Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't Mention The War !


The Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski got the meeting of European leaders off to an acrimonious start by complaining that Poland would have a far bigger population on which to base its EU voting power if it had not been for the German invasion in September 1939 - the start of the Second World War.

It's true that WW2 cost them about 20% of the population. I think we should remember that as the Wehrmacht swept East, held up only by the heroic flank attack of the Bzura, the former Soviet Union also invaded, accounting for a fair few of those victims themselves.

Given that a million or so of the survivors descendants are now in the UK, they'd have a far bigger population if they'd not joined the EU, too.

UPDATE - Martin Kelly remembers an earlier conflict in that neck of the woods and has some wise words on integration, noting how commanders of Scottish descent served on both sides. Our WW2 army was full of generals with names like de Guingand and Carton de Wiart, Pierre de Villiers, LeQuesne Martel, Gott and Wernher.


verity said...

Ha ha! Last sentence makes a very fine point, Laban!

Ross F said...

Scottish soldiers were everywhere in the 18th & 19th centuries, even the Prussians had one. I'll just quote an exerpt from Thomas Sowell's Conquest & Cultures which makes the point:

In France & Poland there were royal bodyguards of Scots and thousands of Scots fought in the Swedish army in the thirty years war.... A Scot attained the rank of General in 17th century Russia and in the 18th century another Scot became a Vice Admiral.
There were also Scottish generals in Prussia and the Habsburg Empire. In the Western hemisphere there was a Scottish vice-Admiral* in the Chilean navy in the nineteenth century and Venezuela's battle for independence was aided by a Scottish officer who led aboriginal Indian troops into battle to the sound of bagpipes, while dressed in traditional Highland regalia.

The Scottish basically like a good fight, despite the insistance of their modern day teachers that they are all pacifists.

* Presumably that is Thomas Cochrane.

Anonymous said...

And perhaps we might find ourselves better off today had we not gambled on detering Hitler from invading Poland.

What did we gain from that point in 1939?

Think of all those British who died in the war against Germany and their non-existent descendents.

Voyager said...

Adrian Carton de Wiart VC lived in Poland on The Pripet Marshes before joining up with General Ironsides Military Mission to Warsaw in 1939.......his grandson is a Times war correspondent.....quite a character old Carton de Wiart - lost an eye, an arm in WWI.

Not many of his calibre around today.

Kaczynski is seeking insurance. He knows the EU WILL admit Turkey at some stage and it will have the largest population so only the Square-Root Rule could prevent it being dominant.

The current farce is that Luxembourg with 300.000 people has voting power in the European Parliament 11.5 times greater than a German voter

Anonymous said...

Good to see that it isn't just us Brits that are obsessed with WWII!

IanCroydon said...

They always say Europe is a decade behind America.

In 1787 the "Great Compromise" settled the argument resulting in a bicameral government based on one house elected by population, the other by equal representation.

The irony here is that Germany, being a true federation, has always promoted its own political model of small states (Länder) as what the EU should look like, with all other countries divided into Länder then the EU can work at the federal level rather than national level.

Anonymous said...

Reveshi is accused of saying to Albattikhi: "Her big bones went into the machine as well ..."

CCTV said...

Anonymous said...

Good to see that it isn't just us Brits that are obsessed with WWII!

Go to Warsaw and look at what was done....maybe if the Germans had blown up every building in Paris and levelled it with artillery; or if 250.000 had died in 6 weeks fighting as in Warsaw 1944......the British liberated Paris which had supposedly gone to war to save POland but capitulated at the earliest opportunity.

Pity France could not have lived under Stalinism for 50 years - after all their collapse in May 1940 brought the whole misery of war to USSR and Ukraine and North Africa.....and until Paris capitulated not a single Jew had been gassed

Verity said...

CCTV- "...and until Paris capitulated not a single Jew had been gassed,"

Is this true?

stuart said...

"until Paris capitulated not a single Jew had been gassed"

Technically, yes, it is true. Jews (and others) were being murdered in Poland long before Paris fell, but but usually by shooting. Also Germans deemed not worthy of live (handicapped or simply opponents of the Nazi regime) were being murdered well before war broke out.
The wholesale factory extermination really began after the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941; gassing was selected as a more economical, efficient (and for the murderers, less stressful) method from 1942 onwards