12 Sept 12
The Katyn Forest Massacre, April and May of 1940
Hitler’s motorized, mechanized army swept into Poland on 1 Sept 39 (Friday). German tanks casually rolled over conventional defensive positions. Modern German aircraft struck targets far to the rear. Some Polish aircraft did make it into the air, but, when they returned to their bases they had no place to land, because airstrips had been cratered.
Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938 had been accomplished via clever political maneuvering with hardly a shot being fired, but, in their wildest imagination, no one thought a nation like Poland, which boasted a three-million man army, could be overwhelmed and overrun in a mere thirty days. When it happened, the world went into shock!
On 23 Aug 1939, Hitler and Stalin had unexpectedly signed a nonaggression pact! Germany no longer had to fear interference from Russia. Political wimps in France and England were, as always, panicked into indecision.
Poland’s inept dictator, Martial Edward “Smigley” (lightning) Rydz, critically misjudged Hitler’s resolve and capability. Rydz’s own army was large, but ponderous, slow, and badly outdated. In the end, his horse-drawn forces were no match for mechanized Germans!
Many brave Polish soldiers died defending their country, but, in addition, tens of thousands of Polish civilians were subsequently massacred by pitiless German invaders. Poland’s brief and painful twenty-one year history as a sovereign nation was at an end! After the War, Poland was immediately subjugated by the Soviets (with the blessing of then US president Harry Truman) and would not regain national independence again until 13 Sept 1989, fifty years later, almost to the day!
On the seventeenth day of the German invasion, Russian forces invaded Poland from the East! Polish forces were ordered not to resist the Russians, because, in the beginning at least, many naively believed Russians were there to assist Poland in ejecting German invaders. No such luck! Hitler and Stalin had obviously agreed to cut-up Poland when they signed their pact a month earlier. Thirteen days later, Poland’s ignominious defeat was complete!
Russian forces captured, mostly without resistance, thousands of Polish army officers, and large numbers of others among Poland’s educated class. Many had been captured by Germans, but were later given over to the Russians. They were all subsequently transported to prison camps in Russia. There, in the spring of 1940, they were summarily executed, on direct orders from Stalin, by the dreaded NKVD (later, the KGB). Most were shot in the back of the head, after being bound. All murders took place at night. NKVD officers used, in many cases, German pistols (7.65 mm Walther PPK) and ammunition in an attempt to cast blame upon the Nazis when bodies were eventually discovered.
Numbers of thus murdered Pols is conservatively estimated at 22,000! Murders took place in the remote Katyn Forest on Russia’s western frontier, and numerous other places.
Paradoxically, invading Nazi forces discovered some of the mass graves at Katyn in 1943. Stalin immediately blamed them, knowing full-well who was really responsible. Only recently (1990) have the Russians (Mikhail Gorbachev) officially, sheepishly admitted it was them all along!
American President, FDR, and British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, both knew, almost as soon as the first bodies were discovered, that Stalin was responsible, not the Nazis. However both, afraid of Stalin’s reaction if the truth were generally known, went along with the “Nazi theory” to the end of the War, deeming politics to be more important than pesky “moral issues.” And, this popular, government-manufactured myth endured for the next fifty years. Even today, many pro-Soviet voices continue to deny Stalin’s guilt. The same people also deny the Holocaust ever took place!
Stalin knew Poland was an up-and-coming nation, destined for stardom on the world stage, and he also knew Pols feared him, as well as Russia’s “amoebic” foreign policy. Murdering much of Poland’s educated class, he calculated, would retard the nation’s post-war development and thus make it easy pickings for him. To Stalin (who, by comparison, makes Hitler look downright enlightened) human lives and suffering meant nothing!
Just as is the case today, mindless belief in a particular political/religious philosophy, no matter how blatantly false, is demanded of all by those in power as an “act of faith.” Truth is always the first casualty. And, our cowardly news media invariably goes right along with it. Thorough, unbiased investigation is never allowed when it is likely to embarrass certain politicians!
American politicians are, unhappily, not above such things. Nor, is the American electorate!
“The fact that an opinion is widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd! Indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely foolish than sensible.”
“What is wanted is not the ‘will to believe,’ but the ‘will to find out,’ which is, of course, the exact opposite.”