German AB-Aktion in Poland
The AB-Aktion, was a second stage of the Nazi German campaign of violence during World War II aimed to eliminate the intellectuals and the upper classes of Polish society across the territories slated for eventual annexation. Most of the killings were arranged in a form of mass disappearances from multiple cities and towns upon the German arrival. In the spring and summer of 1940, more than 30,000 Poles were arrested by the Nazi authorities in German-occupied central Poland. About 7,000 of them including community leaders, professors and priests were subsequently massacred secretly at various locations including at the Palmiry forest complex near Palmiry; the others were sent to German concentration camps. The mass murder of Polish leaders, artists, the intelligentsia, people suspected of potential anti-Nazi activity began in fall of 1939, was seen by Nazi Germany as a pre-emptive measure to keep the Polish resistance scattered and to prevent the Poles from revolting during the planned German invasion of France.
The anti-Polish AB-Aktion was prepared by the commander of the General Government. It was discussed with the Soviet officials during a series of secretive Gestapo–NKVD Conferences; the first killings of Polish intelligentsia took place soon after the German invasion, lasting from autumn 1939 until spring 1940. It was called Operation Intelligenzaktion, a plan to eliminate Poland's intelligentsia and leadership in the western part of the country, realized by Einsatzgruppen and Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz; as the result of this operation 60,000 Polish nobles, entrepreneurs, social workers, priests and political activists were killed in 10 regional actions. The Intelligenzaktion was continued by the German AB-Aktion Operation in occupied territories of central Poland. Both murder operations were conducted in part according to an "enemies of the Reich list" prepared before the war by members of the German minority in Poland and printed ahead of time by the German Intelligence as the Sonderfahndungsbuch Polen.
Prior to AB-Aktion, in late 1939 and early 1940, most Polish university professors, writers, politicians and other members of the elite of Polish society were arrested by the Gestapo and had their names registered. Frank accepted and approved the Ausserordentliche Befriedungsaktion on May 16, 1940. In the following weeks, the German police, Gestapo, SD and units of the Wehrmacht arrested 30,000 Poles in major Polish cities, including Warsaw, Łódź, Lublin and Kraków; the interned were held in a number of prisons, including the infamous Pawiak where they were subject to brutal interrogations by Nazi officials. After time spent in the prisons of Warsaw, Kraków, Kielce, Nowy Sącz, Tarnów, Lublin or Wiśnicz, the arrested Poles were transferred to German concentration camps, most notably to the newly created camp of Auschwitz, as well as Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen. 3,500 members of the Polish intelligentsia were executed at the mass murder sites in Palmiry near Warsaw, Wincentynów near Radom, in the Bliżyn forest near Skarżysko-Kamienna.
Among those killed were Maciej Rataj, Stefan Bryła, Tadeusz Tański, Mieczysław Niedziałkowski, Janusz Kusociński and Stefan Kopec. Actions were started on a similar scale in other Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany. According to many historians, including Norman Davies, the action against Polish leaders was coordinated with the authorities of the Soviet Union, who at the same time perpetrated the mass murder of 22,000 Polish military officers at Katyń and other places; the active persecution of Polish intellectuals was continued until the end of the war. The direct continuation of the AB Action was a German campaign in the east started after the German invasion of the USSR. Among the most notable mass executions of Polish professors was the massacre of Lwów professors, in which 45 professors of the university in Lwów were murdered together with their families and guests. Among those killed in the massacre were Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, former Polish prime minister Kazimierz Bartel, Włodzimierz Stożek, Stanisław Ruziewicz.
Thousands more perished in the Ponary massacre, in German concentration camps, in ghettos. The total number of victims and the specific dates of executions of members of the Polish intelligentsia can only be approximated due to their multitude. After the war, many Germans responsible for organizing the AB Action were tried before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals. However, the majority of responsible commanders vanished during and after the war, before being held accountable for their crimes. Sonderaktion Krakau: a 1939 Nazi round-up professors and academics of the Jagiellonian University World War II atrocities in Poland Pacification operations in German-occupied Poland Operation Tannenberg Generalplan Ost Gestapo–NKVD conferences Intelligenzaktion Katyn massacre Anti-Polonism History of Poland Chronicles of Terror The Destruction of the Polish Elite. Operation AB – Katyn, the exhibition organized by the Institute of National Remembrance. Collection of testimonies concerning terror against the Polish elites in'Chronicles of Terror' testimony database
The General Government referred to as the General Governorate for the occupied Polish Region, was a German zone of occupation established after the joint invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 at the onset of World War II. The newly occupied Second Polish Republic was split into three zones: the General Government in its centre, Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany in the west, Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union in the east; the territory was expanded in 1941 to include the new District of Galicia. The basis for the formation of General Government was a German-Soviet claim of the total collapse of the Polish state, announced by Adolf Hitler on October 8, 1939 through the so-called Annexation Decree on the Administration of the Occupied Polish Territories; this rationale was utilized by the German Supreme Court to reassign the identity of all Polish nationals as stateless subjects, with exception of the ethnic Germans of interwar Poland, named the only rightful citizens of the Third Reich in disregard of international law.
The General Government was run by Nazi Germany as a separate administrative unit for logistical purposes. When the Wehrmacht forces attacked the Soviet positions in Kresy in June 1941 during its successful Operation Barbarossa, the area of the General Government was enlarged by the inclusion of the regions of Poland occupied by the Red Army since 1939. Within days, East Galicia was renamed Distrikt Galizien; until 1945 the General Government comprised much of central and southeastern Poland within its prewar borders, including the major Polish cities of Warsaw, Kraków, Lwów, Tarnopol, Stanisławów, Sambor and others. Geographical locations were renamed in German; the administration of the General Government was composed of the German officials with the intent that the area was to be colonized by Germanic settlers who would reduce the local Polish population to the level of serfs before their eventual biological extermination. The Nazi German rulers of the Generalgouvernement had no intention of sharing power with the locals throughout the war, regardless of their ethnicity and political orientation.
The authorities mentioned the name "Poland" in legal correspondence. The only exception to this was the General Government's Bank of Issue in Poland; the full title of the regime in Germany until July 1940 was the Generalgouvernement für die besetzten polnischen Gebiete, a name, translated as "General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories". On 31 July 1940 governor Hans Frank, on Hitler's authority, shortened the name to just Generalgouvernement. An accurate English translation of Generalgouvernement, a borrowing from French, is "General Governorate", as the correct translation of the term gouvernement is not "government", but "governorate", a type of administrative division or territory; the German designation of Generalgouvernement was chosen in reference to Generalgouvernement Warschau, a civil entity created in the area by the German Empire during World War I. This district existed from 1914 to 1918 together with an Austro-Hungarian-controlled Military Government of Lublin alongside the short-lived Kingdom of Poland of 1916–1918, a similar rump state formed out of the then-Russian-controlled parts of Poland.
The area was known colloquially as the Restpolen. After Germany's attack on Poland, all areas occupied by the German army including the Free City of Danzig came under the military rule; this area extended from the 1939 eastern border of Germany proper and of East Prussia up to the Bug River where the German armies had halted their advance and linked up with the Soviet Red Army in accordance with their secret pact against Poland. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed on 23 August 1939 had promised the vast territory between the Vistula and Bug rivers to the Soviet "sphere of influence" in divided Poland, while the two powers would have jointly ruled Warsaw. To settle the deviation from the original agreement, the German and Soviet representatives met again on September 28 to delineate a permanent border between the two countries. Under this revised version of the pact the territory concerned was exchanged for the inclusion in the Soviet sphere of Lithuania, which had fallen within the ambit of Germany.
With the new agreement the entire central part of Poland, including the core ethnic area of the Poles, came under German control. Hitler decreed the direct annexation to the German Reich of large parts of the occupied Polish territory in the western half of the German zone, in order to increase the Reich's Lebensraum. Germany organized most of these areas as two new Reichsgaue: Wartheland; the remaining three regions, the so-called areas of Zichenau, Eastern Upper Silesia and the Suwałki triangle, became attached to adjacent Gaue of Germany. Draconian measures were introduced by both RKF and HTO, to facilitate the immediate Germanization of the annexed territory resulting in mass expulsions in the Warthegau; the remaining parts of the former Poland were to become a German Nebenland as a frontier post of German rule in the east. A Führer's decree of October 12, 1939 established the General Government.
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel, a leading member of the Nazi Party of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and among those most directly responsible for the Holocaust; as a member of a reserve battalion during World War I, Himmler did not see active service. He studied agronomy in university, joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and the SS in 1925. In 1929, he was appointed Reichsführer-SS by Hitler. Over the next 16 years, he developed the SS from a mere 290-man battalion into a million-strong paramilitary group, following Hitler's orders, set up and controlled the Nazi concentration camps, he was known for good organisational skills and for selecting competent subordinates, such as Reinhard Heydrich in 1931. From 1943 onwards, he was both Chief of German Police and Minister of the Interior, overseeing all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo. Himmler had a lifelong interest in occultism, interpreting Germanic neopagan and Völkisch beliefs to promote the racial policy of Nazi Germany, incorporating esoteric symbolism and rituals into the SS.
On Hitler's behalf, Himmler built extermination camps. As facilitator and overseer of the concentration camps, Himmler directed the killing of some six million Jews, between 200,000 and 500,000 Romani people, other victims. Most of them were Soviet citizens. Late in World War II, Hitler appointed him a military commander and Commander of the Replacement Army and General Plenipotentiary for the administration of the entire Third Reich, he was given command of the Army Group Upper Rhine and the Army Group Vistula. Realising the war was lost, Himmler attempted to open peace talks with the western Allies without Hitler's knowledge, shortly before the end of the war. Hearing of this, Hitler ordered his arrest. Himmler attempted to go into hiding, but was detained and arrested by British forces once his identity became known. While in British custody, he committed suicide on 23 May 1945. Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was born in Munich on 7 October 1900 into a conservative middle-class Roman Catholic family.
His father was Joseph Gebhard Himmler, a teacher, his mother was Anna Maria Himmler, a devout Roman Catholic. Heinrich had Gebhard Ludwig and Ernst Hermann. Himmler's first name, was that of his godfather, Prince Heinrich of Bavaria, a member of the royal family of Bavaria, tutored by Gebhard Himmler, he attended a grammar school in Landshut. While he did well in his schoolwork, he struggled in athletics, he had poor health, suffering from other ailments. In his youth he exercised to become stronger. Other boys at the school remembered him as studious and awkward in social situations. Himmler's diary, which he kept intermittently from the age of 10, shows that he took a keen interest in current events, "the serious discussion of religion and sex". In 1915, he began training with the Landshut Cadet Corps, his father used his connections with the royal family to get Himmler accepted as an officer candidate, he enlisted with the reserve battalion of the 11th Bavarian Regiment in December 1917. His brother, served on the western front and saw combat, receiving the Iron Cross and being promoted to lieutenant.
In November 1918, while Himmler was still in training, the war ended with Germany's defeat, denying him the opportunity to become an officer or see combat. After his discharge on 18 December, he returned to Landshut. After the war, Himmler completed his grammar-school education. From 1919–22, he studied agronomy at the Munich Technische Hochschule following a brief apprenticeship on a farm and a subsequent illness. Although many regulations that discriminated against non-Christians—including Jews and other minority groups—had been eliminated during the unification of Germany in 1871, antisemitism continued to exist and thrive in Germany and other parts of Europe. Himmler was antisemitic by the time not exceptionally so, he remained a devoted Catholic while a student, spent most of his leisure time with members of his fencing fraternity, the "League of Apollo", the president of, Jewish. Himmler maintained a polite demeanor with him and with other Jewish members of the fraternity, in spite of his growing antisemitism.
During his second year at university, Himmler redoubled his attempts to pursue a military career. Although he was not successful, he was able to extend his involvement in the paramilitary scene in Munich, it was at this time that he first met Ernst Röhm, an early member of the Nazi Party and co-founder of the Sturmabteilung. Himmler admired Röhm because he was a decorated combat soldier, at his suggestion Himmler joined his antisemitic nationalist group, the Bund Reichskriegsflagge. In 1922, Himmler became more interested in the "Jewish question", with his diary entries containing an increasing number of antisemitic remarks and recording a
Polish Land Forces
The Land Forces are a military branch of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland. They contain some 65,000 active personnel and form many components of European Union and NATO deployments around the world. Poland's recorded military history stretches back for hundreds of years – since the 10th century, but Poland's modern army was formed after 1918; when Poland regained independence in 1918, it recreated its military which participated in the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–1921, in the two smaller conflicts. Right after the First World War, Poland had five military districts: Poznań Military District, HQ in Poznań Kraków Military District, HQ in Kraków Łódź Military District, HQ in Łódź Warsaw Military District, HQ in Warsaw Lublin Military District, HQ in Lublin; the Polish land forces as readied for the Polish–Soviet War was made up of soldiers who had served in the various partitioning empires, supported by some international volunteers. There appear to have been a total of around 30 Polish divisions involved.
Boris Savinkov was at the head of an army of 20,000 to 30,000 Russian POWs, was accompanied by Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Zinaida Gippius. The Polish forces grew from 100,000 in 1918 to over 500,000 in early 1920. In August 1920, the Polish army had reached a total strength of 737,767 people. Given Soviet losses, there was rough numerical parity between the two armies. Among the major formations involved on the Polish side were a number of Fronts, including the Lithuanian-Belarusian Front, about seven armies, including the First Polish Army; the German invasion of Poland began on 1 September 1939, the Wehrmacht seized half the country despite heavy Polish resistance. Among the erroneous myths generated by this campaign were accounts of Polish cavalry charging German tanks, which did not, in fact, take place. In the east, the Red Army took the other half of the country in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Following the country's fall, Polish soldiers began regrouping in what was to become the Polish Army in France.
Both the Polish Armed Forces in the West and the Polish Armed Forces in the East, as well as interior forces represented by the Home Army had land forces during the Second World War. While the forces fighting under the Allied banner were supported by the Polish air force and navy, the partisan forces were an exclusive land formation; however the army operational today has its roots in the surrogate force formed in support of Soviet interests during the establishment of the People's Republic of Poland after the Second World War. Two Polish armies, the First Army and the Second Army fought with the Red Army on the Eastern Front, supported by some Polish air force elements; the formation of a Third Army was begun but not completed. The end of the war found the Polish Army in the midst of intense organisational development. Although the implementation of the Polish Front concept was abandoned, new tactical unit and troop types were created; as a result of mobilisation, troop numbers in May 1945 reached 370,000 soldiers, while in September 1945 440,000.
Military districts were organised in liberated areas. The districts exercised direct authority over the units stationed on the territory administered by them. Returning to the country, the Second Army was tasked with the protection of the western border of the state from Jelenia Gora to Kamien Pomorski, on the basis of its headquarters, the staff of the Poznan Military District was created at Poznań; the southern border, from Jelenia Gora to the Użok railway station was occupied by the First Army. Its headquarters staff formed the basis of the Silesian Military District. In mid-1945, after the end of World War II, the Polish Army, as part of the overall armed forces, the People's Army of Poland, was divided into six districts; these were the Warsaw Military District, HQ in Warsaw, the Lublin Military District, HQ in Lublin, the Kraków Military District, HQ in Kraków, the Lodz Military District, HQ in Lodz, the Poznan Military District, HQ in Poznan, the Pomeranian Military District, HQ in Torun and the Silesian Military District, HQ in Katowice, created in the fall of 1945.
In June 1945 the 1st, 3rd and 8th Infantry Divisions were assigned internal security duties, while the 4th Infantry Division was reorganised for the purpose of creating the Internal Security Corps. The rule was that military units were used against the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, while the Internal Security Corps was used to fight the armed underground independence; however army units fought the underground resistance, vice versa. The culmination of the UPA suppression operation was the so-called'Wisła Action' which took place in 1947. At the same time demobilisation took place. On 10 August 1945 a "decree of the partial demobilisation" of the armed forces was issued; the next demobilisation phase took place in February and December 1946. One of the most important tasks facing the army after the war was national mine clearance. Between 1944 and 1956 the demining operation involved 44 engineering units or about 19,000 sappers, they cleared mines and other munitions in a cle
The Tatra Mountains, Tatras, or Tatra, is a mountain range that forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland. This is the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains; the Tatras should not be confused with the Low Tatras, which are located south of the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia. The Tatra Mountains occupy an area of 785 square kilometres, of which about 610 square kilometres lie within Slovakia and about 175 square kilometres within Poland; the highest peak, called Gerlach, at 2,655 m, is located north of Poprad in Slovakia. The highest point in Poland, Rysy, at 2,499 m, is located south of Zakopane, on the border with Slovakia; the Tatras' length, measured from the eastern foothills of the Kobylí vrch to the southwestern foot of Ostrý vrch, in a straight line, is 57 km, along the main ridge, 80 km. The range is only 19 km wide; the main ridge of the Tatras runs from the village of Huty at the western end to the village of Ždiar at the eastern end. The Tatras are protected by law by the establishment of the Tatra National Park and the Tatra National Park, which are jointly entered in UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
In 1992, UNESCO jointly designated the Polish and Slovak parks a transboundary biosphere reserve in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, under its Man and the Biosphere Programme. The first written record of the name is from 999, when Czech Duke Boleslaus II, on his deathbed, recalled when the Duchy of Bohemia extended to the Tritri montes. Another mention is in the 1086 document from Henry IV, wherein he referred to the Diocese of Prague with Tritri mountains. Still another is in 1125. Machek in 1931 favored theory of Polish linguist Rozwadowski with syllabic r like in the words chrt, smrt. In Czech this syllabic is sometimes with vowels i, e or u for example črný – černý, so the Czech reconstruction from Tritri/Tritry would be Trtry. In Polish, term Tatry is firstly mentioned in 1255. Syllabic r has vowels on both sides in Polish, so in case of Tarty we can reconstruct the name to Tartry, where the vowel a originated before syllabic r which dissimilated; this theory is supported by Hungarian forms of term Turtur, Tortol from 12th to 14th centuries.
It's unknown how Slovak term looked like until the 17th century when form Tatry is firstly mentioned and was taken from Polish and by Czechs and Hungarians. Term Tatra is appearing as a general term in slovak for barren or stony land, in Little Russia for rocks and little stones in river. Machek stresses that the name has no Slavic origin and mentions Rozwadowski's theory of Illyrian origin because of connection with Herzegovian highland called Tatra, thus taken from local inhabitants; the name is close to the Ukrainian word for gravel, toltry. The Tatras are a mountain range of a corrugated nature, originating from the Alpine orogeny, therefore characterized by a young-looking lay of the land, quite similar to the landscape of the Alps, although smaller, it is the highest mountain range within Carpathians. It consists of the internal mountain chains of: Eastern Tatras, which in turn consist of: the Belianske Tatras and the High Tatras Western Tatras The overall nature of the Tatras, together with their easy accessibility, makes them a favorite with tourists and researchers.
Therefore, these mountains are a popular winter sports area, with resorts such as Poprad and the town Vysoké Tatry in Slovakia created in 1999, including former separate resorts: Štrbské Pleso, Starý Smokovec, Tatranská Lomnica or Zakopane, called "winter capital of Poland". The High Tatras, with their 24 peaks exceeding 2,500 m above sea level, together with the Southern Carpathians, represent the only form of alpine landscape in the entire 1,200 kilometres length of arc of the Carpathians. By the end of the First Polish Republic, the border with the Kingdom of Hungary in the Tatras was not defined; the Tatras became an unoccupied borderland. On November 20, 1770, under the guise of protection against the epidemic of plague in the Podolia, an Austrian army entered into Polish land and formed a cordon sanitaire, seizing Sądecczyzna, Spiš and Podhale. Two years the First Partition of Poland allocated the lands to Austria. In 1824, Zakopane region and area around Morskie Oko were purchased from the authorities of the Austrian Empire by a Hungarian Emanuel Homolacs.
When Austria-Hungary was formed in 1867, the Tatra Mountains have become a natural border between the two states of the dual monarchy, but the border itself still has not been determined. In 1889, a Polish Count Władysław Zamoyski purchased at auction the Zakopane region along with the area around Morskie Oko. Due to numerous disputes over land ownership in the late 19th century, attempts were made at the delimitation of the border, they were fruitless until 1897, the case went to an international court which determined on September 13, 1902 the exact course of the Austro-Hungarian border in the disputed area. A new round of border disputes between Poland and Czechoslovakia started after the end of the First World War, when these two countries were established. Among other claims, Poland claimed ownership of a large part of the Spiš region; this claim al
Przemyśl is a city in south-eastern Poland with 66,756 inhabitants, as of June 2009. In 1999, it became part of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship. Przemyśl owes its rich history to the advantages of its geographic location; the city lies in an area connecting mountains and lowlands known as the Przemyśl Gate, with open lines of transportation, fertile soil. It lies on the navigable San River. Important trade routes that connect Central Europe from Przemyśl ensure the city's importance. Different names in various languages have identified the city throughout its history. Selected languages include: Bulgarian: Пшемишъл. Przemyśl, the second-oldest city in southern Poland, appears to date from as early as the 8th century; the region subsequently became part of the 9th-century Great Moravian state. Archeological remains testify to the presence of a monastic settlement as early as the 9th century. Przemyśl was one of the main strongholds of the Lendians. Upon the invasion of the Hungarian tribes into the heart of the Great Moravian Empire around 899, the Lendians of the area declared allegiance to the Hungarian authorities.
The Przemyśl region became a site of contention between Poland, Kievan Rus and Hungary beginning in at least the 9th century. The area was mentioned for the first time in 981 by Nestor, when Vladimir I of Kievan Rus took it over on the way into Poland. In 1018 Przemyśl returned to Poland, in 1031 it was retaken by Rus; the palatium complex was built during the rule of Bolesław I Chrobry. Between the 11th and 12th century the city was a capital of the Principality of Peremyshl, one of the principalities comprising the Kievan Rus' state. Sometime before 1218 an Eastern Orthodox eparchy was founded in the city. Przemyśl became part of the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia. In 1340 Przemyśl was taken by Casimir III of Poland and became part of the Polish kingdom as result of the Galicia–Volhynia Wars. Around this time the first Roman Catholic diocese was founded in the city, Przemyśl was granted city rights based on Magdeburg rights, confirmed in 1389 by king Władysław II Jagiełło; the city prospered as an important trade centre during the Renaissance period.
Like nearby Lviv, the city's population consisted of a great number of nationalities, including Poles, Jews, Germans and Armenians. The long period of prosperity enabled the construction of such handsome public buildings as the Old Synagogue of 1559. A Jesuit college was founded in the city in 1617; the prosperity came to an end in the middle of the 17th century, due to wartime destruction during The Deluge and the general decline of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth at this time. The city decline lasted for over a hundred years, only at the end of the 18th century did it recover its former levels of population. In 1754, the Roman Catholic bishop founded Przemyśl's first public library, only the second public library in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Przemyśl's importance at that time was such that when Austria annexed eastern Galicia in 1772 the Austrians considered making Przemyśl their provincial capital, before deciding on Lwów. In the mid-eighteenth century, Jews constituted 55.6% of the population, Roman Catholics 39.5%, Greek Catholics 4.8%.
In 1772, as a consequence of the First Partition of Poland, Przemyśl became part of the Austrian empire, in what the Austrians called the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria. According to the Austrian census of 1830, the city was home to 7,538 people of whom 1,508 were members of the Greek Catholic Church, a larger number of Ruthenians than in most Galician cities. In 1804 a Ruthenian library was established in Przemyśl. By 1822 its collection had over 33,000 books and its importance for Ruthenians was comparable to that held by the Ossolineum library in Lviv for Poles. Przemyśl became the center of the revival of Byzantine choral music in the Greek Catholic Church; until eclipsed by Lviv in the 1830s, Przemyśl was the most important city in the Ruthenian cultural awakening in the nineteenth century. In 1861 the Galician Railway of Archduke Charles Louis was built connecting Przemyśl with Kraków to the west and Lviv to the east. In the middle of the 19th century, due to the growing conflict between Austria and Russia over the Balkans, Austria grew more mindful of Przemyśl's strategic location near the border with the Russian Empire.
During the Crimean War, when tensions mounted between Russia and Austria, a series of massive fortresses, 15 km in circumference, were built around the city by the Austrians. The census of 1910 showed. Roman Catholics were the most numerous – 25,306, followed by Jews – 16,062 and Greek Catholics – 12,018. With technological progress in artillery during the second half of the 19th century, the old fortifications became obsolete; the longer range of rifled artillery necessitated the redesign of fortresses so that they would be larger and able to resist the newly available guns. To achieve this, between the years 1888 and 1914 Przemyśl was turned into a first class fortress, the third largest in Europe out of about 200 that were built in this period. Around the city, in a circle of circumference 45 km, 44 forts of various sizes were built; the older fortifications were modernised to provide the fortress with an internal defence ring. The fortress was des
Invasion of Poland
The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, in Germany as the Poland Campaign, was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union; the Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty. German forces invaded Poland from the north and west the morning after the Gleiwitz incident. Slovak military forces advanced alongside the Germans in northern Slovakia; as the Wehrmacht advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish–German border to more established defense lines to the east.
After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defence of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected support and relief from France and the United Kingdom. While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was limited. On 17 September, the Soviet Red Army invaded Eastern Poland, the territory that fell into the Soviet "sphere of influence" according to the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland; the success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, though Poland never formally surrendered.
On 8 October, after an initial period of military administration, Germany directly annexed western Poland and the former Free City of Danzig and placed the remaining block of territory under the administration of the newly established General Government. The Soviet Union incorporated its newly acquired areas into its constituent Belarusian and Ukrainian republics, started a campaign of Sovietization. In the aftermath of the invasion, a collective of underground resistance organizations formed the Polish Underground State within the territory of the former Polish state. Many of the military exiles that managed to escape Poland subsequently joined the Polish Armed Forces in the West, an armed force loyal to the Polish government-in-exile. On 30 January 1933, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, under its leader Adolf Hitler, came to power in Germany. While the Weimar Republic had long sought to annex territories belonging to Poland, it was Hitler's own idea and not a realization of Weimar plans to invade and partition Poland, annex Bohemia and Austria, create satellite or puppet states economically subordinate to Germany.
As part of this long-term policy, Hitler at first pursued a policy of rapprochement with Poland, trying to improve opinion in Germany, culminating in the German–Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934. Earlier, Hitler's foreign policy worked to weaken ties between Poland and France, attempted to manoeuvre Poland into the Anti-Comintern Pact, forming a cooperative front against the Soviet Union. Poland would be granted territory to its northeast in Ukraine and Belarus if it agreed to wage war against the Soviet Union, but the concessions the Poles were expected to make meant that their homeland would become dependent on Germany, functioning as little more than a client state; the Poles feared that their independence would be threatened altogether. How can they demand the rights of independent states?"The population of the Free City of Danzig was in favour of annexation by Germany, as were many of the ethnic German inhabitants of the Polish territory that separated the German exclave of East Prussia from the rest of the Reich.
The so-called Polish Corridor constituted land long disputed by Poland and Germany, inhabited by a Polish majority. The Corridor had become a part of Poland after the Treaty of Versailles. Many Germans wanted the urban port city of Danzig and its environs to be reincorporated into Germany. Danzig city had a German majority, had been separated from Germany after Versailles and made into the nominally independent Free City. Hitler sought to use this as casus belli, a reason for war, reverse the post-1918 territorial losses, on many occasions had appealed to German nationalism, promising to "liberate" the German minority still in the Corridor, as well as Danzig; the invasion was referred to by Germany as the 1939 Defensive War since Hitler proclaimed that Poland had attacked Germany and that "Germans in Poland are persecuted with a bloody terror and are driven from their homes. The series of border violations, which are unbearable to a great power, prove that the Poles no longer are willing to respect the German frontier."Poland participated with Germany in the partition of Czechoslovakia that followed the Munich Agreement, although they were not part of the agreement.
It coerced Czechoslovakia to surrender the region of Český Těšín by issuing an ultimatum to that effect