Partition of Czechoslovakia. After the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, the Polish government inconsiderately made a national feast on the occasion of establishing the common border with Hungary - another ally of Nazi Germany.



It is worth bringing to reader's attention what, at that time of the gathering storm, was Poland, for which the Soviet Union had to stand together with England and France against Adolf Hitler.

As soon as the Polish state appeared on the political maps of Europe, it unleashed wars on all its neighbours, in order to widen its frontiers to the biggest extent. Among the victims of the Polish aggression was Czechoslovakia, with which Poland disputed the future of the former Duchy of Teschen. The Polish appetites were not satisfied at that time. In July 1920 - after the collapse of the Polish war on Soviet Russia, the Red Army was driving Polish armies back to the Vistula, threatening to take Warsaw. Then Poland had to confirm the Versailles decision to transfer Teschen to Czechoslovakia, in return for the Czechoslovak neutrality in the Polish-Soviet War.

Nevertheless, the Poles never abandoned their claims to territorial gains. They sensed a new opportunity at the time when the Germans grabbed the Sudetes from Czechoslovakia. As early as in January 1938, during the meeting with the Polish foreign minister, Józef Beck, Hitler mentioned that the whole structure of the Czech state, however, was impossible. [Hoggan D. L. (1989).] They both recalled what the Polish dictator, Marshal Józef Piłsudski, wrote about Czechoslovakia in August 1921:

This artificial creation is - on the one hand - an incarnation of Russophilism, and, on the other - a barrier between Poland and its natural, tested and reliable ally - Hungary. [Piłsudski J. (1937).]

The Polish transcript of the meeting says that Beck "heartily agreed" with Hitler's remarks about the Czechs. [Hoggan D. L. (1989).]


In the middle of the Sudetes crisis, on 21 September 1938, Poland presented to Czechoslovakia an ultimatum, in which it demanded "return" of Teschen, together with the adjacent areas. Another demand followed on 27 September. Polish media unleashed a vicious anti-Czech hysteria. Hiding behind the so-called Association of Silesian Insurgents, Warsaw quite openly started recruiting volunteers for paramilitary units; those units were immediately transported to the Czechoslovak border, where they staged various provocations and diversions.

For example, on 25 September, in hamlet Konska near Trinec the Poles opened fire and threw grenades at the houses, where lived Czechoslovak border guards; as a result two houses were burnt down. Czechoslovak troops that arrived with aid, engaged the Poles and, after two hours of fights, forced them to retreat to the Polish territory. Similar clashes took place on those days in many other places of the province of Teschen. On 26 September the Poles attacked the railway station at Frystat with grenades and machine-gun fire. On 27 September, during the whole night, allover the place erupted fights, with rifles, machine-guns and grenades. The heaviest fights, with casualties, took place in Bohumin, Teschen, Jablunkov, Bistrica, Konska and Skrecen. Polish armed bands kept attacking Czechoslovak military outposts, and Polish aircraft kept violating the Czechoslovak air space.

Polish actions were closely co-ordinated with those of the Germans. Polish diplomats in London and Paris insisted on treating the Sudetes and Teschen problems as one, while Polish and German militarymen were setting demarcation lines between their forces in case of invasion of Czechoslovakia. There were more examples of the cordial alliance between German and Polish fascists. On 29 September, for example, a band of 20 men, armed with automatic weapons, attacked a Czechoslovak outpost near Grgava. The attack was repelled, assailants fled to the Polish territory, and one of them, wounded, was captured. During the interrogation he testified that his band included many Germans living in Poland.

At the same time the Soviet Union declared its willingness to come to aid to Czechoslovakia, whether against the German or Polish threat. In return, on 8 - 11 September, right on the Soviet border Poland conducted the biggest manoeuvres in its pre-war history, in which took part 5 infantry divisions, 1 cavalry brigade, 1 mechanized brigade, and air forces. The scenario of the manoeuvres was very simple and plain - the "Red" troops, attacking from the east, were completely defeated from the "Blue" ones. The manoeuvres concluded in a 7-hours military parade in Luck, in front of the Polish Supreme Commander, Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz.

The Russians, in their turn, on 23 September threatened that if Poland attacked Czechoslovakia, the USSR would renounce the Soviet-Polish non-aggression treaty of 1932.

However, at night from 29 to 30 September 1938 the Munich agreement was concluded. Striving to "appease" Hitler at any price, England and France cynically surrendered to him their Czechoslovak ally. In the morning of 30 September Warsaw presented a new ultimatum to Prague, and demanded immediate recognition of its territorial claims. In result, on 1 October, Czechoslovakia had to surrender to Poland a territory inhabited by 80 thousand Poles and 120 thousand Czechs. But the most valuable acquisition was the industrial potential of the annexed territory. For example, iron works, concentrated there, alone by the end of 1938 produced 41% of the entire Poland's output of cast iron, and 47% of steel.

No wonder that Sir Winston Churchill noted in his memoirs that

And now, when every one of these aids and advantages has been squandered and thrown away, Great Britain advances, leading France by the hand, to guarantee the integrity of Poland - that very Poland which with hyena appetite had only six months before joined in the pillage and destruction of the Czechoslovak State. [Churchill W. S. L. (1986a).]

Hanson Baldwin too has found an appropriate zoological comparison:

Hitler got the Sudetenland and the Czech fortifications; and Poland and Hungary, like vultures, tore off pieces of the dying rump state. [Baldwin H. W. (2000).]

Nowadays Poland does not spare efforts to immerse her shameful history in oblivion. For example, authors of a book published in 1995 in Warsaw, and recommended as a textbook for high-school History classes, has managed not to mention at all Poland's participation in the partition of Czechoslovakia:

Poland's interests were also indirectly hampered from the western democracies' policy of yielding to Hitler. Thus, in 1935 he introduced general conscription in Germany, in violation of the Versailles Treaty; in 1936 hitlerite troops occupied the demilitarized zone of Rhineland, and in 1938 his army entered Austria. Then Czechoslovakia became the next target of the German expansion.

In spite of all protests of her government, in September 1938 in Munich, France, Great Britain and Italy signed the agreement witch Germany, giving the Third Reich the right to occupy Czech Sudetes, inhabited by a German minority. In view of what happened, Polish diplomats realised that the time had come to violate the part of the Versailles Treaty concerning the Polish question. [Dybkowska A. et al. (1995).]

Of course - those, who lament on major totalitarian régimes' bringing about genocide, violations of human rights and freedoms, war crimes and crimes against humanity, need not mention that they themselves were a part of those totalitarian régimes and their policy. And even Molotov's words about Poland being an artificial creation of the Versailles Treaty, so shocking to the "civilized world", at closer examination prove to be merely borrowed from earlier Polish statements about Czechoslovakia.

Yet then, in 1938, nobody was going to be embarrassed about that. Quite contrary - the occupation of Teschen was considered a great national triumph. Józef Beck was decorated with the Order of White Eagle, although it would be more appropriate to decorate him with the order of spotted hyena. Nationalistic Polish intelligentsia also made him doctor honoris causa of the Universities of Warsaw and Lwow. And the nationalistic Polish press was all elated. For example, on 9 October 1938 the semi-official newspaper Gazeta Polska wrote:

The road, opening before us, to the leading, imperial role in our part of Europe will require in the nearest future magnificent efforts, and solving incredibly difficult tasks.

The only thing that upset the triumph was the fact that Poland was not invited, against her hopes, to Munich to decide about the fates of Czechoslovakia together with Germany, Italy, England and France.

This was Poland, which, according to the present-day liberastians, the Soviet Union had to save whatever the cost.