Polish–Soviet War | Wikipedia audio article

Polish–Soviet War | Wikipedia audio article


The Polish–Soviet War (February 1919 – March
1921) was fought by the Second Polish Republic, Ukrainian People’s Republic and the proto–Soviet
Union (Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine) for control of a region comparable to today’s
westernmost Ukraine and parts of modern Belarus. Poland’s Chief of State, Józef Piłsudski,
felt the time was right to expand Polish borders as far east as feasible, to be followed by
a Polish-led Intermarium federation of Central and Eastern European states, as a bulwark
against the re-emergence of German and Russian imperialism. Vladimir Lenin saw Poland as the bridge the
Red Army had to cross to assist other communist movements and bring about more European revolutions. By 1919, Polish forces had taken control of
much of Western Ukraine, emerging victorious from the Polish–Ukrainian War. The West Ukrainian People’s Republic, led
by Yevhen Petrushevych, had tried to create a Ukrainian state on territories to which
both Poles and Ukrainians laid claim. In the Russian part of Ukraine Symon Petliura
tried to defend and strengthen the Ukrainian People’s Republic but as the Bolsheviks began
to win the Russian Civil War, they started to advance westward towards the disputed Ukrainian
territories, causing Petliura’s forces to retreat to Podolia. By the end of 1919, a clear front had formed
as Petliura decided to ally with Piłsudski. Border skirmishes escalated following Piłsudski’s
Kiev Offensive in April 1920. The Polish offensive was met by a successful
Red Army counterattack. The Soviet operation pushed the Polish forces
back westward all the way to the Polish capital, Warsaw, while the Directorate of Ukraine fled
to Western Europe. Western fears of Soviet troops arriving at
the German frontiers increased the interest of Western powers in the war. In midsummer, the fall of Warsaw seemed certain
but in mid-August, the tide had turned again, as the Polish forces achieved an unexpected
and decisive victory at the Battle of Warsaw. In the wake of the Polish advance eastward,
the Soviets sued for peace and the war ended with a ceasefire in October 1920. The Peace of Riga was signed on 18 March 1921,
dividing the disputed territories between Poland and Soviet Russia. The war largely determined the Soviet–Polish
border for the interbellum. Poland gained a territory of around 200 kilometers
east of its former border, the Curzon Line, which had been defined by an international
commission after World War I. Much of the territory allocated to Poland
in the Treaty of Riga became part of the Soviet Union after World War II, when the common
border was re-defined by the Allied Powers in close accordance with the Curzon Line.==Names and dates==
The war is known by several names. “Polish–Soviet War” is the most common but
other names include “Russo–Polish War [or Polish–Russian War] of 1919–1921” (to
distinguish it from earlier Polish–Russian wars) and “Polish–Bolshevik War”. This second term (or just “Bolshevik War”
(Polish: Wojna bolszewicka)) is most common in Polish sources. In some Polish sources it is also referred
as the “War of 1920” (Polish: Wojna 1920 roku).There is disagreement over the dates of the war. The Encyclopædia Britannica begins its article
with the date range 1919–1920 but then states, “Although there had been hostilities between
the two countries during 1919, the conflict began when the Polish head of state Józef
Pilsudski formed an alliance with the Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petlyura (21 April
1920) and their combined forces began to overrun Ukraine, occupying Kiev on 7 May.” The Polish Internetowa encyklopedia PWN, as
well as Western historians such as Norman Davies, consider 1919 the starting year of
the war.The ending date is given as either 1920 or 1921; this confusion stems from the
fact that while the ceasefire was put in force in the autumn of 1920, the official treaty
ending the war was signed months later, in March 1921. While the events of 1919 can be described
as a border conflict, and only in early 1920 did both sides engage in all-out war, the
conflicts that took place in 1920 were an inevitable escalation of fighting that began
in earnest a year earlier. In the end, the events of 1920 were a logical,
though unforeseen, consequence of the 1919 prelude.==Prelude==The war’s main territories of contention lie
in present-day Ukraine and Belarus; until the middle of the 14th century they formed
part of the medieval state of Kievan Rus’. After a period of internecine wars and the
Mongolian invasion of 1240, these lands became objects of expansion for the Kingdom of Poland
and for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the first half of the 14th century, the
Grand Duchy of Kiev and land between the Dnieper, Pripyat, and Daugava (Western Dvina) rivers
became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and in 1352 Poland and Lithuania divided the
kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia between themselves. In 1569, in accordance with the terms of the
Union of Lublin between Poland and Lithuania, some of the Ukrainian lands passed to the
Polish crown. Between 1772 and 1795, much of the Eastern
Slavic territories became part of the Russian Empire in the course of the Partitions of
Poland. After the Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815,
much of the territory of the Duchy of Warsaw (Poland) transferred into Russian control. After young Poles refused to be conscripted
into the Imperial Russian Army during the uprising in Poland in 1863, Tsar Alexander
II stripped Poland of its separate constitution, forced Russian to be the only language spoken,
took away vast tracts of land from Poles, and incorporated Poland directly into Russia
by dividing it into ten provinces, each with an appointed Russian military governor and
all under complete control of the Russian Governor-General at Warsaw.As World War I
ended (1918), the map of Central and Eastern Europe changed drastically. Germany’s defeat rendered Berlin’s plans for
the creation of Eastern European puppet states (Mitteleuropa), including one in Poland, obsolete. The Russian Empire collapsed, resulting in
the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922. Several small nations of the region saw a
chance for real independence and seized the opportunity to gain it; Soviet Russia viewed
its lost territories as rebellious provinces, vital for its security, but did not have the
resources to react swiftly. While the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 had
not made a definitive ruling in regard to Poland’s eastern border, it issued a provisional
boundary in December 1919 (the Curzon line) as an attempt to define the territories that
had an “indisputably Polish ethnic majority”; the conference participants did not feel competent
to make a certain judgment on the competing claims.With the success of the Greater Poland
Uprising (1918–19), Poland had re-established its statehood for the first time since the
1795 partition. Forming the Second Polish Republic, it proceeded
to carve out its borders from the territories of its former partitioners. Many of these territories had long been the
object of conflict between Russia and Poland. Poland was not alone in its new-found opportunities
and troubles. With the collapse of Russian and German occupying
authorities, virtually all of Poland’s newly independent neighbors began fighting over
borders: Romania fought with Hungary over Transylvania, Yugoslavia with Italy over Rijeka,
Poland with Czechoslovakia over Cieszyn Silesia, with Germany over Poznań and with Ukrainians
over Eastern Galicia. Ukrainians, Belarusians, Lithuanians, Estonians
and Latvians fought against each other and against the Russians, who were just as divided. Spreading Communist influences resulted in
Communist revolutions in Munich (April–May 1919), in Berlin (January 1919), in Budapest
(March–August 1919) and in Prešov in Slovakia (June–July 1919). Winston Churchill commented sarcastically:
“The war of giants has ended, the wars of the pygmies begin.” All of these engagements–with the sole exception
of the Polish–Soviet war–would prove short-lived. The Polish–Soviet war likely happened more
by accident than design, as it seems unlikely that anyone in Soviet Russia or in the new
Second Republic of Poland would have deliberately planned a major foreign war. Poland, its territory a major battle-ground
during the First World War, lacked political stability; it had won the difficult conflict
with the West Ukrainian National Republic by July 1919 but had already become embroiled
in new conflicts with Germany (the Silesian Uprisings of 1919 to 1921) and with Czechoslovakia
(January 1919). Revolutionary Russia, meanwhile, focused on
thwarting counter-revolution and the intervention by the Allied powers (1918 to 1925). While the first clashes between Polish and
Soviet forces occurred in February 1919, it would take almost a year before both sides
realized that they had become engaged in a full-scale war. As early as late 1919 the leader of Russia’s
new Bolshevik government, Vladimir Lenin, inspired by the Red Army’s civil-war victories
over White Russian anti-communist forces and their Western allies, began to see the future
of the revolution with greater optimism. The Bolsheviks proclaimed the need for the
dictatorship of the proletariat, and agitated for a worldwide Communist community. They had an avowed intent to link the revolution
in Russia with an expected revolution in Germany and to assist other Communist movements in
Western Europe; Poland was the geographical bridge that the Red Army would have to cross
to provide direct physical support in the West. Lenin aimed to regain control of the territories
abandoned by Russia in the Brest-Litovsk Treaty of March 1918, to infiltrate the borderlands,
to set up Soviet governments there as well as in Poland, and to reach Germany – where
he expected a Socialist revolution to break out. He believed that Soviet Russia could not survive
without the support of a socialist Germany. By the end of the summer of 1919 the Soviets
had taken over most of Ukraine, driving the Ukrainian Directorate from Kiev. In February 1919 they also set up a Lithuanian-Belorussian
Republic (Litbel). This government was very unpopular due to
terror and the collection of food and goods for the army.Officially, however, the Soviet
Government denied charges of trying to invade Europe.As Polish-Soviet fighting progressed,
particularly around the time Poland’s Kiev Offensive had been repelled in June 1920,
the Soviet policy-makers, including Lenin, increasingly saw the war as a real opportunity
to spread the revolution westwards. Historian Richard Pipes noted that before
the Kiev Offensive, the Soviets had prepared for their own strike against Poland. Before the start of the Polish–Soviet War,
Polish politics were strongly influenced by Chief of State (naczelnik państwa) Józef
Piłsudski. Piłsudski wanted to break up the Russian
Empire and to set up a Polish-led “Międzymorze Federation” of independent states: Poland,
Lithuania, Ukraine, and other Central and East European countries emerging out of crumbling
empires after the First World War. He hoped that this new union would become
a counterweight to any potential imperialist intentions on the part of Russia or of Germany. Piłsudski argued “There can be no independent
Poland without an independent Ukraine”, but he may have been more interested in Ukraine
being split from Russia than in Ukrainians’ welfare. He did not hesitate to use military force
to expand the Polish borders to Galicia and Volhynia, crushing a Ukrainian attempt at
self-determination in the disputed territories east of the Southern Bug River, which contained
a significant Polish minority, who made up the majority of the population in cities like
Lwów, in contrast to the Ukrainian majority in the countryside. Speaking of Poland’s future frontiers, Piłsudski
said: “All that we can gain in the west depends on the Entente—on the extent to which it
may wish to squeeze Germany,” while in the east, “There are doors that open and close,
and it depends on who forces them open and how far.” In the chaos to the east the Polish forces
set out to expand there as much as feasible. On the other hand, Poland had no intention
of joining the Western intervention in the Russian Civil War or of conquering Russia
itself.Piłsudski also said: Closed within the boundaries of the 16th century,
cut off from the Black Sea and Baltic Sea, deprived of land and mineral wealth of the
South and Southeast, Russia could easily move into the status of second-grade power. Poland as the largest and strongest of new
states, could easily establish a sphere of influence stretching from Finland to the Caucasus. Before the Polish–Soviet war, Jan Kowalewski,
a polyglot and amateur cryptologist, managed to break the codes and ciphers of the army
of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic and of General Anton Denikin’s White Russian forces
during his service in the Polish–Ukrainian War. As a result, in July 1919 he was transferred
to Warsaw, where he became chief of the Polish General Staff’s radio-intelligence department. By early September he had gathered a group
of mathematicians from Warsaw University and Lwów University (most notably, founders of
the Polish School of Mathematics—Stanisław Leśniewski, Stefan Mazurkiewicz and Wacław
Sierpiński), who succeeded in breaking Soviet Russian ciphers as well. Decoded information presented to Piłsudski
showed that Soviet peace proposals with Poland in 1919 were false and that in reality the
Soviets had prepared for a new offensive against Poland and had concentrated military forces
in Barysaw near the Polish border. Piłsudski decided to ignore the Soviet proposals,
to sign an alliance with Symon Petliura of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, and to prepare
the Kiev Offensive. During the war, Polish decryption of Red Army
radio messages made it possible to use small Polish military forces efficiently against
the Soviet Russian forces and to win many individual battles, most importantly the 1920
Battle of Warsaw.==Course=====1919=======First Polish–Soviet conflicts====
The first serious armed conflict of the war took place around 14 February – 16 February,
near the towns of Manevychi and Biaroza in Belarus. By late February the Soviet westward advance
had come to a halt. Both Polish and Soviet forces had also been
engaging the Ukrainian forces, and active fighting was going on in the territories of
the Baltic countries (cf. Estonian War of Independence, Latvian War
of Independence, Lithuanian Wars of Independence). In early March 1919, Polish units started
an offensive, crossing the Neman River, taking Pinsk, and reaching the outskirts of Lida. Both the Soviet and Polish advances began
around the same time in April (Polish forces started a major offensive on 16 April), resulting
in increasing numbers of troops arriving in the area. That month the Red Army had captured Grodno,
but was soon pushed out by a Polish counter-offensive. Unable to accomplish its objectives and facing
strengthening offensives from the White forces, the Red Army withdrew from its positions and
reorganized. Soon the Polish–Soviet War would begin in
earnest. Polish forces continued a steady eastern advance. They took Lida on 17 April and Nowogródek
on 18 April, and recaptured Vilnius on 19 April, driving the Litbel government from
their proclaimed capital. On 8 August, Polish forces took Minsk and
on the 28th of that month they deployed tanks for the first time. After heavy fighting, the town of Babruysk
near the Berezina River was captured. By 2 October, Polish forces reached the Daugava
river and secured the region from Desna to Daugavpils (Dyneburg).Polish success continued
until early 1920. Sporadic battles erupted between Polish forces
and the Red Army, but the latter was preoccupied with the White counter-revolutionary forces
and was steadily retreating on the entire western frontline, from Latvia in the north
to Ukraine in the south. In early summer 1919, the White movement had
gained the initiative, and its forces under the command of Anton Denikin were marching
on Moscow. Piłsudski was aware that the Soviets were
not friends of independent Poland, and considered war with Soviet Russia inevitable. He viewed their westward advance as a major
issue, but also thought that he could get a better deal for Poland from the Bolsheviks
than their Russian civil war contenders, as the White Russians – representatives of
the old Russian Empire, partitioner of Poland – were willing to accept only limited independence
of Poland, likely in the borders similar to that of Congress Poland, and clearly objected
to Ukrainian independence, crucial for Piłsudski’s Międzymorze, while the Bolsheviks did proclaim
the partitions null and void. Piłsudski thus speculated that Poland would
be better off with the Bolsheviks, alienated from the Western powers, than with the restored
Russian Empire. By his refusal to join the attack on Lenin’s
struggling government, ignoring the strong pressure from the Entente, Piłsudski had
possibly saved the Bolshevik government in summer–fall 1919, although a full-scale
attack by the Poles in support of Denikin was not possible. He later wrote that in case of a White victory,
in the east Poland could only gain the “ethnic border” at best (the Curzon line). At the same time, Lenin offered Poles the
territories of Minsk, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytskyi, in what was described as mini “Brest”; Polish
military leader Kazimierz Sosnkowski wrote that the territorial proposals of the Bolsheviks
were much better than what the Poles had wanted to achieve.====Diplomatic front, part 1====
In 1919, several unsuccessful attempts at peace negotiations were made by various Polish
and Russian factions. In the meantime, Polish–Lithuanian relations
worsened as Polish politicians found it hard to accept the Lithuanians’ demands for certain
territories, especially the city of Vilnius which had a Polish ethnic majority but was
regarded by Lithuanians as their historical capital. Polish negotiators made better progress with
the Latvian Provisional Government, and in late 1919 and early 1920 Polish and Latvian
forces were conducting joint operations including the Battle of Daugavpils, against Soviet Russia. The Warsaw Treaty, an agreement with the exiled
Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petlura signed on 21 April 1920, was the main Polish
diplomatic success. Petlura, who formally represented the government
of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (by then de facto defeated by Bolsheviks), along with
some Ukrainian forces, fled to Poland, where he found asylum. His control extended only to a sliver of land
near the Polish border. In such conditions, there was little difficulty
convincing Petlura to join an alliance with Poland, despite recent conflict between the
two nations that had been settled in favour of Poland. By concluding an agreement with Piłsudski,
Petlura accepted the Polish territorial gains in Western Ukraine and the future Polish–Ukrainian
border along the Zbruch River. In exchange, he was promised independence
for Ukraine and Polish military assistance in reinstalling his government in Kiev.For
Piłsudski, this alliance gave his campaign for the Międzymorze federation the legitimacy
of joint international effort, secured part of the Polish eastward border, and laid a
foundation for a Polish-dominated Ukrainian state between Russia and Poland. For Petlura, this was the final chance to
preserve the statehood and, at least, the theoretical independence of the Ukrainian
heartlands, even while accepting the loss of West Ukrainian lands to Poland. Yet both of them were opposed at home. Piłsudski faced stiff opposition from Dmowski’s
National Democrats who opposed Ukrainian independence. Petlura, in turn, was criticized by many Ukrainian
politicians for entering a pact with the Poles and giving up on Western Ukraine.The alliance
with Petlura did result in 15,000 pro-Polish allied Ukrainian troops at the beginning of
the campaign, increasing to 35,000 through recruitment and desertion from the Soviet
side during the war. This would, in the end, provide insufficient
support for the alliance’s aspirations.===1920=======Opposing forces====
Norman Davies notes that estimating strength of the opposing sides is difficult – even
generals often had incomplete reports of their own forces.====Red Army====
By early 1920, the Red Army had been very successful against the White armies. They defeated Denikin and signed peace treaties
with Latvia and Estonia. The Polish front became their most important
war theater and a plurality of Soviet resources and forces were diverted to it. In January 1920, the Red Army began concentrating
a 700,000-strong force near the Berezina River and in Belarus.By the time the Poles launched
their Kiev offensive, the Red Southwestern Front had about 82,847 soldiers, including
28,568 front-line troops. The Poles had some numerical superiority,
estimated from 12,000 to 52,000 personnel. By the time of the Soviet counter-offensive
in mid-1920 the situation had been reversed: the Soviets numbered about 790,000 – at
least 50,000 more than the Poles; Tukhachevsky estimated that he had 160,000 “combat ready”
soldiers; Piłsudski estimated his enemy’s forces at 200,000–220,000. During 1920, Red Army personnel numbered 402,000
at the Western front and 355,000 for the South-West front in Galicia. Grigoriy Krivosheev gives similar numbers,
with 382,000 personnel for the Western Front and 283,000 personnel for the Southwestern
Front.Norman Davies shows the growth of Red Army forces on the Polish front in early 1920:
1 January 1920 – 4 infantry divisions, 1 cavalry brigade
1 February 1920 – 5 infantry divisions, 5 cavalry brigades
1 March 1920 – 8 infantry divisions, 4 cavalry brigades
1 April 1920 – 14 infantry divisions, 3 cavalry brigades
15 April 1920 – 16 infantry divisions, 3 cavalry brigades
25 April 1920 – 20 infantry divisions, 5 cavalry brigadesAmong the commanders leading
the Red Army in the coming offensive were Leon Trotsky, Tukhachevsky (new commander
of the Western Front), Alexander Yegorov (new commander of the Southwestern Front) and the
future Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin.====Polish forces====The Polish Army was made up of soldiers who
had formerly served in the various partitioning empires, supported by some international volunteers,
such as the Kościuszko Squadron. Boris Savinkov was at the head of an army
of 20,000 to 30,000 largely Russian POWs, and was accompanied by Dmitry Merezhkovsky
and Zinaida Gippius. The Polish forces grew from approximately
100,000 in 1918 to over 500,000 in early 1920. In August 1920, the Polish army had reached
a total strength of 737,767 soldiers; half of that was on the frontline. Given Soviet losses, there was rough numerical
parity between the two armies; and by the time of the battle of Warsaw, the Poles might
have even had a slight advantage in numbers and logistics. Among the major formations on the Polish side
was the First Polish Army.====Logistics and plans====
Logistics, nonetheless, were very bad for both armies, supported by whatever equipment
was left over from World War I or could be captured. The Polish Army, for example, employed guns
made in five countries, and rifles manufactured in six, each using different ammunition. The Soviets had many military depots at their
disposal, left by withdrawing German armies in 1918–19, and modern French armaments
captured in great numbers from the White Russians and the Allied expeditionary forces in the
Russian Civil War. Still, they suffered a shortage of arms; both
the Red Army and the Polish forces were grossly underequipped by Western standards.The Soviet
High Command planned a new offensive in late April/May. Since March 1919, Polish intelligence was
aware that the Soviets had prepared for a new offensive and the Polish High Command
decided to launch their own offensive before their opponents. The plan for Operation Kiev was to beat the
Red Army on Poland’s southern flank and install a Polish-friendly Petlura government in Ukraine.====Kiev Offensive====Until April, the Polish forces had been slowly
but steadily advancing eastward. The new Latvian government requested and obtained
Polish help in capturing Daugavpils. The city fell after heavy fighting at the
Battle of Daugavpils in January and was handed over to the Latvians. By March, Polish forces had driven a wedge
between Soviet forces to the north (Belorussia) and south (Ukraine). On 24 April, Poland began its main offensive,
Operation Kiev. Its stated goal was the creation of an independent
Ukraine that would become part of Piłsudski’s project of a “Międzymorze” Federation. Poland’s forces were assisted by 15,000 Ukrainian
soldiers under Symon Petlura, representing the Ukrainian People’s Republic.On 26 April,
in his “Call to the People of Ukraine”, Piłsudski told his audience that “the Polish army would
only stay as long as necessary until a legal Ukrainian government took control over its
own territory”. Despite this, many Ukrainians were just as
anti-Polish as anti-Bolshevik, and resented the Polish advance. The Polish 3rd Army easily won border clashes
with the Red Army in Ukraine but the Reds withdrew with minimal losses. Subsequently, the combined Polish–Ukrainian
forces entered an abandoned Kiev on 7 May, encountering only token resistance.This Polish
military thrust was met with Red Army counterattacks on 29 May. Polish forces in the area, preparing for an
offensive towards Zhlobin, managed to hold their ground, but were unable to start their
own planned offensive. In the north, Polish forces had fared much
worse. The Polish 1st Army was defeated and forced
to retreat, pursued by the Russian 15th Army, which recaptured territories between the Western
Dvina and Berezina rivers. Polish forces attempted to take advantage
of the exposed flanks of the attackers but the enveloping forces failed to stop the Soviet
advance. At the end of May, the front had stabilised
near the small river Auta, and Soviet forces began preparing for the next push. On 24 May 1920, the Polish forces in the south
were engaged for the first time by Semyon Budyonny’s famous 1st Cavalry Army (Konarmia). Repeated attacks by Budyonny’s Cossack cavalry
broke the Polish–Ukrainian front on the 5th of June. The Soviets then deployed mobile cavalry units
to disrupt the Polish rearguard, targeting communications and logistics. By 10 June, Polish armies were in retreat
along the entire front. On 13 June, the Polish army, along with Petlura’s
Ukrainian troops, abandoned Kiev to the Red Army.====String of Soviet victories====
On 30 May 1920 General Aleksei Brusilov, the last Czarist Commander-in-Chief, published
in Pravda an appeal entitled “To All Former Officers, Wherever They Might Be”, encouraging
them to forgive past grievances and to join the Red Army. Brusilov considered it as a patriotic duty
of all Russian officers to join hands with the Bolshevik government, that in his opinion
was defending Russia against foreign invaders. Lenin also spotted the use of Russian patriotism. Thus, the Central Committee appealed to the
“respected citizens of Russia” to defend the Soviet republic against a Polish usurpation. The historians recalled the Polish invasions
of the early 17th century. Russia’s counter-offensive was indeed boosted
by Brusilov’s engagement; 14,000 officers and over 100,000 deserters enlisted in or
returned to the Red Army, and thousands of civilian volunteers contributed to the effort. The commander of the Polish 3rd Army in Ukraine,
General Edward Rydz-Śmigły, decided to break through the Soviet line toward the northwest. Polish forces in Ukraine managed to withdraw
relatively unscathed, but were unable to support the northern front and reinforce the defenses
at the Auta River for the decisive battle that was soon to take place there. Due to insufficient forces, Poland’s 200-mile-long
front was manned by a thin line of 120,000 troops backed by some 460 artillery pieces
with no strategic reserves. This approach to holding ground harked back
to the World War I practice of “establishing a fortified line of defense”. It had shown some merit on the Western Front
saturated with troops, machine guns, and artillery. Poland’s eastern front, however, was weakly
manned, supported with inadequate artillery, and had almost no fortifications.Against the
Polish line the Red Army gathered its Northwest Front led by the young General Mikhail Tukhachevsky. Their numbers exceeded 108,000 infantry and
11,000 cavalry, supported by 722 artillery pieces and 2,913 machine guns. The Soviets at some crucial places outnumbered
the Poles four-to-one. Tukhachevsky launched his offensive on 4 July,
along the Smolensk–Brest-Litovsk axis, crossing the Auta and Berezina rivers. The northern 3rd Cavalry Corps, led by Gayk
Bzhishkyan (Gay Dmitrievich Gay, Gaj-Chan), were to envelop Polish forces from the north,
moving near the Lithuanian and Prussian border (both of these belonging to nations hostile
to Poland). The 4th, 15th, and 3rd Armies were to push
west, supported from the south by the 16th Army and Mozyr Group. For three days the outcome of the battle hung
in the balance, but Soviet numerical superiority proved decisive and by 7 July Polish forces
were in full retreat along the entire front. However, due to the stubborn defense by Polish
units, Tukhachevsky’s plan to break through the front and push the defenders southwest
into the Pinsk Marshes failed.Polish resistance was offered again on a line of “German trenches”,
a line of heavy World War I field fortifications that presented an opportunity to stem the
Red Army offensive. However, the Polish troops were insufficient
in number. Soviet forces found a weakly defended part
of the front and broke through. Gaj-Chan and Lithuanian forces captured Vilnius
on 14 July, forcing the Poles into retreat again. In Galicia to the south, General Semyon Budyonny’s
cavalry advanced far into the Polish rear, capturing Brody and approaching Lwów and
Zamość. In early July, it became clear to the Poles
that the Soviets’ objectives were not limited to pushing their borders westwards. Poland’s very independence was at stake.Soviet
forces moved forward at the remarkable rate of 20 miles (32 km) a day. Grodno in Belarus fell on 19 July; Brest-Litovsk
fell on 1 August. The Polish attempted to defend the Bug River
line with 4th Army and Grupa Poleska units, but were able to delay the Red Army advance
for only one week. After crossing the Narew River on 2 August,
the Soviet Northwest Front was only 60 miles (97 km) from Warsaw. The Brest-Litovsk fortress, which became the
headquarters of the planned Polish counteroffensive, fell to the 16th Army in the first attack. The Soviet Southwest Front pushed the Polish
forces out of Ukraine. Stalin had then disobeyed his orders and ordered
his forces to close on Zamość, as well as Lwów – the largest city in southeastern
Poland and an important industrial center, garrisoned by the Polish 6th Army. The city was soon besieged. This created a hole in the lines of the Red
Army, but at the same time opened the way to the Polish capital. Five Soviet armies approached Warsaw. Polish forces in Galicia near Lwów launched
a successful counteroffensive to slow down the Red Army advance. This stopped the retreat of Polish forces
on the southern front. However, the worsening situation near the
Polish capital of Warsaw prevented the Poles from continuing that southern counteroffensive
and pushing east. Forces were mustered to take part in the coming
battle for Warsaw.====Diplomatic front, part 2====
With the tide turning against Poland, Piłsudski’s political power weakened, while his opponents’,
including Roman Dmowski’s, rose. Piłsudski did manage to regain his influence,
especially over the military, almost at the last moment—as the Soviet forces were approaching
Warsaw. The Polish political scene had begun to unravel
in panic, with the government of Leopold Skulski resigning in early June.Meanwhile, the Soviet
leadership’s confidence soared. In a telegram, Lenin exclaimed: “We must direct
all our attention to preparing and strengthening the Western Front. A new slogan must be announced: ‘Prepare for
war against Poland’.” Soviet communist theorist Nikolay Bukharin,
writer for the newspaper Pravda, wished for the resources to carry the campaign beyond
Warsaw “right up to London and Paris”. General Tukhachevsky’s order of the day, 2
July 1920, read: “To the West! Over the corpse of White Poland lies the road
to worldwide conflagration. March on Vilno, Minsk, Warsaw!” and “onward
to Berlin over the corpse of Poland!” The increasing hope of certain victory, however,
gave rise to political intrigues between Soviet commanders. By order of the Soviet Communist Party, a
Polish puppet government, the Provisional Polish Revolutionary Committee (Polish: Tymczasowy
Komitet Rewolucyjny Polski, TKRP), had been formed on 28 July in Białystok to organize
administration of the Polish territories captured by the Red Army. The TKRP had very little support from the
ethnic Polish population and recruited its supporters mostly from the ranks of minorities,
primarily Jews. At the height of the Polish–Soviet conflict,
Jews had been subject to anti-semitic violence by Polish forces, who considered Jews a potential
threat, and who often accused Jews as being the masterminds of Russian Bolshevism; during
the Battle of Warsaw, the Polish government interned all Jewish volunteers and sent Jewish
volunteer officers to an internment camp.Britain’s Prime Minister, David Lloyd George pressed
Poland to make peace on Soviet terms and refused any assistance to Poland that would alienate
the Whites in the Russian Civil War. In July 1920, Britain announced it would send
huge quantities of World War I surplus military supplies to Poland, but a threatened general
strike by the Trades Union Congress, who objected to British support of “White Poland”, ensured
that none of the weapons destined for Poland left British ports. David Lloyd George had never been enthusiastic
about supporting the Poles, and had been pressured by his more right-wing Cabinet members such
as Lord Curzon and Winston Churchill into offering the supplies.In early July 1920,
Prime Minister Władysław Grabski travelled to the Spa Conference in Belgium to request
assistance. The Allied representatives were largely unsympathetic. Grabski signed an agreement containing several
terms: that Polish forces withdraw to the Curzon Line, which the Allies had published
in December 1919, delineating Poland’s ethnographic frontier; that it participate in a subsequent
peace conference; and that the questions of sovereignty over Vilnius, Eastern Galicia,
Cieszyn Silesia, and Danzig be remanded to the Allies. Ambiguous promises of Allied support were
made in exchange.On 11 July 1920, the government of Great Britain sent a telegram to the Soviets,
signed by Curzon, which has been described as a de facto ultimatum. It requested that the Soviets halt their offensive
at the Curzon line and accept it as a temporary border with Poland, until a permanent border
could be established in negotiations. In case of Soviet refusal, the British threatened
to assist Poland with all the means available, which, in reality, were limited by the internal
political situation in the United Kingdom. On 17 July, the Bolsheviks refused and made
a counter-offer to negotiate a peace treaty directly with Poland. The British responded by threatening to cut
off the ongoing trade negotiations if the Soviets conducted further offensives against
Poland. These threats were ignored.On 6 August 1920,
the British Labour Party published a pamphlet stating that British workers would never take
part in the war as Poland’s allies, and labour unions blocked supplies to the British expeditionary
force assisting Russian Whites in Arkhangelsk. French Socialists, in their newspaper L’Humanité,
declared: “Not a man, not a sou, not a shell for reactionary and capitalist Poland. Long live the Russian Revolution! Long live the Workmen’s International!” Poland also suffered setbacks due to sabotage
and delays in deliveries of war supplies, when workers in Czechoslovakia and Germany
refused to transit such materials to Poland. On 6 August the Polish government issued an
“Appeal to the World”, disputing charges of imperialism, stressing Poland’s determination
for self-determination and the dangers of Bolshevik invasion of Europe.Poland’s neighbor
Lithuania had been engaged in serious disputes with Poland over the city of Vilnius and the
borderlands surrounding Sejny and Suwałki. A 1919 Polish attempt to take control over
the entire nation by a coup had additionally disrupted their relationship. The Soviet and Lithuanian governments signed
the Soviet-Lithuanian Treaty of 1920 on 12 July; this treaty recognized Vilnius as part
of Lithuania. The treaty contained a secret clause allowing
Soviet forces unrestricted movement within Soviet-recognized Lithuanian territory during
any Soviet war with Poland; this clause would lead to questions regarding the issue of Lithuanian
neutrality in the ongoing Polish–Soviet War. The Lithuanians also provided the Soviets
with logistical support. Despite Lithuanian support, the Soviets did
not transfer Vilnius to the Lithuanians till just before the city was recaptured by the
Polish forces (in late August), instead up till that time the Soviets encouraged their
own, pro-communist Lithuanian government, Litbel, and were planning a pro-communist
coup in Lithuania. The simmering conflict between Poland and
Lithuania culminated in the Polish–Lithuanian War in August 1920.Polish allies were few. France, continuing its policy of countering
Bolshevism now that the Whites in Russia proper had been almost completely defeated, sent
a 400-strong advisory group to Poland’s aid in 1919. It consisted mostly of French officers, although
it also included a few British advisers led by Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Carton De
Wiart. The French officers included a future President
of France, Charles de Gaulle; during the war he won Poland’s highest military decoration,
the Virtuti Militari. In addition to the Allied advisors, France
also facilitated the transit to Poland from France of the “Blue Army” in 1919: troops
mostly of Polish origin, plus some international volunteers, formerly under French command
in World War I. The army was commanded by the Polish general,
Józef Haller. Hungary offered to send a 30,000 cavalry corps
to Poland’s aid, but the Czechoslovakian government refused to allow them through, as there was
a demilitarized zone on the borders after the Czechoslovak-Hungarian war that had ended
only a few months before. Some trains with weapon supplies from Hungary
did, however, arrive in Poland.In mid-1920, the Allied Mission was expanded by some advisers
(becoming the Interallied Mission to Poland). They included: French diplomat, Jean Jules
Jusserand; Maxime Weygand, chief of staff to Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Supreme Commander
of the victorious Entente; and British diplomat, Lord Edgar Vincent D’Abernon. The newest members of the mission achieved
little; indeed, the crucial Battle of Warsaw was fought and won by the Poles before the
mission could return and make its report. Nonetheless for many years, a myth persisted
that it was the timely arrival of Allied forces that had saved Poland, a myth in which Weygand
occupied the central role. Nonetheless Polish-French cooperation would
continue and French weaponry including infantry armament, artillery and Renault FT tanks were
shipped to Poland to reinforce its military. Eventually, on 21 February 1921, France and
Poland entered into a formal military alliance, which became an important factor during the
subsequent Soviet–Polish negotiations.====Battle of Warsaw====On 10 August 1920, Soviet Cossack units under
the command of Gayk Bzhishkyan crossed the Vistula river, planning to take Warsaw from
the west while the main attack came from the east. On 13 August, an initial Soviet attack was
repelled. The Polish 1st Army resisted a direct assault
on Warsaw as well as stopping the assault at Radzymin.The Soviet Western Front commander,
Mikhail Tukhachevsky, felt certain that all was going according to his plan. However, Polish military intelligence had
decrypted the Red Army’s radio messages, and Tukhachevsky was actually falling into a trap
set by Piłsudski and his Chief of Staff, Tadeusz Rozwadowski. The Soviet advance across the Vistula River
in the north was moving into an operational vacuum, as there were no sizable Polish forces
in the area. On the other hand, south of Warsaw, where
the fate of the war was about to be decided, Tukhachevsky had left only token forces to
guard the vital link between the Soviet northwest and southwest fronts. Another factor that influenced the outcome
of the war was the effective neutralization of Budyonny’s 1st Cavalry Army, much feared
by Piłsudski and other Polish commanders, in the battles around Lwów. At Tukhachevsky’s insistence the Soviet High
Command had ordered the 1st Cavalry Army to march north toward Warsaw and Lublin. However, Budyonny disobeyed the order due
to a grudge between Tukhachevsky and Yegorov, commander of the southwest front.Joseph Stalin,
then chief political commissar of the Southwestern Front, was engaged at Lwów, about 200 miles
(320 km) from Warsaw. The absence of his forces at the battle has
been the subject of dispute. A perception arose that his absence was due
to his desire to achieve ‘military glory’ at Lwów. Telegrams concerning the transfer of forces
were exchanged. Leon Trotsky interpreted Stalin’s actions
as insubordination; Richard Pipes asserts that Stalin ‘…almost certainly acted on
Lenin’s orders’ in not moving the forces to Warsaw. That the commander-in-chief Sergey Kamenev
allowed such insubordination, issued conflicting and confusing orders and did not act with
the decisiveness of a commander in chief contributed greatly to the problems and defeat the Red
forces suffered at this critical junction of the war. The Polish 5th Army under General Władysław
Sikorski counterattacked on 14 August from the area of the Modlin fortress, crossing
the Wkra River. It faced the combined forces of the numerically
and materially superior Soviet 3rd and 15th Armies. In one day the Soviet advance toward Warsaw
and Modlin had been halted and soon turned into retreat. Sikorski’s 5th Army pushed the exhausted Soviet
formations away from Warsaw in a lightning operation. Polish forces advanced at a speed of thirty
kilometers a day, soon destroying any Soviet hopes for completing their enveloping manoeuvre
in the north. By 16 August, the Polish counteroffensive
had been fully joined by Marshal Piłsudski’s “Reserve Army.” Precisely executing his plan, the Polish force,
advancing from Warsaw (colonel Wrzaliński’s group) and the south (Polish 3rd and 4 Army),
found a huge gap between the Soviet fronts and exploited the weakness of the Soviet “Mozyr
Group” that was supposed to protect the weak link between the Soviet fronts. The Poles continued their northward offensive
with two armies following and destroying the surprised enemy. They reached the rear of Tukhachevsky’s forces,
the majority of which were encircled by 18 August. Only that same day did Tukhachevsky, at his
Minsk headquarters 300 miles (480 km) east of Warsaw, become fully aware of the proportions
of the Soviet defeat and ordered the remnants of his forces to retreat and regroup. He hoped to straighten his front line, halt
the Polish attack, and regain the initiative, but the orders either arrived too late or
failed to arrive at all.Soviet armies in the center of the front fell into chaos. Tukhachevsky ordered a general retreat toward
the Bug River, but by then he had lost contact with most of his forces near Warsaw, and all
the Bolshevik plans had been thrown into disarray by communication failures. Bolshevik armies retreated in a disorganized
fashion; entire divisions panicking and disintegrating. The Red Army’s defeat was so great and unexpected
that, at the instigation of Piłsudski’s detractors, the Battle of Warsaw is often referred to
in Poland as the “Miracle at the Vistula”. Previously unknown documents from Polish Central
Military Archive found in 2004 proved that the successful breaking of Red Army radio
communications ciphers by Polish cryptographers played a great role in the victory (see Jan
Kowalewski).Budyonny’s 1st Cavalry Army’s advance toward Lwów was halted, first at
the battle of Brody (29 July – 2 August), and then on 17 August at the Battle of Zadwórze,
where a small Polish force sacrificed itself to prevent Soviet cavalry from seizing Lwów
and stopping vital Polish reinforcements from moving toward Warsaw. Moving through weakly defended areas, Budyonny’s
cavalry reached the city of Zamość on 29 August and attempted to take it in the Battle
of Zamość; however, he soon faced an increasing number of Polish units diverted from the successful
Warsaw counteroffensive. On 31 August, Budyonny’s cavalry finally broke
off its siege of Lwów and attempted to come to the aid of Soviet forces retreating from
Warsaw. The Soviet forces were intercepted and defeated
by Polish cavalry at the Battle of Komarów near Zamość, one of the largest cavalry
battles since 1813 (Brandy Station in 1863, during the American Civil War, was larger)
and one of the last cavalry battles in history. Although Budyonny’s army managed to avoid
encirclement, it suffered heavy losses and its morale plummeted. The remains of Budyonny’s 1st Cavalry Army
retreated towards Volodymyr-Volynskyi on 6 September and were defeated shortly thereafter
at the Battle of Hrubieszów.Tukhachevsky managed to reorganize the eastward-retreating
forces and in September established a new defensive line running from the Polish–Lithuanian
border to the north to the area of Polesie, with the central point in the city of Grodno
in Belarus. The Polish Army broke this line in the Battle
of the Niemen River. Polish forces crossed the Niemen River and
outflanked the Bolshevik forces, which were forced to retreat again. Polish forces continued to advance east on
all fronts, repeating their successes from the previous year. After the early October Battle of the Szczara
River, the Polish Army had reached the Ternopil–Dubno–Minsk–Drissa line.In the south, Petliura’s Ukrainian forces
defeated the Bolshevik 14th Army and on 18 September took control of the left bank of
the Zbruch river. During the next month they moved east to the
line Yaruha on the Dniester–Sharhorod–Bar–Lityn.====Conclusion====Soon after the Battle of Warsaw the Bolsheviks
sued for peace. The Poles, exhausted, constantly pressured
by the Western governments and the League of Nations, and with its army controlling
the majority of the disputed territories, were willing to negotiate. The Soviets made two offers: one on 21 September
and the other on 28 September. The Polish delegation made a counteroffer
on 2 October. On the 5th, the Soviets offered amendments
to the Polish offer, which Poland accepted. The Preliminary Treaty of Peace and Armistice
Conditions between Poland on one side and Soviet Ukraine and Soviet Russia on the other
was signed on 12 October, and the armistice went into effect on 18 October. Ratifications were exchanged at Liepāja on
2 November. Long negotiations of the final peace treaty
ensued.Meanwhile, Petliura’s Ukrainian forces, which now numbered 23,000 soldiers and controlled
territories immediately to the east of Poland, planned an offensive in Ukraine for 11 November
but were attacked by the Bolsheviks on 10 November. By 21 November, after several battles, they
were driven into Polish-controlled territory.==Aftermath==
Despite the final retreat of Soviet forces and annihilation of their three field armies,
historians do not universally agree on the question of victory. The Poles claimed a successful defense of
their state, while the Soviets claimed a repulse of the Polish eastward invasion of Ukraine
and Belarus, which they viewed as a part of the foreign intervention in the Russian Civil
War. Some British and American military historians
argue that the Soviet failure to destroy the Polish army decisively ended Soviet ambitions
for international revolution.===Peace negotiations===Due to their losses in and after the Battle
of Warsaw, the Soviets offered the Polish peace delegation substantial territorial concessions
in the contested borderland areas, closely resembling the border between the Russian
Empire and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth before the first partition of Poland in 1772. Polish resources were exhausted, however,
and Polish public opinion was opposed to a prolongation of the war. The Polish government was also pressured by
the League of Nations, and the negotiations were controlled by Dmowski’s National Democrats. National Democrats cared little for Piłsudski’s
vision of reviving Międzymorze, the multicultural Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Piłsudski might have controlled the military,
but parliament (Sejm) was controlled by Dmowski: Piłsudski’s support lay in the territories
in the East, which were controlled by the Bolsheviks at the time of the elections, while
the National Democrats’ electoral support lay in central and western Poland.The National
Democrats wanted only the territory that they viewed as ‘ethnically or historically Polish’
or possible to polonize. Despite the Red Army’s crushing defeat at
Warsaw and the willingness of Soviet chief negotiator Adolf Joffe to concede almost all
disputed territory, the National Democrats’ ideology allowed the Soviets to regain certain
territories. This post-war situation proved a death blow
to the Międzymorze project. The National Democrats also had few concerns
about the fate of their Ukrainian ally, Petliura, and cared little that their political opponent,
Piłsudski, felt honor-bound by his treaty obligations. Thus, they did not hesitate to scrap the Warsaw
Treaty between Poland and the Directorate of Ukraine. The Peace of Riga was signed on 18 March 1921,
splitting the disputed territories in Belarus and Ukraine between Poland and the Soviet
Union.====Ukraine====
The peace treaty, which Piłsudski called an “act of cowardice”, violated the terms
of Poland’s military alliance with the Directorate of Ukraine, which had explicitly prohibited
a separate peace. Ukrainian allies of Poland were interned by
the Polish authorities. This internment worsened relations between
Poland and its Ukrainian minority: those who supported Petliura were angered by the betrayal
of their Polish ally, anger that grew stronger because of the assimilationist policies of
nationalist inter-war Poland towards its minorities. To a large degree, this inspired the growing
tensions and eventual violence against Poles in the 1930s and 1940s.====Belarus====
The treaty partitioned Belarus, giving a portion of its territory to Poland and the other portion
to the Soviets. Though the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
was not dissolved, its policies were determined by Moscow. In response, Belarusian activists held a Congress
of Representatives in Prague in the fall of 1921 to discuss the treaty. Vera Maslovskaya was sent as the delegate
of the Białystok area and at the congress, she proposed a resolution to fight for unification. She sought independence of all Belarusian
lands and denounced the partition. Though the convention did not adopt a proposal
instituting armed conflict, they did pass Maslovskaya’s proposal, which led to immediate
retaliation from the Polish authorities. They infiltrated the underground network fighting
for unification and arrest participants. Maslovskaya was arrested in 1922, and tried
in 1923, along with 45 other participants, including a sister and brother of Maslovskaya
and several teachers and professionals, but most were peasants. Maslovskaya accepted all responsibility for
the underground organization, but specifically stated that she was guilty of no crime, having
acted only to protect the interests of Belarus against foreign occupiers in a political and
not military action. Unable to prove that the leaders had participated
in armed rebellion, the court found them guilty of political crimes and sentenced the participants
to six years in prison.====Vilnius====
The Polish military successes in the autumn of 1920 allowed Poland to capture the Vilnius
region, where a Polish-dominated Governance Committee of Central Lithuania (Komisja Rządząca
Litwy Środkowej) was formed. A plebiscite was conducted, and the Vilnius
Sejm voted in favor of incorporation into Poland on 20 February 1922. This worsened Polish–Lithuanian relations
for decades to come. Despite this loss of territory for Lithuania,
Alfred E. Senn argues that it was only the Polish victory against the Soviets in the
Polish–Soviet War that derailed Soviet plans for westward expansion and gave Lithuania
a period of interwar independence.===War crimes and other controversies===
The war and its aftermath also resulted in other controversies, such as the situation
of prisoners of war of both sides, treatment of the civilian population and behavior of
some commanders like Stanisław Bułak-Bałachowicz or Vadim Yakovlev. Another controversy concerned the pogroms
of Jews, which caused the United States to send a commission led by Henry Morgenthau
to investigate the matter. More than one million Poles, living mostly
in the disputed territories, remained in the Soviet Union, systematically persecuted by
Soviet authorities because of political, economic and religious reasons (see the Polish operation
of the NKVD).===Developments in military strategy===The Polish–Soviet War influenced Polish
military doctrine, which for the next 20 years would place emphasis on the mobility of elite
cavalry units. It also influenced Charles de Gaulle, then
an instructor with the Polish Army who fought in several of the battles. He and Władysław Sikorski were the only
military officers who, based on their experiences of this war, correctly predicted how the next
one would be fought. Although they failed in the interbellum to
convince their respective militaries to heed those lessons, early in World War II they
rose to command of their armed forces in exile.===Legacy===
In 1943, during the course of World War II, the subject of Poland’s eastern borders was
re-opened, and they were discussed at the Tehran Conference. Winston Churchill argued in favor of the 1920
Curzon Line rather than the Treaty of Riga’s borders, and an agreement among the Allies
to that effect was reached at the Yalta Conference in 1945. The Western Allies, despite having alliance
treaties with Poland and despite Polish contribution, also left Poland within the Soviet sphere
of influence. This became known as the Western betrayal.Until
1989, while Communists held power in the People’s Republic of Poland, the Polish–Soviet War
was omitted or minimized in Polish and other Soviet bloc countries’ history books, or was
presented as a foreign intervention during the Russian Civil War.Lieutenant Józef Kowalski,
of Poland, was believed to be the last living veteran from this war. He was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta
on his 110th birthday by the president of Poland. He died on 7 December 2013 at the age of 113. However, his age is not verified, and in any
case, Alexander Imich, the world’s verified oldest man when he died on June 8, 2014, aged
111, was a veteran from the same war, and therefore the real last living veteran.==List of battles====See also==
Biuro Szyfrów Lithuanian–Belorussian Soviet Socialist
Republic (a.k.a. Litbel) Polish-Ukrainian War
Russian Civil War Soviet invasion of Poland
Battle of Warsaw (1920) Józef Kowalski
Alexander Imich==
Notes====References====Further reading=====Non-English=======Polish========Russian======External links==
Centek, Jarosław: Polish-Soviet War 1920-1921 , in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World
War. Electronic Museum of the Polish-Soviet War
The Bolsheviks and the “Export of Revolution”: The Russo-Polish War
Bibliography of the Polish-Soviet War by Anna M. Cienciala, University of Kansas
Russo-Polish War 1919–20 at Onwar.com Maps of the Polish-Bolshevik War: Campaign
Maps (Battle of Warsaw) by Robert Tarwacki at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 October
2009) A Knock on the Door – chapter three of Wesley
Adamczyk’s memoirs of the Polish-Soviet war, When God Looked. Sławomir Majman, War and Propaganda, Warsaw
Voice, 23 August 1998 The Russo-Polish War, 1919–1920: A Bibliography
of Materials in English by John A. Drobnicki. Originally Published in the Polish Review,
XLII, no. 1 (Mar. 1997), 95–104
73,055 names of Polish mortal casualties

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