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Tag: Second World War

Mostly annihilated…

Recently declassified sources of Soviet Military Archives give a better insight into the attempted escape of the German-Hungarian defenders of Budapest on February 11th 1945. Estimates have put the number of Germans who attempted to escape the siege at around 20,000-22,000. Most of them ended up being captured, wounded or killed.

The siege of Budapest of 1944-1945 and its tragic finale – the so-called “breaking-out” [of Buda] – is a very popular and well-researched topic of modern Hungarian history. Several books and articles have been published not only in Hungarian, but in many other languages as well. However, the research of this period was difficult until the very recent years – as the Russian Military Archives (more precisely the CAMO) did not allow anybody to research the classified materials. Because of that, research findings were quite asymmetrical, mostly based on German and Hungarian archive sources and reminiscences, but lacked the other half: the Soviet point of view.

January 27, 2020 - Krisztián Ungváry Márton Ványai

Putin’s reinterpretation of history is absurd

An interview with Marcin Przydacz, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. Interviewer: Michał Potocki.

January 27, 2020 - Marcin Przydacz Michał Potocki

Germany’s Weimar Republic: A narrative of ambiguity

Modernisation appeared to spell economic deprivation for large segments of the Weimar Republic’s society. They felt threatened by uncertainties; in fact, hopes and expectations about the future were disrupted. Aggression turned against democratic institutions and minorities depicted as scapegoats.

On October 15th 1929, the Fritz Lang film Woman in the Moon premiered at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin. The cinema’s façade had been redesigned for the event. Launched from a skyscraper silhouette, a spaceship replica shuttled back and forth to the moon against the backdrop of a starry sky simulated by hundreds of light bulbs. Offering tantalising visions of future technology – not quite unlike Bauhaus architecture with its twin promise of functionalist building and re-styled urban life, it conveyed the impression of epitomising a cosmopolitan republic that eagerly embraced modernity.

November 12, 2019 - Rainer Eisfeld

Hostage to the generals

Had it not been for the huge effort of the German military who carefully considered the experiences of the First World War and a wide support for Reichswehr military concepts in the Weimar Republic, the Nazi regime would not have transferred into an effective military machine. One that posed a serious threat to Europe’s peace.

On November 9th 1918 a republic was established in Germany. It was one of the unintended outcomes of the First World War. The Hohenzollern family, which ruled Germany since 1871, lost power as a result of the war. It is difficult to fully understand the 14-year long history of the interwar German republic without looking at the causes which brought it to life. The same factors, in fact, are the ones which brought it to an end. Had it not been for the madness of Emperor Wilhelm II, Germany would have probably remained one of European constitutional monarchies. The sudden and unexpected abdication of the emperor in 1918, as well as his unexpected call to make peace with the Allied Forces, truly shocked the German public. Its citizens experienced four years of sacrifice to face a disgraceful capitulation in the end.

November 12, 2019 - Andrzej Zaręba

Eighty years later: Under the map of Europe

Maps are more than just visual aids for understanding the land around us. They give valuable insight into history as well.

July 12, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

Why Warsaw is not supporting Kyiv as much as it should

The recently intensifying memory conflict around the interpretation of some Second World War events between Ukraine and Poland is distracting the two intertwined nations from their main international challenges today.

January 16, 2018 - Andreas Umland

Who remembers the Warsaw Uprising?

The 1944 Warsaw Uprising saw the destruction of one of Europe’s great cities. But it is a story not widely known outside of Poland, something the Polish government wants to put straight. We asked a random selection of Germans in Bonn what they know about the uprising as Poles commemorate its 73rd anniversary. 

August 1, 2017 - Jo Harper and Jan Darasz

Showing the Holocaust through women’s eyes

“Mother?! What does it mean? Who is this creature called mother, who with great pleasure suffers and gives birth to a new life…”. These are the words from the diary of Rywka Lipszyc – one of the most mysterious heroines of the Holocaust. Her story is the subject of an exhibit of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, Poland which is held from 28th June 2017 to 31st March 2018.

July 21, 2017 - Monika Szafrańska

Pokémon in the Bloodlands

In Warsaw the signs of the Second World War are everywhere. A plaque tells you that 510 Poles were executed by Nazis in the place where you buy flowers and cucumbers. Copper outlines on the street remind you each day of the location of the Warsaw Ghetto walls. Another plaque commemorates 450 injured Polish combatants who were burned alive by Nazis in the very room that you work. These memorials are particularly common in Wola, a neighbourhood that saw heavy fighting during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The conflict ended with the death of 200,000 Polish civilians and combatants and the expulsion and imprisonment of 700,000 survivors. Wola was also part of the Warsaw Ghetto, in which a significant portion of the city’s 350,000 Jews were imprisoned and ultimately killed or sent to extermination camps by Nazi Germany. By the time the Soviet army finally entered the city, only six percent of its original 1.3 million inhabitants were left alive. After some time, however, the innumerable memorials to the dead that litter the streets of Warsaw eventually blend into the living fabric of a vibrant European capital. Some days it is possible to forget that you live in one of the most brutalised cities of the Second World War.

September 1, 2016 - Michael Połczyński and Kaitlin Staudt

Contacts that matter

Polish-German stereotypes have varied across time and have been heavily dependent on the period in history, people’s personal experiences and the political climate. As such, they  have often been used to manipulate Polish and German societies. Formed and transformed by the changing realities, they have influenced the ways in which Polish and Germans view one another.

June 22, 2016 - Kinga Gajda

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