Poland commemorates 80th anniversary of World War II

On Thursday, 12 September, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland commemorated the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II,  with the screening of a film, ‘303 Squadron’, which portrayed the contributions by Polish soldiers to the Allied victory in World War II, and the role played by Polish airmen in the Battle of Britain.

Guests also had a chance to watch an animated short film produced by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, which briefly explained historical events of crucial importance to Poland in the half-century from 1939 to 1989. On the sidelines of the film screening, the guests were also presented with an exhibition explaining the events of World War II and the reality of life of the Polish people under the occupation.

Among the guests who attended the event were the newly appointed Ambassador of Germany to Kuwait H.E. Stefan Möbs, Ambassadors of other EU countries, members of diplomatic missions, representatives of schools and academic institutions in Kuwait.

In his address to the gathering, the Ambassador of Poland H.E. Pawel Lechowicz referred to the context of the outbreak of war and the damage that the conflict brought to Europe and to the world. He underscored the extent of damage caused by the conflict and the death of over 50 million people in the war. He also highlighted the importance of reconciliation between the countries and the people that fought in the war, and added that Poland and Germany were the best examples of building good relations despite the tragedy of World War II.

Eighty years ago, in the early hours of 1 September 1939, troops of the German Reich crossed the Polish-German border. Polish Army put up military resistance and although France and Great Britain immediately declared war on Germany, they did not engage in any military action. Poland’s tragic fate was sealed on 17 September 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the East. The secret Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed between Germany and Soviet Union, effectively divided Central Europe into the so-called spheres of influence.

Poland continued to put up resistance against the occupiers at home and abroad despite losing the defensive war of 1939. The structures of Polish underground state were the largest in the whole of occupied Europe and included independent armed forces, parliament, the judiciary and secret education. Polish Army was also revived in France and the UK, fighting on all European and African frontlines.

Though Polish soldiers and airmen contributed in great measure to the Allies’ victory and the ending of the Second World War in 1945, this did not bring freedom for Poland. Europe became divided under the arrangements made during the Yalta Conference. First coined by Churchill, the term ‘Iron Curtain’ would best describe the post-war division of Europe and the enslavement of Poland and other countries, under the Soviet sphere of influence. Poland regained its full independence only in 1989.