Norman Davies: White Eagle Red Star The Polish Soviet War 1919 20



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E involved individuals factions and regional collectives in The Polish Soviet War that the truth was mythicised not just for readers and historians today but for the very people who lived through the eventsStrategically too it was an extraordinary feat Eternally nderrated and dismissed by the Allies And when it was acknowledged it was seen as an Entente gain outside of Poland For both the Allies and the Soviets this version of events suited perfectlyWhat is perhaps most important about this book is its ability to tell the truth about Poland s conduct in the war and their significance not just here in history but those conflicts prior future and especially in World War II In terms of historiography British writers carelessly followed the prejudices of Russians Thus in 1919 when the Polish Soviet War was vital only to Poland they pretended it did not really exist in 1920 when it became vital to Russia also they suddenly discover an outbreak Eternally Edmund Wilson underrated ridiculed and politically neutered by their respective Allied nations Britain and France Poland was an opposed on both sides of the conflict with the Soviets themselves of course hoping to default and discredit Russia s age old nemesis at every possible junctureTherefore Davies dispelling of numerous such misconceptions and errors in historical writing are perhaps his greatest contribution here to the indignities of the war For example the Rada Obrony Panstwa as voted in by the Sejm the Polish government to provide a framework for that essentialnity purpose which Poland s normal governmental machinery could not have engendered lasted only three months and was not the arch0type dictatorial hand played by Pilsudski and his ministers as so often claimed by their opponentsIt was always Pilsudski s last great war his personality and political conduct Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, unraveling in peace times A sad irony that he was destined to die much too early for the greatest conflict of all WW2 when his country needed his steely indestructibility than ever Regardless this book does story an elaborate and far reaching conflict One which is brushed over by the Allies as incidental the Soviets as anncredited lesson in defeat and by the Poles themselves when they found themselves severed from their history with the eventual Soviet occupation and Ally betrayal and abandonment of them to that fate in World War IIThe conflict is too often forgotten or falsified purposely or not the discredit is the same The war was a major precursor to the fate of Europe in the 1920s and beyond A bold engagement in the Just Once (The Runaways, uncertainty of post Imperial Europe where chaos reignedpon the Contemporary Plays by African American Women unstable footing of a scrambling and ill fated series of new orders within the dark continent of Europe I cannot fault this book on any point It is no page turner and isite dense but for someone interested in the war it is an impeccable secondary source As Davies offers criticism of every side with an nprejudiced scope that places the conflict in its rightful arena in history A good well written if nfortunately slightly out of date history of the Polish Soviet 1919 1922 war The book s main failing lies in not providing enough background information about peripherally mentioned yet crucial figures such as Peter Wrangel Semeon Petlura etc It is however well researched its conclusions are solidly backed p and the maps photographs and other supporting materials allow the reader to easily keep an overview of an otherwise obscure and ill documented conflict Competent telling of the Russo Polish war of 191920 A little too much military detail and poor maps let it down somewhat in my view It reads and feels like a graduate thesis rather than a book for the general readerPlucky Poland gives the Red Army a bloody nose in a strange war that both sides blunder into and flail about in A war of sweeping advance strategic overreach and dramatic retreat featuring the last major cavalry exchanges on European soil A battle for survival for Poland one that had to be won and was Victory saved Poland for a generation yet led to the dictatorship of Pilsudski and engendered an inflated sense of securityPoland was left alone to manage whilst the French and British looked the other way all the time making vague noises of encouragement A kind of rehearsal for 1939 in a way A different and tragic result that time though less I m really not all that impressed with this book However it also happens to be the only book that I know of that deals with the entire Polish Soviet War of 1919 1921 which makes it by default a must have book for anyone who wants to know about it The writing is somewhat dryOne thing many history authors like to do is se a French term here and there without explaining what the term means I ve read and looked p enough of these terms over the years to nderstand them whenever I see them Mr Davies takes it to a different level though He ll occasionally se entire French sentences and not bother to give the reader a translation It happened enough that after a while I would just skip over themAmong all military history books I ve read this ranks in the lower third but since the book is so niue I feel a need to have a copy of it because there is no alternativeI am editing this review to note that since writing the review I ve read another title on this subject called Warsaw 1920 by Adam Zamoyski While not ideal it is a better read than White Eagle Red Star Excellent doctoral dissertation written in the early 1970s by the now top Polish historian writing in English It has all the problems of a dissertation but one can see even at that early stage the strength of Davies as a writer and historian He dissects the events and personalities and examines them nder a microscope One should have some background in the time period because Davies assumes a great deal knowledge on the part of the reader This is a wonderful book about Polish heritage and sacrifice White Eagle Red Star is one of four books written by Norman Davies thathave dramatically altered the way Westerners and Poles have come to view the history of Poland The other three are God s Playground Rising 44 and Microcosm This succinct volume tells how Josef Pilsudki recreated Poland after 125 years in which it had been partitioned between Austria Germany and Russia He then defended it against a communist invasion from RussiaPilsudski is venerated in Poland as the founder of the modern state In the west he has been accorded scant respect and wrongly accused of many sins that he was entirely innocent of Pilsudki was born into a minor noble family in was now part of Lithuania He started his career as a communist where he showed a great deal of skill providing funds for the Russian communist party by robbing trains Unfortunately he was close enough to Lenin s brother that when an assassination attempt was made on the Tsar Pilsudski was sentenced to five years of internment in SiberiaAfter his internment Pilsudski organized a regiment that fought int he Austrian army on the Eastern Front Pilsudski was no. Of victory and pledged to carry the Revolution across Europe was crushed by a devastating Polish attack Since known as “The Miracle of the Vistula” it remains one of the.

A well written and balanced history of the Polish Russian war of 1919 20 Davies presents the conflict clearly while establishing the political and social context of post WWI Eastern Europe Russia going through its Civil War the rebirth of Poland the interests and limited influence of the Western Allies in regard to Communism and the objectives of International Communism While the results of this war changed the Communist view of international revolution it was merely the first step toward Polish independence which took another 70 years This is the history of a little known war between the new Soviet state and the first free Poland state in several centuries Unlike WWI in the West this was a war of movement rather than static trench White Eagle Red Star The Polish Soviet War 1919 20 by Norman Davies An energetic conduct of war strengthens the national character by contrast wars conducted over a long time and lamely entail the greatest material losses and moral damage wrote Colonel Blume some years after the Franco Prussian War A sentiment that is especially telling of the war in estion White Eagle Red Star is an excellent piece not just on the Polish Soviet War but on the conflation of war time conceptualisation itself with a stern overhead review of both the art of historiography itself and its impact The Ascent of Man upon modern and immediate perspectives of the conflictSimultaneously dispelling the historiographical myths construed by Soviet and Polish scholars the illusion of dominant Entente support for the Poles and the Miracle on the Vistula fable respectively With the first fabrication beingsed to justify Soviet insurrection into Europe in the vain hope that a collective European Imperialism which did not include the Polish Republic by any stretch of the imagination would crumple from within by proletariat revolutions that would rise to welcome the invasion And the second as a political tool The Grand Sophy used by Pilsudski s political and various other internal rivals to discredit his achievement in favour of divination and the power of Gods as the bastion of ChristendomBut as Davies rightly points even if such favour had been extended to the Poles in their most desperate hour who else but Pilsudski could be his appropriate agent For the victory chiefly lay with Pilsudski and his ability to mobilise the morale of the newly formed Polish Republic with the substantial logistical and administrative support abilities of his two primary ministers Kazimierz Sosnkowski and Wladyslaw Sikorski From a geopolitical and strategic standpoint the book is invaluable A must read for any students of warfare or the relationship between political and battlefield realities Stratagem never played so crucial a role in a duel between suchnprepared military entities where little yet was standardised to a sufficient of strategic reliability Excellent operational tactical maps are included to ease the difficulties of the topography and multi faceted terminology and names that may prove Winners Dream unwieldy to English readersAs rightly stated warfare in the borderlands had aality all of its own From the melt water flood hazards to the endless plains framed by boundless horizons of the borderlands of modern Ukraine and Belarus Rivers formed the only line of defence and even these conditions varied wildly from season to season And of course these geographical positions O viziune a sentimentelor uickly shaped the nature of its campaigns Cavalry mounted hussars flank attacks artillery posts machine gun nests and an ever elusive changing and transparently vague frontline In many senses the terrain dictated most of the war as one of scouts and skirmishers with Pilsudski s strategy of the wolf adeptly encapsulating a kind of war in which mass offensives carried scant advantage In fact they were generally disastrous due to the vastness of the front line Vantage points and settlement had to be taken with lighting fast action and subseuent reaction Speed mobility and the horse were once again following the catastrophes of WWI across the continent the vital components of military success The last cavalry to cavalry engagement was fought in this war and a reading of such a book as this may give those interested in the follies of WWI a perspective of how the mindsets of such wars fought first in 1914 16 had made especial sense for such a long period of human history Speed and mobility had been key components to victory in Europe since the era of the mounted knight after all The books tactical vantage point with special regard to the Soviet First Cavalry Army the Konarmiya battalion reaping across the borderlands as the Cossacks of old was fascinating And I believe that Davissed the appropriate Harveys Revised English Grammar uantity of literary allusions to illustrate the conflict The accounts of Isaak Babel were most exceptional Having fought in the war his was perhaps the most effective say in regards to the realities on the ground Further Davies analysis of the inward schisms of the perspective forces leading and competing with the primary parties along with most importantly examining the prejudices of both sides are perhaps his greatest contributions to the historiography of this oft over looked greatly reduced or exaggerated series of conflicts The escalation and pinnacles of the war are difficult tonderstand for someone living outside of the related regions that much is clear But Davies diminishes this burden of historical imprecision and popular biases especially on the parts of the Soviet and Allied scholarships as the Poles themselves would be rarely granted a voice on the subject outside their own countries in the decades to follow and presents one of the earliest versions of the truth of said history as written in EnglishPerspective is extraordinarily well presented here With the contextual essences of the Soviet soldiery at this time examined in a stark and bloody contrast with the Polish legionaries demonstrating just how Como agua para chocolate uniuely and completely different the two ideological sides were besides the fact that they were both fledgling states One ancient proud and recently resurrected and the other bold ambitious and in dire straits embroiled as they were in the Civil War The scrambles of both the first socialist state in history and the recently emerged entity of the Polish State from the folds of a three way partition a hundred and eleven years old are examined in close detail and conjunction Neither side took any account of the aspirations of the other Both were misrepresented by their opponents and the wider European context which nursed the wars development as benefited them It was neither the insignificant borderland contest nor the tell tale turning point in human history But it was an enormously significant andniue engagement which set the stage for much of the political and geopolitical climate to come particularly within the future USSR as Lenin and the Politburo were forced to drastically alter their agendas and means of operations Such were the levels of hyperbole misinformation and outright lies that twisted the realities of th. In White Eagle Red Star distinguished historian Norman Davies gives s a full account of the Polish Soviet War with its dramatic climax in August 1920 when the Red Army sure.

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Longer a communist by this point but he retained resolutely socialist and atheistic ideas all his life which was ite nusual for a Polish nobleman Pilsudski had come to the conclusion that a common front of Poles from the entire political spectrum was needed to recreate Poland When Austria surrendered Germany asked him to swear allegiance to the Kaiser and join the fight against Russia When Pilsudsk refused he was jailed However he was released several months later when Germany surrendered In a startling manoeuvre he persuaded the Germans to give him the weapons from their arsenal in the city where he was jailed The Germans agreed and within days Pilsudki had an army with which to carve out a state in the territories of the three occupying powers that had just fallenPilsudski had seized most of the Ukraine before the Russians counter attacked in early 1920 The Russians wanted to first subdue Poland and then continue driving West so as to link p with the communists who had begun insurrections in Germany However in August 1920 the Russians were stopped at Warsaw in a battle that the Poles refer to as the Miracle on the Vistula Pilsudski than launched a counteroffensive which in turn stalled in the Ukraine At this point the Russians and Poles signed a treaty to end their war and which settled their boundaries Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran until WWIIIn this remarkable book Davies demolishes several mythes about Pilsudki notably 1 Myth 1 Pilsudski as a fascist The reality was that Pilsudski did rule as a autocrat but his political agenda was socialist He staunchly defended Poland s Jewish population through out his life 2 Myth 2 Pilsudski was pro German The reality was that Pilsudski believed that in the long term Russia was a bigger threat to Poland s independence than Germany and thus he made opportunistic deals with the Germans 3 Myth 3 Pilsudski was an irresponsible adventurer The truth is that Pilsudski was opportunistic and very lucky that the regimes of all three powers occupying Poland fell at the same time In his campaigns Pilsudki commanded in a very competent fashion never taking greater risks that the relative strengths of his army and the Russian army warranted 4 Myth 4 The French volunteer officers who served with the Poles at the Battle of Warsaw were responsible for the Poliish Victory In fact De Gaulle Weygand and the other French volunteers never made any such claim for themselves and lauded Pilsudski as the mastermind of the Victory 5 Myth 5 The revival of Polish State was the result of Woodrow Wilson s doctrine of the self determination of nations The reality is Treaty of Versailles did not allocate any territory to Poland that was not being occupied by Pilsudki s army In factnder the Treaty of Versailles the Poles were forced to conduct a referendum in Silesia which The Eagles Nest (The New Avengers, ultimately forced them to return most of Silesia to GermanyIn Davies view Poland was recreated solely because Pilsudski and his soldiers successfully fought for it They got no significant help and much hostility from the WestWhite Eagle Red Star is an absolutely essential book for anyone wishing tonderstand today s Poland and is a great read for World I history buffs I m doing a presentation on this war for my tenth grade European history class and this book proved very helpful I didn t know beans about this war and only came across it in some reference bookThis is a reasonably well written book that teases out a forgotten but interesting chapter of 20th century history The author s prose is robust and he takes pains to When the Sea Turned to Silver uote from primary sources I also like his weaving the writings of Isaac Babel into the narrative as I believe that it brings a sense of color that helps moves things alongThe book is not limited to a Polish viewpoint Instead it takes pains to show the Russian point of view as well as that of the Entente The reference points in English and French politics are particularly revealing The Battle of Warsaw is strongly downplayed by the author who holds that the Polish victory was a fact of Tukhachevskii and Budyenny outrunning their supply lines than anything Pilsudski contrived It does put to rest the tired belief that General Weygand was the architect of the Polish triumph his role was a complete fabrication and it is duly exposed as suchThe only things that would have made this book better include information from the USSR that is now available and wasn t when this book debuted in 1972 I think there is much to be mined from that source which would clearp many of the mysteries that persist Additionally and I can t stress this enough history writers particularly UK history writers have to stop assuming that the average reader has an idiomatic grasp of the French language My schoolboy French is enough to puzzle out the meaning but for those who don t parlez they can t even get the benefit of a footnote with the English text If I wanted to read it in French I would have bought a French translationEven so there s failuresOn page 265 the author writes To paraphrase Gibbon the interpretation of dialectical materialism is now taught at the schools of Cracow Prague and Berlin whose pupils demonstrate to a classless society the sanctity and truth of the revelations of Marx Engels and LeninThe battle of Warsaw far from redeeming an era did not so much as save a generationWell never there was the existanceof a classless society in any time or place of human historySocialism is far full of class differences than any capitalismIn 1985 the life was beter in a Banana republic such as Panama than in still existing Soviet UnionThis book was writen when the Iron Courtain was still existing but since 1989 the eastern Europe s reality is another thingAlso was the Soviets true intention in waging war on Poland to eventually attack Germany and spread the Revolution westwards The Bolsheviks peasant army did not have the capability for such an invasion That s why they were so The Dont Worry Book uick to make peace with Poland even though it cost them a foothold in Galicia which in Lenin s own words could have openedp a straight road of revolutionto Czechoslovakia and Hungary Lenin actually believed that Pilsudski s Poland had been built p by the Western powers as a tool against Russia The maps of this book are all weak All of them are in Black whiteThe last problem of this book doesn t shows the American British and German support to Soviet UnionThe Warburgs Rockefellersetc were at Lenin s side at that timesWhen focusing the fact that this war didn t liberate Ukraine this book simple forgotten that the small Poland was basically alone in this war while the massive and big Soviet Union had some of the most rich and powerfull eugenicists people in the world at his sideMany of them americans such as RockefellerThe Soviet support to Nazis in Germany and the result of this decision is also forgotten in this book Remember pepole POLAND WAS POWERFUL FOR CENTURIES and even after and during partitions and world wars POLAND saved Western Europe From Tatars Turks and in 1920 Lenin s global ambitions Just saying. Most crucial conflicts of the Western world Drawing on both Polish and Russian sources Norman Davies shows how this war was a pivotal event in the course of European history.

Professor Ivor Norman Richard Davies FBA FRHistS is a leading English historian of Welsh descent noted for his publications on the history of Europe Poland and the United Kingdom From 1971 Davies taught Polish history at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies SSEES of the University of London where he was professor from 1985 to 1996 Currently he is Supernumary Fellow at Wolfso