War anniversaries: an attempt to make conclusions

Marek Jurek

The time that has elapsed since the war anniversaries lets me make first conclusions. The 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II demanded to remind people of the valid and fundamental truths. Firstly, the German and Soviet invasions resulted from the lack of real denouncement of the crime of the partitions. The biggest neighbours did not accept the existence of independent Poland in the borders shaped after World War I. The Germans cannot hide behind the regime of Hitler since he continued the anti-Polish politics of the democratic Weimar Republic. Its presumptions have been revived in the very centre of the German public debate because the weekly ‘Der Spiegel’ justifies the outbreak of the war by Germany’s ‘losing’ Poznan, Bydgoszcz and Strasbourg. Therefore, our country should demand that Germany condemns explicitly its questioning the Polish borders throughout all twenty years between the wars and that Germany should recognise its responsibility for the results of consciously introducing Stalin into the middle of Europe. The consequences of this fact did not finish with the war. The world easily accepted the fact that Poland was deprived of its independence to a considerable extent as the result of widely spread anti-Polish contempt in the left-liberal environments. It laid the ground for the German and Soviet propaganda. It presented Poland as an economically backward and intolerant country, which was a problem for Europe. It is time to condemn hatred and anti-Polish contempt, the more that we have been attacked as a Catholic country that actually wants to confirm its independence. The third truth is the Polish contribution to the victory of the Western democracies during World War II. Poland, left and betrayed by its allies, helped half of Europe to preserve freedom, without which free Europe of today would have not existed. This gives us a special right to solidarity in the process of rebuilding independent country. We should not expect expressions of pity but recognition of our war efforts and awareness of moral obligations towards Poland, which our Western allies undertook. And the fourth matter is the necessity to condemn communism as a co-perpetrator of World War II. In the years 1939-41 it was also Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Romania that fell prey to the Soviet aggression. The end of the war brought about the imposition of the collaborative governments in most Central European countries. Western Europe, which did not make special efforts to fight against the USSR, is obliged to support the independence of the Central and Eastern European countries, especially when the efforts to strengthen this independence collide with the politics of the post-communist Russia. What have we received instead? A lot of memories, non-conclusive grudges towards… no one knows towards whom; the kitsch of reconciliation and repeated slogan ‘No more!’ However, the problem is that since the Republic of Poland of the year 1939 there have been too many cases of ‘more’ than the world remembers. President G. W. Bush did not shout again, ‘No more Yalta!’ The government did not even manage to have serious American and British speeches at Westerplatte. The celebrations of 17 September were not accompanied by any moments of Central European solidarity. There were no representatives of the countries that the USSR had attacked in the first phase of the war. And on 1 September Mrs Merkel spoke about Hitler’s crimes and the ‘expelled’ and she obviously did not mean General Anders and General Maczek who paid the price of being expelled till the end of their lives for their fight against Hitler.
Above all, the war anniversaries are lost occasions to form the Polish doctrine towards Germany and Russia, stating explicitly that Poland, having regained independence, has the right to see that the politics of collaboration between Germany and Russia (about which the heads of these governments speak) is never realised in the way that Poland perceives as a threat to its safety and fundamental interests, and that Poland will constantly make efforts to receive support for this stand in the forum of the European politics. When we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the tragedy of Poland and Europe may we see all of that as characterising the politics and historical awareness of the Republic of Poland.

"Niedziela" 42/2009

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl