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Poland sided with Nazis before war

From the British Newspaper - the Guardian.

Fury as Russia presents 'evidence' Poland sided with Nazis before war

Russia today released secret documents from the archives of its foreign intelligence service that it said showed how Poland sided with the Nazis before the second world war and tried to destroy the Soviet Union.

Russia published 400 pages of documents gathered by undercover Soviet agents between 1935 and 1945, including telegrams, letters and reports intercepted from Polish missions abroad. Their release coincided with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war.

The declassified files from Russia's SVR foreign intelligence service allegedly show that Poland was plotting against the Soviet Union in the years preceding the war, which began when Hitler invaded western Poland on 1 September 1939.

Seventeen days later, the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland. But according to the SVR, Poland was not simply a victim of Soviet aggression, but had been actively pursuing an anti-Soviet foreign policy from the mid-1930s. This included supporting anti-Soviet national groups in Ukraine, the Caucasus and central Asia.

Lev Sotskov, a retired KGB major general who compiled the documents, said there was evidence Poland signed a secret protocol with Germany in 1934. Citing a report written by an unidentified Soviet agent, he said Poland had agreed to remain neutral if Germany attacked the Soviet Union.

His claims provoked uproar at a press conference in Moscow, with Polish journalists jumping to their feet and denouncing the document as a fake. There were also heated exchanges over the role played by Jozef Beck, Poland's foreign minister in 1939, amid unsubstantiated claims he was a German agent.

The "protocol" goes much further than the 1934 non-aggression pact between Poland and Nazi Germany, under which both sides agreed not to attack each other. Sotskov denied that the release of the protocol was a provocative gesture. "We should be glad these things are coming into the open," he said.

Tonight, Polish historians said there was no evidence to suggest such a protocol ever existed. "This is absolute rubbish," said Mariusz Wolos, of Poland's Academy of Sciences. "Nothing similar has ever turned up in archives in Germany. Just because some agent wrote it doesn't mean it's true. There isn't much new here. The documents [released by the SVR] simply confirm what British, German and Russian historians already know." What would be interesting would be to find out the identities of the Soviet Union's agents in Poland. But they aren't telling us."

Asked why Russia had decided to release such contentious material now, he said: "It's part of the struggle for historical memory. Russia is keen to show that it isn't just Hitler and the Soviet Union who were responsible for the war."

The documents show that a group of Polish spies based in Paris took part in a secret operation called Prometheism to incite an uprising in Ukraine, Georgia and other Soviet territories. "We know all about that. It's already written about," Wolos said.

Other documents declassified include a letter from Hermann Göring following a visit to Warsaw in 1937. Göring passed on an assurance from Hitler that Germany wouldn't attack Poland, warning that the real danger to Poland came from Moscow – "not just from Bolshevism but from Russia".

The publication follows the release two weeks ago of documents on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, signed by the Soviet Union and Germany on the eve of war. Sotskov today repeated his claim that the deal, under which Hitler and Stalin agreed to carve up eastern Europe, "gave the Red Army two years to prepare for the war".


Re: Poland sided with Nazis before war

A video on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war

Re: Poland sided with Nazis before war

I think this was all a reaction to the OSCE saying stalin's russia shared equal blame with Hitler's germany for starting WWII.

"Russian delegates have reacted angrily after an OSCE parliamentary session in Lithuania voted for a remembrance day for victims of Nazism and Stalinism.

The parliament of the pan-European security body passed a resolution equating the roles of the USSR and Nazi Germany in starting World War II. "