POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

February 24, 2018

FEBRUARY 24 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

FEBRUARY 24

1920

The National Socialist German Workers' Party  (NSDAP) known as the Nazi party, was founded on this day. Its precursor was the German Workers' Party (DAP), which existed from 1919 to 1920.  The NSDAP grew from several small political groups which were strongly nationalistic, and which formed in the last years of World War I.  In 1918, a league called the Free Workers' Committee for a good Peace was founded in Bremen Germany.  Anton Drexler, a fervent German nationalist created a branch of the league in Munich on March 7, 1918.  Drexler was a local locksmith who was a member of the militarist Fatherland Party during World War I,  and was bitterly opposed to the armistice of November 1918 and its aftermath. He followed the views of militant nationalists who opposed the Treaty of Versailles and disseminated antisemitic,  anti-monarchist and anti-Marxist views. He believed in the superiority of Germans, who claimed to be so-called Aryan master race.  He denounced international capitalism as a Jewish-dominated movement, and denounced capitalists for war profiteering in World War I. Drexler saw the political violence and instability in Germany the result of the Weimar Republic being out-of-touch with the masses, especially the lower classes. and emphasized the need for a form of economic socialism, in order to create a popular nationalist-oriented workers' movement that could challenge the rise of Communism and internationalist politics. He received attention and support from influential people who convinced him to form a political party.  In January 5, 1919, he founded the German Workers Party (DAP) and shortly thereafter Hitler (stationed in the Munich army) began its seventh member.  The party gained public attention very quickly and on February 24, 1920 had its largest gathering of 2,000 people, at which Hitler enunciated the twenty-five points of the German Workers' Party manifesto that he drew up with Drexler and Feder. Hitler presented a bolder strategy calling for the abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, expanding German borders, exclusion of Jews from German citizenship, confiscation of war profits, among other objectives.  The manifesto was antisemetic, anti-capitalist, anti-Marxist, and anti-liberal.  The party name changed to  Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei ("National Socialist German Workers' ). The word socialist was added to appeal to a larger segment of the population, that is,  left-wing workers.


1938

The British Labour Party issued a manifesto demanding that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain call a new general election to assess whether the public supported his appeasement policy.  The manifesto was read in the British House of Commons. Here is an excerpt: "The British Labour movement reaffirms its uncompromising opposition to any agreement with either Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany on the basis indicated by the Prime Minister in his statement to Parliament. This is not the time for concessions to the dictators. We need a clear declaration that Britain stands for the enforcement of treaties against lawless force and against aggressive interference in the internal affairs of independent States. Czechoslovakia in particular should be assured at once that Great Britain and the other League Powers will fulfill their obligations to maintain her integrity and independence." Chamberlain served as Prime Minister from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, which conceded Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. Chamberlain was sure that the Agreement brought in a new era of peace, but then as now, was severely criticized for not preparing Britain for an inevitable war with Germany. On March 15, 1939, Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia, and on September 1, 1939 invaded Poland.  Three days later, Chamberlain declared war on Germany,  and the ensuing eight months consisted of minimal fighting, aptly termed the Phoney War.   Chamberlain died on November 9, 1940 at the age of 71. A few days before his death, Chamberlain wrote, " So far as my personal reputation is concerned, I am not in the least disturbed about it. The letters which I am still receiving in such vast quantities so unanimously dwell on the same point, namely without Munich the war would have been lost and the Empire destroyed in 1938 ... I do not feel the opposite view ... has a chance of survival. Even if nothing further were to be published giving the true inside story of the past two years I should not fear the historian's verdict."


1945

The Lower Silesian Offensive ended in Soviet victory. Faced with heavy German reinforcement, Konev closed the offensive phase of operations, having secured a small bridgehead across the Neisse near Forst. This effectively defined the start lines in that sector for the Battle of Berlin, or Berlin Offensive, two months later.


1953

Soviets Executed Polish General:  Emil August Fieldorf, code-named"Nil" was a Polish Brigadier General,  and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Armia Krajowa (AK or "Home Army"), after the failure of the Warsaw Uprising. The Soviet NKVD executed Fieldorf on February 24, 1953. (Note: In 1948 the Soviet regime was arresting and persecuting former resistance fighters loyal to the Polish Government in Exile in London and offering them "amnesty".  General Fieldor refused to collaborate with the Communist security services, even under torture.  Fieldorf was accused by prosecutor Helena Wolińska-Brus of being a "fascist-Hitlerite criminal" and for having ordered an execution of Soviet partisans while serving in the Armia Krajowa, AK (Polish Home Army).  Following a kangaroo court trial, he was sentenced to death on April 16, 1952 by the presiding judge Maria Gurowska.  An appeal to a higher court failed, and the family's plea for a pardon was denied by then the communist leader Bolesław Bierut who refused to grant clemency. The sentence was carried out, by hanging, on February 24, 1953 at 3:00 pm in the infamous Mokotów Prison in Warsaw.  General Fieldorf's body was never returned to his family. His remains are buried in a location, still unknown to this day.



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