating Germans for months after Operation Bagration. The supply lines were stretched. The Russians soldiers were tired.

But one must admire the bravery of the Polish who took on the Germans themselves in 1944. What happened is a heart-wrenching story of how the Germans squashed the Warsaw Uprising and eliminated the brave men of Armia Krajowa.

Warsaw insurgents put up  barricade  street September Uprising 1944
Warsaw insurgents put up a barricade on a Warsaw street. September 1944.

SS non-commissioned officer inspects  bodies  two  Warsaw insurgents November 1944 Uprising
A SS non-commissioned officer inspects the bodies of two of the Warsaw insurgents killed in the Old Town. November 1944.

German prisoners captured by Warsaw insurgents near building  Polish telephone company Uprising 1944
A group of German prisoners captured by Warsaw insurgents near the building of the Polish telephone company. August 1944. Don't be confused by the guards wearing German Stahlhelm helmets. The Polish fighters used them too.

Polish Home Army fighters  with  7.92 machine gun Warsaw Uprising 1944
Moments of despair. Polish Home Army fighters  with a 7.92 machine gun (A Polish version of the American Browning gun) in October 1944 sometime before surrender to the Germans in the center of a devastated Warsaw.

September 7 1944 Representatives  Polish Red Cross arrive blindfolded to meet German military policemen  negotiate safe passage civilians Warsaw Uprising 1944
September 7, 1944. Representatives of the Polish Red Cross arrive blindfolded to meet German military policemen to negotiate safe passage of civilians.

Armia Krajowa fighters ride  captured German armored carrier streets  Warsaw August 1944 uprising
Armia Krajowa fighters ride a captured German armored carrier on the streets of Warsaw. August 1944.

Warsaw uprising  brutally broken by  SS, Police penal battalions and Russian collaborators
The uprising was brutally broken by the SS, Police, penal battalions and Russian collaborators. Men from the Russian People's Liberation Army are seen here with SS men.

German collaborators included  Russian Cossacks Warsaw Uprising 1944
German collaborators included the Russian Cossacks. Seen here are Cossacks (the one with a helmet on is an officer) watching the suppression of the uprising.

August 1944 German prisoners led by a Home Army soldier Warsaw Uprising
August 1944. German prisoners led by a Home Army soldier.

Polish civilian woman killed during  German air raid  10 Moniuszko Street, Warsaw September 1944 uprising
A Polish civilian woman killed during a German air raid at 10 Moniuszko Street, Warsaw. September 1944.

German prisoners marked with swastika line up  insurgents against  wall  ghetto  Bonifraterska Street Warsaw Uprising 1944
German prisoners marked with swastika line up by the insurgents against the wall of the ghetto on Bonifraterska Street. Were they shot later?

Germans used massive 600 mm guns  flatten insurgent positions Prudential building Warsaw Uprising 1944
The Germans used massive 600 mm guns to flatten insurgent positions. Here the Prudential building is hit. It collapsed in seconds.

Germans used Wurfrahmen 40 multiple rocket launchers against  Home Army positions September Warsaw Uprising 1944
Germans use the Wurfrahmen 40 multiple rocket launchers against the Home Army positions. September 1944.

 Warsaw burns during  Uprising 1944
 Warsaw burns during the Uprising

Polish general Komorowski  surrender  Germans October 4 Warsaw Uprising 1944
 Polish general Komorowski rides to surrender to the Germans. October 4, 1944.

Komorowski after surrender with Obergruppenfuhrer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski Warsaw Uprising 1944
Komorowski after surrender with Obergruppenfuhrer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski

Bach Zelewski welcomes back captured Germans Warsaw Uprising 1944
 Bach Zelewski welcomes back captured Germans.

Home Army fighters surrender Warsaw Uprising 1944
 Home Army fighters surrender.

Germans pull out  Armia Krajowa man from  man hole Warsaw Uprising 1944
 Germans pull out a Armia Krajowa man from a man hole

Polish insurgents hand over arms Warsaw Uprising 1944
The Polish insurgents hand over their arms.

Armia Krajowa fighters march into captivity Warsaw Uprising 1944
Armia Krajowa fighters march into captivity. Very few were left alive by the Germans.

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito