The Warsaw Uprising began on this day, as the Polish underground attempted to seize control of the beleaguered city from the occupying Germans before the Soviets captured the city for themselves. Once they arrived near the city,the Soviet Army declined to assist the Poles, and the uprising was brutally crushed, vast expanses of the city completely leveled, Polish nationalism dealt a devastating blow. Things still looked good, however, in the middle of September, when W.R. Malinowski, later one of the founders of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, wrote a piece for The Nation on the “Uprising in Warsaw.”
The uprising in Warsaw is at the end of its seventh week. The citizens have battled against the Germans for almost fifty days with magnificent courage and heroism. In Warsaw proper the battle is being waged by the entire population; men, women, and children have joined the fight in support of the underground army and the fighting detachments of all political groups, including the battalions of the Communist Polish Workers’ Party. For the third time since the beginning of this war Warsaw is the symbol of a people’s struggle. Five years after the defense of the capital in 1939, a year and a half after the Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943, the citizens of Warsaw are again paying a high price for their country’s right to freedom and independence. The democratic and progressive character of this struggle is testimony to the spirit prevailing in Poland today. For the backbone of the underground and of the underground army is the peasant and labor movements, which are steeped in the traditions of democracy.
To mark The Nation’s 150th anniversary, every morning this year The Almanac will highlight something that happened that day in history and how The Nation covered it. Get The Almanac every day (or every week) by signing up to the e-mail newsletter.