May 18, 2018


MAY 18


Troops of General Anders' 2nd Polish Corps attached to the British Eight Army captured Monastery Hill, Monte Cassino, on May 18, 1944.  A soldier of the Polish unit raised the Polish flag over the ruins of the abbey at 10:20 am. It ended five months of brutal and bloody fighting for control of the strategic height.  (Note:  Polish II Corps launched their second attack on Monte Cassino on May 17, with no natural cover for protection and under constant artillery and mortar fire from the strongly fortified German positions. Fighting was fierce, and resorted to hand to hand combat.  As the Allies advanced in the Liri valley, Germans had to withdraw due to dwindling material, but chose new defensive positions on the Hitler Line.  In the early hours of May 18, the British 78th Division and Polish II Corps linked up in the Liri valley 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Cassino town. At the end of the war the Poles constructed  a Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino on the slope of the mountain.

Stalin proclaimed GKO Order No. 5859, which implemented the deportation of the Tatars. It began on this day, and continued until the May 20th, 1944.  The notorious Soviet NKVD agents went from house to house arresting Crimean Tatars at gunpoint and forcing them into sealed cattle trains that would transfer them almost 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi) away to remote locations in the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. The Soviets gave the Tatars permission to carry only up to 500 kg of their property per family.  By 8:00 on the first day, the NKVD had already loaded 90,000 Crimean Tatars distributed in 25 trains. The next day, an additional 136,412 people were crammed into railroad cars, without food or water.  The trip took several weeks, and by the end over 7,800 people had perished.  At least  228,000 people were deported from Crimea, many of them families. Officially, there was not a single Crimean Tatar left in Crimea. During the deportation process, the NKVD confiscated 80,000 houses, 500,000 cattle, 360,000 acres of land, and 40,000 tons of agricultural provisions that were left behind by the Crimean Tatars.


The world's tallest structure was built by Jan Polak, a Polish architect.  The  Konstantynow Radio Tower, built in Warsaw, weighed 420 tonnes and measured 646 metre high (half a mile). It was the second tallest structure ever built, being surpassed only by Dubai's Burj Khalifa.  But on August 8, 1991 the structure was carelessly destroyed by a group of workmen employed by Mostostal Zabrze, a construction company charged with the tower’s upkeep.  The construction co-ordinator and the division chief, were both charged as responsible for the collapse of the tower, and sentenced to two and a half, and two years in jail, respectively. By 1992, plans were underway to rebuild the tower, but the townspeople protested due to radiation emission from the tower.

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