Western betrayal

The concept of Western betrayal refers to the view that the United Kingdom and France failed to meet their legal, diplomatic, military and moral obligations with respect to the Czechoslovak and Polish nations during the prelude to and aftermath of World War II. It also sometimes refers to the treatment of other Central and Eastern European nations at the time.

The term refers to several events, including the treatment of Czechoslovakia during the Munich Agreement and the resulting occupation by Germany, as well as the betrayal at Abbeville (Anglo-French Supreme War Council) of France and the UK to aid Poland when the country was invaded by Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939. The same concept also refers to the concessions made by the United States and the United Kingdom to the Soviet Union during the Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam conferences, to their passive stance during the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation, and post-war events, which allocated the region to the Soviet sphere of influence and created the communist Eastern Bloc.

Historically, such views were intertwined with some of the most significant geopolitical events of the 20th century, including the rise and empowerment of the Third Reich (Nazi Germany), the rise of the Soviet Union (USSR) as a dominant superpower with control of large parts of Europe, and various treaties, alliances, and positions taken during and after World War II, and so on into the Cold War.

The perception of betrayal

"Notions of western betrayal" is a reference to "a sense of historical and moral responsibility" for the West's "abandonment of Central and Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War," according to professors Charlotte Bretherton and John Vogler.[1][2] In Central and Eastern Europe the interpretation of the outcome of the Munich Crisis of 1938, and the Yalta Conference of 1945, as a betrayal of Central and Eastern Europe by Western powers has been used by Central and Eastern European leaders to put pressure on Western countries to acquiesce to more recent political requests such as membership in NATO.[3]

In a few cases deliberate duplicity is alleged, whereby secret agreements or intentions are claimed to have existed in conflict with understandings given publicly. An example is Winston Churchill's covert concordance with the USSR that the Atlantic Charter did not apply to the Baltic states. Given the strategic requirements of winning the war, British Prime Minister Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had no option but to accept the demands of their erstwhile ally, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, at Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam conferences, argues retired diplomat Charles G. Stefan.[4]

Max Hastings states that Churchill urged Roosevelt to continue armed conflict in Europe in 1945 - but carried out against the Soviet Union, to prevent the USSR from extending its control west of its own borders.[5] Roosevelt apparently trusted Stalin's assurances, and he was unwilling to support Churchill in ensuring the "liberation" of all of Central and Eastern Europe west of the USSR. Without American backing, the United Kingdom, with its strength exhausted by six years of war, was unable to take any military actions in that part of Europe.

Specific instances considered to exemplify the concept by historical and contemporary writers include the annexation of most of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany under the Munich Agreement of 1938, the abandonment of the British alliance with Poland during the invasion of Poland of September 1939 and during the Warsaw Uprising against Nazi Germany in 1944, and the acceptance of the Soviet abrogation of the Yalta agreement of 1945. In the latter, the Major Allies against Nazi Germany had agreed to secure democratic processes for the countries that would be liberated from Nazi rule, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Albania.

There was also a lack of military or political support for the anticommunist rebels during the uprising in German Democratic Republic in 1953, during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956,[6] and during the democracy-oriented reforms in Czechoslovakia in 1968 (the so-called "Prague Spring").

According to Ilya Prizel, the "preoccupation with their historical sense of 'damaged self' fueled resentment" towards the west generally and reinforced the western betrayal concept in particular.[7] Grigory Yavlinsky argues that damage to central European national psyches left by the Western "betrayal" at Yalta and Munich remained a "psychological event" or "psychiatric issue" during debates over NATO expansion.[8]

Colin Powell has stated that he does not think "betrayal is the appropriate word" regarding the Allies' role in the Warsaw Uprising.[9] While complaints of "betrayal" are common in politics generally,[10] the idea of a western betrayal can also be seen as a political scapegoat in both Central and Eastern Europe[11] and a partisan electioneering phrase among the former Western Allies.[12] Historian Athan Theoharis maintains betrayal myths were used in part by those opposing US membership in the United Nations.[12] The word "Yalta" came to stand for the appeasement of world communism and abandonment of freedom.[13]


Munich Conference

The term Western betrayal (Czech: zrada Západu) was coined after the 1938 Munich Conference when Czechoslovakia was forced to cede the mostly German-populated Sudetenland to Germany. The region contained the Czechoslovak border fortifications and means of viable defence against German invasion.[14][15][16] Germany invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia a year later.

Along with Italy and Nazi Germany, the Munich treaty was signed by Britain and France - Czechoslovakia's allies. Czechoslovakia was allied by treaty with France so it would be obliged to help Czechoslovakia if it was attacked [17]. The Munich treaty and the subsequent occupation exposed Czechoslovak citizens to the Nazi regime and its atrocities.

Czech politicians joined the newspapers in regularly using the term Western betrayal and it, along with the associated feelings, became a stereotype among Czechs. The Czech terms Mnichov (Munich), Mnichovská zrada (Munich betrayal), Mnichovský diktát (Munich Dictate) and zrada spojenců (betrayal of the allies) were coined at the same time and have the same meaning. Poet František Halas published a poem with verse about "ringing bell of betrayal".[18]

Then Member of Parliament for Epping, Winston Churchill said: "Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war".[19]

Prague uprising

On 5 May 1945, the citizens of Prague learned of the American invasion of Czechoslovakia by the US Third Army and revolted against German occupation. In four days of street fighting, thousands of Czechs were killed. Tactical conditions were favourable for an American advance, and General Patton, in command of the army, requested permission to continue westward to the Vltava river in order to aid the Czech partisans fighting in Prague. This was refused by General Eisenhower, who was disinclined to accept American casualties or risk antagonising the Soviet Union. As a result, Prague was liberated on 9 May by the Red Army, raising the standing of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. According to a British diplomat, this was the moment that "Czechoslovakia was now definitely lost to the West."[20]


WWI aftermath

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, a complex set of alliances was established among the nations of Europe, in the hope of preventing future wars (either with Germany or the Soviet Union). With the rise of Nazism in Germany, this system of alliances was strengthened by the signing of a series of "mutual assistance" alliances between France, Britain, and Poland (Franco-Polish Alliance and Anglo-Polish Alliance). This agreement stated that in the event of war the other allies were to fully mobilise and carry out a "ground intervention within two weeks" in support of the ally being attacked.[21][22][23] Additionally representatives of the Western powers made several military promises to Poland, including such fantastic designs as those made by British General William Edmund Ironside in his July 1939 talks with Marshall Rydz-Śmigły who promised an attack from the direction of Black Sea, or placing a British aircraft carrier in the Baltic.[24]

In the commentary on the Anglo-Polish Alliance, Polish publicist Stanisław Mackiewicz wrote in his 1964 book "Polityka Becka":

England does not need the existence of Poland, it has never needed it. Sometimes the British push us to fight against Russia, sometimes against Germany, as happened in 1939, when they managed to keep Hitler away from them for some time. After their so-called guarantees of March 1939, England was not interested in our army, it did not help us financially in our war preparations, and did not have the slightest intention to aid us during Hitler's invasion of Poland (...) The guarantee of Poland's independence, provided by England, was not a guarantee at all. On the contrary, it was a speculation, whose purpose was the fastest possible liquidation of the Polish state. England wanted Poland to fight Germany first, and to lose that war as quickly as possible, so that Germany would finally face Russia.

Beginning of WWII, 1939

On the eve of the Second World War, the Polish government tried to buy as much armaments as it could and was asking for arms loans from Britain and France. As a result of that in the summer of 1939 Poland bought 160 French Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighters and 111 English airplanes (100 light bombers Fairey Battle, 10 Hurricanes and 1 Spitfire)[25]. Although some of these planes had been shipped to Poland before 1 September 1939, none took part in combat, due to the extension of negotiations by France and Britain in the face of war. Because of resistance by the British, the weapons that the Poles most wanted, about 150 technically advanced fighters, were not supplied. The total amount of the loan from British government was also much smaller than asked for. Britain eventually agreed to lend just 8 million pounds instead of 60 million that Poland applied for.[26]

Upon the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in September 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany. On 3 September a naval blockade of Germany was initiated, and an attempt was made to bomb German warships in harbour on 4 September. Most British bomber activity over Germany was the dropping of propaganda leaflets and reconnaissance. On 4 September, during a Franco-British meeting in France, it was decided that no major land or air operations against Germany would take place, and afterwards French military leader Maurice Gamelin issued orders prohibiting Polish military envoys lieutenant Wojciech Fyda and general Stanisław Burhardt-Bukacki from contacting him.[24] In his post-war diaries general Edmund Ironside, the chief of Imperial General Staff commented on French promises "The French had lied to the Poles in saying they are going to attack. There is no idea of it".[27]

The French initiated full mobilisation and began the limited Saar Offensive on 7 September but halted short of the German defensive lines and then withdrew to their own defences around 13 September. Poland was not notified of this decision. Instead, Gamelin informed by dispatch marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły that half of his divisions were in contact with the enemy, and that French advances had forced the Wehrmacht to withdraw at least six divisions from Poland. The Polish military envoy to France, general Stanisław Burhardt-Bukacki, upon receiving the text of the message sent by Gamelin, alerted marshal Śmigły: "I received the message by general Gamelin. Please don't believe a single word in the dispatch".[24] The following day, the commander of the French Military Mission to Poland, General Louis Faury, informed the Polish Chief of Staff, General Wacław Stachiewicz, that the planned major offensive on the western front had to be postponed from September 17 to September 20. At the same time, French divisions were ordered to retreat to their barracks along the Maginot Line.

On 17 September 1939 the Soviet Union invaded Poland, as agreed in advance with Germany following the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Britain and France did not take any action in response to the Soviet invasion.

France and Britain did not launch a full land attack on Germany. Poland was overcome on 6 October.

Tehran, 1943

In November 1943, the Big Three (USSR, US, and the UK) met at the Tehran Conference. President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill officially agreed that the eastern borders of Poland would roughly follow the Curzon Line.[28] The Polish government-in-exile was not a party to this decision made in secret.[29][30] The resulting loss of the Kresy, or "eastern territories", approximately 48% of Poland's pre-war territory, to the Soviet Union was seen by the London Poles in exile as another "betrayal" by their Western "Allies".[31]

However it was no secret to the Allies that before his death in July 1943 General Władysław Sikorski, Prime Minister of Poland's London-based government in exile had been the originator, and not Stalin, of the concept of a westward shift of Poland's boundaries along an Oder–Neisse line as compensation for relinquishing Poland's eastern territories as part of a Polish rapprochement with the USSR.[32] Dr. Józef Retinger who was Sikorski's special political advisor at the time was also in agreement with Sikorski's concept of Poland's realigned post-war borders, later in his memoirs Retinger wrote: "At the Tehran Conference, in November 1943, the Big Three agreed that Poland should receive territorial compensation in the West, at Germany's expense, for the land it was to lose to Russia in Central and Eastern Europe. This seemed like a fair bargain."[33]

Churchill told Stalin he could settle the issue with the Poles once a decision was made in Tehran,[34] however he never consulted the Polish leadership.[35] When the Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile Stanisław Mikołajczyk attended the Moscow Conference (1944), he was convinced he was coming to discuss borders that were still disputed, while Stalin believed everything had already been settled. This was the principal reason for the failure of the Polish Prime Minister's mission to Moscow. The Polish premier allegedly begged for inclusion of Lwów and Wilno in the new Polish borders, but got the following reply from Vyacheslav Molotov: "There is no use discussing that; it was all settled in Tehran."[36]

Warsaw Uprising, 1944

Since the establishment of the Polish government-in-exile in Paris and then in London, the military commanders of the Polish army were focusing most of their efforts on preparation of a future all-national uprising against Germany. Finally the plans for Operation Tempest were prepared and on August 1, 1944, the Warsaw Uprising started. The Uprising was an armed struggle by the Polish Home Army to liberate Warsaw from German occupation and Nazi rule.

Despite the fact that Polish and later Royal Air Force (RAF) planes flew missions over Warsaw dropping supplies from 4 August on, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) planes did not join the operation. The Allies specifically requested the use of Red Army airfields near Warsaw on 20 August but were refused by Stalin on 22 August (he referred to the insurrectionists as "a handful of criminals"). After Stalin's objections to support for the uprising, Churchill telegraphed Roosevelt on 25 August and proposed sending planes in defiance of Stalin and to "see what happens". Roosevelt replied on 26 August that "I do not consider it advantageous to the long-range general war prospect for me to join you in the proposed message to Uncle Joe."[37] The commander of the British air drop, Air Marshal Sir John Slessor, later stated, "How, after the fall of Warsaw, any responsible statesman could trust the Russian Communist further than he could kick him, passes the comprehension of ordinary men."

Various scholars argue that during the Warsaw Uprising both the governments of United Kingdom and the United States did little to help Polish resistance and that the Allies put little pressure on Stalin to help the Polish struggle.

Yalta, 1945

The Yalta conference (February 4 to 11, 1945) initiated the era of Soviet domination of Central and Eastern Europe, which lasted until the end of the Cold War in early 1990s and left bitter memories of Western betrayal and Soviet dominance in the collective memory of the region.[38] To many Polish Americans the Yalta conference "constituted a betrayal" of Poland and the Atlantic Charter.[39] "After World War II," remarked Strobe Talbott, "many countries in the (center and) east suffered half a century under the shadow of Yalta."[38] Territories which the Soviet Union had occupied during World War II in 1939 (with the exception of the Białystok area) were permanently annexed, and most of their Polish inhabitants expelled: today these territories are part of Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania. The factual basis of this decision was the result of a forged referendum from November 1939 in which the "huge majority" of voters accepted the incorporation of these lands into Western Belarus and Western Ukraine. In compensation, Poland was given former German territory (the so-called Regained Territories): the southern half of East Prussia and all of Pomerania and Silesia, up to the Oder–Neisse line. The German population of these territories was expelled and these territories were subsequently repopulated with Poles expelled from the Kresy regions. This, along with other similar migrations in Central and Eastern Europe, combined to form one of the largest human migrations in modern times. Stalin ordered Polish resistance fighters to be either incarcerated or deported to gulags in Siberia.

At the time of Yalta over 200,000 troops of the Polish Armed Forces in the West were serving under the high command of the British Army. Many of these men and women were originally from the Kresy region of eastern Poland including cities such as Lwów and Wilno. They had been deported from Kresy to the Soviet gulags when Hitler and Stalin occupied Poland in 1939 in accordance with the Nazi–Soviet Pact. When two years later Churchill and Stalin formed an alliance against Hitler, the Kresy Poles were released from the Gulags in Siberia, formed the Anders Army and marched to Persia to create the II Corps (Poland) under British high command.

These Polish troops were instrumental to the Allied defeat of the Germans in North Africa and Italy, and hoped to return to Kresy in an independent and democratic Poland at the end of the War. But at Yalta, Churchill agreed that Stalin should keep the Soviet gains Hitler agreed to in the Nazi–Soviet Pact, including Kresy, and carry out Polish population transfers. Consequently, Churchill had agreed that tens of thousands of veteran Polish troops under British command should lose their Kresy homes to the Soviet Union.[40] In reaction, thirty officers and men from the II Corps committed suicide.[41]

Churchill defended his actions in a three-day Parliamentary debate starting 27 February 1945, which ended in a vote of confidence. During the debate, many MPs openly criticised Churchill and passionately voiced loyalty to Britain's Polish allies and expressed deep reservations about Yalta.[41] Moreover, 25 of these MPs risked their careers to draft an amendment protesting against Britain's tacit acceptance of Poland's domination by the Soviet Union. These members included Arthur Greenwood, Viscount Dunglass, Commander Archibald Southby, the Lord Willoughby de Eresby, and Victor Raikes.[41] After the failure of the amendment, Henry Strauss, the Member of Parliament for Norwich, resigned his seat in protest at the British treatment of Poland.[41]

Before the Second World War ended, the Soviets installed a pro-Soviet regime. Although president Roosevelt "insisted on free and unfettered" elections in Poland, Vyacheslav Molotov instead managed to deliver an election fair by "Soviet standards."[42] As many as half a million Polish soldiers refused to return to Poland,[43] because of the Soviet repressions of Polish citizens, the Trial of the Sixteen and other executions of pro-democracy Poles, particularly the so-called cursed soldiers, former members of the Armia Krajowa. The result was the Polish Resettlement Act 1947,[44] Britain's first mass immigration law.

Yalta was used by ruling communists to underline anti-Western sentiments.[45][46] It was easy to argue that Poland was not very important to the West, since Allied leaders sacrificed Polish borders, legal government, and free elections.[47][48][49]

The Federal Republic of Germany, formed in 1949, was portrayed by Communist propaganda as the breeder of Hitler's posthumous offspring who desired retaliation and wanted to take back from Poland the "Recovered Territories".[50] Giving this picture a grain of credibility was that West Germany until 1970 refused to recognize the Oder-Neisse Line and that some West German officials had a tainted Nazi past. For a segment of Polish public opinion, Communist rule was seen as the lesser of the two evils.

Defenders of the actions taken by the Western allies maintain that Realpolitik made it impossible to do anything else, and that they were in no shape to start an utterly un-winnable war with the Soviet Union over the subjugation of Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries immediately after the end of World War II. It could be contended that the presence of a double standard with respect to Nazi and Soviet aggression existed in 1939 and 1940, when the Soviets attacked eastern part of Poland, and then the Baltic States, and then Finland, and yet the Western Allies chose not to intervene in those theatres of the war.

The chief American negotiator at Yalta was Alger Hiss, later accused of being a Soviet spy and convicted of perjuring himself in his testimony to the House Committee on Unamerican Activities. This accusation was later corroborated by the Venona tapes. In 2001, James Barron, a staff reporter for The New York Times, identified what he called a "growing consensus that Hiss, indeed, had most likely been a Soviet agent."[51]

At the war's end many of these feelings of resentment were capitalised on by the occupying Soviets, who used them to reinforce anti-Western sentiments within Poland. Propaganda was produced by Communists to show the Soviet Union as the Great Liberator, and the West as the Great Traitor. Moscow's Pravda reported in February 1944 that all Poles who valued Poland's honour and independence were marching with the "Union of Polish Patriots" in the USSR.[52]

Aborted Yalta agreement enforcement plans

At some point of Spring 1944, Churchill had commissioned a contingency military enforcement operation plan (war on the Soviet Union) to obtain "square deal for Poland" (Operation Unthinkable), which resulted in a May 22 report stating unfavorable success odds.[53] The report's arguments included geostrategic issues (possible Soviet-Japanese alliance resulting in moving of Japanese troops from continent to Home Islands, threat to Iran and Iraq) and uncertainties concerning land battles in Europe.[54]

Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Yugoslavia

During the Fourth Moscow Conference in 1944, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and British prime minister Winston Churchill discussed how to divide various European countries into spheres of influence.[55][56][57] Churchill's account of the incident is that Churchill suggested that the Soviet Union should have 90 percent influence in Romania and 75 percent in Bulgaria; the United Kingdom should have 90 percent in Greece; with a 50-50 share in Hungary and Yugoslavia. The two foreign ministers, Anthony Eden and Vyacheslav Molotov, negotiated about the percentage shares on October 10 and 11. The result of these discussions was that the percentages of Soviet influence in Bulgaria and, more significantly, Hungary were amended to 80 percent.

See also



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  3. ^ Marc Trachtenberg (1999). A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945-1963. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-00273-6. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  4. ^ Stefan|Roosevelt & Stalin
  5. ^ Hastings, Max. "Operation unthinkable: How Churchill wanted to recruit defeated Nazi troops and drive Russia out of Eastern Europe". Daily Mail. London.
  6. ^ "ALLIANCES: How to Help Hungary". Time. December 24, 1956.
  7. ^ Ilya Prizel (13 August 1998). National Identity and Foreign Policy: Nationalism and Leadership in Poland, Russia and Ukraine. Cambridge University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-521-57697-0. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
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  13. ^ S. M. Plokhy (4 February 2010). Yalta: The Price of Peace. Penguin Group US. ISBN 978-1-101-18992-4. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
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  18. ^ František Halas, Torzo naděje (1938), poem Zpěv úzkosti, "Zvoní zvoní zrady zvon zrady zvon, Čí ruce ho rozhoupaly, Francie sladká hrdý Albion, a my jsme je milovali"
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  28. ^ Tony Sharp (1977). "The origins of the 'Teheran formula' on Polish frontiers". Journal of Contemporary History. 12 (2): 381–393. doi:10.1177/002200947701200209. JSTOR 260222.
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  34. ^ Lynne Olson; Stanley Cloud (18 December 2007). A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-42450-1. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
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  37. ^ "Transcripts - Warsaw Rising". CNN.com. Retrieved 2014-11-10.
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  40. ^ WWII Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West. About |PBS
  41. ^ a b c d pp.374-383 Olson and Cloud 2003
  42. ^ Felix Wittmerb (1953). "THE YALTA BETRAYAL" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-09.
  43. ^ Public Lecture: Political myths of the Polish Post-World War II emigrants in the West - ACU (Australian Catholic University)
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  46. ^ Norman Davies (2005) [1982]. God's Playground. 2. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12819-3.
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  52. ^ Dr Mark Ostrowski Chapter 6
  53. ^ Operation Unthinkable, report May 22, 1945, page 1 (goals) "1". Archived from the original on November 16, 2010. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
  54. ^ Operation Unthinkable, report May 22, 1945, page 4 (geostrategic implications) "1". Archived from the original on November 16, 2010. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
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  • David Martin, The Web of Disinformation: Churchill's Yugoslav Blunder. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, San Diego & New York, 1990. ISBN 0-15-180704-3
  • Lynne Olson, Stanley Cloud, A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II. Knopf, 2003. ISBN 0-375-41197-6.
  • Anita Prażmowska, Poland: the Betrayed Ally. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995. ISBN 0-521-48385-9.
  • Edward Rozek, Allied Wartime Diplomacy: A Pattern in Poland, New York, 1958, reprint Boulder, CO, 1989.
  • Henry L. Roberts "The Diplomacy of Colonel Beck" pages 579–614 from The Diplomats 1919–1939 edited by Gordon A. Craig & Felix Gilbert, Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey, USA, 1953.
  • Wacław Stachiewicz (1998). Wierności dochować żołnierskiej. Rytm, Warsaw. ISBN 83-86678-71-2.
  • Robert Young France and the origins of the Second World War, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.
  • Piotr Stefan Wandycz The twilight of French eastern alliances, 1926–1936: French-Czechoslovak-Polish relations from Locarno to the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.
  • Piotr Wandycz France and her eastern allies, 1919–1925: French-Czechoslovak-Polish relations from the Paris Peace Conference to Locarno, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1962.
  • Gerhard Weinberg A world at arms: a global history of World War II, Cambridge, United Kingdom; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  • John Wheeler-Bennett Munich: Prologue to Tragedy, New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1948.
  • Paul E. Zinner "Czechoslovakia: The Diplomacy of Eduard Benes" pages 100–122 from The Diplomats 1919–1939 edited by Gordon A. Craig & Felix Gilbert, Princeton University Press: Princeton, New Jersey, USA, 1953.
  • Republic of Poland, The Polish White Book: Official Documents concerning Polish-German and Polish-Soviet Relations 1933–1939; Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, New York, 1940.
  • Daniel Johnson, "Betrayed by the Big Three". Daily Telegraph, London, November 8, 2003
  • Diana Kuprel, "How the Allies Betrayed Warsaw". The Globe and Mail, Toronto, February 7, 2004
  • Ari Shaltiel, "The Great Betrayal". Haaretz, Tel Aviv, February 23, 2004
  • Piotr Zychowicz, Pakt Ribbentrop - Beck. Dom Wydawniczy Rebis, Poznań 2012. ISBN 978-83-7510-921-4

External links

ASEAN Declaration

The ASEAN Declaration or Bangkok Declaration is the founding document of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It was signed in Bangkok on 8 August 1967 by the five ASEAN founding members, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as a display of solidarity against communist expansion in Vietnam and communist insurgency within their own borders. It states the basic principles of ASEAN: co-operation, amity, and non-interference. The date is now celebrated as ASEAN Day.

Arms and the Covenant

Arms and the Covenant is a 1938 non-fiction book written by Winston Churchill. It was later published in the US as While England Slept; a Survey of World Affairs, 1932–1938. It highlighted the United Kingdom's lack of military preparation to face the threat of Nazi Germany's expansion and attacked the current policies of the UK government, led by his fellow Conservative Neville Chamberlain. It galvanised many of his supporters and built up public opposition to the Munich Agreement.

John F. Kennedy was inspired by the book's title when publishing his thesis, which he wrote during his senior year at Harvard College, and in which he examined the reasons for the UK's lack of preparation. Originally titled Appeasement in Munich, it was titled Why England Slept upon its 1940 publication.

Asian Relations Conference

The Asian Relations Conference took place in New Delhi in March-April 1947. It was hosted by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who then headed a provisional government that was preparing for India's Independence, which came on 15 August 1947. The Asian Relations Conference brought together many leaders of the independence movements in Asia, and represented a first attempt to assert Asian unity. The objectives of the conference were "to bring together the leading men and women of Asia on a common platform to study the problems of common concern to the people of the continent, to focus attention on social, economic and cultural problems of the different countries of Asia, and to foster mutual contact and understanding."

In his writings and speeches, Nehru had laid great emphasis on the manner in which post-colonial India would rebuild its Asia connections. At this conference Nehru declared: "... Asia is again finding herself ... one of the notable consequences of the European domination of Asia has been the isolation of the countries of Asia from one another. ... Today this isolation is breaking down because of many reasons, political and otherwise ... This Conference is significant as an expression of that deeper urge of the mind and spirit of Asia which has persisted ... In this Conference and in this work there are no leaders and no followers. All countries of Asia have to meet together in a common task ..."

Border states (Eastern Europe)

Border states or European buffer states was a political term used in the West before World War II, and referring to the European nations that won their independence from the Russian Empire after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and ultimately the defeat of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary in World War I. During the 20th century interwar period the nations of Western Europe implemented a border states policy which aimed at uniting these nations in defense against the Soviet Union and communist expansionism. The border states were interchangeably Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and, until their annexation into the Soviet Union, short-lived Belarus and Ukraine.

The policy tended to see the border states as a cordon sanitaire, or buffer states, separating Western Europe from the newly formed Soviet Union. This policy was very successful. Soviet Union was at the time driven by trotskyist ideology whose goal was the permanent revolution aiming not to cease until spreading communism all over the world. This plan was shattered by Poland which stopped Bolschevik Red Army invasion by successfully winning Polish–Soviet War. After the end of the war Poland's leader Pilsudski, despite an option having had opened, has refrained from taking over Moscow and toppling the communists, as he feared the comeback of white tsarist imperial Russia. Poland wanted to unify its core region with surrounding states as Intermarium, but disputes and different allegiances between and within the group of states hindered unity. The matter was further complicated by the rise of the expansionist Nazi Germany. In 1939 Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with a secret clause, which effectively divided the territory of the border states between those two totalitarian regimes. Immediately afterwards, Nazi Germany and Soviet Union jointly attacked Poland from two sides thus beginning World War II in Europe. After the end of the war, all border states with the exception of Finland, were transferred under Soviet occupation as a result of the Western betrayal.

Franco-Polish alliance (1921)

The Franco-Polish alliance was the military alliance between Poland and France that was active between 1921 and 1940. During the interwar period the alliance with Poland was one of the cornerstones of French foreign policy. Near the end of that period, along with the Franco-British Alliance, it was the basis for the creation of the Allies of World War II.


In the Russian language the word Glasnost (; Russian: гла́сность, IPA: [ˈɡɫasnəsʲtʲ] (listen)) has several general and specific meanings. It has been used in Russian to mean "openness and transparency" since at least the end of the eighteenth century.In the Russian Empire of the late-19th century, the term was particularly associated with reforms of the judicial system, ensuring that the press and the public could attend court hearings and that the sentence was read out in public. In the mid-1980s, it was popularised by Mikhail Gorbachev as a political slogan for increased government transparency in the Soviet Union.

Guerrilla war in the Baltic states

The Guerrilla war in the Baltic states or the Forest Brothers resistance movement was the armed struggle against Soviet rule that spanned from 1940 to the mid-1950s. After the occupation of the Baltic territories by the Soviets in 1944, an insurgency started. According to some estimates, 10,000 partisans in Estonia, 10,000 partisans in Latvia and 30,000 partisans in Lithuania and many more supporters were involved. This war continued as an organised struggle until 1956 when the superiority of the Soviet military caused the native population to adopt other forms of resistance. While estimates related to the extent of partisan movement vary, but there seems to be a consensus among researchers that by international standards, the Baltic guerrilla movements were extensive. Proportionally, the partisan movement in the post-war Baltic states was of a similar size as the Viet Cong movement in South Vietnam.

Jamaican political conflict

The Jamaican political conflict is a long standing feud between right-wing and left-wing elements in the country, often exploding into violence. The Jamaican Labor Party and the People's National Party have fought for control of the island for years and the rivalry has encouraged urban warfare in Kingston. Each side believes the other to be controlled by foreign elements, the JLP is said to be backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the PNP is said to been backed by the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.

Johnson Doctrine

The Johnson Doctrine, enunciated by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson after the United States' intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, declared that domestic revolution in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be a local matter when "the object is the establishment of a Communist dictatorship". It is an extension of the Eisenhower and Kennedy Doctrines.

Lithuanian partisans

The Lithuanian partisans (Lithuanian: Lietuvos partizanai) were partisans who waged a guerrilla warfare in Lithuania against the Soviet Union in 1944–1953. Similar anti-Soviet resistance groups, also known as Forest Brothers and cursed soldiers, fought against Soviet rule in Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Galicia. It is estimated that a total of 30,000 Lithuanian partisans and their supporters were killed.At the end of World War II, the Red Army pushed the Eastern Front towards Lithuania. The Soviets invaded and occupied Lithuania by the end of 1944 and liberated it from Fascism. As forced conscription into Red Army and Stalinist repressions intensified, thousands of Lithuanians used forests in the countryside as a natural refuge. These spontaneous groups became more organized and centralized culminating in the establishment of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters in February 1948. In their documents, the partisans emphasized that their ultimate goal is recreation of independent Lithuania. As the partisan war continued, it became clear that the West would not interfere in Eastern Europe (see Western betrayal) and that the partisans had no chance of success against the far stronger opponent. Eventually, the partisans made an explicit and conscious decision not to accept any new members. The leadership of the partisans was destroyed in 1953 thus effectively ending the partisan war, though individual fighters held out until the 1960s.

May Crisis 1938

The May Crisis of 1938 was a brief episode of international tension caused by reports of German troop movements against Czechoslovakia that appeared to signal the imminent outbreak of war in Europe. Although the state of high anxiety soon subsided when no actual military concentrations were detected, the consequences of the crisis were, nevertheless, far-reaching.

NDF Rebellion

The NDF Rebellion was an uprising in the Yemen Arab Republic by the National Democratic Front, under Yahya Shami, between 1978 and 1982.

Obrana národa

Obrana národa (ON) (English: Defence of the Nation) was a Czech resistance organization that fought against the German occupation from 1939 to 1945. It opposed Nazi rule in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The group was founded by General Josef Bílý in April 1939.

The Gestapo was able to seek out and destroy the group's leadership on three occasions (February 1940, May 1942 and June 1944), but each time the group was reorganized.

Operation Keelhaul

Operation Keelhaul was a forced repatriation of former Soviet Armed Forces POWs of Germany to the Soviet Union, carried out in Northern Italy by British and American forces between 14 August 1946 and 9 May 1947.

Ulbricht Doctrine

The Ulbricht Doctrine, named after East German leader Walter Ulbricht, was the assertion that normal diplomatic relations between East Germany and West Germany could occur only if both states fully recognised each other's sovereignty. That contrasted with the Hallstein Doctrine, a West German policy which insisted that West Germany was the only legitimate German state.

East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

Unofficial mottos of Poland

Poland has no official motto of the State, namely the one which is recognized as such by the Polish national law.

However, there are some common phrases which appear commonly on banners, flags and other symbols of the Polish State, or are considered commonly as the symbols of Poland.

Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła ("Poland is not yet lost") - the first line of the Polish national anthem.

Bóg, Honor, Ojczyzna ("God, Honor, Fatherland"): the most common phrase found on Polish military standards.

Za wolność naszą i Waszą ("For our freedom and yours"): Its history dates back to the times when Polish soldiers, exiled from the partitioned Poland, fought in the various independence movements throughout the world. Media related to Za wolność naszą i waszą at Wikimedia Commons

Żywią i bronią (ancient spelling: Żywią y bronią, "With Life and Arms") found on the military standards of the Kościuszko Insurrection and Bataliony Chłopskie, a motto of the Polish patriotic peasant movement and peasant (people's) parties. Media related to Żywią i Bronią at Wikimedia Commons

Pro Fide, Lege et Rege (For Faith, Law, and King): motto of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the 18th century and the Order of the White Eagle.

Nic o nas, bez nas ("Nothing about us, without us"): Derives from the title of the Nihil novi Constitution of 1505, which established nobles' democracy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In a modern context, it can also signify frustration at Poland's fate being determined by foreign powers since the end of the 18th century. That is, the partitions and the Congress of Vienna, as well as, the Western Betrayal.

Żeby Polska była Polską ("Let Poland be Poland"): a song written in 1976 by Jan Pietrzak. The song was regarded as an expression of the struggle against communist rule in Poland and support for the "Solidarity" movement in the 1980s. English translation of the title song is often quoted in various speeches. Queen Elizabeth II herself delivered this statement in Polish in a speech cementing the re-establishment of Anglo-Polish friendship after the end of communism.

Nie ma wolności bez Solidarności ("There is no freedom without solidarity") - one of the mottos of the strikes of 1980 in Gdańsk and throughout Poland, subsequently taken over by the Solidarność (Solidarity) Independent Self-Governing Trade Union, and Solidarity social movement.

Western Bloc

The Western Bloc during the Cold War refers to capitalist countries under the hegemony of the United States and NATO against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. The latter were referred to as the Eastern Bloc. The governments and press of the Western Bloc were more inclined to refer to themselves as the "Free World" or the "Western world", whereas the Eastern Bloc was often called the "Communist world or Second world".

Yalta Conference

The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference, held from February 4th to the 11th 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization. The three states were represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively. The conference convened near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union, within the Livadia, Yusupov, and Vorontsov Palaces.

The aim of the conference was to shape a post-war peace that represented not just a collective security order but a plan to give self-determination to the liberated peoples of post-Nazi Europe.The meeting was intended mainly to discuss the re-establishment of the nations of war-torn Europe. However, within a few short years, with the Cold War dividing the continent, Yalta became a subject of intense controversy.

Yalta was the second of three major wartime conferences among the Big Three. It was preceded by the Tehran Conference in November 1943, and was followed by the Potsdam Conference in July 1945. It was also preceded by a conference in Moscow in October 1944, not attended by President Roosevelt, in which Churchill and Stalin had carved up Europe into Western and Soviet spheres of influence. The Potsdam Conference was to be attended by Stalin, Churchill (who was replaced halfway through by the newly elected British prime minister Clement Attlee) and Harry S. Truman, Roosevelt's successor after his death.

General Charles de Gaulle was not present at either the Yalta or Potsdam conferences; a diplomatic slight that was the occasion for deep and lasting resentment. De Gaulle attributed his exclusion from Yalta to the longstanding personal antagonism towards him by Roosevelt, although the Soviet Union had also objected to his inclusion as a full participant. But the absence of French representation at Yalta also meant that extending an invitation for De Gaulle to attend the Potsdam Conference would have been highly problematic; as he would then have felt honor-bound to insist that all issues agreed at Yalta in his absence would have had to be re-opened.

Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
See also
  • Prelude
  • (Oct 1925 – Sep 1938)
  • Consequences
  • (Nov 1938 – Sep 1939)
  • Nullification
  • (Mar 1945 – Dec 1973)
Related topics

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