Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 






The World Wars and Interwar Period 

1914-1945


 


The first half of the 20th century saw the world entangled in two global wars, conducted with an unprecedented brutality. The First World War developed from a purely European affair into a conflict involving the colonies and the United States. It altered Europe's political landscape and shifted the power balance worldwide. In World War II, the nations of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa were drawn into the conflict through the aggressive policies of an ambitious Nazi Germany. The war was conducted with the most up-to-date weapons technology and cost the lives of more than 55 million people. The Holocaust, the systematic annihilation of the European Jews, represented an unparalleled moral catastrophe for modern civilization.


 



Pablo Picasso "Weeping Woman", 1937

 

 

 


Poland 
 


1914-1939
 

 

After 123 years of foreign rule, Poland was restored as à sovereign state after World War I, but the existence of the nation was constantly threatened from without because of border disputes. Internal political strife and unresolved problems with minorities also affected the country. Germany and the Soviet Union carved up Poland between them in 1939.

 


The Polish State until 1921
 

Poland proclaimed itself an independent state in 1918. The wrangling over the final positions of the borders, however, dragged on until 1921.

 

Since 1795, the Polish territories had been divided between Prussia, Austria, and Russia. The outbreak of World War I revitalized the Poles' hopes for the restoration of their sovereignty.

Polish 3 legionnaires supported the Central Powers, which proclaimed the restitution of the Polish hereditary monarchy in 1916.


3 Polish soldiers, 1915

The looming defeat of the Central Powers and the assurances of the Entente Powers regarding Poland's sovereignty initiated a change of mood in favor of the victorious powers.

After the overthrow of the czar, the provisional Russian government recognized the Polish right to self-determination in March 1917, and in 1 1918 in the Brest-Litovsk Treaty relinquished its Polish territories.


1 Celebration of Polish independence, painting, 1918

Following the capitulation of the Central Powers, Jozef Pilsudski proclaimed Poland independent on November 11,1918, and named himself the provisional head of state of the republic. He built the state of an independent Poland.

The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 granted the new nation the province of Poznan as well as broad sections of West Prussia to create the "Polish Corridor," a narrow strip of territory along the Vistula River with access to the Baltic Sea. Pilsudski, however, sought the restoration of the borders of 1772, which would include the Russian-dominated Byelorussia, Ukraine, and Lithuania. The Lithuanian Vilnius territory was brought under Polish sovereignty through military action.

A Polish advance on 2 Kiev in March 1920 then triggered the Polish-Soviet War.


2 Conquest of Kiev by the Red Army, 1920

The Soviet counteroffensive failed with the Polish victory in the Battle of Warsaw (the "Miracle on the Vistula").

The subsequent Treaty of 4 Riga on March 18,1921, moved the Polish-Russian border about 150 miles to the east.

The League of Nations divided the 5 disputed Polish-German Upper Silesian territories in 1921.

Poland received the coal-rich 6 eastern Upper Silesia; the other territories went to Germany.

The city of Danzig was declared a free city, a further sore point in the Polish-German relationship.


4 Polish delegation at the
Riga Conference, 1921


5 Polish workers take up arms during the
dispute over Upper Silesia, 1921


6 "God, let my native soil stay German!"
Propaganda poster during the Upper
Silesia dispute, 1921

 

 


Brief Sovereignty

Even the domestic transition from a democracy to an authoritarian state could not prevent Poland's powerful neighbors Germany and the Soviet Union invading Poland and dividing the country between them in 1939.

 

After the boundaries were agreed upon, Poland reformed as a democratic constitutional state in 1921. The internal consolidation of the newly formed nation was made difficult from the outset by its underdeveloped economy and the nationalist protectionism that was prevalent in inter-war Central Eastern Europe. The fierce rivalry among the political parties meant the rapidly changing governments failed to coordinate the diverse administrative and economic systems created during the partition and to integrate the minorities. Less than 70 percent of the population living within Poland's new borders was Polish, and the minorities were granted only a restricted franchise and influence in parliament. There were numerous Ukrainian uprisings in East Galicia.

The founder of modern Poland, 8 Jozef Pilsudski, proclaimed himself to be the savior of the nation and carried out a military coup in 1926.

While formally retaining the democratic constitution, he set up a dictatorial regime that suppressed the opposition.

The regime was based on his personal prestige and deteriorated after his 7 death in 1935.
 


Józef Piłsudski


8 Polish leader Jozef Pilsudski


Polish revolutionary and statesman
in full Józef Klemens Piłsudski

born Dec. 5, 1867, Żułów, Pol., Russian Empire [now in Lithuania]
died May 12, 1935, Warsaw

Main
Polish revolutionary and statesman, the first chief of state (1918–22) of the newly independent Poland established in November 1918. After leading a coup d’état in 1926, he rejected an offer of the presidency but remained politically influential while serving as minister of defense until 1935.

Early life and political activities
Piłsudski was the second son of an impoverished Polish nobleman. His mother, née Maria Billewicz, inspired him with hatred for the Russian imperial regime, which was treating the Poles with great harshness after their insurrection of 1863. On leaving the secondary school in Wilno (modern Vilnius), Piłsudski studied medicine at Kharkov in 1885 but was suspended as politically suspect in 1886. Returning to Wilno, he consorted with young socialists. Piłsudski was arrested in March 1887 on a false charge of plotting the assassination of the tsar Alexander III and was banished to eastern Siberia for five years.

Piłsudski returned in 1892, determined to organize an insurrection and to work for the reestablishment of Poland’s independence. He joined the newly founded Polish Socialist Party (PPS), of which he soon became a leader. He started a clandestine newspaper, Robotnik (“The Worker”), in Wilno. In July 1899 he married, in a Protestant church, the beautiful Maria Juszkiewicz, the divorced wife of a Polish civil engineer, and moved to Łódź, where he continued to edit and print his paper.

In February 1900 he was incarcerated by the Russians in the Warsaw citadel. He feigned insanity so successfully that he was transferred to a military hospital in St. Petersburg, from which he escaped in May 1901. He took refuge in Kraków in Austrian Poland, but in April 1902 he was back in Russian Poland looking after the party organization.

When the Russo-Japanese War broke out in February 1904, Piłsudski went to Tokyo to solicit Japanese assistance for an insurrection in Poland. He had been preceded by Roman Dmowski, his rival in the nationalist movement, who had told the Japanese that Piłsudski’s plan was impracticable. The two Polish leaders agreed to disagree. Piłsudski returned clandestinely to Russian Poland to help direct the revolutionary movement that was spreading throughout the empire. After the Russian revolution was put down late in 1905, a split occurred within the PPS: the left wing, which proposed to delete from the party’s program the stipulation that its main aim was an independent Poland, broke with Piłsudski’s group, which insisted on that stipulation.


Attempts to organize a Polish army
Aware of the Russian Empire’s structural weakness and foreseeing a European war, Piłsudski concluded that it was imperative to organize the nucleus of a future Polish army. In 1908 he formed a secret Union of Military Action—financed with a sum of money stolen from a Russian mail train by an armed band led by Piłsudski himself. In 1910, with the help of the Austrian military authorities, he was able to convert his secret union into a legal Union of Riflemen, actually a school for Polish officers. At a meeting of Polish sympathizers in Paris in 1914, he declared that war was imminent and that

the problem of the independence of Poland will be definitely solved only if Russia is beaten by Austria-Hungary and Germany, and Germany vanquished by France, Great Britain and the United States; it is our duty to bring that about.

World War I justified Piłsudski’s prediction. Until 1916 the three brigades of the Polish Legion, technically under Austro-Hungarian command, distinguished themselves against the Russians. On Nov. 5, 1916, Germany and Austria-Hungary, short of manpower, proclaimed the independence of Poland, hoping that Polish divisions could be deployed on the Eastern Front so that German divisions could be moved to the west. Piłsudski, appointed head of the military department of the newly created Polish council of state, accepted the idea of a Polish army on condition that it be part of a sovereign Polish state. His position was unexpectedly reinforced by the Russian Revolution of March 1917. The German government, however, refused to bind itself as to Poland’s future, demanding instead that the existing Polish units should swear “fidelity in arms with the German and Austrian forces.” Piłsudski, refusing to comply, was arrested in July 1917 and imprisoned in Magdeburg.


An independent Poland
Released after the German collapse in the west, Piłsudski arrived in Warsaw on Nov. 10, 1918, as a national hero. Four days later he was unanimously accepted as head of state and commander in chief of the Polish army. From that moment he ceased to be the man of a party, though his main support came from the left and from the centre; the right saw its leader in Dmowski, who had been heading the Polish National Committee in Paris and was now appointed by Piłsudski to be Poland’s first delegate at the peace conference, together with Ignacy Paderewski.

Piłsudski devoted himself to protecting Poland against the Russian Red Army, which was trying to fight its way into Germany in order to consolidate the revolution there. He led the Polish forces far to the east, occupying large areas that had belonged to Poland before the 18th-century partitions. He envisioned a federal state comprising Poles, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians, whereas Dmowski argued that these areas should simply be incorporated within a unitary Poland. In 1920 a counteroffensive by the Red Army forced the Poles to retreat westward almost to the suburbs of Warsaw, but Piłsudski, made marshal of Poland on March 19, conceived and directed a maneuver that in August brought victory to Poland.

After the adoption of a democratic constitution and a new general election, Piłsudski transmitted his powers on Dec. 14, 1922, to his friend Gabriel Narutowicz, the newly elected president of the republic, who two days later was assassinated. Stanisław Wojciechowski, another of Piłsudski’s old colleagues, was next elected president, the marshal agreeing to serve as chief of the general staff. When a right-wing government assumed power, Piłsudski resigned gradually from the functions he held and in 1923 went into retirement at Sulejówek, near Warsaw, with his second wife, née Aleksandra Szczerbińska, and his two daughters.

Piłsudski became disillusioned with the working of the parliamentary system. On May 12, 1926, during a time of political crisis and economic depression, he marched on Warsaw at the head of a few regiments, causing the government, including President Wojciechowski, to resign two days later. The parliament elected Piłsudski president of the republic on May 31, but he refused the honour, and another of his old friends, Ignacy Mościcki, was elected instead. In the new government Piłsudski assumed the Ministry of Defense, which he held until his death. During the ensuing years he was the major influence behind the scenes in Poland, especially in the field of foreign policy.


7 Funeral of Jozef Pilsudskis, 1935


Later years
With few exceptions, Piłsudski’s former socialist friends abandoned him and joined a centre-left coalition, which in the summer of 1930 started a mass campaign to overthrow his “dictatorship.” Piłsudski’s reaction was ruthless; to “cleanse” political life, he had 18 party leaders arrested and imprisoned in the fortress of Brześć. Though all of them were subsequently released, and their political parties were not dissolved, the country was ruled by Piłsudski’s men. The most prominent among them was Colonel Józef Beck, Piłsudski’s former chef de cabinet, who became deputy foreign minister in December 1930 and foreign minister in November 1932.

After Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany on Jan. 30, 1933, Piłsudski was compelled to accept Hitler’s suggestion of a 10-year German-Polish nonaggression agreement (Jan. 24, 1934). To show that Poland’s intentions were above suspicion, Beck was sent to Moscow in February, and the existing Soviet-Polish nonaggression treaty was prolonged to Dec. 31, 1945. Later, Hitler repeatedly suggested a German-Polish alliance against the U.S.S.R., but Piłsudski took no notice of the proposal; he also declined to meet with Hitler. Piłsudski sought to gain time, believing that Poland should be ready to fight when the necessity arose. Such were the last instructions he gave to Beck. Shortly afterward, he died in Warsaw of cancer of the liver. He was buried in a crypt of the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, among Polish kings.

A romantic revolutionary, a great soldier without formal military training, a man of rare audacity and willpower, as well as of great insight into European politics, Piłsudski was nevertheless poorly equipped to rule a modern state. He left Poland undeveloped economically and with an army that was ready to fight heroically but was doomed because of its composition and inadequate armament.

Kazimierz Maciej Smogorzewski


Encyclopaedia Britannica


A succession of military leaders determined the course of the state thereafter.

Due to border disputes, Poland was continually threatened by its powerful neighbors, Germany and the USSR. It signed an alliance with France in 1921, but this had little effect.

Nonaggression treaties negotiated with the Soviet Union in 1932 and with Germany in 1934 quickly proved to be nothing more than a 9 temporary cease-fire.

In a secret protocol of the Nazi—Soviet nonaggression pact of August 23,1939, also known as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact after the foreign ministers of the two countries who negotiated the secret clause, the two powers agreed to partition Poland.

The German "Blitzkrieg" poured across the Polish 10 western border on September 1,1939; Soviet troops invaded the eastern part two weeks later.

The simultaneous attack ensured that the ill-equipped Polish army's brave resistance was short-lived, and on September 27, the Germans occupied Warsaw.


9 Hitler revokes his nonaggression
pact with Poland, 1939

 


10 German soldiers tear down a barrier on the frontier with Poland, 1939

 

 

"Free City" of Danzig/Gdansk

Hitler used the status of Danzig (Gdansk in Polish) as a free city under international law as a pretext to unexpectedly start a war against Poland in 1939.

The internationally mandated city had, since its establishment in the Treaty of Versailles, been a source of contention to German nationalists.

Danzig had a German majority and it was an economically important port city.



Nazi victory parade through the streets of Danzig/Gdansk,
Poland, 1939

 

 


The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact

 

 

German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact



Molotov signs the German–Soviet non-aggression pact.
Behind him are Ribbentrop and Stalin.


Germany-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [1939]
also called Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, German-Soviet Treaty of Nonaggression, Hitler-Stalin Pact, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Main
(August 23, 1939), nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union that was concluded only a few days before the beginning of World War II and which divided eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.

The Soviet Union had been unable to reach a collective-security agreement with Britain and France against Nazi Germany, most notably at the time of the Munich Conference in September 1938. By early 1939 the Soviets faced the prospect of resisting German military expansion in eastern Europe virtually alone, and so they began searching about for a change of policy. On May 3, 1939, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin fired Foreign Minister Maksim Litvinov, who was Jewish and an advocate of collective security, and replaced him with Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov, who soon began negotiations with the Nazi foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop. The Soviets also kept negotiating with Britain and France, but in the end Stalin chose to reach an agreement with Germany. By doing so he hoped to keep the Soviet Union at peace with Germany and to gain time to build up the Soviet military establishment, which had been badly weakened by the purge of the Red Army officer corps in 1937. The Western democracies’ hesitance in opposing Adolf Hitler, along with Stalin’s own inexplicable personal preference for the Nazis, also played a part in Stalin’s final choice. For his part, Hitler wanted a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union so that his armies could invade Poland virtually unopposed by a major power, after which Germany could deal with the forces of France and Britain in the west without having to simultaneously fight the Soviet Union on a second front in the east. The end result of the German-Soviet negotiations was the Nonaggression Pact, which was dated August 23 and was signed by Ribbentrop and Molotov in the presence of Stalin, in Moscow.

The terms of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact were briefly as follows: the two countries agreed not to attack each other, either independently or in conjunction with other powers; not to support any third power that might attack the other party to the pact; to remain in consultation with each other upon questions touching their common interests; not to join any group of powers directly or indirectly threatening one of the two parties; to solve all differences between the two by negotiation or arbitration. The pact was to last for 10 years, with automatic extension for another 5 years unless either party gave notice to terminate it 1 year before its expiration.

To this public pact of nonaggression was appended a secret protocol, also reached on August 23, 1939, which divided the whole of eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Poland east of the line formed by the Narew, Vistula, and San rivers would fall under the Soviet sphere of influence. The protocol also assigned Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland to the Soviet sphere of influence and, further, broached the subject of the separation of Bessarabia from Romania. A secret supplementary protocol (signed September 28, 1939) clarified the Lithuanian borders. The Polish-German border was also determined, and Bessarabia was assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence. In a third secret protocol (signed January 10, 1941, by Count Friedrich Werner von Schulenberg and Molotov), Germany renounced its claims to portions of Lithuania in return for Soviet payment of a sum agreed upon by the two countries.

The public German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact caused consternation in the capitals of Britain and France. After Germany invaded Poland from the west on September 1, 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland from the east on September 17, meeting the advancing Germans near Brest-Litovsk two days later. The partition of Poland was effected on September 29, at which time the dividing line between German and Soviet territory was changed in Germany’s favour, being moved eastward to the Bug River (i.e., the current Polish-Soviet frontier). The Soviets soon afterward sought to consolidate their sphere of influence as a defensive barrier to renewed German aggression in the east. Accordingly, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on November 30 and forced it in March 1940 to yield the Isthmus of Karelia and make other concessions. The Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia were annexed by the Soviet Union and were organized as Soviet republics in August 1940. The Nonaggression Pact became a dead letter on June 22, 1941, when Nazi Germany, after having invaded much of western and central Europe, attacked the Soviet Union without warning in Operation Barbarossa.

The Soviet Union’s borders with Poland and Romania that were established after World War II roughly follow those established by the Nonaggression Pact in 1939–41. Until 1989 the Soviet Union denied the existence of the secret protocols because they were considered evidence of its involuntary annexation of the Baltic states. Soviet leaders were initially unwilling to restore prewar boundaries, but the transformations occurring within the Soviet Union in the early 1990s made it virtually impossible for Soviet leaders to combat declarations of independence from the Baltic states in 1991.

Encyclopaedia Britannica



Ribbentrop and Stalin at the signing of the Pact
 

 


German and Soviet soldiers meeting
in Brest


Common parade of Wehrmacht and Red Army in Brest at the
end of the Invasion of Poland.
At the center Major General Heinz Guderian and Brigadier Semyon Krivoshein





Soviet and German soldiers in Lublin



German and Soviet soldiers at the so-called Border of Peace established by the pact



Ribbentrop welcoming Molotov in Berlin, November 1940
 


Last page of the Additional Secret Protocol of the
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
 


"Second Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact" of 28 September 1939.
Map of Poland signed by Stalin and Ribbentrop adjusting
the German–Soviet border in the aftermath of German and
Soviet invasion of Poland.

 

 


German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact


The Government of the German Reich and The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R., and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April, 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following Agreement:

Article I. Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other Powers.

Article II. Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third Power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third Power.

Article III. The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests.

Article IV. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of Powers whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party.

Article V. Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of arbitration commissions.

Article VI. The present Treaty is concluded for a period of ten years, with the proviso that, in so far as one of the High Contracting Parties does not advance it one year prior to the expiration of this period, the validity of this Treaty shall automatically be extended for another five years.

Article VII. The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The Agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed.

 

[The next section was not published at the time the above was announced.]
 

Secret Additional Protocol.

Article I. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and U.S.S.R. In this connection the interest of Lithuania in the Vilna area is recognized by each party.

Article II. In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement of the areas belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be bounded approximately by the line of the rivers Narev, Vistula and San.

The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish States and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments.

In any event both Governments will resolve this question by means of a friendly agreement.

Article III. With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinteredness in these areas.

Article IV. This protocol shall be treated by both parties as strictly secret.
 

Moscow, August 23, 1939.

For the Government of the German Reich v. Ribbentrop

Plenipotentiary of the Government of the U.S.S.R. V. Molotov


 

[From: Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941. Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Office (Washington D.C., 1948) p. 78]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katyn Massacre

Main
Polish history

mass execution of Polish military officers by the Soviet Union during World War II. The discovery of the massacre precipitated the severance of diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish government-in-exile in London.

After Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union concluded their Nonaggression Pact of 1939 and Germany invaded Poland from the west, Soviet forces occupied the eastern half of Poland. As a consequence of this occupation, tens of thousands of Polish military personnel fell into Soviet hands and were interned in prison camps inside the Soviet Union. But after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union (June 1941), the Polish government-in-exile (located in London) and the Soviet government agreed to cooperate against Germany, and a Polish army on Soviet territory was to be formed. The Polish general Władysław Anders began organizing this army, but when he requested that 15,000 Polish prisoners of war whom the Soviets had once held at camps near Smolensk be transferred to his command, the Soviet government informed him in December 1941 that most of those prisoners had escaped to Manchuria and could not be located.

The fate of the missing prisoners remained a mystery. Then on April 13, 1943, the Germans announced that they had discovered mass graves of Polish officers in the Katyn forest near Smolensk, in western Russian S.F.S.R. A total of 4,443 corpses were recovered that had apparently been shot from behind and then piled in stacks and buried. Investigators identified the corpses as the Polish officers who had been interned at a Soviet prison camp near Smolensk and accused the Soviet authorities of having executed the prisoners in May 1940. In response to these charges, the Soviet government claimed that the Poles had been engaged in construction work west of Smolensk in 1941 and the invading German army had killed them after overrunning that area in August 1941. But both German and Red Cross investigations of the Katyn corpses then produced firm physical evidence that the massacre took place in early 1940, at a time when the area was still under Soviet control.

The Polish government-in-exile in London requested that the International Committee of the Red Cross examine the graves and also asked the Soviet government to provide official reports on the fates of the remaining missing prisoners. The Soviet government refused these demands, and on April 25, 1943, the Soviets broke diplomatic relations with the Polish government in London. The Soviets then set about establishing a Polish government-in-exile composed of Polish communists.

The Katyn Massacre left a deep scar in Polish-Soviet relations during the remainder of the war and afterward. For Poles, Katyn became a symbol of the many victims of Stalinism. Although a 1952 U.S. congressional inquiry concluded that the Soviet Union had been responsible for the massacre, Soviet leaders insisted for decades that the Polish officers found at Katyn had been killed by the invading Germans in 1941. This explanation was accepted without protest by successive Polish communist governments until the late 1980s, when the Soviet Union allowed a noncommunist coalition government to come to power in Poland. In March 1989 this government officially shifted the blame for the Katyn Massacre from the Germans to the Soviet secret police, the NKVD. In 1992 the Russian government released documents proving that the Soviet Politburo and the NKVD had been responsible for the massacre and cover-up. In 2000 a memorial was opened at the site of the killings in Katyn.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

 


Katyn Massacre


Katyn Massacre

 

 


Katyn Massacre


Katyn Massacre

 

 


Katyn Massacre


Katyn Massacre

 

 

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