June 21, 2024
Polish Experience

The Betrayal of Poland: 1939-1945

 Patrick J. Buchanan
 August 29, 1997
 With Poland's membership in NATO at issue, a question has arisen as to
 whether America owes a debt to the Polish people for Franklin D.
 Roosevelt's having "betrayed" the Polish nation to Joseph Stalin at

Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat has lately raised the issue
 of a moral debt to Poland for the 1945 summit where FDR accepted
 Stalin's assurances of free elections. Eizenstat was taken to task by
 columnist Lars-Erik Nelson for repeating a "50-year-old right-wing
 slander." Robert Novak defended the "betrayed" thesis.

Nelson's point: By 1945 Stalin had 12 million troops in Eastern
 Europe, and Dwight Eisenhower only 4 million in the West.
 Conservatives who condemn FDR for Poland's fate, says Nelson, are
 joining the "Blame America First" crowd. We couldn't save Poland!
 But, in truth, Yalta was only the final betrayal of Poland, and not
 only FDR but Winston Churchill bears moral responsibility for a half-
 century of communist enslavement of the Polish people.

The first betrayal came with the British guarantee to Poland, after
 Neville Chamberlain was exposed as a dupe when Adolf Hitler tore up
 his Munich pact and marched into Prague. As Hitler pressed Poland for
 the return of Danzig, stripped from Germany after World War I, and
 demanded rail and road transit to the city across a "Polish Corridor"
 also taken from Germany, Warsaw, encouraged by British Foreign
 Secretary Lord Halifax, refused even to negotiate. The Poles were
 assured that if war came, Britain would be at their side.

But when Hitler invaded Poland from the west and Stalin invaded from
 the east, Britain declared war on Germany alone. Then, the British sat
 behind the Maginot Line while Poland was crucified. The British had
 goaded the Poles into standing up to Hitler though they had no plans
 to save or rescue Poland. Six million Poles would die as a result of
 having trusted in a British alliance.

The second betrayal occurred at Teheran in 1943, when FDR moved into
 the Soviet embassy compound and assured Stalin he would not object to
 his keeping the half of Poland and the Baltic states Hitler had ceded
 to Stalin in their infamous pact. As Robert Nisbet wrote in "Roosevelt
 and Stalin: The Failed Courtship," FDR asked only that word of his
 concession not leak out before the 1944 elections, so Polish Americans
 would not react in rage. FDR told one visitor to Hyde Park he was
 "sick and tired" of East Europeans and their constant clamoring about
 boundaries and sovereignties.

The third betrayal occurred in the summer of '44. The Polish Home Army
 in German-occupied Warsaw, heeding appeals from Radio Moscow, rose up
 against the Nazis. As the Home Army was loyal to the free Polish
 government in London, which was demanding an investigation of Stalin's
 murder of Polish officers at Katyn, Stalin halted his own Red Army
 outside Warsaw to give the Nazis a free hand in crushing the Polish

British and Americans sought to aid the Poles with air drops of food
 and munitions. But Stalin refused to let the allies use air fields
 behind his lines to refuel for the return flight to England. Churchill
 drafted a strong letter to Stalin, asking that the allies be allowed
 to use the air fields assigned them, but to appease Stalin, FDR
 cravenly refused to sign the letter. The Home Army was butchered.
 By February 1945, Poland had been overrun by a Red Army that could not
 be dislodged short of a new war. Yalta, writes Nisbet, "is not the
 source of the Soviet possessions in Eastern Europe ... Teheran is. But
 Yalta performed a service that was almost as important to Stalin. ...
 This was the invaluable service of giving moral legitimation to what
 Stalin had acquired by sheer force."

Britain had gone to war and lost 400,000 men and an empire for
 Poland's independence. Yet, as Poland receded into the darkness, not
 once did Churchill vent upon Stalin the oratory he used so often on
 Hitler. The rape of Poland by Hitler and Stalin was the moral cause
 that precipitated the war. Yet, Churchill and FDR, to appease Stalin,
 meekly acquiesced in the betrayal of that moral cause.
 "Of one thing I am sure," FDR said at Yalta, "Stalin is not an
 imperialist." How explain his naivete about Stalin, to whom he gave
 everything, including a third of the Italian fleet and recognition of
 his puppet government in Poland? "Puerility," writes George F. Kennan.
 FDR once told his friend, ambassador William Bullitt: "I think if I
 give him (Stalin) everything I possibly can, and ask nothing from him
 in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will
 work with me for a world of peace and democracy."
 And thus was Poland betrayed.

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Donna September 25, 2018 at 7:07 am

“Britain had gone to war and lost 400,000 men and an empire for
Poland’s independence.” Great Britain lost .94% of its population during WWII- 450,900 people from all parts of its kingdom.

Did you mean “Britain had gone to war and lost 400,000 men and women and an empire to prevent Hitler from achieving complete dominance over the continent of Europe?” If your original statement holds and that is what you meant, I’d say they failed miserably.

francis May 30, 2019 at 12:18 am

It pains me to admit it but Poland is entitled to very very large compensation from my own country the UK.

We gave Poland guarantees that we were either unable to meet or in the case of the Soviet takeover actually collaborated with the USSR. The amount of damages Poland could seek are unlimited. Victor Rothschild who controlled both Churchill and Attlee sold Poland out.

I hope Poland now sues my own government in our highest Court, the Queens Bench. Poland would be guaranteed to win probably by default. Maybe Poland could then remove the Rothschild hold over us. Poland could then claim each and every part of our soverighty and make the UK its overseas possession. No I am not joking Poland should go for it. Its a win win for Poland and the indigenous Britons. Perhaps having Polish masters is the future.

Wieslaw George Helon March 18, 2020 at 8:04 am

Still no compensation for loss of property, lives, or life in exile! The Reprivatization Laws were / are a joke – no one has received anything!

Time and again some of us have done our best to highlight what happened to our families, what has happened to us; but because there are no ‘facts’ recorded in ‘history’ many remain oblivious:


And their is the largely untold story of The Forgotten Holocaust:


I am the proud son, grandson and great-grandson of Sybiraks.


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