One of the most important Battles of the XXth Century, yet one that is completely unknown to a broader audience – is the Battle of Warsaw. On the 15th of August 1920, the Polish Army not only defeated the Red Army, but also pushed them back and contained them, making Soviet leadership abandon plans of Western expansion, focusing instead on consolidating domestically.
Poles defended not only their own country, but also shielded a fragile West from Soviet aggression. In 1920, Europe was fragile, broken by the First World War, and worker movements were pushing hard, especially in Germany and Hungary. With the assistance of the Red Army, they may well have successfully taken power, installing communist totalitarianism across large swathes of the Old Continent.
On August 15th of 1920, the Poles faced an ideological threat, carried on the bayonets of invading hordes, brought from the East. 100 years on, the threat has changed, or at least it has been repackaged: instead of being brought in by invading armies, it is pushed from the West, via liberal media, a pervasive culture and various generously funded NGOs.
Watch a short video on the Battle of Warsaw by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute:
100 years ago, the Poles defeated the Red Army on the outskirts of Warsaw.
— IAM (@InstytutAM) August 13, 2020
The Polish Minister of Culture Piotr Glinski has warned that “Western civilization has already fallen once. (…) The Roman Empire collapsed not only as the result of a barbarian invasion, but also because it lost self-confidence.” This lack of self-confidence and meaning is an existential threat to the West, and yet, Poland today seems relatively safe from these dangers. Though coronavirus has ended 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth in Poland, the Poles are the least affected economy in the EU. The Poles have also been slowly but surely consolidating their position in Europe; not only are they members of the Visegrad Alliance, they are also taking part in the Three Seas Initiative, one of the most ambitious geopolitical projects of our time. The country is slowly but surely catching up with the West, but Poles are managing to preserve their values and their history.