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11-08-2015, 18:46

The Polish Campaign

Unlike her allies, Poland was set for a hard fight, although Polish leaders were sympathetic with the anti- Communist and anti-Semitic policies of the Nazis. But the Poles greatly overestimated their fighting strength. The generals expected to be able to resist an attack for several months, whereas their troops yielded within a few days to an overwhelming battering by the German Panzer divisions. Poland fell on 1 8 September when the Red Army entered the fray. The government fled to Romania and the bulk of the Polish army was captured. Under a secret protocol in the Russo- German Pact, Poland was once again dissected by her larger neighbours. Soviet Russia permanently reappropriated those territories populated not by Poles but by Bielorussians and Ukrainians which had belonged to her under the Tsars. She also assumed authority over Lithuania. Germany annexed Danzig, Poznania and Upper Silesia and expelled their Polish communities. A nebulous state was allowed to survive around Cracow and Warsaw, called the 'General Government , by the Germans, which might later become 'Little Poland' and a vassal of the Reich for use as a bargaining point in future negotiations with the Allies. The Allies, in fact, did not make the least attempt to rescue Poland. Britain ignored her solemn undertaking, and did not even consider the possibility of sending the Royal Navy into the Baltic. The French army marched a few miles into the Saarand then marched back. France and Great Britain seemed once again incapable of supporting an ally. Their failure to act proved th.it they were dangerously weak. A more aggressive response mighthave been effective. The ( >r\ man generals, whose apprehensions were revealed Liter at the Nuremberg trials, had left only a sprinkling ol troops to cover the west. These were inadequately protected by the half-complete Siegfried Line; the generals feared that such slight protection could easily break down. The French, who were in the middle of a heavy mobilization programme and had not the equipment for a break-through, failed to take advantage of a chance that would never recur.