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Poland 1939: The Birth of Blitzkrieg

Steven Zaloga, Poland 1939: The Birth of Blitzkrieg (Praeger, 2004) See this book on Amazon.com

In the four years leading up to the invasion, Germany had spent $24 billion on its military, thirty times the Polish investment of $760 million. Germany had 600,000 men in its peacetime army; the Poles, 210,000. p22

Luftwaffe deployed 2,152 aircraft against Poland, including all of its Stuka dive bombers; the Poles had only 392 front-line aircraft p.33

As the Polish army retreated toward Warsaw, they found themselves outpaced by the Germans, so that they had to fight their way east. p63

Warsaw surrendered Sep 27 p78

Germans reached outskirts of Lwow Sep 12. p79

Armistice w/ Japan signed Sept 15. p80

Morning of Sep 17, Polish ambassador in Moscow informed that the Red Army would move into eastern Poland "to protect its fraternal Byelorussian and Ukrainian population" pp79-80

467,000 and 3,700 tanks crashed across the border, defended by only 12,000 Poles, and those lightly equipped. p80

"The Soviet invasion shortened the Polish campaign by several weeks." p86

Polish casualties 66,300 dead, 133,700 wounded, and perhaps 690,000 taken prisoner. p86

German casualties 16,000 killed, 32,000 wounded. p86

Red Army 1,000 dead, 2,400 wounded. p84

Some 100,000 Polish troops escaped into neighboring countries; about 35,000 of those fought in the defense of France in 1940; about 19,000 of those evacuated to England, to form the basis of the Polish 1st Corps that fought in North Africa and the liberation of France. p.88-89

Stalin's greed in central Europe was, in the long run, the undoing of the empire he created in the course of the Second World War. His Poland would in time give birth to the Solidarity labor movement, whose agitation caused the government to fall, and that in turn led to the unraveling of the entire Communist bloc. And by transforming eastern Poland into western Ukraine, he provided a place for Ukrainian nationalism to grow. It was precisely in Basia's former home--now called Lviv--that Ukrainians began to agitate for independence in 1991, one of the causes of the breakup of the Soviet Union. (Kazakhstan was another of the Soviet republics that broke free from Moscow.) p89

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