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Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War.
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Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Steve on 17 Jun 2010 23:25

The Polish resistance movement or AK for short that rose against the Germans in Warsaw was in my opinion and taking every aspect of resistance into account the best in Europe. Its members fought with amazing courage from August 1st to October 4th against tremendous odds. At the end of the fighting a large part of an organisation that had taken five years to create was destroyed, the capital city would be levelled and hundreds of thousands of its citizens were dead, wounded, or had lost most of their possessions and fled the city. A disaster and defeat of epic proportions for the Polish nation, so who was to blame if anybody.

I would propose that the leadership of the AK are the guilty men. In the summer of 1944 they were facing a dilemma. All their hopes seemed to be in ruins because Poland would be liberated by the Red Army. They felt they had to do something to fight against the imposition of communism on Poland but what could they do. A general uprising had been planned for when liberation was close at hand, was the advance of the Red Army liberation or another occupation? Events further east had shown the AK that the Soviets would disarm and arrest any AK units they came across and not treat them as allies. The alternatives were to do nothing or rise up on the approach of the Red Army and help them. It was also a possibility that a spontaneous uprising by the citizens of Warsaw could break out and they would have to support it. They were to use a German word in a zugswang they had to decide on something but every option was bad.

They decided to liberate Warsaw before the arrival of the Red Army but Warsaw was not going to be handed over to the Soviets and the AK disarmed. The plan seems to have been to seize Warsaw and have the western allies fly in supplies and maybe the Polish Parachute Brigade from the west. The Red Army would not have to fight for Warsaw and its seizure would be a help to them. With Warsaw liberated the Red Army would continue its advance into the city and prevent a German counterattack. The AK would establish an administration and with Warsaw in Polish hands a deal could be negotiated with Stalin; the Polish Premier would be in Moscow a few days after the start of the uprising. The Soviets would be faced with a fate accompli the capital of Poland in the hands of a western orientated resistance movement. Surely Stalin would not abandon or move against an ally also fighting against Germany and they would be able to negotiate an agreement. The Soviets claimed the AK was insignificant and the uprising would show the world it was not but the AK knew that to hold Warsaw longer than a week was problematic.

The Poles were counting on three things. The first was that the Western allies would help them but the Poles had not received a guarantee of western help. In late July in answer to the London Poles request for help a letter was sent saying that there would be no help of the type requested which included flying in the Para Brigade. The second item on the wish list was that the negotiations in Moscow with Stalin would be successful. How Stalin would react to having this sprung on him and why Stalin would help an organisation that was opposed to his own puppet government seems not to have received a great deal of consideration. If agreement on the second item could not be successfully reached then the third item for success help from the Red Army would probably not come about and there would be a disaster.

Nothing needed for the success of the uprising had been agreed before hand. The British had told them they would not help, the Soviets did not even know of the planned uprising. To gamble on the good will of Stalin was breathtakingly naïve given what had taken place from September 17th 1939 onwards. In the west Generals Anders and Sosnkowski were against an uprising but the London government had left the decision to Warsaw. The AK should have understood that Stalin’s aims were incompatible with theirs and that they stood in the way of his aims. By putting themselves in a situation where they were dependent on Stalin’s mercy they would probably be signing their death warrants. The disaster of August 1944 has similarities with the disaster of September 1939; the leadership in both cases have similar back grounds and fail to correctly analyse the situation. They are already lost before a shot is fired. The AK leadership give the impression of a man in desperate financial trouble but who stills owns his house so he decides to gamble it on a horse race.

Given the very difficult situation of the AK in the summer of 44 what should they have done?
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Okyzm on 17 Jun 2010 23:39

As I am busy right now in real life, I don't have time to take on the whole post, but one vital historical inaccuracy should be corrected:

the Soviets did not even know of the planned uprising.


That's very, very false. The Soviets called for the uprising to start on July 29th.
http://www.warsawuprising.com/doc/kosciuszko.htm


Moskow Radio Station Kosciuszko July 29, 1944 broadcast.
Text by the BBC MonitoringService on July 30, 1944.

[Moscow, in Polish, July 29, 1944. 8:15 p.m.]

Appeal to Warsaw: Fight The Germans!

No doubt Warsaw already hears the guns of the battle which is soon to bring her liberation. Those who have never bowed their heads to the Hitlerite power will again, as in 1939, join battle with the Germans, this time for decisive action. The Polish Army now entering Polish territory, trained in the Soviet Union, is now joined to the People's Army to form the Corps of the Polish Armed Forces, the armed arm of our nation in its struggle for independence.

Its ranks will be joined tomorrow by the sons of Warsaw. They will all together, with the Allied Army pursue the enemy westwards, wipe out the Hitlerite vermin from Polish land and strike a mortal blow at the beast of Prussian Imperialism. For Warsaw, which did not yield but fought on, the hour of action has already arrived. The Germans will no doubt try to defend themselves in Warsaw and add new destruction and thousands of victims. Our houses and our parks, our bridges and our railway stations, our factories and public buildings will be turned into defence positions.
They will expose the city to ruin and its inhabitants to death. They will try to take away all the most precious possessions and turn into dust all that they have to leave behind. It is, therefore, a hundred times more necessary than ever to remember that in the flood of Hitlerite destruction all is lost that is not saved by active effort; that by direct, active struggle in the streets of Warsaw, in its houses, factories and stores, we not only hasten the moment of final liberation, but also save a Nation's property and the lives of our brothers.


The Polish leaders believed that Soviet attack on Warsaw was imminent which heavily influenced their decision.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Oleg Grigoryev on 18 Jun 2010 22:32

Okyzm wrote:As I am busy right now in real life, I don't have time to take on the whole post, but one vital historical inaccuracy should be corrected:

the Soviets did not even know of the planned uprising.


That's very, very false. The Soviets called for the uprising to start on July 29th.
http://www.warsawuprising.com/doc/kosciuszko.htm


Moskow Radio Station Kosciuszko July 29, 1944 broadcast.
Text by the BBC MonitoringService on July 30, 1944.

[Moscow, in Polish, July 29, 1944. 8:15 p.m.]

Appeal to Warsaw: Fight The Germans!

No doubt Warsaw already hears the guns of the battle which is soon to bring her liberation. Those who have never bowed their heads to the Hitlerite power will again, as in 1939, join battle with the Germans, this time for decisive action. The Polish Army now entering Polish territory, trained in the Soviet Union, is now joined to the People's Army to form the Corps of the Polish Armed Forces, the armed arm of our nation in its struggle for independence.

Its ranks will be joined tomorrow by the sons of Warsaw. They will all together, with the Allied Army pursue the enemy westwards, wipe out the Hitlerite vermin from Polish land and strike a mortal blow at the beast of Prussian Imperialism. For Warsaw, which did not yield but fought on, the hour of action has already arrived. The Germans will no doubt try to defend themselves in Warsaw and add new destruction and thousands of victims. Our houses and our parks, our bridges and our railway stations, our factories and public buildings will be turned into defence positions.
They will expose the city to ruin and its inhabitants to death. They will try to take away all the most precious possessions and turn into dust all that they have to leave behind. It is, therefore, a hundred times more necessary than ever to remember that in the flood of Hitlerite destruction all is lost that is not saved by active effort; that by direct, active struggle in the streets of Warsaw, in its houses, factories and stores, we not only hasten the moment of final liberation, but also save a Nation's property and the lives of our brothers.


The Polish leaders believed that Soviet attack on Warsaw was imminent which heavily influenced their decision.

It is not false. Kostushko broadcast were not authorized by the Soviet government. Even more so the idea that for no apparent reason AK decided to do something on the instigation of some obscure communist Radio Station that they hardly cared about before is rather strange. The fact remains that Warsaw upspring was never coordinated with Soviet command.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Okyzm on 19 Jun 2010 00:17

Indeed, it is very plausible to claim that a radio station in heart of Soviet Union, Moscow, under the rule of Stalin was a free independent media outlet in line with best traditions of free journalism Stalinist Russia was known for.

Even more so the idea that for no apparent reason AK decided to do something on the instigation of some obscure communist Radio Station that they hardly cared about before is rather strange

It's not strange at all-Soviet radio station informed about imminent attack on Warsaw, so the reasnoble choice was to start the operation to receive incoming troops in the the name of legitimate Polish government.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Oleg Grigoryev on 19 Jun 2010 01:07

Okyzm wrote:Indeed, it is very plausible to claim that a radio station in heart of Soviet Union, Moscow, under the rule of Stalin was a free independent media outlet in line with best traditions of free journalism Stalinist Russia was known for.

Even more so the idea that for no apparent reason AK decided to do something on the instigation of some obscure communist Radio Station that they hardly cared about before is rather strange

It's not strange at all-Soviet radio station informed about imminent attack on Warsaw, so the reasnoble choice was to start the operation to receive incoming troops in the the name of legitimate Polish government.


All that irony and all to waste. The Broadcasts were subject of investigation results of which were presented to Sherbakov by Alexandrov on September 23 1944 – clear indicator that they were not authorized.

The reasonable thing would be establish contact with Soviet Military Front command and to verify what resources would be available when and how and then based on the information received try to figure out if timing for uprising was right. Blaming some obscure radio station that had no effect on AK activities ever before that is a lame excuse.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Okyzm on 19 Jun 2010 01:17

All that irony and all to waste. The Broadcasts were subject of investigation results of which were presented to Sherbakov by Alexandrov on September 23 1944 – clear indicator that they were not authorized.
Ah, yes. That must be true.
After allthe Soviet investigation of Katyn concluded that Germans did it-a clear indicator that Soviet Union never did anything to do with Katyn. Really- showing Stalinist investigations as proof of Soviet propaganda claims is not a very good argument.
Btw-was this the same series of Soviets investigations that eventuall "discovered" that AK was Nazi formation fighting against the Allies and allied with Nazi Germany?

The reasonable thing would be establish contact with Soviet Military Front command and to verify what resources would be available

By that time the Polish officers who had engaged in contact with Soviet military front to coordinate actions against Nazi Germany in Operation Tempest were usually warmly welcomed by Soviet soldiers before being executed or sent to Siberia by NKVD after their meetings or after fighting.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Oleg Grigoryev on 19 Jun 2010 02:04

Okyzm wrote:
All that irony and all to waste. The Broadcasts were subject of investigation results of which were presented to Sherbakov by Alexandrov on September 23 1944 – clear indicator that they were not authorized.
Ah, yes. That must be true.
After allthe Soviet investigation of Katyn concluded that Germans did it-a clear indicator that Soviet Union never did anything to do with Katyn. Really- showing Stalinist investigations as proof of Soviet propaganda claims is not a very good argument.
Btw-was this the same series of Soviets investigations that eventuall "discovered" that AK was Nazi formation fighting against the Allies and allied with Nazi Germany?
Do you or do you not have any proof whatsoever that this internal (as in not for public consumption or propaganda purposes) was in any way shape of form compromised?

Okyzm wrote:
The reasonable thing would be establish contact with Soviet Military Front command and to verify what resources would be available

By that time the Polish officers who had engaged in contact with Soviet military front to coordinate actions against Nazi Germany in Operation Tempest were usually warmly welcomed by Soviet soldiers before being executed or sent to Siberia by NKVD after their meetings or after fighting.
I take that this an admission that AK activities in Warsaw were not coordinated with Red Army.

PS as far as I recall there was quite a lot of communications between Soviet Forces after the uprising has commenced.
You do know that Stalingorsk where quite a few AK personnel ended up nowhere near Siberia - despite what Norman Davis said.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Art on 19 Jun 2010 07:54

Oleg Grigoryev wrote:All that irony and all to waste. The Broadcasts were subject of investigation results of which were presented to Sherbakov by Alexandrov on September 23 1944

See:
viewtopic.php?p=1236002#p1236002
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Okyzm on 19 Jun 2010 10:24

Frankly, the reliability of Soviet investigations in the war regarding the Soviet relations with Poland are hardly reliable-the same investigations concluded that Katyn was made by Germans, that AK was allied with Nazi Germany and so on. They were a tool for propaganda of Soviet Union, and thus are hardly convincing argument.
Furthermore Soviet Union was a the time a totalitarian Stalinist regime, with every aspect of public and most of private life controlled by the security aparatus, the claim that in the heart of Soviet Union existed a free radio station that was allowed to broadcast across whole continent without oversight of Soviets needs only application of Occam's razor.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Oleg Grigoryev on 19 Jun 2010 10:34

Okyzm wrote:Frankly, the reliability of Soviet investigations in the war regarding the Soviet relations with Poland are hardly reliable-the same investigations concluded that Katyn was made by Germans, that AK was allied with Nazi Germany and so on. They were a tool for propaganda of Soviet Union, and thus are hardly convincing argument.
Furthermore Soviet Union was a the time a totalitarian Stalinist regime, with every aspect of public and most of private life controlled by the security aparatus, the claim that in the heart of Soviet Union existed a free radio station that was allowed to broadcast across whole continent without oversight of Soviets needs only application of Occam's razor.

Would not be "no - I do not have anything that can show that investigation was ridged" easier to type? Katyn investigation was a PR trick and clumsy one at that. The report I referred to is an internal investigation - the document that Art posted link to, was only made available in the 90s. Speaking of Katyn, do you doubt authenticity of the archival documentation that was unearthed since Gorbi times -after all - it came from the same source as report linked by Art.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Okyzm on 19 Jun 2010 10:37

And I will continue to uphold the view that Soviet investigations at the time of Stalinist regime regarding relations with Polish governent which the Soviets were hostile to are of little credibility for obvious reasons.
German made Katyn, claims that Home Army was allied to Nazi Germany-all of this was made by those Soviet investigations.
To claim that one was somehow free from Soviet influence is just a s likely as free indepedent media operating in the heart of Moscow.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Oleg Grigoryev on 19 Jun 2010 10:48

Okyzm wrote:And I will continue to uphold the view that Soviet investigations at the time of Stalinist regime regarding relations with Polish governent which the Soviets were hostile to are of little credibility for obvious reasons.
German made Katyn, claims that Home Army was allied to Nazi Germany-all of this was made by those Soviet investigations.
To claim that one was somehow free from Soviet influence is just a s likely as free indepedent media operating in the heart of Moscow.

Well you of course entitled to your point of view - but it is just that you POV. You have no evidence that this was done for some propaganda purpose. In fact I am rather sure that you have not even heard anything about that internal investigation before I mentioned it to you. I am still curious if you are just as skeptical in regards to Soviet Katyn docs made available in 90s? Common - be consistent - say that Beria did not proposed to shoot all those Poles . USSR Government of course tried to control its media - tried is an operative word. They were mostly successful - mostly -but not always. There is more than one example when central government had to correct journalist that got way too eager.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Okyzm on 19 Jun 2010 11:31

I am as sceptical towards the claims as I am towards any made by totalitarian country, known for using such investigations as propaganda and political maneuvering.
Frankly, we do not need proof that it was controlled, we need proof that it wasn't.
EDIT:Read the above link by Art. It contains information that the radio broadcasts were directly overseen by Soviets and several were blocked.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Baltasar on 19 Jun 2010 14:45

propaganda and political maneuvering.
Unfortunately, this is not limited to totalitarian systems, democracies spread propaganda and misinformation themselves. As such, you would need to be sceptical to everybody's claims.
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Re: Disastrous Leadership In The Warsaw Uprising

Postby Oleg Grigoryev on 19 Jun 2010 17:47

Okyzm wrote:I am as sceptical towards the claims as I am towards any made by totalitarian country, known for using such investigations as propaganda and political maneuvering.
Frankly, we do not need proof that it was controlled, we need proof that it wasn't.
EDIT:Read the above link by Art. It contains information that the radio broadcasts were directly overseen by Soviets and several were blocked.
What we need is the understanding of how process worked. Thus far we know that Soviet side had to conduct internal investigation into broadcast nature, which is a clear indicator that whatever was said, was not authorized by Soviet authorities. If Soviet government knew about the call to the uprising, it would not be investigating them.

Thus far you also have produced exactly 0 evidence that the investigation was done for some propaganda purpose (not to mention simple fact that propaganda does not mean lie. It of course could be -but it has to be proven) .
And come to think of it, even your initial claim
That's very, very false. The Soviets called for the uprising to start on July 29th.
made in response to
the Soviets did not even know of the planned uprising.
was bogus since radio calls to the uprising are not the same thing as actual knowledge of the plans. What we do know is the fact that AK intentionally did not inform Soviet High Command about Warsaw uprising.
Last edited by Oleg Grigoryev on 19 Jun 2010 21:45, edited 1 time in total.
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