Sunday, 1 September 2019

80th anniversary: World War 2

Today marks the 80th anniversary since the beginning of World War 2, when the simmering tensions between Germany and Poland boiled over into war. The true nature of these tensions remain unclear to the wider public, shrouded in mystery. To be sure, the two countrys have a long history of antagonism and mistrust that always made diplomacy difficult. During the 1700s, Polands territory was gradually partitioned up by the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian empires. By 1795, all of their territory had been annexed, and they no longer existed as a sovereign state. The Poles spent the next 123 years living as subjects of other nations, which made them deeply resentful (particularly towards the Germans). When Poland regained statehood in 1918, they had developed a xenophobic and jingoistic mindset. The people wanted to get medievil and settle old scores with their neighbors. Fortunately, they were led by a capable statesman in the form of Jozef Pilsudski, who was able to reign in his peoples aggression and maintain cordial relations with Germany. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the two countrys actually signed a non-aggression pact, and things seemed to be moving in a peaceful direction. Unfortunately, these developments were undone by Pilsudksis death in 1935, and his replacement by the virulent nationalist, Edward Rydz-Smigly. His mindset was more representative of the average Pole, favoring an aggressive approach towards Germany. Bombastic speechs and hateful propaganda became common in Poland.