Miracle of the Vistula

Saturday, May 6, AD 2017


A nice video of the Battle of Warsaw in 1920 where the Poles scored an upset victory against the invading Soviet Red Army, securing Polish independence and giving the nascent Communist movement its first serious defeat.  Poland has helped save Western civilization several times, but on few occasions have the odds been bleaker than a bit over 97 years ago.  All the Poles had to rely on was God, themselves and their laughing courage, but they were enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

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6 Responses to Miracle of the Vistula

  • I like to think they were supported by an Army of Angels. Victory belongs to The God of Hosts. Victory is not always granted to the stronger, more numerous foe.

    God bless the courageous, long-suffering people of Poland.

    Keep the Faith.

  • Poland’s Army was led by Marshal Jozef Pilsudski. Pilsudski was an amazing man, but nobody’s idea of a devout Catholic. The book Unvanquished is a story of Pilsudski’s life. There is a good writeup of him on the website badassoftheweek.com, but beware of the foul language.

    Little known in the West is that the newly reformed Republic of Poland was a mess of a nation in November 1918. 123 years of partition left Poland with railroads of different gauges, different currencies, a devastated infrastructure (WWI was very rough on Poland) and Poles were conscripted to fight for Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. When the armistice was declared, Austria and Russia had previously withdrawn from Polish territory, but Germany had no intention of doing so. The Poles fought a series of skirmishes against the Germans before they withdrew from Greater Poland. Poland and Czechoslovakia then bickered over a part of Silesia, which the Czechs seized while the Poles were fighting the Soviets.

    Lloyd George was very dismissive of Poland and didn’t lift a finger to help the Poles fight the Red Army. Had the West any sense, they would have assisted Pilsudski and crushed the Communist dictatorship before it did damage.

    I am not aware of any other nation that traces its beginning to its simultaneous conversion to the Catholic Church. Poland was formed in 966, at the same time Mieszko I accepted the Catholic faith. This led to the Poles being opened up to the world of Western learning that had accumulated since before the time of Christ and was preserved and grown through the efforts of the monasteries. As such, Poland has always considered itself to be a nation of Western Europe.

    God, honor, country.

  • Penguins Fan.

    Thank you.
    Poland’s faith and resolve is inspiring.
    In the Spring of 1938 three of my favorite Saints lived in a fifteen mile radius of each other. Warsaw.

    At seventeen Karol Wojtyla was graduating from his high school. Of course a valedictorian. Across town, on her death bed, Sr. Faustina giving her final sufferings to the Father in union to Jesus’ sufferings for the conversion of sinners. She was 33 years old. At that same time Fr. Maximilian Kolbe was celebrating Mass at his friary, City of the Immaculate..aka Niepokalanow in polish. His age 44. He, standing unafraid in the face of the mighty storm about to hit Eroupe.

    Poland is a treasure, a source of Grace in a world in need. Today’s America would do well to honor God through our Lady as our Polish neighbors do.

  • Honor God through our Lady meaning that we consecrate ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This being a channel of grace efficacious for souls, community and country.

  • With all that Poland has overcome it is sad to watch her die slowly from birth control.

  • Ken, it isn’t just that. As a result of joining the EUEUmany young people have left for England and France for job opportunities. Not all of them return.
    At present, the Polish government changed its law regarding those deported by Stalin and their descendants and created a Law of Return of sorts for those exiled all over the former Soviet Union.

John Paul II: Nine Days That Changed the World

Monday, July 12, AD 2010

Nine Days That Changed the World is a film produced by Citizens United, Newt Gingrich’s, former Republican Speaker of the House and Catholic convert, group.  That Gingrich produced it will probably reduce the number of people who will see the film, due to the fact that Gingrich is subject to legitimate criticism for his past infidelities to his first two wives, and because he is a devil figure for the Left.  That is a shame because this film is a thoughtful look at one of the pivotal events in the last century:  the unraveling of the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, which began in Poland and was directly sparked by the visit of John Paul II in 1979 who inspired Lech Walesa and other Poles to found Solidarity and give voice to the Polish cry for freedom that ultimately prevailed.

In his address to the civil authorities in Poland on June 2, 1979, the Pope touched upon the never ending desire of the Poles for their independence:

We Poles feel in a particularly deep way the fact that the raison d’être of the State is the sovereignty of society, of the nation, of the motherland. We have learned this during the whole course of our history, and especially through the hard trials of recent centuries. We can never forget that terrible historical lesson—the loss of the independence of Poland from the end of the eighteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. This painful and essentially negative experience has become as it were a new forge of Polish patriotism. For us, the word “motherland” has a meaning, both for the mind and for the heart, such as the other nations of Europe and the world appear not to know, especially those nations that have not experienced, as ours has, historical wrongs, injustices and menaces. And thus the last World War and the Occupation, which Poland experienced, were still for our generation such a great shock thirty-five years ago when this war finished on all fronts. At this moment there began the new period of the history of our motherland. We cannot however forget everything that influenced the experiences of the war and of the Occupation. We cannot forget the sacrifice of the lives of so many men and women of Poland. Neither can we forget the heroism of  the Polish soldier who fought on all fronts of the world “for our freedom and for yours”.

We have respect for and we are grateful for every help that we received from others at that time, while we think with sadness of the disappointments that we were not spared.

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One Response to John Paul II: Nine Days That Changed the World

Polish President, Top Brass, Die in Plane Crash Over Russia

Saturday, April 10, AD 2010

The London Daily Telegraph is reporting that Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, the Polish army chief, and most of the Polish political elite and their wives perished in a plane crash over Russia.

“It clipped the tops of the trees, crashed down and broke into pieces,” Mr. Sergei Antufiev reported of the Polish plane carrying President Lech Kaczynski how it crashed.  “There were no survivors.” Polish state news agency PAP reported the same.

In the case of a president’s death, the speaker of the lower chamber of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, takes over as head of state, Mr Komorowski’s assistant Jerzy Smolinski told Reuters.

Poland declared a week of national mourning as shocked citizens flocked to lay flowers and light candles outside the seat of government.

Notable Catholic blogger Damian Thompson, understanding the Polish people’s propensity for conspiracy theories, is speculating that many will begin blaming a cabal of Russian agencies for this tragic accident.

Let us keep those that have died and the grieving Polish people in our prayers.

For more breaking news of the tragic death of Polish President Lech Kaczynski click here.

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11 Responses to Polish President, Top Brass, Die in Plane Crash Over Russia

  • A terrible tragedy for a great people:

    May their souls rest in peace.

  • Amen to that, Donald.

  • “…and make eternal Light to shine upon them.”

  • It’s also worth mentioning that Bishop Tadeusz Ploski, the head of the military ordinate in Poland, also perished in the crash.

  • “A terrible tragedy for a great people.”

    Indeed. I recall my mom (who passed away recently) remarking when Pope John Paul II was elected, that if any nation deserved to have a pope of its own, it was Poland, whose people had steadfastly kept their faith under communism all the while Italians were ELECTING communists to public office.

    We should remember them tomorrow on Divine Mercy Sunday — a feast we owe to two Poles, St. Faustina Kowalska and Pope John Paul II.

  • …Shoot, I’m not prone to conspiracy theories and this sounds like the opening for a really, really bad conspiracy movie.

    Poland is “less developed”?

  • This is quite a shock – hadn’t heard of this till I came onto the blog.
    No doubt it’ll be all over the TV news in half an hour.

    Thanks for that youtube clip Don.

    I recall my father speaking very highly of the Polish soldiers during the Italian Campaign in WW2 when Kiwis and Poles, together with Canadians, South Africans and Gurkas fought together. When I was a lad, I knew several of dad’s friends who fought in the NZ squadrons in the RAF who also spoke very highly of the Poles. Only trouble was, they couldn’t carry on a conversation with them. (language) 😉

  • ace,

    You’re deranged.

  • Ace’s comment has now entered the Trash dimension Don! For the Poles Don, they rightly thought they were fighting a Crusade druing World War II.

  • It was reported that one of the three original leaders of Solidarity movement was on that plane also. I remember the first or second strike (1980) a priest came to speak to our prayer group rode up on his motorcycle with a bumper sticker Proud to be Polish. These events gave us such hope.

  • Ah, I have been busy with other matters and haven’t been online – but these deaths have greatly saddened me. I’m half Polish and my late mother was both very devout and very proud of her Polish heritage. Playing the comparison game is odious, but if Ireland was misruled by Britain for centuries, consider the lot of poor Poland, with not one, but two powerful and ruthless neighbors – Russia and Germany – to contend with. It was my hope, after Communism fell (much credit to the Pope and the brave men and women of Solidarity)that Poland’s story would finally be a happy one. This tragedy, coming on top of so many others in Polish history – well, my heart and prayers go out to those people.

    But the silver lining is that democracy in Poland is strong. Unlike many in the West, they are not a people who take their freedom for granted.

Poland And Russia Battle Over WWII History

Tuesday, September 1, AD 2009

Today is the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II as Germany bombarded Westerplatte with canon fire.  Katyn massacre posterEventually Germany made peace with their neighbors by recognizing the role they played in the devastation of Europe.  Since then Europe has experienced only one conflict[1] since the end of World War II.

But Russia remains another matter.

Russia continues to be belligerent in their interpretation of the war.  Denying much culpability in their conflict with Poland and even insinuating of Polish-German designs on the Soviet Union.

In the days leading up to anniversary, Russian media has aired a string of accusations against Poland, claiming that Warsaw intended to collaborate with Hitler in an invasion of the Soviet Union, and that Jozef Beck, Poland’s foreign minister in 1939, was a German agent. Moscow broadcasters have also claimed that there was a “German hand” in the 1940 Katyn massacre of thousands of Polish PoWs, an atrocity generally held to have been the exclusive work of Stalin’s secret police.

In fairness, the de facto ruler of Russia, Vladimir Putin, did offer a conciliatory tone relating to Russia’s aggression towards Poland:

“Our duty is to remove the burden of distrust and prejudice left from the past in Polish-Russian relations,” wrote Mr Putin, who went on to describe the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as “immoral”, and also thanked Poland “from the bottom of my heart” for the 600,000 Poles who fought on the Eastern Front under Red Army command.

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12 Responses to Poland And Russia Battle Over WWII History

  • Great post, Tito–and an important reminder of the world-spanning nightmare that began on this day.

    I grit my teeth to say this, given that Putin is nothing short of a murderous thug, but his statement is an excellent one. Given where Russia is now, his opinion counts for more than the increasingly rabid pro-state media’s. Or Dmitri Medvedev’s.

  • I agree, Mr. Medvedev is nothing more than a symbolic leader.

    I don’t see Russia apologizing for anything in the near future. If the current Oil drop in prices hasn’t shaken Russia, then nothing will.

    Russia needs to admit their role in World War II of being more than a ‘benevolent liberator’.

  • I grit my teeth to say this, given that Putin is nothing short of a murderous thug…

    As if the ex-KGB, who himself was responsible for many heinous crimes, could actually be considered anything less than.

  • It’s nitpicking, but I think the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, to cite but one instance, would count as another European conflict post-1945.

  • This is the kind of “nitpicking” I actually appreciate.

    Well done.

  • Putin might also call immoral the fact that the Red Army stood by and did nothing after the Polish Home Army rose in revolt in Warsaw in 1944 while the Soviets were at the very gates of Warsaw. For 63 days the Soviets did nothing to aid the uprising. They allowed the use of Soviet air bases by the Western Allies dropping supplies to the Poles only near the end of the rising after the Soviets knew it was nearing defeat. As ever, Stalin was only too happy to have Hitler kill Poles for him.

  • Don:

    You can hardly blame the Soviets for being the Soviets. A successful Polish Home Army would have been a potential contender for power in post war Poland.

    As Professor Norman Davies points out in his history of the Warsaw Rising much of the blame for the rising failure can be laid at the feet of the British and the US governments which encouraged the Poles to revolt and promised assistance when they had no way to provide such assistance and knew such resistance would be futile but would aid them by tying up German troops.


    The Poles – as before the war – were fools to depend on the assurances of countries that had no means by which to provide assistance.

  • Bloody murderers Awakaman can always be blamed for being bloody murderers. I have read Davies’ book and as usual he mixes insight and rubbish. It was the Polish government in exile in England that was pushing for the revolt. The Americans and Brits could care less since holding down troops in Poland, which never amounted to more than a few low grade Wehrmacht divisions diverted from the Eastern front, was of little consequence to the Western allies. They wanted more recruits for the Polish forces fighting in the West and operations in Poland were a very low priority for the Brits and the Americans.

    As for the Poles being fools, they fought gallantly throughout WW2 against foes seeking to exterminate them. They engaged in no action against Hitler or Stalin in 1939, but they were a marked nation. Against all the odds they have outlived as a people both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. I regard them not as fools but as rather one of the more heroic nations that fought in WW2.

  • BA,

    Not at all, it isn’t nitpicking.

    I’m a history aficionado and so I’m surprised that I forgot about the Hungarian Revolution of ’56.

    Good catch!

  • As Professor Norman Davies points out in his history of the Warsaw Rising much of the blame for the rising failure can be laid at the feet of the British and the US governments

    And professors can always be blamed for being professors.

    “What is the function of intellectuals, but to tell us that things are not as ordinary people perceive them?” – Fr. Neuhaus.

  • usa stood by and watched more than 20 million russians getting killed. When the Sovietuning was standing before poland they “interveined”.
    Usa the great liberator….

    Who else when not russia?

  • What complete rubbish. The US provided extensive lend lease aid to the Soviets throughout the war, which included hundreds of thousands of vehicle and extensive food aid to feed the Red Army. The British and the Americans tied down one-third of the Wehrmacht in the West throughout the war, and the bomber fleets of the British and the Americans devastated Germany and forced the Luftwaffe to redeploy from the Russian front many of their fighter squadrons in order to defend Germany from the Allied bombers.