POLISH GREATNESS TRAFFIC

March 31, 2018

MARCH 31 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

MARCH 31

1892

Stanislaw Maczek (dob) was a famous Polish tank General of World War II, whose Division was instrumental in the Allied liberation of France, closing the Falaise pocket, and in the destruction of 14 German Wehrmacht and SS divisions. His civision liberated Ypres, Oostnieuwkerke, Roeselare, Tielt, Ruislede and Ghent in Belgium. The Division's finest hour came when its troops accepted the surrender of the German naval base of Wilhelmshaven, taking captive the entire garrison, together with about 200 vessels of Hitler's Kriegsmarine.  Maczek was a veteran of World War I, the Polish-Ukrainian and Polish–Soviet Wars, and was the Commander of Poland's only major armoured formation during the September 1939 campaign. Maczek also commanded a Polish armoured formation in France in 1940 as well as the famous 1st Polish Armoured Division, which he led in defence of the Scottish coast between Montrose and the Firth of Forth, as a line of defence against a possible German invasion of Britain. Later British command equipped the Division with state-of-the-art Churchill and M4 Sherman tanks in preparation for the Normandy landings. Maczek commanded the 1st Armoured Division until the end of European hostilities and was promoted to Major-General. After the surrender of Germany he went on to command the Polish I Corps and became commanding officer of all Polish forces in the United Kingdom until their demobilization in 1947.


1939

The British government under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain pledged support to Poland if she were threatened by Germany. In his speech before the House of Commons on March 31, 1939 Chamberlain stated the following: "….  in the event of any action which clearly threatened 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. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to this effect....I may add that the French Government have authorized me to make it plain that they stand in the same position in this matter as do His Majesty's Government..."  Polish historian PaweĊ‚ Wieczorkiewicz wrote: "Polish leaders were not aware of the fact that England and France were not ready for war. They needed time to catch up with the Third Reich, and were determined to gain the time at any price."


1945

The Upper Silesian Offensive ended in Soviet victory. The Upper Silesian Offensive was a strategically significant Soviet offensive on the Eastern Front. It involved the 1st Ukrainian Front under the command of Marshall Ivan Konev, and was aimed at capturing the considerable industrial and natural resources located in Upper Silesia.. Due to the importance of the region to the Germans, considerable forces were provided to Army Group Centre for its defence and the Germans were
slowly pushed back to the Czech border. Fighting for the region lasted from mid January right until the last day of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945.


Anne Frank, and her sister Margot, died of typhus seven months after having been imprisoned at Bergen Belsen.  (Note: In the concentration camp, Anne Frank was briefly reunited with two friends, Hanneli Goslar and Nanette Blitz,  who were confined in another section of the camp.  Goslar and Blitz survived the war, and recounted the brief conversations they had with Frank through a fence.  Blitz described Anne as bald, emaciated, and shivering. Anne told Blitz and Goslar she believed her parents were dead, and for that reason she did not wish to live any longer. According to Goslar the period of their meetings was estimated to have been in late January or early February 1945. (The Dutch authorities have set March 31, 1945 as the date of death, although research conducted by the Anne Frank House, establishes that it might have been in February.)



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