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Poland marks 78th anniversary of Warsaw Rising outbreak

The largest underground military operation in German-occupied Europe – the Warsaw Rising – broke out 78 years ago. For 63 days, the insurgents put up a heroic and lonely fight against the Nazi Germans, aiming for liberation of the Polish capital and the foundation of an independent state.

The rising’s military goal was to liberate the capital from the extremely cruel German occupation, which began in September 1939. On August 1, 1944, at 5 PM, between 40,000 and 50,000 people joined the fight in the capital, led by the Polish Home Army. Among them were people of various status, religion and nationality.

The command of the Home Army assumed that the advancing Red Army would care, for strategic reasons, on the quick capture of Warsaw. It was predicted that the rising would end within several days of fighting before the Soviet forces entered the city. Help from the western Allies was also expected. The hopes, however, were all in vain, since the Soviets, standing at the gates of the city, watched as the capital was bleeding out, while the aid from the Western Allies was only negligible.

Although underequipped, the brave insurgents waged a valiant fight for 63 days against the German army. Ultimately, due to the lack of prospects for further struggle, running low on ammunition and food supplies, on October 2, 1944, an act of capitulation was signed.

During the fights in Warsaw, about 18,000 insurgents lost their lives, while 25,000 more were injured. Losses among the civilian population were huge and amounted to about 180,000 people dead.

The remaining inhabitants of Warsaw, about 500,000, were expelled from the city, which was razed to the ground after the rising. Special German units, using dynamite and heavy equipment, methodically destroyed the remains of the surviving buildings for over three months.

Due to the size of the casualties suffered by the Polish side, the decision to carry out the rising causes controversy to this day.


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