September 16, 2011


 Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease bill  1941

A group of insurgents huddled around a radio in a basement were listening intently to a broadcast in Polish from the United States. Poles had initially regarded Roosevelt and Churchill as champions of freedom until they heard this message over the airwaves. ”What is needed in Warsaw now with regard to the Soviet Union is mutual understanding”.  One of the Polish soldiers was so enraged that he grabbed the radio and smashed it against the wall. The betrayal of Poland by its closest allies, Britain and the United States comes as a great shock.

Just days before Germany launched its Blitzkrieg invasion in September of 1939, Poland and Britain had signed the Agreement of Mutual Assistance whereby Britain promised to come to Poland's aid in the event of war. The then Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain publicly declared that “in the event of any action which clearly threated Polish independence, and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power.”  Instead, the British and the Americans have given the full weight of their military and financial power and support to the Soviet Union.

The U.S. Land-Lease agreement was the brainchild of President Roosevelt who sought to provide military aid to Britain in the war against Nazi Germany. At the end of October 1941, Roosevelt had approved over $1 billion US dollars in Land-Lease aid to Britain. (Similar assistance was also extended to the Soviet Union, whose participation in the war was imperative if the allies were to win the war.  In the period between 1941 and 1945 the Red Army received 22,800 armoured vehicles and tanks; the Red Air Force received almost 18,000 aircraft, which included about 5,000 Bell P-39 Aircobras, 3,000 Hawker Hurricanes, and over 1,000 Spitfire Mk V and IX.) Roosevelt stunned the world when he expressed his opinions about Stalin's charachter: "I just have a hunch, that Stalin doesn't want anything but security for his country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he wouldn't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace."

The Land-Lease agreement did provide military equipment to the Soviet-backed Polish First Army however the quantity and quality was negligible. In comparison allied assistance to Polish fighters in the Uprising has so far amounted to nothing more than a mere pittance, and all of it certainly too late. The majority of air drops have landed in enemy territory depriving the insurgents of much needed weapons and ammunition.

Fighting in Warsaw continues into the seventh week.Soviet artillery fire from Praga can be heard in the distance and it is raising hopes among Polish insurgents that the Soviet Army will soon cross the Vistula. But just as suddenly as it started the Soviets stopped firing again.

In Srodmiescie, the area of Marszalkowska, Koszykowa, Piusa, Wilcza and Krucza Streets remain under fierce enemy fire.  German troops have started the decisive attack on Zoliborz and have bombed the area of Pulawska, Naruszewicza, Malczewskiego and Szustra Streets. AK units have retreated under heavy enemy pressure from parts of the alleys of Dolny Zoliborz (Lower Zoliborz) to the line of Bohomolca Street. In the evening, after a bloody battle, units from the “Zniwiarz” group  have abandoned the premises of the “Opla” shop retreating from the side of Wloscianska Street.   During the night  insurgent troops have been able to evacuate from Sielc to Gorny Mokotow.

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