Nazis, Soviets, Poles, Jews
I thought I had a decent knowledge of history, yet I never knew that the Nazis had been wooing the Poles:
The Nazi foreign minister had lost his patience with the Poles. ‘You are stubborn on these maritime questions,’ he told Polish diplomats in January 1939. ‘The Black Sea is also a sea!” Joachim von Ribbentrop had been trying for years to induce Poland to join Germany in a war against the Soviet Union. Germany would annex from Poland districts by the Baltic Sea; the two countries would invade the USSR; and Poland would be compensated with conquered Soviet territory on the Black Sea.
So begins a fascinating review, “Nazis, Soviets, Poles, Jews,” in the current New York Review of Books (subscription required) by Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale. He adds: “That Germany and Poland did not make an alliance and that Germany and the Soviet Union did, is perhaps the single crucial fact about the war.” And Snyder concludes:
The further study of the war and its victims will require a firmer grasp of the history of the peoples who lived alongside the Jews. In this important respect, the history of the Holocaust has yet to be written.
In between the reviewer gives details about the Polish resistance and the destruction of Warsaw that cast a new light for me upon those dark times. Professor Snyder is at work on a book, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, that, on the basis of this review, promises to be must reading.