04 Jun 2009

Russia: Poland Caused WWII

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Colonel Sergei Kovalov, a Russian historian, recently published a paper contending that Poland should be blamed for WWII, because it refused to capitulate to German territorial demands. After all, look at Czechoslovakia. Once the German Army marched in and occupied the whole country, no one could blame the Czechs for starting a war.

Polskie Radio reports the story with characteristic Polish understated contempt for equally characteristic Russian shamelessness.

Russian Defence Ministry has accessed (sic) Poland of being responsible for World War II in an article published on its official web site.

The article was written by Colonel Sergey Kovalov from the Institute of War History at the Russian Defence Ministry and published in a War Encyclopedia under the title “History – against lies and falsification”.

“Everyone who studies the history of WW II without prejudice knows that the war started because Poland refused to satisfy German claims. However, not everyone knows what exactly Adolf Hitler wanted from Poland. His claims were rather moderate: to incorporate the Free City of Danzig (currently Gdansk) into the Third Reich and to let Germans build exterritorial motorway and a railway [through Poland] which would join East Prussia with the rest of German territory,” writes the Russian historian. In his opinion, “it is hard to regard these claims as unjustified”.

“Poland aimed at becoming a regional super power and by no means wanted to play the role of a younger partner to Germany. That is why on 26 March 1939 it finally rejected German demands,” argues Kovalov.

The Russian historian also justifies the attack of the USSR on Poland on 17 September 1939. He claims that Josef Stalin had no choice but to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler in order to postpone, at least in the short term, war with Germany.


The Kovalov paper is presumably just one part of a recent campaign by the Medvedev government, described by Newsweek, to re-write Russian history officially, returning to a pre-Glasnost perspective of exculpating or denying Soviet crimes and glorifying Soviet aggression and Stalinism.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev issued a decree recently ordering “the creation of a presidential commission to counter attempts to harm Russian interests by falsifying history.” The commission is supposed to be stacked with government officials, including from the Defense Ministry and the Federal Security Service, and there will be only three historians among its members. Orwell’s ears would perk right up at that news. For those who have been hoping that Medvedev would tolerate more dissent than Vladimir Putin has, all this is profoundly discouraging.


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