World War II Poland: Physical Destruction

Figure 1.--Warsaw was almost completely leveled in World War II. Enormous destruction done by Germans in the invasion launcjing World war II. Much of what remained was destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising against the Germasns (1944). The Soviets which had reached the Vistulas, refused to nintervene. What was not destroyed in the fighting was leveled by German demolition teams before evacuating the city as the Red Army finally crossed the Vistula.. This is what Warsaw looked like in 1948. Other Polish cities were also heavily damaged, but none as thorougly and methodically as Warsaw. Photographer: Robert Capa.

Poland was the first country to resist NAZI aggression and no country suffered more from World War II than Poland, although destruction in the Soviet bUnion and Yugoslsvia as also massive. Warsaw was of course the greatest example of this. The city was badly damaged during the initial German invasion, both by aerial and artillery bombardment (1939). Warsaw held out for 3 weeks, much of it under heavy German bombbadment. And then much of what was still standing was destroyed in the Warsaw Uprising (1944) and subsequent German demolition. The devestation extended to other cities and towns throughout the country. Enormous damage was done by the German Army and Air Force during the initial campaign (September 1939). This was allmost entirely in western Poland. The Soviets invaded eastern Poland (September 17). Little damage occurred because the despirited Polish Army offered little resistance. In addition to the fighting, there was also organized German plunnder, The Germans invaded the Soviet Union (June 1941), this meant the area of eastern Poland annexed by the Soviets. Again the physical damage was relatively limited because the Whermacht pushed east so rapidly. There was, however, extensive damage as the Wehrmacht pursued anti-partisan campaigns. Additional damage occurred in fighting between Poles and Ukranians. And as the Red Army pushed into Poland, the Wehrmacht conducted a burned earth program of destroying everything of any value. This included even towns and villages. Warsaw was of course the greatest example of the mindless destruction, but only one example. Most ither Polish cities wee heavikly danaged. Krakow escaped the damage inflicted on many other Polish cities, but only because of the rapid adance of the Red Army.


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Created: 4:04 AM 8/3/2010
Last updated: 4:04 AM 8/3/2010