July 4, 2018

JULY 4 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

JULY 4

1610

The Battle of Klushino, also called the Battle of Kłuszyn, was fought on July 4, 1610, between forces of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, and the Tsardom of Russia during the Polish–Muscovite War, part of Russia's Time of Troubles. It took place near the village of Klushino, near Smolensk. In the battle the outnumbered Polish force secured a decisive victory over Russia, due to the tactical competence of hetman Stanisław Żółkiewski and the military prowess of Polish Winged Hussars,the elite of the army of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland. This battle was among the greatest victories of the Polish cavalry and demonstrated the excellence and supremacy of the Polish military at the time.


1940

Churchill's Speech on Taking French Fleet:  Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons regarding the British attack on French ships the previous day. "It is with sincere sorrow that I must now announce to the House the measures which we have felt bound to take in order to prevent the French fleet from falling into German hands.....after all preparation had been made we took the greater part of the French fleet under our control or else called upon them with an adequate force to comply with our requirements.  Two battleships, two light cruisers, some submarines, including a very large one, including the Surcouf - eight destroyers and approximately 200 smaller but extremely useful mine sweeping, and anti-submarine craft which lay for the most part in Portsmouth and Plymouth, were boarded by superior forces after a brief notice had been given......We must of course expect to be attacked, or even invaded....in our own island home before very long.....We are making every preparation in our power to repel the assaults of the enemy....In the fullest harmony with our Dominions we are moving through a period of extreme danger and splendid hope when every virtue in our race will be tested and all that we have and are will be freely staked. This is not a time for doubts or weaknesses. This is the supreme hour to which we are called....."  Churchill was readying the nation for an attack by Germany as France had just fallen to the Germans on June 10, 1940, and signed an armistice with Hitler.  Churchill thus declared that, "The Battle of France is over...the Battle of Britain is about to begin."


1941

25 Polish Professors massacred in Lwow:   The German Gestapo (aided by soldiers of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) systematically executed 25 Polish professors in the town of Lwow (now Lviv, Ukraine).  The names of the professors had been reported to the authorities by the university students affiliated with the OUN.  Among those arrested was Roman Rencki, a director of the Clinic for Internal Diseases at Lwów University, who was kept in NKVD prison and whose name was also on the list of Soviet prisoners sentenced to death. The professors were transported to the Abrahamowicz's dormitory where they were tortured and interrogated. The head of the department in the Jewish hospital, Adam Ruff, was shot during an epileptic attack. On the morning of July 4, 1941,   the professors were shot to death (either in the Wulka hills or in the courtyard of the Bursa Abrahamowiczów building). Many of the people killed were prominent leaders of Polish (and  Polish-Jewish) society: politicians, artists, aristocrats, sportsmen, scientists, priests, rabbis and other members of the intelligentsia.  The massacre and many others like it were attempts by the Nazis to eliminate Polish resistance, and essentially destroy the very fabric of Polish culture and society.


1943

Polish General Died in Suspicious Plane Crash  A plane carrying  General Wladyslaw Sikorski plunged into the sea immediately after takeoff from Gibraltar, killing all on board except the pilot. The exact circumstances of Sikorski's death have been disputed and have given rise to a number of different theories surrounding the crash and his death. Sikorski  had been the most prestigious leader of the Polish exiles, and his death was a severe setback for the Polish cause.  A British Court of Inquiry convened days later to investigate the crash of Sikorski's Liberator II serial AL 523, but was unable to establish  the cause. They concluded that it was "due to jamming of elevator controls",  noting that "it has not been possible to determine how the jamming occurred but it has been established that there was no sabotage." The Polish Government in Exile in London refused to accept this report, due to the contradiction in the Soviet argument - that is, that the cause was "not determined" but sabotage was being ruled out. The controversy exists to this day.


1946

Kielce pogrom broke out on the morning of July 4, 1946 and lasted until mid-afternoon.  Polish soldiers, police officers, and civilians participated in attacking and killing 42 Jews, wounding 40 others. A riot broke out when a young Polish boy, who had disappeared for a couple of days, returned home and claimed that he had been kidnapped by a Jewish man. The police searched the man's home and found nothing, and the kidnapping accusation was quickly retracted. But the police began to spread rumours that the Jews of the house were killing Polish children, it instigated a riot and blood lust that continued from morning until mid-afternoon. None of the authorities would, or could stop it. Mobs of police, army and civilians attacked and killed Jewish men, women and children, at random, wounding many others.  The Kielce pogrom was the deadliest attack against Polish Jews. It took place shortly after the end of World War Two and the Holocaust. The massacre shocked Jews and Poles in Poland, and the international community.  But the violence did not end there. Wounded Jews who were transported to hospital were beaten and robbed by soldiers, while injured Jews were assaulted in the hospital by other patients.   Professor Bozena Szaynok, a famous and respected Polish historian has analyzed the details of the Kielce pogrom based on new information recently released (though the most important documents had been destroyed 1989 concerning the involvement of certain army units).  In an article she posted on the web, entitled, "The Jewish Pogrom in Kielce, July 1946 - New Evidence" she shed more light on the events, asserting that there were underlying political conspiracies committed by the communist Polish Ministry of Public Security.  The Soviet objective was to deflect attention away from the upcoming parliamentary election in Poland, which was preceded by a rigged (Soviet-led) referendum.  Professor Szaynok has written several books about Polish Jewish history and Polish Jewish relations. In 2016, the President of the Republic of Poland honored her with the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for her "merit in investigating and commemorating the truth about tragic events in Kielce on July 4, 1946".


2010

Bronisław Komorowski was elected President. He was the fifth President of Poland. He had served as Minister of Defence from 2000 to 2001 and as Marshal of the Sejm (Speaker of the lower house of Parliament).  Komorowski exercised the powers and duties of Head of State following the tragic death of President Lech Kaczyński in a plane crash on April 10, 2010.  Komorowski was then the governing Civic Platform party's candidate in the resulting presidential election, which he won in the second round of voting on July 4, 2010. He was sworn in as President on August 6, 2010. Komorowski thus became the second person to serve on two occasions as Polish Head of State since 1918, after Maciej Rataj. On May 25, 2015, Komorowski conceded the Presidency of Poland to the rival candidate Andrzej Duda, after the latter gained a 51.5% majority in the second round of the presidential election, the closest election in Polish history.



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