63 Days of Glory - 74th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw as well rest of Poland mark the 74th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. Official commemorations are taking place all over the capital city. The tragic insurrection commenced on the 1st of August, 1944 and lasted 63 days until it was crushed by better-equipped German army.
Each year, residents of Warsaw gather in symbolic places of the city to pay homage to some 180.000 victims of the Uprising and its aftermath.
Exactly at 5 p.m., the Varsovians marked the anniversary with a minute-long silence. The whole traffic will stopped for 60 seconds. The memory of the fallen Heroes was accompanied by wailing sirens.
The Warsaw Uprising was a planned military operation aimed against Nazi-German forces occupying the city. The Polish Underground State together with its armed forces, the Home Army attempted to take control of the city and push the already retreating Germans westwards.
The rebellion coincided with the Soviet Army's advance from the East. The insurgents, apart from a strong desire of justice and vengeance against their opressors, had a political motivation. The Red Army was bringing along a newly created puppet government comprised of Polish communists, formed under the auspices of Moscow.
Stalin was determined to install the Polish Committee of National Liberation as rulers of the new puppet state. Poles wanted to gain control of Warsaw before the Russians, and declare Poland a liberated and sovereign state, counting on support from Western allies.
Initially, the Home Army took control of many parts of the city, but the expected help from the Russians was nowhere to be seen. The Red Army took control of the eastern bank of the Vistula, as the fighting went on. Only some 1.200 soldiers from the Soviet-controlled People's Army of Poland crossed the river to aid the insurgents. No other help arrived from the East. This gave the Germans time to regroup.
The Germans had an overwhelming advantage regarding weapons, machines and supplies. About 25 percent of the city was destroyed during the fighting. After 63 days of struggle, the Polish command surrendered in order to avoid further carnage.
It is estimated that about 16.000 insurgents lost their lives in combat. According to various estimations, between 150.000 and 200.000 civilians were killed, mostly in street executions.
In reprisal, the Germans drove some 500.000 civilians outside the city and proceeded to systematically destroy Warsaw, building by buiding. When the Soviets finally entered the abandoned city in January 1945, 85 percent of the buildings were razed to the ground.
Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 International, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: domena publiczna / Wikipedia