Friday, 1 August 2014

A Hundred Years Ago

In 1914 Poland did not exist as such. On August 1, 1914, four days after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia (whom the Russians had pledged to support), Germany declared war on Russia. Russia invaded East Prussia on 7–9 August.  The Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Russia on August 6, 1914, followed by Russian attacks on the Austro-Hungarian empire in September 1914. Ethnic Poles were conscripted in all three armies and some of the first battles were fought on soil now Polish.
The so-called "Great War" that ensued would be one of unprecedented destruction and loss of life, resulting in the deaths of some 20 million soldiers and civilians and the physical devastation of much of the European continent.
But from it would also emerge Soviet Russia and a series of newly-independent states in central Europe - including the Second Polish Republic.

But at 17:00 today, all the factory sirens will be wailing, and some church bells tolling to mark "W Hour", the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. It was to last 63 days.  The whole city comes to a standstill for a minute.

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