Official Site of Speaker, Historian and Author Sean Munger

History, History Is Cool, Video

The calm before the storm: Warsaw in 1939, the last days of peace. [video]

Here is a very sad and touching video. It was taken in Warsaw, Poland at the end of August, 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.

This is a very haunting video, especially when they show some of the Jews of the city. It is likely that most, if not all, of the Jews shown in this footage perished in the Holocaust. Many of the buildings and streets you see were utterly destroyed. Warsaw suffered a staggering amount of physical destruction during the war, and it began just days after this film was taken.

This is another wonderful, color, like-yesterday video from the folks at the Romano Archive.


1 Comment

  1. Warsaw was once known as “The Paris of the East” for its history and the beauty of its architecture. The Nazis basically leveled it as a punishment because the Varsovians (as the inhabitants are called) started an uprising and kicked the Germans out of the city as the Red Army was approaching. The Polish people wanted to liberate their city themselves, not wait for someone else to do it.

    The problem was that, although the Poles had the ability to kick the Germans out, they didn’t have the ability to KEEP them out. They knew this and anticipated that the Red Army would arrive within a few days and take care of that for them. But instead Stalin gave orders for the army to stop on the banks of the Vistula River. There they stayed, watching and doing nothing, only like 30 miles away, while the Nazis regrouped, came back in, flattened Warsaw, killed one-quarter of the inhabitants and had most of the rest deported to Germany.

    Stalin was going to have to fight with the Polish nationalists for control of the city, but the Germans took care of them instead after the nationalists rebelled. As to whether he halted his army’s progress for just that reason, no one knows for sure. But knowing Stalin, probably yes.

Leave a Reply

Theme by Anders Norén