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The Katyn Forest Massacre

Article about: Or.......maybe the guy who originally made the poster just liked the way the couple of slanted letter tops looked...never knowing that someday in the future someone would "patent"

  1. #121

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by dastier View Post
    I am dismayed how the brutality committed against Poles was, and still is, so easily brushed aside by many historians and world leaders.
    Sadly, the slaughter of Eastern Europeans has always been strangely paid little attention to. Another example are the atrocities of the Ustasha and the Serbs. No one seemed to care then and they still do not seem to. The lands of Eastern Europe must be covered with unmarked and forgotten mass graves over the centuries....One wonders how many beautiful houses, hotels and resorts,roads and rural farms are built over such horrors-all unknowing and just as likely uncaring.


    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  2. #122

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Quote by Reynard View Post
    Mmmmmm, I think it's a classic case of sweeping certain things under the carpet during wartime, simply because it's convenient to do so. From what I understand, the motives behind publicly ignoring and or denying that the Katyn massacre took place were entirely political; there was more to be gained through that denial than through condemning what took place and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

    We also have to bear in mind that Stalin, aided by the NKVD, was quite happy to conduct similar purges against his own people, never mind against those from other countries. He stripped Russia of its academics, political thinkers, industrialists and military leaders during the early to mind 1930s.

    In modern conflicts, similar incidents have made headlines and people have been convicted of crimes against Humanity - quite the contrast.
    Reynard, I was not just thinking of Stalin and the NKVD. I was also remembering how during WW1 the Germans denied the American Relief Administration access to aid Polish civilians who were suffering from starvation. You can read about this at the following link:

    Or how in a best selling history of the post WW1 Paris peace conference entitled 'Paris 1919' the author (a Canadian historian) writes how Germany, with the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk, forced the Bolsheviks to give "Germany control of a huge swath of Russian territory stretching down from the Baltic to the Caucasus Mountains." Well a good part of that 'Russian' territory was Polish - occupied by the Russians since the partition of Poland by Germany, Austro-Hungary and Russia.

    You may find this to be of interest... Polish Grey Samaritans which worked with the ARA in Poland:

    Polish Grey Samaritans...Polish- Bolshevik 1918-1921

  3. #123

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Just to bring the thread back to the Katyn massacre in which earlier I stated that the initiative for the executions of the Polish officers and PoWs came from Beria and not Stalin, who only approved Beria's proposals. Having just finished reading The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War by Dr. Halik Kochanski I feel somewhat vindicated as she writes "Stalin clearly indicated his assent to Beria's proposal" (see pages 130 -131).

    For those that have not read the book yet I paraphrase Kochanski's text:

    The NKVD interrogated all of the captured Polish Officers and came to the conclusion the majority were entirely anti-Soviet so Beria sent the memorandum of 5 March 1940 to Stalin outlining the extent of the "counter-revolutionary" sentiments of the Polish PoWs in the camps and recommended any PoWs found to be hostile to the USSR were to be executed. Stalin clearly indicated his assent to Beria's proposal.

    Kochanski aslo writes that the NKVD troika set up by Beria interrogated all of the officers offering them the prospect of going home however Merkulov reported to Beria that the majority of officers from the German territories did not want to return to occupied Poland but wanted to go to neutral countries (and France) from where they would be able to reform to fight against the Germans but also might one day end up fighting against the USSR, evidence for the latter can be found in (2) below and newspaper report attached to this post.

    Kochanski also offers four possible explanations as to why the Polish Officers were not just sent to the Gulag by Stalin where they would have typically died at a rate of 20% per year and but were instead ordered to be executed.

    1) That the NKVD were struggling with the high numbers of PoWs it was handling with the expectation of a huge influx of new Finnish PoWs from the Finnish war.

    2) Sikorski had given permission for a Polish Brigade to join the Anglo-French expeditionary force of 100,000 men to assist Finland in the war against the USSR.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    3) Almost all Soviet attempts to "re-educate" the Polish Officers had failed and the NKVD (and Stalin) did not want a large number recalcitrant prisoners in the Gulag system potentially causing trouble.

    4) A possible linkage with the German action AB against the Polish elite in occupied Poland. Ongoing Gestapo and NKVD contacts meant Stalin was kept informed on Nazi policy in Poland so may have had similar ideas for Soviet occupied Poland.

    IMO scenario 2 is the most likely reason for their execution given it ties in with the reports from the trokia interrogations re Polish officers desire to be sent to neutral countries or France rather than German occupied Poland.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  4. #124

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    The #2 makes sense, however #4 shoud be strongly considered especially the timing of it. In a couple of weeks I will post some "Action AB " Family related things.

  5. #125

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Mmmm, that's exactly it. I don't think you can pin this down onto any one single reason. It's far more likely that there are multiple motivations that led to this atrocity - that and the thought of who would profit the most through these people being dead rather than alive.

    Put it this way, if the people murdered at Katyn had not been, imagine how much harder it would have been for the wartime occupying forces (both German and Russian - as in the Molotov Ribbentrop pact) and the post war communist junta to keep a lid on the Polish nation. Without those top people, Poland was pretty much toothless, especially since the government in exile stayed in exile. Any chance of organised resistance was pretty well much wiped out.

    Either way, the Soviet ruling elite were control freaks, eliminating anyone whom they thought to be a threat. I don't think that at the time anyone could have forseen that the Allies effectively sold Poland to the Russians, but in any case, that played into their hands massively in the long run...

  6. #126

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Well spoken/written Reynard.

    Regards, Lars

  7. #127

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    If the Polish officers had not been executed they would have either remained in PoW camps or the gulag where dr. Kochanski calculates 20% would have perished or the survivors released under the "amnesty" in '41. If the released Polish officers were dispersed across the Polish Forces in the West under Allied command would they have really have made any difference to the outcome of the Polish cause or the removal of the Red Army and Polish First and Second armies from Poland 1944, IMHO not one bit?

    With their occupation of most of Europe the Germans were never going to be defeated by the British and Polish forces of the West alone... luckily Hitler invaded the USSR and the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor but this meant the Polish government-in-exile was to become toothless and increasingly irrelevant to the allies after the Soviet's entered the war in June 1941 on the Allied side and the entry of the US into the war later that year. Sikorski's untimely death and the break in diplomatic relations with the Soviet's after Katyn provided the last nail in the coffin of whatever little influence the Poles had left in the Allied camp.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  8. #128

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Yep, you've got a point that had the soldiers killed at Katyn survived, they probably wouldn't have made any difference in the removal of communist forces towards the end of WW2, 4thSkorpion; I was thinking more along the lines of dissent / civil unrest that eventually rose to the surface in the late 1970s / early 1980s. But didn't the Soviets also kill doctors, priests, civil servants, academics etc - basically the sort of people you need in order to create a coherent society. Eliminate the educated people and you eliminate a lot of potential resistance.

    I remember watching a BBC documentary years ago which touched on Katyn. If I remember rightly, the UK government knew about the massacre, and the Polish generals / politicians were pressing for details on those who they presumed were still missing at the time. But of course, it was more beneficial for Churchill and hence for the Allies, to remain silent on the matter and keep the Soviets onside rather than to publicly expose war crimes committed by the Russian government. Had they done so, I think the course of the latter half of the war would have been completely different.

  9. #129

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    No, Churchill didn't keep silent he said to the Poles "there was no point at all in prowling around three year old graves in Smolensk"

    The Soviets didn't kill all the doctors, priests, civil servants and those you mentioned that were in Eastern Poland only those that they deemed enemies of the people so proportionally not the majority of those possible to have killed in each category.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  10. #130

    Default Re: The Katyn Forest Massacre

    Ok, I stand corrected And I've learnt something too.

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