White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War 1919-20
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Publish Year note: First published in 1972
Surprisingly little known, the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20 was to change the course of twentieth-century history.
In White Eagle, Red Star, Norman Davies gives a full account of the War, with its dramatic climax in August 1920 when the Red Army - sure of victory and pledged to carry the Revolution across Europe to 'water our horses on the Rhine' - was crushed by a devastating Polish attack. Since known as the 'miracle on the Vistula', it remains one of the most decisive battles of the Western world.
Drawing on both Polish and Russian sources, Norman Davies illustrates the narrative with documentary material which hitherto has not been readily available and shows how the War was far more an 'episode' in East European affairs, but largely determined the course of European history for the next twenty years or more.
and the militia exceeded his instructions and made important additions to Kamenev’s original preview. On 20 August, a manifesto signed by Tukhachevsky was posted in the streets of Minsk charging the Polish delegation with a disturbance of the peace and with attempts to indulge in espionage. The commandant of the local Cheka called on Dąbski to warn him that he was containing the indignation of the populace with difficulty. All this time the Polish delegation was confined to its quarters. Its
were still alive. His lectures at Rembertów provided the first occasion when the concepts of Le Fil de l’Epée took seed. His mind was original enough to grasp the truth, which nowadays seems obvious, that technological deficiencies presented the only serious impediment to a marriage between the highly desirable mobility of the Polish campaigns and the firepower of the First World War. His interest in tank warfare was as eccentric among French generals as his familiarity with Eastern Europe was
of 10 Dec. 1918 (Ibid No. 147) as far as Wilno, Lida, Mozyr. 8. ‘Dokumenty i Materiały …’ II p. 98 note 7. 9. Deruga op. cit. p. 144. 10. The opening lines of ‘Pan Tadeusz.’ 11. ‘Dokumenty i Materiały …’ I, No. 286 29 Oct. 1918. 12. Ibid, II No. 12, 26 Nov. 1918; No. 20, 4 Dec. 1918; No. 30. 22 Dec. 1918. 13. Ibid, II, No.37, 30 Dec. 1918. 14. Ibid, II No. 49, 8 Jan. 1919. 15. Ibid, II, p. 172. 16. From Babel’s story ‘Posle Boya’. 17. A letter of Kazimierz Karski of the 1st
indefinitely. The debate in Russia was not whether the Polish bridge should be crossed, but how and when. The debate centred on three propositions, each of which gained ascendancy at different times. The first held that the war with Poland should be renewed at the earliest opportunity. The failure of the ‘Target Vistula’ operation gave special urgency to increased military efforts in the west. This course of action tended to appeal to those who put a literal interpretation on their Marxist
glamorous of Soviet formations, and to its commander, Semyon Budyonny. It is almost impossible to reconstruct the awe and terror—testified by Polish and Soviet witnesses alike—which attended their approach. The First Cavalry Army (the Konarmiya) was the most successful innovation of the Civil War. Formed in November 1919, it was the logical outcome of warfare with the White armies, in which the Reds had proved themselves equal to everything except the Cossack cavalry. By massing all available