December 30, 2018

DECEMBER 30 - DAILY CHRONICLES OF HISTORY

DECEMBER 30

1939

Captain Jan G√≥rski was a Polish Army officer who had escaped to France after the invasion of Poland. On December 30, 1939 he submitted several reports to the Polish Chief of Staff proposing the creation of a special Polish covert unit. Its purpose was to maintain links with the underground Polish resistance movement, ZWZ and fight against the enemy using covert operation. At first the reports were ignored but finally General Zajac, Commander of the Polish Air Force, recognized the urgency of such a unit, but that the PAF did not have the transport or training facilities to support such a plan. After the Fall of France, Gorski and his colleagues fled to Britain, and proposed the plan to British Command but it was not considered.  On September 20, 1940 Polish General Wladyslaw Sikorski, ordered the creation of Section III, whose purpose would be contingency planning for covert operations in Poland, air delivery of arms and supplies, and training of paratroops.


1941

Churchill's 'Chicken' Speech:  Churchill gave a powerful speech to the Canadian Parliament on December 30, 1941. Here are some excerpts: "…..That grand old minstrel, Harry Lauder – Sir Harry Lauder, I should say, and no honour was better deserved – had a song in the last War which began, “If we all look back on the history of the past, we can just tell where we are.” Let us then look back. We plunged into this war all unprepared because we had pledged our word to stand by the side of Poland, which Hitler had feloniously invaded, and in spite of a gallant resistance had soon struck down. There followed those astonishing seven months which were called on this side of the Atlantic the “phoney” war. Suddenly the explosion of pent-up German strength and preparation burst upon Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium......On top of all this came the great French catastrophe. The French Army collapsed, and the French nation was dashed into utter and, as it has so far proved, irretrievable confusion. The French Government had at their own suggestion solemnly bound themselves with us not to make a separate peace. It was their duty and it was also their interest to go to North Africa, where they would have been at the head of the French Empire. In Africa, with our aid, they would have had overwhelming sea power. They would have had the recognition of the United States, and the use of all the gold they had lodged beyond the seas. If they had done this Italy might have been driven out of the war before the end of 1940, and France would have held her place as a nation in the counsels of the Allies and at the conference table of the victors. But their generals misled them. When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, “.....In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken..." Some chicken............ (Churchill then paused to allow response - loud laughter and applause from Canadian politicians)...........Some neck....." (followed by standing ovation, and much applause)


1947

The High Command Trial was the last of 12 trials of the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (not to be confused with the Nuremberg Trials). It was also called the "Subsequent Nuremberg Trials". The trial was held from December 30, 1947 to October 28, 1948. The accused were high-ranking generals of the Wehrmacht (including a field marshal and a former Admiral).  They were charged with having planned, facilitated or participated in carrying out numerous war crimes and atrocities in German-occupied countries during the war.   Of the 14 defendants, two were acquitted on all counts. Johannes Blaskowitz committed suicide during the trial. The remaining defendants received prison sentences from three years to life imprisonment,  including time served.



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