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Katyn and 'The Good War'


The decapitation of the Polish government last weekend, including President Lech Kaczynski and the military leadership, on that flight to Smolensk to commemorate the Katyn Massacre, brings to mind the terrible and tragic days and deeds of what many yet call the Good War.

From Russian reports, the Polish pilot waved off four commands from air traffic control to divert to Moscow or Minsk. The airfield at Smolensk was fogged in. There is speculation that Kaczynski, fiercely nationalistic and distrustful of Russians, may have defiantly ordered his pilot to land, rather than delay the 70th anniversary of Katyn. The symbolism is inescapable.

For it was Polish defiance of Adolf Hitler's demand to negotiate the return of Danzig, a German town put under Polish control after World War I, that gave birth to the Hitler-Stalin Pact, which led to Katyn.

After the German invasion on Sept. 1, 1939, ignited the war, Joseph Stalin attacked Poland from the east on Sept. 17, capturing much of the Polish officer corps.

In April 1940, on Stalin's order, the Soviet Secret Police, the NKVD, murdered virtually the entire leadership of the nation, including 8,000 officers and near twice that number of intellectuals and civilian leaders. Some 4,000 were shot with their hands tied behind their backs in Katyn Forest.

The Germans unearthed the bodies in 1943 and invited the Red Cross in to examine the site. Through newspapers found on the corpses, the date of the atrocity was fixed as more than a year before the German Army invaded the Soviet Union.

When Polish patriots, whose sons had flown with the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, went to Winston Churchill to demand that he get answers from Stalin about the atrocity, he brushed them off.

"There is no sense prowling around the three-year-old graves of Smolensk," said the Great Man.

At Stalin's request, Churchill bullied the Poles into acceding to Soviet annexation of all the Polish land Stalin had been awarded for signing his pact with Hitler.

At the Nuremberg trials, the Russian delegation, led by Andrei Vishinsky, the prosecutor who did Stalin's dirty work in the purge trials, charged the Germans with the massacre.

This presented a problem for the Americans and British who knew the truth. They finessed the issue by leaving the charge unresolved.

Before, during and after the Nuremberg trials that would convict the Nazis of "crimes against humanity," one of the greatest crimes against humanity in history was being committed.

Fifteen million Germans — old men, women, children — were driven like cattle out of ancestral homes in Prussia, Pomerania, Brandenburg, Silesia and the Sudetenland.

As human rights champion Alfred de Zayas wrote in his courageous "Nemesis at Potsdam: The Expulsion of the Germans From the East," perhaps 2 million died in the exodus. Few German women in Eastern Europe escaped rape.

The Allies turned a blind eye to the monstrous atrocity, as ancient names vanished. Memel became Klaipeda. Prussia disappeared. Koenigsberg, the city of Immanuel Kant, became Kaliningrad. Danzig became Gdansk. Breslau became Wroclaw.

"The Germans deserved it, for what they did," comes the retort.

Undeniably, the Nazi atrocities were numerous and horrible — against Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews.

Yet, it was innocent Germans who paid for the crimes of the guilty Germans.

What happened in Eastern and Central Europe from 1939 to 1948 provided proof, if any more were really needed, of the truth of W.H. Auden's insight in his poem "September 1, 1939": "Those to whom evil is done do evil in return."

At war's end, Churchill and Harry Truman agreed to repatriate 2 million Soviet prisoners of war to Stalin, none of whom wished to go back. For return to Russia meant death at the railhead or a short brutal life at slave labor in the Gulag Archipelago.

Operation Keelhaul was the name given the Allied collusion with the Red Army in transferring these terrified POWs back to their deaths at the hands of the same Soviet butchers who had done the murdering at Katyn.

On Sept. 3, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany to restore the integrity and independence of Poland. For this great goal they converted a German-Polish clash that lasted three weeks — into a world war lasting six years.

And was Poland saved? No. Poland was crucified.

As a consequence of the war begun on her behalf, millions of Poles — Jews and Catholics alike — perished, the Katyn massacre was carried out, the Home Army was annihilated, the nation suffered five years of Nazi rule and almost half a century of communist persecution.

The tragedy of today is that it was men of the postwar generation, like Lech Kaczynski, who kept the faith of their fathers and led Poland out of that darkness into the sunlight of freedom, who died seeking to pay homage to their fathers who suffered one of the greatest crimes of that bloodiest of centuries.

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



5 Comments | Post Comment
To Mr. Pat Buchanan,

Put aside all the controversy concerning the Catholic Church.
When one of Effinger's victims sued the archdiocese, lost because of the statute of limitations, and Weakland countersued and extracted $4,000 from the victim of the predator priest, did the Church do anything to prevent it, or, barring that, did the Church immediately write a $4,000 check to right this despicable wrong?
It seems to me that the meaning of being a "good Christian", was lost on the Church!

This was written with the utmost respect, as I adore your columns and every appearance and commentary on MSNBC.

Thank you for your time,
Steve Rappaport
Comment: #1
Posted by: Steve Rappaport
Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:43 AM
Danzig was not "put under Polish control". It was a "Free estate" like Luxembourg, albeit under "protection" of the League of nations, Poland having some priveges in Danzig. And the offer by Germany to the Poles was as generous as anybody could imagine. It included the acknowledgement of the Polish frontiers and a German guarantee of these frontiers. No other German chancellor since WWI was able and willing to grant the large German, Lithuanian, Cek, and Ukranian territories conquered by Poland after the truce of WWI. Hitler in addition offered a non aggression treaty for 25 years and a mutual solution of the pending minority issues. Poland had robbed together so many minority areas, that some 40% of the population was other than ethnic Poles! And Poland treated its minorities as we know today of the treatment of Palestinians in Palestine. More than a million Germans had been driven out of their homes between 1918 and 1939. In 1939, more than 100.000 Germans had to flee Poland, some hid in the woods to avoid the Polish atrocities.
Hitler demanded negotiations about free access to Danzig and East Prussia from Berlin and the return of Danzig, which was by 97% a German city, but the privileges of Poland were to be maintained! The answer of Poland was mobilization of its army, aggravating the atrocities against its German minority and numerous violations of the German frontier by Polish military, raids against German villages and outposts on German soil.
Hitler had no other choice than to declare war to save the lives of the many hundred thousands of the German minority in Poland. He did not expect Chamberlain to declare war against the Reich, since the issue between Poland and Germany lied clear and open. Hitler was not aware that the British had put up a trap to destroy their economic competitor.
Comment: #2
Posted by: dr. Gunther Kümel
Wed May 26, 2010 1:26 AM
Katyn has become the symbol of allied hypocrisies, a clownery within the farce called "Nuremberg Trial": American and British "judges" listened patiently, while the Soviet "judge" in gruesome detail accused the Germans of a monstruous crime - a crime Stalin had ordered himself, personally (which, of course, was known to everybody present in Nuremberg).
These were glorious times, folks. Our laptop historians adore Nuremberg: you could invent whatever you want and accuse the Germans with whatever atrocity you like: there was nobody to object, the kangaroo court lost no time in investigations.
These were the times when the six million and the Gas Chambers have been invented ...
Comment: #3
Posted by: Sylvie
Thu May 27, 2010 7:45 PM
Danzig, our beloved Homeland, was established by solemn Treaty, the Treaty of Versailles, as a Free State.
A State once established by solemn Treaty that status cannot ever be repudiated!
Therefore, under International Law, The Free State of Danzig to this very Day, do still exist.
Yes, there cannot be any doubt that we were all of German heritage, to 97.6%!
More about Danzig can be seen on our Web site:
But Poland did not ever want to let us, some 408,000 of us Danziger occupying nearly 2,000 sq km of territory, a piece of Prime Real Estate, with a Harbour City to boot, twice the size of present Singapore, live in peace!
Polish argument and logic went like this: "The River Vistula, that is one of the Main Waterways in Europe, primarily flows through Poland!
Therefore, the Poles argued, the Mouth of the River must belong to Poland as well!
Against this, the River Rhein flows primarily through Germany, but the Mouth of the River is occupied by the Dutch.
Now, what kind of reaction would there be from the Dutch people if the Germans would claim it, and throw the whole of the Dutch population into the North Sea?
No, it was not Germany, or Hitler, that wanted War! It was the Polish State, and greed, that gave the World WW II.
And what did happen to all of us Danziger living under the protection of the Geneva League of Nations?
The UNO sat in judgement over our fate, wiped us of all Maps of the World, and allowed, even encouraged, wholesale Genocide of our people!
Comment: #4
Posted by: Ernst F. Kriesner
Mon May 31, 2010 8:48 PM
Howdy! One day late afternoon in 2002 I found a book named The forced war. And It opened window into totaly diferent world as I knew from living in Tchechoslovakia. Very first thing was thet I found answer for Katyn masakre.
At end of WWI there were 2 revolutions in Russia.So called February revolution and later Bolshevik revolution both conected to The global financial oligarchs and followed big thievery in Russia. Poland was reborn and Ukraine declared indenpendence. We have to say that partition of Poland got roots inside. It was fight of polish oligarchs so they split Poland and asked causins for patronage. In 1918 Poland wanted conect with Polish-Lithuanian kingdom, whioch was biggest country in europe in 16. century. There was also involved Vatikan and jesuits, black pope, with their vison of big Poland from Baltic thru Black sea to Adriatic. So when Ukraine declared indenpendence Poland invaded it and into Kiyv. Were defeated by soviet army with Uncle Joe ( Joseph Stalin ) as chief comander. Joseph repeated polish attack and to the gates of Warsaw in 1920. Was defeated and poland took arround 25 000 POW whom world have not seen since then. So Uncle Joe was waiting 20 years for revenge. As he get chance he did it. He punished polish military in Katyn. Eye for an eye. The justice was satisfied. Polland can be happy that it was dictator Uncle Joe ( so called by Wall Street ) and not democrator . Otherwise Poland could get carpet bombing like Guernica or Dresden. Putin repeated what I found in 2002.
We listen everybody we read everything. But we all always do our own research. Start at wikipedia
Book The Forced war also get me some points into puizzle of other genocide- Auschwitz. Wikipedia say that there was certeain time when jews were put into gas chambers. Then I found that only hungarian jws were put straight into gas chamber withou beeing use by corposcist Ig Farben as slave labor and giunea pigs. Answer is : It was hungarian jew Bela Kuhn and his commando who killed russian tsar and his family. And ya all klnow that Dolphy didnt like jews, because he mistakenly thoutght that jews were behind bolshevik revolution and communist uprising in germany in 20-ties. As one great american said: Track the money.
I love how Ya all use word nacism in conection with genocide during WWII. The genocide was caused not because national socialism but because corporate fascism as wass all the times in the past since Oliwer Cromwell took Irish prisoners for slave labor into colonies, then british islels had been cleared from white trash. We got two genocides in India in 1856 and 1877. 10 and 30 milion people died. We can go thru great potato famine, when 2/3 of Ireland population had been starved to death. In 1902 we can find korpofascists concentration camps in south africa during Boer wars. 150K kidz and womand starved to death. Last great genocide happened in Kenya in 1950's.
And last thing to remember. Ya all know how life looks in South America. Dont you? And now just think where corpofascist IG Farben moved their reserves after WWII.
We can see that for great genocide is not necesary nacism. But corpofascists are involved in 100% of cases, including Yugoslavia. So nacism is probably not so bad as corpofascims. Symbol of corpopfascism is fasces.
So God bless ya all!
Comment: #5
Posted by: Pedro
Tue Jun 1, 2010 5:49 PM
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