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Angus: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier through WW II
The history of WW II, straight from the horse's mouth.




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Angus: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier through WW II
The history of WW II, straight from the horse's mouth.

by Andrzej Anonimus

 

Acknowledgments.

Best thanks to Hon. Zbigniew Brzezinski,
for his kind and valuable advice in emergency.

Authors note:

The present world born in result of WW II, at crossroads at that point. It survived, but could as well have perished.  The Freedom, the Democracy, a globe fit to live saved the heroic and desperate struggle of solitary Poland in 39, next England in second half 40 and first of 41yr. Astonishingly, most of the facts are forgotten, next generations know nothing of it.

There are many books about WW II, excellent publications, manuals, citing first-class sources, adding more exact details, or cutting the less important. So why are they so different? Almost every country presents one, some several versions. Of course the picture changes depending on the viewpoint, but at least the facts themselves shouldn’t.

A rare, virgin, open to research source is the public opinion, presented in the press of these days. Surely biased, very much so. Presumably there has never been an unbiased, objective newspaper in the world for centuries. What of it? Do not the biased witnesses add much to the truth in most trials? Many other sources, memoirs, even documents, are often biased too. There is a need to notice the bias, treat it critically, use one’s sound reason and compare with other materials, mostly biased too, but different.

For understanding even now the history, the facts, the pattern – what really happened – two items are indispensable: the contemporary knowledge and recall of public opinion. By this time there remain few people who have still the common knowledge, the memory. That is why the scholars now inaccurately interpret the pattern of facts. And that is why the author has introduced into the story the "Capsule", which presents the contemporary background, the spirit of the time. A small part from his own experience, the majority from contemporary newspapers, which he read.

However, this is only the beginning, every reader may find  satisfaction, pleasure and fun, exploring the old papers on his or her own. The libraries with old press are accessible everywhere, if not, there is always the possibility of access to electronic copies. The big collections are already computerized, or going to be, soon. Why not discover on your own the traces of history, check it and form your own, independent picture, opinion and beliefs? Know better than the scholars, who in large tomes lose some important matters and behind trees lose sight of the forest? Not on purpose, but by repetition of the munched and jumbled text.  Like in the parlor game “dumb telephone,” more and more details get lost, or bent. It is worth spending a few time, read the old papers. In a comfortable, easy way discover the lost truth again.

The pen of this story, an only child, over-cared-for and isolated by his mother, lonely, even before school learned to read and found there a substitute interest. First children’s books, then adventure, already from 1936 on he read everything he could get his hands on, including newspapers, at least ten hours a day. The news, about the Mukden incident, Shanghai, war in China and the Italian-Abyssinia war, all sympathy for the victims, agreed with the pattern of freedom-fighting as in books, dear to his heart. He wrote letters, to the “King of Kings” and to Chiang-Kai-shek, volunteering. But the Spanish Civil War was a problem, the first time he met conflicting comments. Neither bright nor brainy, he could not make head nor tail of it. If not a sharp mind, he had a photographic memory, not only for contents, also for locating the text and the appearance of the page. He may not understand, but anyway memorized exactly what and where.

For example, did remember news about the German debts, the name of Hjalmar Schacht, never connecting this with Hitler or the “Wehrmacht”.

He traced press news about the fall of the first and strongest, Mechanized Army in the world, furnished and next destroyed by Stalin. The sensational details of the death of Gamarnik, Tuchaczewski and seven top commanders, next eleven proxy of the People’s Commissar of Defense. The supernatural dematerialized, Red Army Commander in the far east, Bluecher with staff, two rail wagons full, on his way to Moskow. These details he found in IKC, a sensation-hunting tabloid. It was probably a side, small coin bargain with some Hearst yellow press reporter, who rushed with heavy purse to get there first, considering the paper in a distant, marginal country no competition. Anyway, not only Angus, nobody noticed the following collapse of Red Army.

He read about the changes in the German organizations in Poland, when the Nazis created the JDP, at first revealing dear friendship to Poland and the Poles, with open hostility to the old German organizations, including the biggest "DV." It was social engineering, taking control and discipline by applying terror on the German minority in Poland, done on the assumption, the Germans would never turn for Polish help in their inner affairs, never break the national solidarity. The news mentioned the disturbances between Germans, with strong-hand methods. Nobody knew exactly the pattern and the Polish Police never received any complaints for official action. Next, no wonder, on Nazi direction the disciplined German people joined the V Column.

But first, Hitler tried to turn the Poles to his side. The press announced many visits of top politicians, Hitler’s close associates and proxies, offering  friendship and of German alliance, providing access to German-Italy Axis, next with Japan the Tripartite Pact. After the response, that Poland had already an alliance treaty with France and a no-aggression pact with the Soviets good till 1940 yr. (as with Germany) and could consider the proposed honor only after this term expired, Hitler applied pressure and terror.

Poland remained the only partner determined to fight right on. However, without more demands and dealing, an honorable action seemed to the Western Allies pure stupidity (honest John rarely meets reciprocal honesty). The point is, that it is due to the merit of Poland alone, the Western Democracies survived 1939 yr. Everybody now remembers, the UK, by themselves, opposing Hitler for a longtime, at a cost of blood, tears and sweat. Yet nobody mentions, that in 1939 yr. Poland saved the skins of both allies, the UK and France, at the cost of her own skin. Now, the moon, Mars, cosmos are surely better known, than Earth then.

With France it was not for long, the French lost willingly anyway. About England, it was worth every toll. But if France had had to capitulate already in 1939 yr. England would not have been able to survive. The best Churchill could have done, would be to continue the war from the Dominions. Recollect, that after the calamity of France in 1940 yr. Roosevelt invited the British Fleet to take refuge in US ports, and suggested the UK government might move to Canada. Sure, considering a common defense of the Western Hemisphere.

That's why Hitler insisted so strongly on the western offensive already in 39 yr. However, die Wehrmacht spent their potential in the Polish campaign, only about 25% of tanks remained in-service, there was a lack of ammo, even "Die Luftwaffe" had bombs left only for days.  

The Poles waned not exactly save the free world, committing suicide. The combined force of Poland, France and England was the stronger, chances looked not bad at all. If the Allies had acted fair, Hitler never would have won the first campaign, not to mention being set aside by “Wehrmacht” on the orders of Gen. Ludwig Beck at first opportunity.

But the story is not so simple. After the I WW on Lenin inicjative the two big losers, Soviets and Germany started a military cooperation, club  of revenge. Hitler came to powed as an archenemy of  communist, street of germans towns flow with blood. Neither the Poles, the Allies not even Germans, nobody guessed,  that Stalin was backing secretly Hitler all the way from the beginning. Surely not for love, but both monsters had a mutual purpose: first start the war and only afterwards decide, who shall take the whole lot and remain alive. There is no way to tell, what could happen.

In spring of 1939, the predicament in Europe developed as follows: Hitler declared he had spent on the German Army 90 billion marks (almost 40 billion dollars) and this repeated all the German newspapers. Almost the sum of all German debts, without interest. He stated he had the strongest Army in the universe, time to use it has come. Well, it was an exaggeration, done on purpose, to impress the opponents and it worked. France, before even Czechoslovakia was not worse armed. (So after taking over Czechoslovakia’s arsenals Hitler’s power almost doubled, after conquering France increased fourfold; only after besting Poland, it temporarily dropped.) But the Commander in Chief of the French panicked.

Only at one point did Hitler's attempts fail: He could not move Poland to turn to his side, to drop the alliance with the Western Democracies. The K³ajpeda (Memel) crisis, when Hitler taking the city and port with military hand, offered to Poland a takeover of all the rest of Lithuania (as appetizer, with more territories to come, thanks to Hitler's kind backing), was the last try. As the friendly way had led nowhere, now came the time for brutal stronghand. If Poland backed out, Hitler still could start his offensive on the west according to the plans, finish with France in 39 yr. and make a deal, or take England unprepared for invasion.

When the Earth was so great and distances big, many civilizations developed and fell, others developed and took over. Technical progress hanged all this. Two primitive, obviously mad terrorists became dictators. The one with paranoia, murder all around first before they get him, the other seeking compensation for youth inferiority complex by number of sculls, they brought all humanity in peril. Cooperating secretly, they started WW II with the biggest armies ready; luckily one, damaged his tools. Anyway, if they had stayed a little time longer together, before trying to kill one the other, their power might have been enough to take over the globe. Humanity was near the point of no return, the two monsters could first destroy civilization and make the whole world a place unfit to live, only next biting each others’ throats. Even after, people lived many years in a threat, as Stalin remained. Cosmic catastrophe is not the only danger, we may commit suicide by our own folly, the possibility increasing.

The boy, at the war’s beginning aged eleven years and two months, continued to read all the accessible papers, the German and Polish reptile press. Next also the Polish underground, for a time he became a voluntary helper to an underground press archivist, with steady access to regularly appearing, around 30 permanent main central and local papers, and over 200 arriving occasionally, time to time. (Well, including short-lasting and rare papers, which got there exceptional, some valuable specimens, such as "Griffin Pomorski" and "S³owo” (a Word) from Wilno.) Of course he could not read everything, but even from what he was able, could get a dizzy head. Not mentioning study of the old editions. This unique opportunity lasted only half a year, but what a rich source of information! There was never such abundance of opinions, comments, free speech, as in the 44 yr. underground press. Why do historians so rarely benefit from the press? Old newspaper is simply a treasure wasted, laying fallow.

He did his best to be killed. Being a natural loser, failed even in this, with little to spare. Don Quichote passion and spirit drove him to see places and meet people right to the bottom of hell. Now, the old horse (or ass?), has written it down. Neither reportage nor a full story. rather a series of loose snapshots from the past.

He never had the qualifications for the hero. To wish and dream is not enough, he had not the right stuff inside for this. Death, met three times close, recognized a failure and repeatedly spat him out. He did about a month in a concentration camp and two months and a few days more fought in the guerrilla, barely enough to be not ashamed of himself, looking in the mirror. But in his mania to find his way to the first line of the battling men, he met many characters and witnessed many events. He never expected to live so long. Now, he sometimes suspects that he may not succeed to die, before telling everything he heard or saw. The only excuse for long life, wasting a place in the world.

The book is a true story based on facts. But also, a sensational thriller and adventure, a suspense novel and horror so bad, that after reading, an easy reader may just smile at the worst of writers, who specialize in imagined atrocities (real life is always matchless). The action begins under rapid-fire and next the tension only grows. A daily life on the brink of a tomb, in a country more than twice decimated, where the occupants tried selectively to murder the best (more than 22% of the population). This explains why the splendid former society diminished, it caused a negative evolution.

A reader can look in an unknown, nearly exotic word, a country isolated and sealed off by occupants, where they committed by preference most of crimes, planning no witness left alive. A country, where never stopped resistance, according with a long tradition, the fight for freedom of us and all the people.

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