'Nobody in Poland cares about WWII anymore': Warsaw ignores 75th anniversary of its liberation from fascism
The Polish people aren't interested in the events of the past, being fully consumed by their daily hassles, and the country's authorities are using this to their advantage, freely rewriting WWII history, academics told RT.
Warsaw was taken from the Nazis on January 17, 1945, after a large-scale offensive by the Red Army and the Polish forces. The 75th anniversary of the historic victory is marked on Friday, but the capital of Poland isn't preparing for any celebrations.
The fact that the USSR liberated Warsaw from the Nazis is "diminished" in schoolbooks and ignored by Polish media "because we live in country where Russophobia is one of the pillars," military historian Michal Glock said.
The capital's Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and his liberal Civic Platform party are "responsible for destroying monuments dedicated to Polish and Soviet soldiers and partly [responsible] for erasing the information that Warsaw was liberated by the Red Army and its allies, such as the Polish 1st and 2nd Armies, from the memory of the residents," Glock added.
Older people are aware [of] who liberated our capital city, but the younger generation lives in ignorance.
Those who are interested in history only study the Warsaw Uprising, which was a massive –though failed– attempt by the Polish resistance to reclaim the capital from its Nazi invaders, the historian pointed out.Also on rt.com ‘Terrible mistake’? Polish PM slams Netflix over documentary implying Poland shared responsibility for Nazi crimes
In the version of history that is promoted by the current Polish authorities, "the liberation of Warsaw (but also the whole of Poland) was part of a second occupation. The Nazi troops were replaced by the Red Army."
Glock considers this angle "dangerous" and "very confusing," especially considering the fact that the Nazis were planning a genocide of the Polish population.
"After Jews and gypsies [were sent] to gas chambers, the Poles were supposed to go there. The Red Army saved us from genocide, not only planned by the Germans, but also by the Ukrainian nationalists."
He said that the "saddest thing" is that his fellow historians do nothing to stop the rewriting of history "in fear of being accused of favoring Russia and President Putin."
'A key battle for the outcome of WWII'
Glock's evaluation of his colleagues appears to be quite accurate, as many other Polish historians approached by RT refused to discuss the matter. And the few who did respond asked that their names be omitted, and simply relayed the stance of the country's authorities.
One of them said that the liberation of Warsaw isn't celebrated simply because nobody in Poland cares about World War II anymore. People are more interested in rising prices, the taxes they have to pay, and other daily concerns, he explained.
What the Polish authorities are trying to erase from history was actually an operation that was "enormously important" for the whole outcome of World War II, British historian Michael Jones told RT.
The liberation of Warsaw came shortly after the Battle of the Bulge, a successful counter-offensive that was launched by the Nazis in mid-December 1944. It saw four allied armies encircled and destroyed, leaving the anti-Hitler coalition (USSR, UK, US) "greatly shocked," he recalled.Also on rt.com Alliance between Berlin & Warsaw? New docs reveal what pushed USSR towards Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Soviet offensive on the Polish capital "was brought forward… at the request of the Western allies and destroyed much of the German Army's capabilities." It was highly praised by British PM Winston Churchill and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the iconic Yalta Conference in February 1945, the historian added.
Jones said he's confident that "it's always important that we keep debating the past," but it has nothing to do with "a tendency in recent times to simply blame the Soviet Union and now Russia for everything that goes wrong."
The fact is that during World War ll "we were all working together in common cause to defeat fascism," he said.
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