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War will be over by Spring

It was a busy night in Warsaw. Reports from the entire Poland were coming to the office of Chief of Staff. Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly thought air was hot and dry. It wasn't. He was sweating because his nation was under fire. He couldn't breath because he didn't know how to save his nation.

A few hours earlier, Germany's national socialist government had demanded Danzig. Ignacy Mosicki's government had refused. How could they accept? Giving a part of the fatherland was not an option.

Lately, government had showed signs of corruption and decay. Signs of inability and treason. Or at least, the Marshal believed so. If those damned Germans hadn't declared war, he would be arresting the government right now. Poland required better adminstration, and only military could give that. Or so, Marshal believed.

He was too late. Government's corruption didn't matter anymore. Nothing mattered. Marshal had to look at the subjects infront of him. He had to assign a field commander to his headquarters unit in Warsaw. He was too busy directing the entire war effort, he couldn't direct the defenses of a single city. His best choice was General Tadeusz Kasprzycki, famous for signing Franco-Polish Military Alliance. He would order his aide-de-camp to notify the general about his new appointment.


It was nine o'clock in the morning, and Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly hadn't slept yet. Ignacy Mosicki, the man he was gonna coup, trusted him to lead the army in these troubled times. Whole night, he was busy with choosing the slightest detail about the frontlines.

Someone knocked the door of his office. Marshal guessed this was his aide-de-camp. After letting the person enter, he was proven right.

Young private started to talk as soon as he entered the room. "Sir, there is a report coming from Poznan. Shall I put it to your desk?"

Marshal nodded. Private saluted him and quit the room, closing the door while doing so. As soon as the private was out, Marshal Rydz-Smigly opened the report file.

Date: 0800 01/09/1936
Armia Poznan, stationed in Poznan, has been under attack for an hour by a force of three divisions. Attackers have German flag, and one of the divisions is reported to be a tank division. Our forces consist of four brigades on the front, and three in the reserve, including my own command unit. German reserves are more then a brigade, but I am unable to give exact number. I believe my forces will be able to repulse the attack with ease.

Col. Stanislaw Wasilewski.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski had personally asked for real time reports on the situation. Marshal would do so.


He reached the office of Prime Minister in an hour. He was held up by an another report, this time a grim one.

He knocked the door of the office, and entered.

"Good morning, Prime Minister. I hope you are well?"

Prime Minister smiled briefly at him. "As well as I can be in the light of recent events. Please, have a seat, Marshal."

Rydz-Smigly walked closer to the table of Prime Minister, and sat upon one of two chairs infront of it.

"I assume you are here to report?" said the Prime Minister. Marshal nodded approvingly.

"Prime Minister, I have both good and bad news for you. Good news is; Our units in Poznan are facing a pathetic attack by Germans. This is quite intresting. We know Germany had been rearming since the Austrian came to leadership, and still, they can't simply breach our defense lines. Their three bridages are attacking our four in Poznan. One of them is a panzer, but I don't think tanks will be useful without infantary support. Germany's decision of arming itself with tanks instead of reliable infantry will prove disastaraous for them, or so I believe."

Prime Minister grinned for a second. "And the bad news?"

Marshal sighed for a second. "Jablonka is under attack by an overwhelming force. We have 12,000 soldiers defending the area. They are facing at least 50,000 men, much more organized and better equiped. I am intending to order them to retreat."

Prime Minister nodded. "Don't worry, Marshal. If we can hold until Winter, which I believe we will, Allied counterattack will take Germany's attention elsewhere. War will be over by spring."


There you go, I am giving it a try. There are much, much more better writers out there, but still, trying is fun. Hope it's not too short or too long, couldn't count the words!
I'm not certain whether it's better to wait until I've polished the story up a little, or simply to post it so I can be near the first page.

Hell, I can always polish it later.

Anyway, my story is more of a story than the others I've seen. So that's unique, at least.

SZYMON almost imagined he could see the wings on his fellows as they charged. He could not hear the rattle of the machine guns; the galloping hooves beneath him were matched instead by the rustle and shake of great feathers as the great wave of hussars descended on the enemy. Dirt sprayed all around him as rifle fire and light artillery missed its mark. One shell, falling just before his horse, caused it to make a great leap into the air, arching its back delicately to land without losing any of the previous momentum. Red and white pennants streamed from the tip of his lance.

A screaming horse broke the picture. Stealing a glance over his left shoulder, Szymon saw that Lieutenant Wapowski’s mount now writhed on the ground in agony, crushing the officer beneath its no longer magnificent bulk. Soon, the screams of the man mingled with that of the animal, creating a grotesque harmony, whose horror was only enhanced by the harsh barks and whistled that now penetrated Szymon’s ears. Gone were the glorious uniforms, replaced by pocketed khaki. Gone were the flapping wings, replaced by slung carbines. As he watched, the flags faded and disappeared from his lance, leaving only cold steel.

Slowly, it dawned that his fellows, those glorious hussars of ages past, were dying as he watched. Jacek and Jan joined Wapowski on the ground. Marian was slumped hideously over his saddle, as his frightened mount galloped on in fear.

Suddenly, he was on the ground as well. Panicking, he scrabbled for his saber and managed to extricate himself from the screaming mass of horse above. He pulled himself away, put the dirt was so heavily soaked with blood – his? the horse’s? – the he could barely get a hold. Finally, a hundred adrenaline-soaked heartbeats later, he lay on the cold, wet earth. The wetness on his face may have been blood or rain or urine – surely it wasn’t tears. A quick look revealed his saber lay a meter away, broken near the tip. Thoughts of its retrieval ran through his mind, banished quickly by another scream from the injured horse.

Shakily, Szymon got to his feet. Shakily, he fumbled with blood-soaked hands at his pistol holder before giving up and spending a few trembling moments attempting untangle his rifle from its strap across his back. Three deep breaths later, he had it in his hands. Three deep breaths later, a shot. The screaming stopped, and for a moment all was silence.

Another scream, from behind, broke the reverie and Szymon jumped to the ground as he realized he was standing on an open field before a battalion of German machine guns. Cursing, he attempted to orient himself on the field before simply giving up and beginning to crawl away from the loudest noise, on the theory that the Poles were losing.

A dozen or a thousand minutes later brought the Polish line. The first sounds were naturally of weapons fire, but the next were the rapid click of wooden beads and a soft voice reciting Hail Marys faster than seemed possible. Szymon dragged himself towards the praying, and saw a young boy crouched over his rosary beads, his rifle forgotten in the crook of his arm.

Even though he wanted just to find an officer and report, to discharge his duty as a soldier so he might join the prayer, or perhaps fall into a hole and quietly die, some small element of training asserted itself, and Szymon instead found himself asking, in a voice that shook only the slightest bit, “Private! Report.”

The boy stopped his praying for a long moment, though he did not look up. Finally, a soft voice mumbled, "Report?"

Another moment passed. “The battle is lost, sir.”

And another. “And Poland.”
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The Up-Side Down Flag


My name is Ubay Kostowitz and I'm different from the rest of my countrymen because of my brownish skin. Well, although I live in Europe I was born in Dutch East Indies, they call it The Spice Islands. I was lucky at that time, my father died shortly after I saw the world for the first time, shot by the Dutch captain. I do not know why but then a young gentlemen came to my mother a year later. A journalist I concurred, the man with pen and note. He said he came from Poland, a nation in the eastern part of Europa and he wished to take me and my mother there. Like an invitation from heaven my mother promptly accepted his offer and after days of journey we arrived to the harbor called Gdanks, all of sudden I saw that flag. White and Red instead of Red and White I wonder?​

God, I hope I can finish this before the deadline...:wacko:
Domino Day

As sunshine started to peer over the brim of the horizon, invading a realm of darkness with rays of joy and happiness, a flight of planes crossed an invisible boundary and started an invasion of their own.

Almost 300 kilometres to the east, in a room completely sealed off from sunlight but instead supplied by a man-made light source, about a dozen men were gathered around an oblong table. Nearly all of them were looking at the empty chair at the head of the table, and at the flag hanging behind the chair.
A man walked through the door towards to the empty chair in front of the white-and-red flag, followed by two aides. He gestured those who had risen to sit down, and waited till everything had become silent in the room and all eyes were on him.

“It pains my heart to bring this grave news, but I have just received reports of large troop movements in the vicinity of Poznan. In the light of events of the previous weeks, I concur with the local commander that an attack is likely to…”

The facial expressions of those present ranged from disbelief to despair, and a certain form of delight could even be distinguished on one of the faces. The figure that was speaking had remained standing, and displayed a mix of exhaustion and determination.

“… and thus the messages for Daladier and Chamberlain are already on their way. I will now give the word to our Chief of Staff, who will bring us up to date on our state of mobilisation.”

On the same moment these words had been spoken, one of the Heinkel-111’s released its deadly load. Seconds later the others followed, and surrounded by sunrays a rain was now descending upon Earth. This rain however, was not of the kind that would lead to the creation of rainbows.



Pressure… Pressure on chest… Ahh!

After he had regained his consciousness, Stanislaw lifted the wooden balk that had been crushing his chest, freeing himself from the ruins he had been lying in. The ruins of his house. As he looked around, he saw that the part of the house containing the bathroom was still standing, but that all the rest – including the bedrooms – had been destroyed.

Bedrooms… Natasza!

Climbing and stumbling across the ruins Stanislaw reached the former bedroom of his daughter, and started removing debris, searching for Natasza. The mutilated state in which he found her allowed no question on whether she was dead or still alive. Natasza was taken from him. All that he had left had been taken from him.

Stanislaw sunk down on his knees, only to be brought back to reality by one of his neighbours asking him if he was alright and speaking about how the entire town had been hit by German bombs.
He sprung up, stumbled into what was left of the bathroom, and went to the drawer where his pistol had been lying for all these years. On his way out he looked one last time in the mirror, eyeing only a bearded old man with soot and blood all over his face.

“So Jürgen, what is going on with you and Heidi? No seriously, I saw the way you two were the last time we were on leave, and when I mean ‘were’, I really mean… ‘were’! You know, I’ve got this thing for it, as a matter of fact I might even say I’m an expert on it. My brother even once said…”
“Klaus! Give me a break would you? We’re just a few kilometres into Poland and already you can’t stop talking. I think your word production might be proportional to the distance we are from the Reich. Let’s just hope we won’t go all the way to Warsaw, or your tongue might actually overheat!”

Stunned by his friend’s reaction Klaus kept quiet. The two soldiers were marching side to side, on a narrow path leading through the woods. It was almost noon, but the trees prevented the soldiers from directly viewing the sun. The small German company was on their way to secure a few Polish villages; their division in general had the same objective, and wasn’t expected to see any kind of strong resistance soon. As such, even though for many soldiers this was the first time they ventured outside of their fatherland, the atmosphere was relaxed and the air was filled with optimism. A few rows up front a group had even spontaneously started singing marching songs.

Just as he was about to utter an apology for his outburst, a series of gunshots was fired at a close distance and Jürgen dropped onto the ground trying to find cover. The temporary disorganisation in the company was quickly overcome, and after the initial returning of fire no more sound was to be heard from where the shots had come from. A small group searched the area, and when having returned reported finding the corpse of only one man. It would appear this bearded man had staged a solo attack against them. Why he did so, no-one knew.

But that did not interest Jürgen, as he was preoccupied by his friend lying on the ground. Apparently Klaus wouldn’t make it to Warsaw, or even back home for that matter.

When the night had almost fallen, Jürgen was lying in his tent, staring at a blank piece of paper. Trying to write a letter that should reassure the home front, make them feel their son and brother was alright. Trying to force himself into erasing the memories of the village, his rage, the blood... of everything that clearly proved he wasn’t alright, far from that even.
As the last of sunrays were cut off from what once was expected to be a joyful day, raindrops started falling on the piece of paper.
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Based upon the following screenshot:

Soundtrack: http://www.fileden.com/files/2009/6/17/2480492/02-sabaton_-_ghost_division.mp3
**WARNING: Soundtrack contains a heavy metal track from Sabaton. If you are offended by heavy metal, or if your WW2 mood would be ruined, then do not listen to the soundtrack**

Franz could feel the adrenaline course through his veins as the first shots were fired. Artillery shells exploded on the ground, sending fire high into the sky. As the Panzers opened fire, Franz and his comrades exulted, knowing that these mighty German war machines would rain death upon the enemies of the German people. The German soldiers had been informed of the incident that had occurred at Gleiwitz yesterday, and they were eager to show these Poles what an attack on Germany really meant.


Franz and his trusty karabiner​

It was still early in the morning. Today was September 1st, 1939. This would be a day to change history forever, and Franz was excited to be a part of it. He held his karabiner tight as he prepared to meet the lines of Polish resistance. He looked to his right to see his good friend, Georg, readying his own karabiner. This was what they had been trained for. They were part of an elite Panzer unit that would help initiate the Blitzkrieg. The Poles would not know what had hit them. Within perhaps a week, German forces would occupy Warsaw, and the Polish government would be forced to capitulate. Such was the price of arrogance, he mused.

For a moment, his thoughts turned to his fiancée, Grete, back home in Dresden. His duty to the Fatherland had called him to serve in the army, and now his duty called him to avenge the Polish attack at Gleiwitz. He hoped the war would not last too long. He wanted to humble the Poles and then go home to marry Grete.

His mind cleared as he spotted his first target and he opened fire. His shot struck the Polish soldier clean in the chest and the man fell dead. Georg rejoiced when he killed his own target as well. The two friends nodded to each other. This battle was going to end quickly. Never mind that the Polish forces at Poznan outnumbered the Germans. The Germans had Panzers on their side. Nothing could stop the righteous anger of German Panzers!


The mighty Panzer II, the power behind the Blitzkrieg​

More artillery shells blasted into the ground around them as the Germans pressed onwards. Franz saw a shell strike near a squad of his fellow German infantrymen and winced as they were sent flying by the force of the explosion. He felt fear begin to grow in his gut, but his sense of duty pressed him forward into the attack. Within seconds, however, the Panzers fired their answer to the Polish shells. Now it was the enemy who was flying to their deaths.

The German forces were closing in on the first line of Polish defenders. The Poles were dug in and gone to ground, and it was harder to hit one’s target. Franz and Georg reloaded their karabiners with expert speed. Franz found his mark and fired. Almost instantly, the Poles fired back. Franz heard a scream and felt a spray of blood on his left cheek. Turning to his left, he saw one of his squad mates clutch his throat as blood spurted forth. It was Klaus. Franz felt a brief pang of sorrow for his comrade. Klaus was young, and had been so eager to prove himself. Now that chance was gone forever.

In an instant, however, the adrenaline cleared Franz’s mind, and he was back to the task at hand. Duty, he reminded himself. Once more he reloaded his karabiner. Once more he fired. Once more, a Polish soldier fell dead. Franz smiled to himself. They don’t call us elites for nothing, he thought. He turned to Georg who also smiled. They were both three for three now.

Now they drew near enough for melee. The Officer shouted his orders and the German infantry readied their bayonets. When the order to charge was given, Georg looked Franz in the eyes and said, “Now’s when the real fun begins!” Franz could see the bloodlust in his friend’s eyes, and for a moment he was shocked. But as the battle cry was raised, his mind once more cleared. Duty. He charged, bayonet at the ready, into the Polish defenses.

Instantly the melee turned into a bloody mess as more and more men died. Franz ran a Pole through the gut and quickly removed his weapon from the corpse, ready to engage another foe. He saw Georg kill one, two, three men in quick succession. But his friend had no situational awareness. Just a desire to kill. As Georg ran another man through, Franz saw a Pole coming up behind his friend. But before he could speak, the Pole had killed Georg.

His heart sank as he realized his best friend was dead. But he could not stop now. Duty. Duty pressed him onward. With a shout he returned to fighting, and soon killed another Pole. He saw an officer under attack, but had no way to get to him. Quickly he reloaded his karabiner. Suddenly, another Polish soldier was upon him. He swung his weapon and the bayonet tore the man’s throat. As the man’s lifeless body sank to the ground, Franz aimed his karabiner and fired. The Pole that had been attacking the officer fell dead. After a quick nod of recognition from the officer, Franz spun ‘round and engaged another Pole.

This Pole was an older veteran. He fought hard. During the fight, he managed to stick his bayonet into Franz’s leg. But Franz would not let that stop him. His duty called him on, and what’s more, he had to return to Grete. He smashed the man in the face with the butt of his karabiner, and sent the Pole sprawling. Quickly Franz pulled the bayonet from his leg and drove his own bayonet into the Polish veteran’s heart. But then, a stabbing pain shot through him. He looked down and saw another bayonet sticking out of his chest. He had been stabbed from behind.

He sank to the ground, and tried desperately to call for help, but he could not. The Panzers rolled forward, triumphant, even as their own comrades were dying. Such was the nature of Blitzkrieg. Then he realized, the Polish defenses were unprepared. The Poles were not ready for war. They could not have attacked Gleiwitz. This was all Hitler’s doing. Franz was about to die for nothing. He would never see Grete again. The Blitzkrieg would succeed… but he would be forgotten…
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The beginning Stazi and Klien do Poland - September 1939

In the early morning mist, a long line of white posts disappeared into the distance on both sides denoted the German Polish border. Two platoons one Polish and one German faced each other to carry out a weekly ritual.
A routine weekly prisoner exchange was taking place between the German Army and Polish Army. The reason for the exchange was an apparent irresistibility of the women folk on either side of the border.
German border guards would sneak across and make whoopee spreading the Fatherland’s seed further and the damn Polish hordes would do the same.
Ergo a friendly gentleman’s agreement between the two peacetime armies had been reached that each side would once a week return the errant Casanova’s back to their respective folds.

At the edge of the line of posts, a Polish prisoner moments before being exchanged for a German counterpart suddenly felt the need to clear phlegm from his throat, turning he unleashed a gob of green slime that spun through the air before landing onto Corporal Heinz Klien’s left boot.
Nearby German soldiers gulped aware of the burly, yet moronic looking Klien’s notoriously short temper.
Turning to the prisoner, Corporal Klien unholstered his Walther PPK.
“Don’t shoot,” mumbled the perplexed Polish prisoner. Corporal Heinz Klien, was not inclined to fall for such an obvious ploy at clemency and shot the Pole between the eyes. He watched with a twinge of delight mingled with a sense of achievement as the prisoner fell face forward into the dirt. His face bouncing on the hard earth centimetres from the now soiled boot.

Moment’s later Hauptmann, Stazi scramble past a huddled group of German and Polish soldiers to where Corporal Klien stood.
“Oh shit,” he muttered under his breath. Well he would have if he had thought anyone would have recorded what he said for posterity, but he didn’t so the “oh shit” was rather loud and to the point.
In fact no soldier hearing it could be in any doubt that Corporal Klien was in the shit for sure.
As routine prisoner exchanges went this was turning into what Hauptmann, Stazi would later refer to as a “giant salad bowl of manure.” Because, and this is something he would later repeated over and over again to Corporal Klein, one did not shoot a prisoner you were about to exchange for one of your own at such exchanges. He would normally have these conversations with Klien shortly before assigning him the nightly latrine duty.

Now Hauptmann Stazi was no fool, and looking around him he realised that the simple prisoner exchange he was in charge of had gone horribly wrong. At this very moment his troops were intermingling with the Polish troops outside a German radio station on the border. Things did not look good. High Command would have his ass on a plate for sure, he thought.
The officer in charge of the Polish contingent look rather confused, he was obviously new to screw-ups, unfortunately for him Hauptmann Stazi was not.
Turning to the still clearly confused Polish officer he said in a loud and audible voice.
“My men will pay for this Sir.”
An expression, which obviously passed for relief, transfixed itself onto the Polish officer’s face. He appeared almost pleased. He did not have to think, and thinking was a dangerous thing in the Polish army, not encouraged at all, especially in young junior officers.

“Corporal Klien get the men in a line, hurry it up man,” shouted Hauptmann Stazi.
He could hear the Polish troops sniggering and chuckling. They knew how brutal German justice could be.
Let’s step back from what is obviously a scene of total chaos and look at it holistically… That would be the only way you could rationalise what Hauptmann Stazi did next.
Imagine if you will a clumped together huddle of thirty or so Polish soldiers and in front of them a line of stoic German soldiers all armed with MP38’s.
Turning to his men and shouting as loud as he could muster the young Hauptmann gave an order.
Being German’s they obeyed without question. Bullets sprayed forth ripping into the mass of Poland’s finest, the reason for this was because the German officer had just ordered his men to open fire.
“Kill everyone,” he shouted deliriously as he drew his own Luger and fired two shots, one into the Polish officer’s forehead and the other into Corporal Klien’s foot. As Klien topple forward clutching his left foot he had time to mumble “What the f…” as Hauptman Stazi with great pleasure pistol-whipped him knocking him out cold.

In front of him was a scene of deadly devastation, bodies contorted every which way.
Damn, it he thought to himself, what to do… holy crap what can I do?
A thought flickered into his brain slowly turning, evolving as it did into a daring plan…
Thinking fast, he rushed to a nearby field-telephone and almost sobbing informed High Command of an unprovoked attack by the Polish army. “They just shot my corporal, turned their guns on us and open fire, Herr General. I think they planned to take over the radio station," he added as if to justify the attack. "My men and I are lucky to be alive.”
He waited, a bead of sweat slowly forming on his brow as he listened to the silence on the other side of the line.
Had the General bought it or would he and his men soon be facing a firing squad? And then he heard the words he needed to hear. "Stay where you are son, help is on it’s way, I am sending the First Panzer Division…" Thus it was that Stazi and Klien became responsible for the incident that sparked the Second World War.

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The Polish Letter (A mini-AAR contest entry by Slaughts)

All text below was taken from a letter to Samuel Torrell of Philadelphia from Alesky Pawlak of Indiana, a Polish refugee.

To my dearest friend Sam,

I have read your letter 2 weeks ago about your book that was detailing the German campaign into Poland in the Second World War. I desired to answer it, but there was a family emergency that I had to intend to. You said that you were having a hard time getting testimony from Polish civilians, wanting to get their perspective instead of just testimony from both German and Polish soldiers. But you finally thought of my poor soul and desired to get my own testimony. For what you have done for my family, I can't be even more happy to do so for you. You must send me a signed copy when it gets published my friend.

September 1st, 1939...I certainly do remember that day and will never forget it for the rest of my born days. You see Sam, there was a reason why I felt this day and not any others during the occupation was the worst in my life. I never told you this at the time, but during the First World War, I actually fought for the then Imperial German Empire since I was born in Poznan which was a German city at that time. When I was eighteen years old, I was stupid like any other, thought I was fighting for the glory of the Fatherland despite that I was a Pole by birth. I was a simple rifleman that first fought around Ypres in 1915 before my unit was shipped to the Eastern Front in October 1915. But my time on the Eastern Front all but shattered any patriotic image I had of Germany. Most of my unit had no problems with me or the other Pole in our band since we did our work quite well, but the way they treated Polish civilians...I cannot even begin to describe the behavior. I couldn't forget my heritage Sam, it tore a hole in me like you wouldn't believe and there was nothing I could about it. It was around January of 1917 that I finally made my decision...I would become a deserter. So when my unit was sent on official R&R, I managed to escape and disappear into the woods. I made way to Poznan and declared that I would make sure not to have war visit my steps again.

So there it was, me attending to my family farm just outside of Poznan, marrying Klara and raising four healthy children. I thought life was great and that it would continue to shine for me. Even when I read reports of Hitler's acquisition of Austria and Czechslovakia, I thought he wouldn't really attack Poland because both situations were cooled down by diplomacy. How wrong I was and the demons of war were about to revisit my life.


September 1st, 1939. I was attending to my farm, feeding the chickens and horses when I suddenly saw Polish infantry coming out of my eastern woods, heading west. They requested some food and water which I happily gave them. It was then I learned of the war between Poland and Germany and that they were heading to face the Germans. I was horrified...war I thought was the thing I escaped for good in 1917, but alas it came back to pay me a visit. I was talking to one of the commanding officers of the infantry that came to my farm when suddenly I heard the most horrid sound I ever heard. It turned out to be one of those damned Stuka bombers. A bomb fell from it's belly and landed among a group of Polish soldiers. It was Eastern Front all over again for me, I was just lucky that I still had my solider reflexes or a piece of shrapnel would've clipped off my head. I then thought of my family and managed to get them to safety while the battle was going on.


It saddened me that my farm, my partimony was to become one of the focal points in what was called the Battle of Poznan. General Alpers, whom I did meet during my time in the first World War, lead an attack on the Polish positions taken in my own wheat fields. They were decimated by German tanks and by even more Stuka bombers. I thought the Devil visited my farm and punished me for deserting those years ago. Most of my crop was lost in the combat, my cattle and chickens looted by both retreating Poles and advancing Germans, but most of all, the ground was fertilized by the blood of Poland's sons on my family's field. It was such devastation that reduced me to a broken man and I wept like a child when I saw what happended to my land.

After the battle, the Germans mainly left me alone on my damaged farm, the authorities demanding supplies of food and cattle for their army. I complained and fought to the best of my ability, but I could never get them to leave. My wife was worried about our eldest son (we soon found out he managed to escape to Britain and fought with distinction with No.303 Fighter Squadron,) but I knew he was able to handle himself; was always a strong young man. It wasn’t until October 1945 when you helped my family leave Poland that I was able to live in peace once again.

So that is my testimony Sam, that is my experience of that horrible day. It was an experience of a man who tried to escape war, but found it knocking at his door once again. I do hope this will help add flavor to your book and do remember to send me a copy once it's published. Hope we can meet again, hopefully with both our families in attendance.

Your ever loving friend,
Alesky Pawlak

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Okay, for the contest I've decided to do something radically different from my usual writing, so I let myself be inspired by a song. Rock fans will immediately recognise what the story is about, but for the less culturally underbuilt of us I've added the link to the song below. So, I beg you: Read the story fully, and then click the link, and not the other way around ;). I hope you guys love reading it as much as I loved writing it!



Vladimir Oeljanov, once said “Sometimes- History needs a little push.”. Even today I consider that very quote to hold more truth than all encyclopaedia of the world combined.

But, excuse me if I have startled you with my sudden intervention.
Please allow me to introduce myself: I am a man of wealth, and taste.

What puzzles many is the nature of my game. Why am I here? That is a question even I can not answer. I like to believe I am here because it was my choice. But then again, is choice anything more than the illusion of control?

These things and more are thoughts that cross my mind while I walk among the men. ‘My’ men. I wonder, was it their choice to be here? Oh yes, I watch them, my proud clones with clean-shaven heads, gleaming black uniforms and well-feigned determination. Under loud cheers, they tear down fence posts belonging to our unfortunate victims. Poland, the land of the White Eagle.
Yes, my men like to believe it was choice that has brought them here, their will that will lead them to undoubtedly glorious and heroic victories. Yet, in their eyes I see that certain gleam.

Have you ever seen the gleam? If you’d pay attention, you would. It is the gleam of indoctrination, the end of the illusion of ‘free choice’. Even as they march gloriously under what they call civil service, I can’t help but see Goebbels whispering in their ears tales of glory, blatant lies which all men gladly take for truth.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, maybe it is because I feel I should at least enlighten one of you. I’ve been around for a long, long year, you see, and this is the realisation every soldier everywhere will come to, sooner or later: With each battle you experience, reality paints a clearer picture than the glorious lies told to you by your leaders. With each carcass you throw in a hole, war becomes a longer word than glory.


But for me, war is something alltogether different. Do you understand? Of course you don’t. Let’s just say I’m just here because I am intrigued by the... possibilities times like these have to offer. This is why I quoted my old friend Oeljanov in my introduction.

Don’t recognise the name? Of course you don’t. Some people know him better under his ‘revolutionary’ name, if you will: Vladimir Lenin.


Surprised? Yes, our bolshevik friend used to be an acquantance of mine, untill he suffered that unfortunate fatal stroke. But indeed, I spent some time in St. Petersburg when I saw it was time for a change. Why? For the exact same reason I am here today.

God. Do you know what I find one of most amusing aspects of World War II? It must be the SS soldiers. Have you ever seen their attire? They wear a silver icon of a skull with crossed bones, engraved with the words “Gott mitt uns”. God with us. Does that not strike you as humorous? The world’s most elite fighting force, trained only for looting and slaughter, handling the motto “God with us”.

Not that I do not know where it came from. In fact, I was there the very day our old Kaiser wrote that line. And, to be truly honest, I was the impulse that moved his hand the day that he wrote. It is the exact same thing I proclaim to my men as we march to Poznan. “Forwards! God is with us!” I shout, and am answered with cheers and roars. God is with us. The same line I whispered into our good friend Hitler’s ear a month ago, as he pondered up in his Reichstag whether he should attack Poland or not. My name is also desire.
Indeed, god is with us.

But I am sorry, I sidetrailed there. I can see you wondering, and I know what you think. Indeed, the numbers do not add up. As I have said before, I’ve been around for a long, long year.

Did you get my name? They call me by many names. Some are agreeable and amiable. Others are strict and cold. And then there are those that simply cannot be pronounced in whatever language you might know. But what really puzzles you –And believe me, I can see- is the nature of my game.

To the point now. It’s Fall Weiss you want to know about. Well, I believe historians can tell you millions of things about the German Invasion of Poland. That it occured on the September 1st 1939, perhaps, or that it was the official start of World War II. But I will tell you something no historian knows. Because the battle me and my men fought was the battle of Poznan.

There’s not much I can tell about the battle itself, to be honest. If you want action, go see a war movie. The Polish garrison there was severely understrength and surrendered four hours into the battle After the rather dissapointing battle my men were quite bored, so I ordered them to execute the Polish defenders. All of them, one by one, in the town square. The executions lasted untill the early morning, not counting the hours we spent dumping the bodies. Hey, it kept us busy.
The battle started off quite promising I must admit, as the Poles bore down upon us with massive artillery barrages, attempting to break our ranks before we even had a chance to reach the disputably important city.

Needless to say, they failed.


The Poles fought bravely, yes, but their resistance was as courageous as it was futile. Over the course of time I have learned that, in the end, ‘honor’ or ‘bravery’ are really just words. Who has the biggest guns, wins.
During the entire battle I was followed by a young and particularly annoying Wehrmacht soldier. Think of the man that comes to talk to you in a bar and you try to ignore, as you can feel the man sapping your intellect with every word he says. Soldier Koch was that kind of man. In fact, I am baffled as how he managed to survive the first hours of the battle, completely taken in by his own endless droning at my adress. He was a devoted Christian you see. But not just any Christian, no, a nazi Christian. Never before in my life (And believe me, I have lived a very long time) have I heard the words “Hitler” and “God” used so many times in the same sentence. Isn’t religion an ironic thing, when it is being used as an excuse for mindless killing?
Yes, god was with us that day.

Koch, as you might have noticed, was very zealous, and thought of it his highest goal in life to protect his Kommandant during the battle. The entire battle. So he spent two hours following me around as I attempted to command the troops, all while Polish bombardments were ripping through our ranks and entire residential blocks collapsed around us, half Poznan burning. Despite all this, he continued asking pointless questions and telling me about his family at home and other subjects I did not care about. Just as I thought I was about to burst, a sudden hailstorm of heavy Polish machinegun fire forced me and my companion to seek shelter behind a collapsed brick wall, after which he returned fire without saying a word. When I finally thought his endless stream of pointless topics had subdued, he turned around and asked me what my name was.
“My name?” I responded, and he nodded. “If we die here sir, I want to know who I died for. It was an honor serving you.”.
Now, I like to consider myself a very tolerant man, but there are just times when your limit gets reached. But I answered him. Oh yes, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day. The way we were surrounded by a lead hailstorm, as I slowly turned towards the man, ominously.
“My name?” I repeated, and Koch nodded, his face frowned in an expression that looked like the expression illiterates wear when they are presented a book. I grinned, while a rapturous explosion spit flames out all around us, spreading a comfortable heat.
“You see, I have many names, Koch...?”
“Hans, sir. Hans Koch.”
“Hans. People call me by many names. But for you...” I gently leaned against my companion, whispering something into his ear. His eyes widened.
“Just call me Lucifer.”

Yes, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way Hans Koch died that day: The startled expression on his face as I kicked him from out of our cover. The seemingly endless wave of bullets puncturing through his empty head, gloriously spraying blood everywhere as he went down. The screams of other soldiers as they were slaughtered in an attempt to save their empty-headed companion.

Maybe this can be a lesson for the rest of you: If you meet me, have some courtesy
Have some sympathy
And some taste
Yes, use all your well-learned politesse.
Or I will lay your soul

To waste

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Watch out for vegetables...

1 September 1939 00:00
In the Fuhrer’s bedroom:

Eva Braun:*dreaming* Uuu yeah…I knew it was a good idea to come to Brazil, mein fuhrer…
Hitler: Wha? Shut the geil up Eva! Der Fuhrer was awaken! You cannot awake the fuhrer! Only the fuhrer kann awake the fuhrer! Soon the Fuhrer has to get up weil Deutschland has to prevail on Europa! Sieg Heil! Now du go to schlafen…..*mumble*Deutschland uber alles *mumble* …
Eva Braun: ok darling….*goes to sleep*..Vor der Kaserne…be idem grossem Torrr…*falls asleep*

1 September 1939 00:00
In the bedroom of Ignacy Moscicki

Ignacy was sleeping silently and very deep with his wife, Mazeltova. Suddenly his daughter comes into the room:

Lithuania: Mommy, Daddy I had the worst nightmare ever! Mommy, there was some nasty looking potato who had some dirt like a moustache and yelled “Heil Potatler” or something and he had a large army of green vegetables and they came to me and you and mom and forced us to eat until we exploded!!!! Oh daddy I am so afraid!!!
Mazeltova: Don’t worry sweetie it was just a bad dream. There aren’t such things as potatoes who have moustaches. Now go and sleep along with your brother Danzig and let us all have a beautiful night! You know, tomorrow aunt Podolia comes to visit us and brings you cookies!
Lithuania: Ok mom, it feels soo good when I am with you and dad. Ok I will go to sleep as a good girl. Good night!
Ignacy: Good night sweetie….hah Potatler…crazy kids..

1 September 1939 08:00
The office of the fuhrer:

Hitler: Today, meine Herren Generals, ist eine great Tag fur Snowkrieg! Wir will invade Poland und dann alles Europa! Und dann Soviet Union! Und dann Alles Africa! Und dann USA! Und dann the rest of the world! Und dann the Fuhrer is going to throw a Slumber-Party in my Bunker!
General1: Ahem…entschuldigung mein Fuhrer, but what we are doing today is called Blitzkrieg.
Hitler: WHAT? You threaten the Fuhrer as if he was mistaken. The Fuhrer knows dass this is a Blizkrieg. Ok. To jail with you! Ok maybe the Fuhrer will let you go if you promise to buy me eine pijama.
General1: Ja, I will buy to mein Fuhrer a pijama! Yes, what kind of Pijama?
Hitler: JAA! Eine Canadian pijama! With that leaf on it! Omg I will be the star at meine Party!

1 September 1939 08:12
In the bedroom of Ignacy Moscicki

Ignacy: *With his eyes opened and in bed, thinking* hmm…lets see…yesterday I had a talk with my colleagues about the school funding and most agreed…I told my Chief of The Army to assign the generals without my help….I calmed down my daughter who had a nightmare.. *wakes up fast* OMG!! I know!! All that potato with moustache and Heil Potatler is actually Hitler from Germany! OMG!OMG! And he is planning to invade POLAND! What to do!? What to do!? I will call my generals at once. *Heads for the phone but the phone rings*:
General: OMG, Mr president, The Germans are invading! They started crossing our borders just now!
Ignacy: Promise?
General: Yes sir, I am the most positive.
Ignacy: Oh..ok..then…..there’s nothing to worry about….Germany invades Poland….We have nasty army…..nothing to worry about….RUNNNN!!!!!!!!! OMG Lithuania, Danzig Mazeltova RUNN!!! Lets go to my office! NOW!

1 September 1939
Later that day during a battle

Polish soldier: OMG! They are sooo many!! I will hide in this well.
German soldier: *yelling in the well* Helloooooooooo!
Polish soldier: *acting like echo* Helllooooooooo!
German soldier: Is anyone there???
Polish soldier: Is anyone there????
German soldier: Heil Hitleeeeeer!!
Polish soldier: Heil Hitleeeeeer!!
German soldier: I am going to throw a bomb in this weeeeell!!
Polish soldier: No you wooooon’t!

*Unknown date*
The Germans were pushing into Poland

German soldier1: Who?! Wha?! What is that huge red balloon?
German soldier2: It’s a zeppelin! No it’s an alien invasion! NO! It’s actually a soviet balloon with Stalin in it.

Stalin: Ahem…I am sorry to bring you ahem….this news from our dearest ahem… and happiest Soviet Union…but ahem.. we traveled in the future and saw Hitler’s Red Beard plan. So now ahem…it is very easy. We are declaring war against ahem..Germany! Come comrades soldiers! Let ahem.. the german soldiers go back to their homes to be happy and to work there along with their wifes!

Ignacy hearing what happened: LITHUANIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LITHUANIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You never said that in your dream a tomato will come and "rescue" us!!!!

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His dreams were falling apart around him. Nobody could take the blame this time, but himself. All that hard work, the assurances, the risks taken that had now placed his country in grave danger. Over half a decade of being his people's face to the outside world, and for what, to be trod under the jackboot? It had been a near-impossible task from the beginning anyway, but he had nearly succeeded. ”Nobody remembers failure”, he remembered bitterly.
What he had sought was to buy time, to give his country a chance at survival. If only those incompetent fools Rydz-Smigly and Moscicki not insisted on having nobodies supporting them, they would have not been burdened like this. Yet he still understood the need for that. Placing the best people in those positions would have compromised their ‘Government of Colonels’ completely. Yet it had not been all waste. Reliable people were scattered all over the countryside, ready to alert the army and police to potential enemies of the state. There were enough weapons, uniforms and ammunition for the men now hurriedly mobilizing as the call-up was launched. Conscription was being debated among half-asleep legislators, wary of a sudden air-raid, even as factories half-heartedly continued converting their tooling for munitions and other war materiel. At least the country was solidly behind its troops, as sketchy reports of the ’incident’ reached the populace. ... it had to be fabricated , he thought, and only for one reason alone, and he reached for the telephone.
“Call Rydz-Smigly and the rest of the cabinet. Our country is going to war.” was all Jozef Beck could say.


Rydz-Smigly put down the phone. The General Staff office was now a hubbub of activity, with wireless sets and telephone wire being strung out all over half-used rooms and hurriedly set-up tables. The crisis had reached past breaking point, and only now did he realize his mistake. Too many of his troops were at the front lines. The major cities where one could deploy reserves quickly or defend better were mostly devoid of troops. Even the capital itself had only two divisions of troops apart from HQ formations. At least he had something to thank Beck for. Without him, there would have been no choice in deploying his soldiers, one along the front with the Communist scum, and the other with this bombastic , mustachioed corporal who broke every word he said. Still, that major mistake could be turned to an opportunity, by keeping his opponents off balance with local counter-attacks, he would try to make them overlook his weaknesses, but his objective was to conserve his army. Now all he needed were the leaders to implement this plan. He had a lot of solid, if unspectacular ones, but they would have to do. Beck, if you don’t force our allies to start shooting those grey-wearing bastards, I’m going to wring your neck. muttered Rydz-Smigly as he leafed through his generals’ dossiers.


All along the front, the German troops had placed tank divisions to probe for the weaknesses that would always be present, seeking to penetrate and disrupt operations once they had broken through. In the town of Poznan however, they would encounter what their other tank divisions would also face, a concerted effort to them knock out before they could move forward. They encountered soldiers with well-emplaced artillery pieces, anti-tank rifles and machine guns along with a fierce determination to make them pay for every yard of their home land they had to give up. This attack would end in disarray for the Germans, for even without their commander, who had been killed by an unlucky artillery shell in the first barrage, the defending troops would use their cavalry, wisely kept in reserve to harass them back to the border. This allowed them to retreat in good order, just as Rydz-Smigly planned, but even this was beginning to unravel.


Surprisingly, it was actually the infantry that would make their own success and begin the breakthrough the dictator in Berlin demanded. Jablonka was the weak spot in the lines, with only a mountain division in bivouac in the vicinity, and half-prepared at that. Seven divisions slammed into the town and its vicinity, and the four to one advantage in men quickly wore down the defenders. It would have been an even fight, had the powers in the West decided to take immediate action, but appeasement had been ingrained too long in the minds of men there. It would take two and a half more days, the two and a half days of relieving the pressure the army needed to reorganize and create a defense that could hold out for months if needed, or force a decisive battle to throw the invaders back while at the same time squeezing them in a vise of steel.

There would be no decisive battle. Poland had been betrayed.
Extract From: The First and Last Day

Oberst Leon Weber looked into the mirror. He was dirty, he felt it. The dust from the hard September earth had been thrown at him for the best part of the day and now his face was an interesting shade of brown. He observed the noticeable black marks under the weary eyes that looked straight back at him. Even their bright blue shine had seemed to dull into a spiteful grey matt. There was certainly nothing beautiful or artistic about it, and it left him feeling as tired as he looked. Compared to but a few hours ago when the thrill of battle was upon him, a time when he could have not cared less about the dirt being kicked up by feet and tank tracks at him, and he had been bursting with energy, he looked like a beaten force. Such was the curse of war. Perhaps it looked better in black and white on paper rather than in colour on glass.

His regiment had been spearheading the attack on the village of Murowana Goślina. It had taken a long time, as the Poles put up much more resistance than intelligence had informed Weber they would. Such was the way of things, but he had improvised and pushed the attack forward with superior artillery support. The tank squadron he called up from the reserves was badly commanded, and most of the tanks had fallen prey to an unreported battery of Bofors 37mm guns. That was an unmitigated disaster, but at least it was not one he would take the blame for. He had been most surprised when the village fell to find out that the ranking Polish officer was a captain and the village was defended by two infantry companies and a horse artillery battery. Too many men had died for him to find it amusing.


He blinked. No, he would not think on it any longer. He dipped his hands gently into the bowl below him. He closed his eyes, tilted his head backwards and smiled blindly as the warmth flowed up his fingers, into his arms and around his body. He was still alive… he could feel it, and that was all that mattered. He sighed. Many weren’t, he thought to himself but quickly breathed the notion out of his mind. He closed his eyes for a few more seconds, and momentarily he was back on battlefield, commands whizzing left, right and centre, tanks moving, troops marching and fighting. He put his hands back into the bowl and threw the water over his face. It was relieving. To wash that dirt of his face, to let the pores breathe again was an escape from the agony of that field. He washed the blood off his hands. He got up from the kneeling position and put his still wet fingers through his hair, which was equally dusty. He chuckled, not knowing exactly at what.

He put his hat in place and looked back in the mirror to check it. He pulled it to an acceptably jaunty angle. But he had lingered too long in the glass pane. He saw himself, a year or so younger, and it was a visible difference, back at his home. He was running around the garden, holding his son under him as if he was flying, and both were laughing. His wife sat quietly smiling under the sun-shade with an orange juice. He… couldn’t see their faces… or what had happened. Something felt as if it had grabbed his throat and was slowly strangling him. He clenched his fist and bit a knuckle. There was a small tear in the corner of his eye, but he dismissed it as water. He couldn’t take looking at the mirror; it hurt more than a bullet. He turned away and walked through the flap of his tent.

There was a small wall running in an irregular line about ten feet away from his tent. Leant into the wall, the defeat readable from his posture, was the Polish captain, who had been captured. He did not turn to meet Weber, but the German quietly ordered the guards to leave. He went over to a box and pulled out a hip flask from it, and quickly took a swig. He was shocked by the taste. He was expecting subtle brandy but instead had the heat of schnapps accelerating down his throat. He coughed gently, trying to muffle the sound with his arm. He stepped up behind the Pole who stood tensed up resting his hand on the stone. He pushed forward his hand, hipflask and all, so the Pole could see it. There was no movement from the man. He shook it in case he had not noticed or was in some kind of defeatist trance.

“Why are you here?” came the cold and unexpected reply from the currently faceless statue. Weber was speechless for a few seconds. He could not think of an answer.

“You fought bravely today,” he tried to get around the question, “you deserve a drink.” He offered the flask again. This time the Pole turned his head and looked straight into his eyes.

“Why are you here?” he repeated, more loudly and gruffly than before. Weber was shocked, almost physically scared. But he looked at the Pole’s face. He saw that the moustache was grey and under his helmet the hair was too, and balding. The skin was wrinkled and dusty. He must have been in his late fifties at least, perhaps his sixties. What was there to be scared of? But there was savageness in the man’s eyes, in his voice, that was disturbing. He considered the question put to him, and again could not think of an answer.

“Orders…” Weber blubbered half heartedly. It was not sufficient, he knew it. He bowed his head in shame. He could not lie about something like this to that old man. “I don’t honestly know. I suppose the thrill…” he withered out as the brutal staring continued.

“Would it be for the thrill if it was your country being invaded, or your friends being butchered?” The Pole said the words with anger, pain and, most of all, disgust; disgust at the mercenary reasons Weber had suggested. Weber dropped his arm and screwed the lid of the flask back on. “I fight for my country, and for my family. I fight to defend what I think is right!” the Pole was welled up with pride. Weber continued looking at the ground. The shame of reason, he thought to himself. Weber fought to kill; this Pole fought to preserve. It didn’t take a moral person to see which God’s way was.

“Do you…” he began quietly and hesitantly, lifting his head back up, “do you have family, Captain?” The Pole did not reply for what seemed like hours. He was deep in thought, perhaps memories similar too… Weber shivered.

“Yes” he finally replied. “I have a wife- a beautiful and faithful wife and two… two children in Poznan; my home.” He turned away and looked far into the distance at something only he could see. “I have failed them, you know, and it hurts” he beat his fist into his chest several times. Weber tilted his head and looked at the back of the man with an open jaw. There was something amazing, defiantly right, about him; something proud yet filled with sorrow. He deserved better.

“You haven’t failed them” he tried to sound as sympathetic as possible but ended up being more patronising. “You and your men fought like the Spartans at Thermopylae. You were arrayed against my whole regiment, a squadron of tanks and divisional artillery” he kept to a subject he could talk about. “Your country and your people could not have asked more of you.” He walked up to the Pole and patted him on the back lightly.

“Do you have family?” the captain asked after a sniff. Weber felt that grip on his throat again. He dropped the flask in his panic.

“No” he lied. It lifted and he breathed heavily in and out. The Pole lifted himself up to his full height again and turned to Weber.

“Well,” he began in an equally patronising tone, before picking up flask, “that is why you have nothing to fight for.” He took a quick swig of the schnapps and gave the flask back. “You need something to believe in, Oberst.” He Pole reassuringly grabbed Weber’s shoulder before slumping to the ground and resting himself up against the wall.

Weber looked at him in a state of shock and awe. He would need to think about this, about his fight, about his goals… about his family. He could not become a monster! He fell to his knees and rested himself next to the Pole. He smiled and gave a short breathy laugh, almost a sigh of relief. The first day was over…

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Chicago, Illinois, [former] United States of America

[I stepped into Feuersturm’s command bunker. The bunker was dimly lit, and had a depressing feeling to it. On the wall hung a picture of the commander, dated from 1936. The man in front of me shared little resemblance to the man in the picture. He was now a worn, tired man, aged beyond his years. His left eye was covered by a patch, and he wore a tattered uniform that looked as if it had seen many years of war. In the background, the sound of Confederate artillery began to make itself known. Never having been this close to the front before, I was concerned. Commander Feuersturm noticed this, and began the conversation.]

There is no need to worry, Laurence. The artillery you hear is far enough away that we need not be concerned. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, as you can tell...

[He points to a map on his desk]

...the situation has changed drastically since your request. Hopefully, some record of our side will remain once this unholy mess is over with. I hear I am still wanted in Germany for the crimes I supposedly committed during the Allied operations there?

That you are. And you know what will happen if the Confederates get their hands on you.

That would indeed be an unpleasant situation. Can you believe that I have been charged with the ‘Planning, initiating, and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace’? It is ridiculous. The Krauts started this mess back in 1939.

You are referring to the war between Germany and Poland?

That year and the year before showed failure on three levels. Failure to listen, failure to talk, and a failure to compromise. It was a disastrous combination of these that led to the conflict that spread across the globe. Back from the Munich Agreement in 1938, to the disputes over the Danzig corridor that triggered this war, all three of those failures were evident.

At the time, the war did not concern us. Europeans affairs were not our problem you know.

That seems awfully arrogant.

But it was true. You see, we had no ambitions to enter that war. You really think that any of us wanted to enter that conflict? No, and we tried to keep it that way. The growing Japanese threat was enough to keep our hands full.

But that all changed with the German declaration of war in November 1941

Yes, the same time the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor. We knew they were going to before they hit us, so no naval losses were sustained. However, we did not expect Germany to wage war on us at the time. Even then, Germany was deep in Russia and we soon had Japan on the run. We figured Germany would not be a major concern for some time

But that was until the Bitter Peace was signed.

From then on, we knew it was going to be a tough war against Germany. By the end of 1943, we had Japan effectively occupied, except for their conquests in Asia and India. The war against Japan could now slide into a secondary role. It was then we decided that we had to take Germany out, and it was then we began to prepare for the inevitable.

The launch Operation Overlord in 1947?

June 20th, 1947. That day was the day we officially set foot on Kraut turf. It took us an entire month to secure Caen and make our presence in Europe solid. It went just about as we expected it. By the same time the following year we were in Germany. From 1948 on, the war ground on slow and harsh across central Germany. In 1951, we launched an attack into Scandinavia, landing in occupied Norway. Interestingly enough, we received quite a shock here. We swept aside German forces pretty easily. It was not until we ran into Swedish troops did we have a problem. Their Commander, Johan, was one to give us many headaches as the war waged on.


Johan was a real kink in our side. He was to the north what Rommel had been to the African deserts. This guy was brilliant, and we soon began to feel what it was like to take on the brunt of the Swedish army. Though we made it into central Sweden, he made sure we were never to make it to Stockholm. His adjutant, known as the King, was as just as ruthless. His nickname was well deserved. Some say it came from his decent from royalty, others say it was the way he dressed. To me, the King was known for his ruthless and aggressive attacks. Rumor has it he always carried this hammer, with the words BAN printed on the side. I can only assume it is Swedish for ‘victory’ or something similar.

But when the Soviets declared war on the Allied powers in 1951...

We were totally unprepared for that. The Soviet declaration of war, the bloody advance through the fortifications of the West Wall, and the Nuclear Armageddon that took place in September that year. Maybe that is why they call it the ‘Red Year’. And yet, we advanced.

What of the October Crisis in 1952?

It was then that the war changed drastically. The British surrendered and changed sides. The Scandinavian campaign was in full retreat. In Germany, we were retreating during the onset of winter. By the time we reached the defensive positions along the Seine River, we finally managed to turn about and bear our arms against the German troops. The best we could offer was a few days delay till we were forced to retreat once more. Do you know what kind of hardships it brings to organize a retreat of 300 divisions of differing nationalities in the middle of winter? When we made it to Spain, I suffered an acute heart attack that nearly sent me back home.

But you stayed in Spain anyway, against recommendation.

I had no choice. I knew the command chain like the back of my hand.

[He holds his hand up, and looks at the back of his hand. From where I sat, I could see several scars across his palms.]

I knew my men, and they knew me. I was not about to desert them. The retreat, however, would continue until we hit Madrid. Here, we decided the time was to attack once more.

Some have questioned the quality of leadership you showed at Guadalajara...

[The look on his face changes, he seems rather offended by my comment]

At that point in the war, the Germans had driven us to the brink. You have to understand, we had been pushed from Berlin to Madrid over the span of 10 months. We were low on moral, and had nowhere left to turn. At Guadalajara, we were presented with the opportunity of destroying a large chunk of the German armor base and possibly had a chance to change the tide of the war. Hell, we could have ended the war on more favorable terms…

[He seems to drift back in his memories]

If we had stopped them there, we could have prevented what happened here. All the equipment we lost, all the trained soldiers who spent the next few years assisting in the reconstruction of European cities. The treaty that followed made sure they did would not return home for many years. That treaty caused this war, and that treaty took my son away.

He joined the Confederate armies?

My own flesh and blood. How ungrateful of him. He should hope that he never has to come face to face with me again.

[The sound of artillery gets closer. Some concrete dust falls from the ceiling and lands on the table. The lights cut out for a minute or so before coming back on. The shriek of rockets leaves my ears ringing. The Commander seems unaffected by this horrendous sound.]

Ah, our version of the Nebelwerfers. When we first encountered the German Nebels, we immediately knew we had to make something similar of our own. So far, the Confederates have not managed to get a hold of our remaining ones. From what we gather from captured rebels, it appears they are as effective psychologically as they are militarily.

[A pair of officers enter the room. Their expressions are not encouraging, and one of them whispers in the Commander’s ear.]

I am sorry, but I will have to cut this meeting short. My presence is required elsewhere at the moment. The Confederates are launching a new attack aimed at taking Chicago. I will arrange for your safe transit up Lake Michigan to safer territory. You should find refuge in Canada, and I wish you luck on your book. Do not forget what I have told you today, and hopefully we will meet again one day.

[He shakes my hand and shows me the exit.]


**Author's note: This is a rough copy and may go through many edits. (I also took their "You may write on anything before, during or after the events depicted" guideline very seriously, as I covered all three :p) The events depicted in this entry are from my AAR, Democracy's Last Legs Through various edits, I have made this report 1,500 words long! Hooray!**
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Ok, this will be yet one of my crazy comedy inspirations. This doesn't make much sense... AGAIN, but should be somewhat funny! :d (at the pic limit again, damn my smilies ran out! :/)


Here is Europe as the cool empire of P0L4ND!!! ...Erm in the -36 scen we haven't achieved anything during 3 years. We've just been building IC coz I happen to suck at HoI3. *wink wink*


So Evil Great Leader Mussolini, why oh why did you invade Albania?


Mussolini: Erm... the *cough*women*cough* ;)


Franco is happy with his first motorized division...


Spanish Officer #72: General Franco, must there be 100 soldiers per trukkitto? It is pretty crowded...

Franco: Shut up hombre! We only have ze pesos to buy 10 truckkitos, so I want at least 1000 mena in our div! :mad:


Shady Guy #15: Psst Comrade, come see Comrade Stalin's gig! ;)

Comrade #76: The what`?!




The Crowd: YEEAAA WOOOT!!! :rofl:

Meanwhile Hitler has a plan...


Hitler: Jaja, I am zhinking that ze bunny ears should be made a part of the SS uniform. Right Blondie? :)

Blondie: WUF WUF!!!

Himmler: *gulp* :(

Hitler: But for now LET'S INVADE ZE POLÄNDER!!!

Himmler: Ach, zhat's a relieving. Finally zo ze action! :)


Blondie: Sniff sniff...

Himmler: The Poles or literally their dogs?



Some Polish Minister #74: POLAND, THE FIRST TO...




Some Polish Minister #74: Why does everyone hate us... Come on, let's do a fair game, no cake-exploiting allowed! SU, not you too?!



Ze Germans: LET THEM COME!!!

Some Polish Minister #74: Dammit, we are no match for the Stuka, Blitzkrieg, Para and German exploits... :mad:

Stalin: MR pact is a good event...



Molotov: Good, I was hungry...


Molotov: Yea, let's eat it...



Stalin: Mmm... Polish cake...


Hitler: Hey, let's invade ze Ruskies!




Stalin: I got my pokemons by playing cool music.

Hitler: SO BE ZIT!!!


Hitler turns to a hippie and makes some reeally weird music!!!

Hitler: Weee ouuaarr zhis ein SIG HEIL eanrgu in unvarse... gime SIEG HEIL pokemonz!





Unfortunately like most artists of the time, Hitler took a bit too much "hehey, mmm, ooh yea" and stuff like that...


Shame on you for ruining history! That chance of dying in the hippie event was only 1! :mad:


Stauffenberg: My plan was a success. Now we can become a democratic and safe Germany! :)

So Einstein's timemachine worked and the Germans lowered their weapons and agreed to another Versaille's treaty, but someone wasn't happy about this...


Einstein: Wait, I forgot something. Hey, what is that MARCHING SOUND?!?



Ze French: Vat is dis? Mussolini gone capisso? Gamelin, stop zhis evil monsieur Mussoleni!



So please oh great HoI makers, prevent the CAS exploit and make it possible for Italy to do some crazy Vichy too.

And if I win the cool prize signed by the crew, I promise to make a comedy HoI3 AAR with Albania!
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So there. My humble little entry.

RCAF Quebec City, 1994

He could hear the sound of the twin Rolls-Royce Avon engines of a Lightning belonging to the Royal Canadian Air Force memorial flight overhead. It was just proper. These venerable old Ladies were only taken for a ride when Canada had something to celebrate, and the 20th of June was most certainly that. The end of the War in Europe had been long and hard fought for, and by god, Canada had done her share. He glanced over to the tower where the Red Ensign was proudly waving, with the Golden Maple Leaf proclaiming a Canadian national identity. He was a Quebecois French, at least half, but he still deemed Canada to be his nation. He walked over to the Officer's mess over the entrance of which a banner hung, proclaiming that 50 years had passed since the end of the war. The Americans to the south of the Border were not using the same date, for them the war had ended with the Nuclear annihilation of Tokio three days later, at a time when the British Empire and her allies had already made peace with Japan, gaining British-occupied Formosa in the process. In sheer desperation not to be stuck alone in an increasingly costly war while they had much to do with keeping an eye on the Confederates, they had taken the chance to demonstrate their power wile the Japanese Government and the Emperor were meeting the British on Okinawa.

He by-passed the hall where his fellow pilots were celebrating and walked through the building to the area where the Officers were housed. He kissed his wife when he went through the door and walked straight to the room where he had his Computer. Powering it up he grabbed a book from the shelf: “The European War, 1939 to 1941”. It was one of his primary sources for his doctorate, one among many books on the subjects that was his favourite one. When the computer was booted up, he selected a text document and quickly scanned the singular line on the top:

What if Poland had not won the Battle of Poznan?

He began typing the introduction.

“The Battle of Poznan has been discussed many times. It has been seen as everything from a great turning point to a minor scrap that just happened to be over-interpreted by the Staffs on both sides. It was by far not the first Battle of the War. In fact only on the third day of fighting, with the Poles retreating everywhere, did the German Army under Waffen-SS General Alpers attack the Polish Forces there. The German forces was smaller than it's polish counterpart, but the German Landsers had superior doctrine, and most importantly one of the three Divisions was a Panzer Division. German Reserves consisted of another Infantry Division and XIX. Armeekorps HQ troops. The Germans attacked in 'classic' Lightning warfare fashion that the British Army would copy later on in the war, and expected to cut through the weakened, 'subhuman' Poles with the same ease with which they had conducted the Anschluss or the occupation of Czechoslovakia. What they did not know was that the Polish Chief of the General Staff had been reading every available book on armoured and mobile warfare that he could lay his hands on. The Germans had of course noticed that the poles were training anti-tank tactics and were experimenting with weapons for the same end, but Hitler dismissed any worries that the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht voiced. He specifically forbade that the Army was to be briefed on these developments, stating that this would make the German Soldier hesitate where he had to be aggressive. This order would later come back to haunt him. So when the Battle of Poznan was joined, the Polish Infantry fell back in good order, luring the spearheading German Panzers deeper into the province. The flanking German Infantry engaged their counterparts, driving them back, albeit not very far nor very fast. When the Germans reached Poznan proper, the Panzers had outrun the Infantry and the Germans, being confident of their abilities and the Air support they had on call, followed the Poles in close. The Stukas that were so pounding the rest of the Polish Army were unable to support, as the front soon dissolved, with squad-sized units battling each other. The Polish Infantry made good use of their Anti-Tank rifles and a new invention: Bottles filled with gasoline or other highly flammable materials were fitted with a piece of cloth which was set on fire. The Bottles where then thrown and when the bottle was smashed, the burning cloth would set the gasoline or whatever what was used on fire, along with whatever was covered. These “Poznan Cocktails” proved to be deadly to tanks, and by the end of the three-day battle, the 3. Panzerdivision had ceased to exist as a unit.

The city was reduced to rubble, but the heavy price the Poles had been forced to pay had been worth it. The delay in the German plans forced the Germans to re-arrange their plans, which allowed the poles to retreat to the Vistula in good order, and aside from the propaganda boost it showed the British and French that Poland was far from defeated. General Gort, just arriving with the first units of the British Expeditionary Force, urged the French General Staff to take advantage of this situation. The French refused. But Paul Reynaud went over the heads of his Generals and directly instructed the Army to attack. He did this during a public Session of the French Parliament, to make sure that the orders could not be 'lost'. The BEF was rushed in, and by the time the Battle of Warsaw began, three French Armies, aided by eight British Divisions ( One Armoured ) crashed over the German border. After a week of fighting the German lines broke, as the Allies had total Armour superiority. The biggest event of these days however was not the defeat of Army Group West or the capture of Stuttgart and Reutlingen by the 51st Highland Division, but rather the fact that at this point Stalin decided to back out of the pact he had made with the Germans. The Red Army had been standing by to invade Eastern Poland, but doing it now, under these circumstances would probably mean war with the Western Allies, and even Stalin understood that the Red Army was not yet ready to engage them. The Red Army stood on guard on the Polish border while reserve Divisions crushed the Baltic States. The Germans frantically rushed troops west from Poland, which allowed the Poles to hold the Vistula by stripping the Soviet border of troops, aided by what remained of their Air Force and several Squadrons of Spitfires that had run the gauntlet from France to airfields in eastern Poland. This firm Allied presence on Polish soil further dissuaded Stalin from attacking, and aided the Polish morale to no end. They now knew that they were not alone, and when news came through on the 3rd December that British troops had hoisted the Union Flag on the Reichstag, much to the annoyance of the French, and that Scottish troops had captured Hitler while he tried to flee Berlin via Tempelhof Airport, the Polish nation erupted in cheers. The weakened Polish Army counter-attacked at that point, and the stripped out Wehrmacht could do nothing against the Polish Cavalry that had been held in reserve, and so Polish horsemen made contact with a French Infantry Regiment just east of Breslau. Germany was defeated.

This however meant by no means the end of the war. The Hungarians and the Slovakians remained to be defeated, and by the time the British 7th Armoured Division rolled into Hungary, Italy attacked Yugoslavia and Greece. Both nations had made secret assistance pacts with Britain and France, and the conclusion of this is well known. So what if the Poles had lost that battle? Had the Germans raced to Warsaw? Had the Soviets acted on the pacts secret clause instead of keeping it hidden until it was accidentally exposed by a Soviet defector in 1992? Had the Japanese decided to concentrate more forces on the failed Invasion of British Malaya? Had the “Federalization Act” been passed without the afterglow of the Victory? We cannot know, but this work will try to shed some light on these possibilities.

The world, 1994
(The Darker shade of pink are British Dominions)


Europe, only the most important nations coloured.​

It's hard to be a leader.

People are so resistant to changes, even when change is clearly the best option. All the bickering, all the whining and sabotage... and when you think you have dealt with the last malcontent, it turns out whole new pack is getting ready to go for your throat.

Come to think about it, it's not easy to be someone’s subordinate either.

Just look at this funny Chaplin guy, he just got pulled inside this huge machine and is about to be crushed by cogwheels... good for him its just a comedy, not life. According to the report from Dniepropietrovsk, in yesterday's industrial accident over 50 workers have lost their lives. Heh, look at the short guy, he is already out! Molodiets'!


Good for him, not so much for those who can’t find the way out of the hellish machine.

Even now, cogwheels of history are spinning, grinding unfortunate victims. Artillery barrages in western Poland are opening salvos of another Great War – and this time, Soviet Union will be ready to fight for the workers cause against any opponent. It have to be.

It’s historical necessity.

Oh well, it's almost 7 AM, time to go...

"I'll see rest of the movie later, Grisha. Hold the reel at that point, I've heard later there is a scene where Chaplin becomes a communist...".

"Yes, it's hard to be a leader" thought General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin, rising from his chair in dark corner of the projection room.

Another day of work - September the 1st, 1939.


For the first day of brand new world, it didn’t look all that special.

Certainly, Politburo members sitting in the cabinet didn’t seem much different. Inner circle of power, most powerful people of People’s Homeland – all waiting for their leader to show up.

Stocky Klim Voroshilov, accompanied by old Chief of the Staff Shaposhnikov and his team of younger officers. Kalinin, with the look of absent-minded college professor, sipping his morning tea with such attention like it was a matter of state security. Lazar Kaganovich, all-powerful Narkom of heavy industry, checking something in the small pile of documents lying in front of him. Khrushchev, laughing loudly at his own joke, seemingly oblivious to that fact that he is alone in his mirth. Molotov, head of the foreign affairs commissariat, methodically polishing the lenses of his glasses with a napkin. And of course, sitting bit away from all the other members, head of the dreaded NKVD, Lavrentiy Beria – “bloody dwarf” Yezhov successor. He didn’t earn his own nickname yet – or maybe he did, but most likely all the authors (real and potential ones) were working for better future of the Soviet Union somewhere in Vorkuta, Solovki or Magadan already.

Schemers and plotters, every single one of them. Voroshilov too, even with his obvious idiocy… you KNOW Beria is dangerous, after all that’s why he got his work, but what hatches in Voroshilov’s head? Or Kalinin’s. Or even this Ukrainian clown…

For now, they are all under control though.

“Let us start, comrades.” Stalin commenced the meeting. “Seems like German and Polish fascist are finally fighting each other. Klim?"

“So far we don’t have all that many details of what exactly is happening – at 5 AM our time German radio claimed that White-Polish army violated 3rd Reich border in Silesia region. Countering this provocation, forces of Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe entered territory of the aggressor and are now…”

Clearly annoyed Stalin waved his hand. “Less poetry Klim, we all know Hitler started it. But do we know how does he fare?”

Interrupted in the middle of the sentence, Voroshilov felt silent. In panic he turned his stare at his accompanying officers. “General Shaposhnikov”?

“It’s still border battle, comrade marshal.” replied old general. “We know Wehrmacht is pushing Poles hard. All mayor polish cities were bombed and Germans claim control over Danzig, Thorn, Posen and Kattowitz. Poles claim they still hold in all those cities. It seems in Danzig and Kattowitz those are irregular fighting groups, while everytime Wehmacht meets organized resistance, Polish ‘Pany’ considerably slow them down. By 12 AM of our time nothing indicated that Wehrmacht achieved breakthrough at any section of the front.”

Last sentence was met with confused silence.

“Are you saying White-Poles will hold, Boris Mikhailovitch?” as usual, Molotov went strait to the point.

“No, I’m sure they will collapse soon.” stated equally directly Shaposhnikov.

“But you just said…” Kalin finally focused on something else then his tea cup.

“I said it’s a border battle, comrade chairman.” patient as always, Shaposhnikov turned to the elderly bolshevik. “By deploying forces at the border, Poles stopped Germans from simply claiming western Poland territories without a shot, but it was a gamble – and extremely risky one. They haven’t finished mobilization yet, their forces are stretched thin and they don’t have enough supplies nor reserves to sustain losses in the long run. In 1-2 months this campaign will be over. Maybe even earlier.”

“What about our forces, Boris Mikhailovitch?” casually asked Stalin.

“Operational plans are ready, comrade General Secretary. Commanders Timoshenko and Kovalyov are with their forces.”

“Right. What about the international impact?”

Molotov put his glasses on, then answered. “Well, German ambassador is waiting for me as we speak. Obviously, he is about to ask us to join the war as we agreed. I wouldn’t be so eager to do that, though, since France and England… Lavrentiy, can you get us into details?”

“Turns out, what Hitler is doing with Poland might be the last straw for western imperialists. We have suspected that diplomatic guarantees for Poland are just a bluff, something to make fascists think twice before they start their bulling around again. This time however, our sources in London and Paris claim that we are facing full scale military conflict – unless Hitler withdraws immediately. Ultimatum was delivered to the German ambassador in Paris in early morning hours.”

“Hitler won’t give up now, once a gambler, always a gambler.” Stalin lit his pipe, then turned to his military staff. “To sum up – we are ready to liberate Bielorussia and Ukraine, right?”

“Workers'-Peasants' Red Army is ready!” exclaimed Voroshilov, finally finding a topic he could answer with ease and confidence.

“Right. But we don’t know if we are going to fight White-Poles only, or maybe western imperialists as well?”

This time, Voroshilov felt silent for good.

“They won’t move.” Ironically, it was Beria that saved Voroshilov from answering uncomfortable question. “While politically they are ready for war, you can’t say that about their military. England barely have any land forces at all and France have not mobilized yet – and what’s more important, even after the mobilization is complete, offensive actions can be started 2-3 months later at the best. Translation of the relevant documents was prepared for all the Politburo members.”

“Sometimes political actions are more important then military ones, Lavrentiy.” Stalin took a sip of tea, then continued. “If we join the fascist now, we might look like actual culprits in this whole mess. If we advance far into Poland with fascists bogged down at the border, who do you think imperialists will focus on? No, we need clear situation before we do anything. All in favor?”

While disagreeing with General Secretary was technically possible, in the last few years there were hardly any people willing to do that. Everyone in the room simply agreed with Stalin’s.

The meeting was over.

Molotov was the last one to leave the cabinet. “So, what should I say to the German ambassador?”

“For now, nothing...”

After a short pause, Stalin continued.

“The situation we are facing is like… it is like huge, industrial machine. You have to watch out for all the moving stuff around to not get grinded. Or better, don't come to close to it. Or even better - control the damn thing. You understand, right?”

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My little Maksymilian

My little Maksymilian

‘Good morning, ma’am. You are early today.’ The baker smiles, while he grabs the brown bread I always order on these mornings. Today I’ve taken little Maksymilian with me, who is staring outside of the window, his nose pressed against the glass.

‘Yes, today will be Maksymilian’s first day at the kindergarten. He hadn’t slept all night, being so nervous. And me too! Maybe I’m even more excited than he is.’ To underline it, I yawn a little. ‘Excuse me, he wasn’t the only one awake this night.’

The baker waves my argument away. ‘I can still remember the first time my eldest, David, went to kindergarten for the first time. And school, of course. He was so upset to relinquish my wife. No, I can totally understand your concerns and his fears.’ We both look at my little boy, still with his nose pressed against the glass. Normally I would have said something harsh to him about it, but not today. Today I can only smile while he exclaims ‘Hosseys, hosseys!’.

I kneel besides him, and look at the horses riding by. Dozens and dozens, all riding west. I look at the baker, but he shrugs. ‘I have no idea. A drill? But there are so many. It looks like the entire army has rode out today.’



After giving him the money and putting the bread in my purse, I take Maksymilian by the hand. Together we walk outside, and stare at the hundreds – no, thousands – of horses riding through the street. Others have joined me, or are staring from their windows. This is must definitely be the largest event our little village has seen in a long time. When the last horse passes us by, and my little boy says ‘hosseys…’ with much disappointment, waving them away, I hear a deep noise, somewhere far away. I can’t place it, until someone shouts: ‘Explosions!’

‘Esplossons!’ Maksymilian shouts excited, but fear grips my heart. The army riding west, explosions… The moment the air sirens sound, I know it is war. I grab my small boy and start to run. I can hear engines, hundreds of them, even if they’re far off. Maksymilian was angry at first, but seeing the fear in my eyes, he starts to cry. Until his eyes widen, and he exclaims: ‘Birdie! Birdie!’

Are the planes here already? They still sound pretty far off. I look up, and see something completely different: a man, floating down. In his grey uniform he’s without doubt a German soldier. Do the Germans ascent as angels from the sky? I make a cross, and start to pray. I close my eyes, my legs frozen, and clench my little boy harder against me. He starts to cry again, but I ignore it.

‘Birdie!’ Maksymilian shouts, louder and louder. He even laughs. He doesn’t know yet, he can’t know it yet. Just like I couldn’t know it yet during the Great War. But then his voice is joined by a deep and – worse of all – German one. At the third ‘Fraulein?’ I open my eyes.

I see the soldier hanging in a tree, his parachute strapped between the branches. He tries like crazy to cut himself loose. He doesn’t hang high, only a few feet above the ground, but tangled up in the ropes he is stuck solidly. If I had a weapon right now, I could shout him down like a rotten apple. Could I? Could I really do that, in front of my little boy, who smiles at the man and calls him ‘birdie’? I know I can’t kill a helpless man. If I can kill at all. I’d better run away quick, now he’s helpless. Especially now the sound of engines starts to come closer. But when I want to turn around, he pleads: ‘Please, fraulein, could you help me down?’



Why would I do that? Why would I help the enemy, even though he was half an hour ago no enemy yet? But when I see his face, worried and maybe a few years younger than mine, I can’t help myself. Gently I take over his knife, and start to cut the ropes one by one. Meanwhile Maksymilian is sitting on the ground, making his freshly washed cloths dirty, and clapping his hands. This all sounds like a big adventure to him, even though the swelling sound of planes frightens him a little.

After a few more cuts the man comes down and lands softly on his feet. ‘I don’t know how to thank you, fraulein,’ he starts, casting his eyes down. He says something about running away fast, something about being dropped too far off, but neither of us make a movement. We can only stare at each other. Clearly he feels himself uncomfortable: he has come to occupy my country, and finds himself in trouble only to be solved by me. Even I feel uncomfortable, helping an enemy. Keeping his knife, I pick up my son. He smiles at the little boy, but doesn’t dare to come close. I feel sorry for him: he is just a man with a mother and maybe a wife back home, stranded here in a foreign country. ‘Birdie!’ Maksymilian exclaims again, but we both ignore him. We only have eye for each other.


We only have eye for each other

Suddenly I hear a voice from behind, shouting in German: ‘Soldier, get away from that armed Pole!’ I quickly turn around and realise I still got the knife in my hands. The moment I let it go, a loud bang deafens me. Maksymilian starts to say ‘bir…’ but never finishes his word. He is pressed hard against me, we both fall back. Before I hit the ground, I hear the soldier shouting ‘Nein! Mein Gott, nein!’

For a moment I can only blink my eyes, seeing the soldier kneel down, clearly shocked. Another one joins us: he must be the one who has fired the weapon. His face has turned pale. One more time I blink, feeling weak. When I try to stroke my little Maksymilian, who lays upon me, when I try to brush my hands trough his hair, I feel blood. A hole in the back of his head. The moment it starts to dawn, I can only shout. Even tough bombs start to fall all around us, I don’t care anymore. Nothing matters anymore. My little Maksymilian...
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Matejko had always found the morning in Poznan beautiful. But it had been dawn in Poznan for hours now, the sun’s feeble rays beaten by the fierce blaze of the city buildings, the searchlights and the artillery. Poznan was a madman’s vision of Hell – the Cathedral a shell, strewn about with the bodies of those who had fallen to the German artillery even as they had taken early Mass. Those civilians still alive who had sense were streaming west, protected, overtaken or ignored by column after column of infantry.

Matejko’s unit was gone – they had probably been forced to treat. All he knew was that he was Kowalski’s man now, the old Captain who bore a scar from the Great War or the war with Russia, Matejko didn’t know – he didn’t care – it didn’t matter – nothing mattered now. His first name was a memory, and Kowalski’s was a mystery. None of it mattered; he was a soldier. He was Lieutenant Matejko, and Poland was on fire.

Those that could flee had fled, those that were still in Polish lines were holding the line, but Matejko, Kowalski and the dozen men with them – four now, the rest had melted away like snow as they had headed deeper into German held territory – knew they had one duty left to perform. Fight, and die. The street they advanced down was deserted and strewn with rubble and discarded weapons. They had their rifles, and nothing to lose.

They stopped in front of a door, the lock broken by the enemy. Kowalski said, “I think this is it.” He jabbed angrily at the door with his thumb, turning to address the men. “This room has a perfect view of the German medical station in Old Market Square. When it’s clear, you two,” he nodded at the burly soldiers holding the old Maxim machine gun, “Will set up the machine gun in a window frame, and then we’ll show the enemy that they’re not the only ones who can play with fire.” His words were quite quiet, but each was clear, and his tone was level and commanding. The soldiers nodded and raised their rifles, then advanced on the door, quickly entering and shutting it behind them. They stole quickly up the stairs and along a dusty corridor, the windows all blown out. The glass crunched under the Poles’ boots.

They came to a final door. “This is it,” said Kowalski, and pulled Matejko with him, pressing against the wall, near to the door, steadying his rifle. He turned to the lieutenant. “Grenade?”

Matejko murmured “Yes,” and pulled out the stick. Trying to remember his training, he raised the weapon over his shoulder and prepared to throw it. Kowalski nodded, and motioned for him to pull out the pin, which Matejko did without thinking.

“Now!” yelled the Captain, his leg lashing out. His boot met the door, which snapped open. Matejko threw the grenade, felt Kowalski’s hand grab his shoulder, and was forced down. The soldiers crouched, and tried to follow their Captain’s frantic orders, “Get down! Cover your faces! Wait for it!” The lieutenant flung his arms around his face, squeezed shut his eyes and pressed his forehead against the floor.

One second later, the opposite room exploded. Matejko heard the bang as the grenade went off, felt the hot air rush down the corridor, felt the rain of sawdust and lumps of plaster patter across his neck and shoulders. There was the sound of breaking glass as the windows in the room gave out, and there was the sound of directives being shouted in German, punctuated by screams of agony.

Matejko looked up, grabbed up his rifle. He leapt to his feet with the soldiers, and for once moment felt the collective energy and determination of the group of men as they gripped their weapons and prepared to channel their anger through their gleaming bayonets. Then, Kowalski yelled “Charge!” The Poles took up the cry, and with an almighty roar of animalistic rage the whole mass of men surged forward and into the room ahead.

The next minute was a confused whirl of bayonets, rifles, arms and legs. There were several Germans who had survived the blast with minor injuries, and an uncertain amount of others who had been wounded but were still more than capable of putting up a fight. The Poles gave them one – everywhere Matejko looked he saw men holding their rifles like clubs, beating the enemy senseless, or sticking them, sometimes two at a time, with their bayonets. When that confused minute was over, Matejko found himself standing over a dead German, his bayonet dark with blood and his hands fixed around the young man’s throat.

Kowalski was crouched next to a wounded soldier, his middle and index fingers pressed against the young man’s neck. He looked up the one remaining sergeant, shook his head, and stood. The sergeant pulled out a small knife and knelt down. Kowalski moved between Matejko and the sergeant, and nodded respectfully. “Well done,” he said, his voice still harsh, but with a slight tremor in his tone. “Not long left.” He smiled grimly, turned to the men with the Maxim, and pointed at a convenient window. They scrambled to get the weapon set up, Matejko and the Captain joining them.

Kowalski took over the machine gun as soon as he was happy with the firing position, and Matejko once again stood at his side. They looked out of the window and over the street below, where a dozen or so Germans were standing or crouched among the rubble. There were three machine guns set up to face the approaches square, with a couple of men manning each one. The rest of the soldiers were standing a little way behind the heavy weapons, nervously looking down the street, waiting for reinforcements of their own, looking down at the dozens of grey-clad wounded in neat rows all along the square. Sitting ducks.

One of the men chose to look up, instead, and seeing Kowalski on the machine gun, pointed in surprise. His head snapped round to address an officer with a pistol in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He began to shout, “MG-”. This was as far as he got – Kowalski opened up with the machine gun, spraying the street below with white hot bullets, chewing up the road surface and mowing down the enemy with just as much violence as the enemy had slaughtered his people and burnt his city. Bullets thudded into the rows of wounded men, sending up fountains of cloth fragments, sprays of red blood and the screams of dying men.

Matejko turned from the sickening sight, looking right and at the Captain’s face. His eyes were cold, steely, merciless, and his teeth were clenched so tightly that the muscles in his neck were visibly twitching. Kowalski tracked left, slowly, giving the machine gunners just enough time to realise what was happening before they too fell to the hail of fire.

The ammunition belt ran out; Kowalski stepped back from the gun, which clinked with satisfaction as the hot barrel cooled in the mid-morning air. Kowalski, now expressionless, reached out and pushed the contraption from the window sill and down onto the street outside, where it settled amongst the rubble, its barrel bent out of shape, harmless.

Behind them they heard a gentle sigh. Matejko turned to watch the sergeant get to his feet, a little unsteadily, the dead young soldier lying peacefully at his feet with a thin line of blood winding its way from his throat, down his neck and onto the dusty floor.

“Not long now,” Kowalski said once more, steadying his rifle against his shoulder and pointing it at the room’s one entrance. There was one last duty to perform.
Country of the blind

Country of the blind

General Ignatev Kalabinski handed the phone back to Lieutenant Byli, his personal assistent and messenger, with a grim expression on his face. The officer, as protocol demanded, remained standing in attention in front of his desk. Proud as Kalabinski normally was of this strict following of army ettiquette, now he couldn’t help being annoyed by the officer. Why didn’t he leave at once? He wanted to be alone. He sighed. More annoyed than he intended, he said “That will be all, Lieutenant.” As soon as the door was closed and he was alone he rose from his chair. He walked over to the chart of Europa on the wall.


Only then did the message given to him through the phone really hit him in the face. Germany had declared war on Poland! In hindsight it was so obvious. Hitler had been aiming to incorporate all Germanic people in one big 'Third Empire'. After incorporating Austria and Chechoslovakia, there really only was one country left to unite the Germanic people, Poland. The whole cabinet had been blind. Blind for the big grey danger shown on this map before him, blind for the obvious turn of events that were about to happen. Who was to blame for this. In his thoughts the cabinet members passed one by one, looking for the guilty one. There had to be someone.

He had twice had the opportunity to meet Head of State Ignacy Moscicki in person. Both times, Moscicki had left an impression of ignorance to the country’s situation, even of slight arrogance. No, Kalabinski decided; Moscicky couldn’t be expected to have seen this disaster coming. Rydz-Smigly, Chief of staff, was certainly to blame for letting the army be so weak with a neighbour that strong. But then again, it wasn’t his task to oversee the political game that had been going on for the last three years. He, too, was not to blame.


Beck should have seen this coming, but he was blinded by the British gaurantee. He had been in an illusionary feeling of safety. The Foreign Minister had been deluded by Hitlers promise that his expansionism would reach no further. Hitler wouldn’t dare risk war with Great Britain and the Allies. Pelkzynski then? Wasn’t he, as Head of Intelligence, supposed to know things before they happenened. The army was made out of volunteers, the economy was barely focused on producing weapons and ammunition. Even he himself had been blind for all of this.

His thoughts were interrupted by a firm knock on the door. Lieutenant Byli came walking in. He handed him a report which said that Poznan was under attack. However, the commanding officer, in the absence of a proper general, had good hopes to fend off this attack.


Reading this cleared the Generals mind. This was not a time for blaming people. This was the time to make the best of it. He ordered Byli to sent out the message to the Jablonka defences to get ready. He followed Byli out of his office, shouting commands at several other subordinates, and went outside the staff building. He fetched a smoke from one of the soldiers standing guard there and took a deep swig. thinking clearly now, he began forming concrete plans for the battle to follow. He sent for a map of Jablonka and surroundings and began drawing his plans out. Seeing this workable plan before his eyes filled him with a slight feeling of optimism. They could still do this, if the Generals kept their brains together, if the Chief of Staff made the right decisions, if the cabinet did all in their power to make up for their mistakes. A lot of if’s...


Two hours later, as the German soldiers could be seen at the horizon, his optimism had changed to acceptance of the unevitable. Polish soldiers were waiting in their make-shift trenches and fox-holes. From a nearby hill, Kalabinski watched as the enemy got closer. So far, the reports had told him that they were facing at least 50.000 soldiers. It was hopeless, it always had been. Kalabinski had known this the moment he saw the first German. They were to many, to well equipped. Yet, he wasn’t the man to show this to his already desperate staff. “The chessboard is set, the pieces are moving. Now let’s show these Germans how Polish people play.”
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The Soldiers

After fighting World War I for four years,the German Empire and Austria-Hungary surrendered,while the Russian Empire was torn apart by a civil war.The three powers that have partitioned Poland in the 18th century were laying in ruins,and a new Polish state was born.Austria-Hungary dissolved,and Germany lost a lot of land and has got a lot of restrictions in the Versailles treaty.
The 20s saw the rise of fascism in Italy.Adolf Hitler,a German politician of Austrian descent,soon became the leader of the tiny German Workers Party,whom he modeled after the Italian fascism,and renamed it to National-Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).His combination of fascism,German ultra-nationalism,pan-Germanism, militarism, anticommunism, homophobia, xenophobia,racism,antisemitism and various neo-pagan and occult beliefs became known as national-socialism,or Nazism.In 1923 Hitler tried to coup the Bavarian government,but he failed and spent some time in jail,where he wrote the book Mein Kampf.Six years after the unsuccessful coup,The Great Depression came,and Hitlers popularity increased.
NSDAP became one of the most powerful German parties,and in 1933 Hitler became the chancellor.After he got rid of all the other political parties,who were either banned or disbanded,and the political opponents in the NSDAP,only the president Hindenburg remained an obstacle to the total power of Nazis in Germany.In 1934 he died,and Hitler proclaimed himself the Fuhrer,so he and the Nazis had all the power in Germany.He started to build up the army,the navy and the airforce,and in 1935 Saar was recovered.A year later,the German troops entered the Rheinland.In 1938 Hitler first anschlussed Austria,and in September of the same year,he got the Czech Sudetenland as a consequence of the Munich agreement,and promised Germany would stop its territorial expansion.However,In March 1939 German troops entered Czechia and proclaimed the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia,a de facto part of Germany,while Slovakia became independent,and Ruthenia and the areas on the Hungarian border went to Hungary after a short war between Hungary and Slovakia.
Poland was also among the countries who got some parts of Czechoslovakia,but that didn't stop Hitler to ask it to cede Danzig and allow the construction of a highway that would connect Easter Prussia with the rest of Germany.Poland refused,and got a guarantee of independence from the UK and France.However,a shock came on August 23 1939,when the two powers bordering Poland,Germany and USSR,signed a Non-agression pact.A week later,German troops crossed the Polish border after the Germans acted out an attack on a radio station in Gleiwitz,and accused Poland for it.The Germans demanded Danzig from the Poles again,but they refused,and Poland was once again in danger of being partitioned.
The predictions weren't optimistic for the Poles,although France and the UK declared war on Germany two days after the war started.

Jan,Jozef and Jerzy were among the first Polish soldiers to see and feel the horrors caused by those events.They were among the people who tried to defend Poznan against the Germans.At the time of the attack,they were in a forest near the city,unaware of the German attack.

"Do you hear something?" asked Jerzy.
"Yes...Seems like something large is driving",replied Jan.
"Thats probably the general examining the tanks",said Jozef.
"No...I hear some voices,they seem to speak German",said Jan.
Then they heard an explosion,and some gunshots.An excited man in a Polish military uniform quickly approached them.
"The Germans attack!Quickly,arm yourself,or run for your li..."Cried the man as he was hit by a gunshot.Jerzy took his pistol,and the three friends quickly returned to the city.Tomorrow,they returned to their unit and started fighting.The three men were terrified as the people were dying around them,but they kept fighting.Jan,the youngest of the three,was frightened the most.At one time,Jerzy and Jozef could not see him,but as they fought through the ruined buildings,they found Jan in an old house.
"What are you doing,you coward!?"cried the two men at the same time.Then the German soldiers entered the building,and they returned to the job they were doing before that day.They killed to survive.
But then Jozef felt a great pain in his chest.He turned,and saw Jan.He ad his gun out,and was pointing at him.
"W-what have you done!!??"asked Jerzy while Jozef was bleeding."Jozek is our friend!"
"I cant fight anymore,"said Jan."I will join the Germans."
"Are you mad!?"cried Jerzy,but then he jumped as he was attacked by a German soldier.Jan was running towards the German positions.
"Halt!Halt!Nicht schissen!"cried Jan as he got a bullet in his heart and another one in his head,and fell dead a moment later.
As the Germans were getting closer to victory,Jerzy killed the German soldier who attacked him and approached Jozef.
"W-wheres Jan?" he asked.
"He is dead.The Germans killed him." said Jerzy.
"P-promise...that they will not win another war..." said Jozef and passed away.

A single tear appeared on Jerzys face as he was returning to his unit,to continue the fight for the freedom of his country.
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The sun beat mercilessly upon the hustle of the occupied city of Tomaszów as a small conflict began. An old, crooked-backed merchant is being harassed by a group of four armed men in gray- the Germans. The city was now theirs, the Poles crushed under their feet, and yet they could not subdue this mere merchant.
“Untermenschen hund! Leave this damned store at once!” The wrinkled old man peered at them with foggy eyes as the Germans looked down him with contempt. “I have always lived here, and I will continue to live here, no matter what some foolish German dzieci have to say,” he growled. The soldiers began to act more harshly as curious men, women, and children gathered around. The youngest of the Germans cracked the butt of his rifle across the old merchant's face. “You damned fool must learn your place! Under the große Deutsch Reich!” The merchant crumpled to the cobblestones in front of his ancestral store as the citizens of the town began to take notice.
A group of local men helped the old merchant to his feet, but soon met the wrath of the soldiers. The Germans barked to put the man down or face the same fate. A middle-aged, strongly built man stood up to the youngest soldier, who had attacked the older man.
“You Niemców are all the same, pompous and foolish. What did this man do to you?”
“What did you say?” retorted the German hotly. The Pole moved up to him, and gruffly said to the German’s face, “ You pompous, foolish bastards are not even worth shining the shoes of Armia Krajowa men.”
To this, the soldier simply smashed the Pole’s head with a blow from the butt of his gun. The crowd began to murmur angrily, men began to pick up any sort of weapon they could find. The air wound with mounting tension as the whole of the city moved in upon the scene, the old merchant’s store becoming the nexus of insurrection.
“Halt! Stay back, or we’ll shoot!” This was simply met with a quiet, but strong, laugh. The voice rose over the crowd.
“Then we will fire back.”
A burst of automatic fire from an old bakery down the cobbled street cut through the heavy air, and the soldiers threw themselves to the ground. Armia Krajowa rebels began to assemble on the streets armed with everything from rusted farming tools to the latest in stolen German rifles. The soldiers were trapped. They opened fired upon the Poles, but soon the Hauptmann's shoulder was destroyed by a Polish rifle round.
“Gott helf uns…” floated from his stunned lips as he collapsed into a cloud of dust and was trampled in the chaos in the street. The youngest of the Germans fell to the ground, and crawled as quickly as he could into a forgotten back alley. How could this happen? His mind was racing. They had built themselves an entire army! He had no time to ponder this as an Armia Krawja man rushed into the alley.
The youngest soldier had no time to comprehend what was going on, and hoping for the best he promptly held up his hands and surrendered to this stranger. The rebel then dragged him into the building. He was still in a state of shock as the man dragged him through the street he had just escaped, through the armed Armia Krajowa men. They looked surprised at the young German, and some laughed, remarking on how now it was the Pole dragging the German through the mud. He passed through the reorganizing men, dragging ammo and their guns to into emplacement throughout the street. He heard more gunshots. What could that- His eyes widened. No, not the rest of the occupation forces! These men are were no match for the Germans! They just got their damned surprise, and their damned numbers! That’s all. The soldier didn’t have any more time to think of the remnant forces in Tomaszów, because he was thrown into a seemingly impromptu cell in a former radio station.
It was a cold cell with no natural sources of light, just an old lightbulb hanging by a cord in the hall a ways away from the door. He was given no sort of food, no blanket. He laughed. “We gave them nichts they give us nichts.” Soon he regretted laughing. He sat in his cell, thinking of his past, why was he here? Who am I? Why am I lost in this god-forsaken cell, in this useless area formerly known as Poland? Simple. He smiled to himself. Klaus Zeidler, joined the Wehrmacht in ’39 just after leaving his home in Potsdam. Got shipped off to Poland, and told to keep order… and why am I here? Well-
A short crackle shifted in the air of the hall. Klaus’ ears focused, and he lost his train of thought. A voice shifted through the dank air of the cell, and drifted slowly to Klaus.
“-no… Yes… no, we are capable of holding the city as long as we can hold out occupation forces… No, we are not sure if local German forces are totally overwhelmed… wait, I can’t hear you. One moment.” It was a Polish voice, and apparently Klaus’ idea that this was a radio building of some sort was correct, and it was still in service! A new voice, more garbled and fuzzy, floated through the halls.
“Can you hear me now?”
“Good. If you cannot be certain of mass revolt, your current goal should be survival of your soldiers until mass revolt can occur. I will continue to send you information regarding Allied, German, and Soviet forces.”
“Ah, good. Thank you, Stefan.”
Klaus’ mind froze. Stefan? Stefan… Stefan! The leader of the Armia Krajowa! It was possible, the men in the street wore AK bands, and we were told of possible activity, but a real Armia uprising? Impossible! …But they did destroy our forces in the city, and carried weapons… Klaus was thinking, and kept thinking. He was left thinking in his cell for three more days, thrown a scrap of bread as an afterthought. It could be likened to the cell, Klaus thought with bland amusement; moldy and hard. His sleep was fitful, punctuated by the sound of sporadic gunfire. He was hardly awake at any time. His body was giving up on him. He had no water. What I wouldn’t give to be back in Potsdam, he thought. He thought about the war, thought about Hitler, thought about Lebensraum. Why? Why must we do all this? Why did we believe in his words? By almost noon the last day, he hardly wanted to move, and felt that death would be the only way to leave the cell, until he heard shouts and gunshots.
“Halt!” More gunshots, and the sounds of someone’s last breaths.
Germans? Klaus lurched to his feet.
“Help! Help!” His voice was only a weak murmur, but a healthy looking soldier ran past his cell. The man turned towards Klaus and after ascertaining that he was German, grabbed the key off of the old desk outside of the door, and opened the cell. Klaus stumbled out, thanked the man, and begged for water. “Water? Here.” The man handed him a flask and Klaus quaffed it in a single swig, water streaming down his neck. After quickly thanking him, Klaus asked the soldier what had happened.
“The Pole’s “home army” was occupying the town, and the whole occupation force was slaughtered. These guys were more armed than ever before, it wasn’t even believable.” He looked at Klaus’ uniform. “Your guys were mostly dead when we got here, and died a while after. You are the only survivor. Consider yourself lucky.” Klaus muttered a small prayer out of shock for himself, and thanked the man again, and left. He couldn’t be any happier. He ran out, cheering the troops on and overcome with joy. The men got up, and caught up in his happiness, cheered with him.
A hunting rifle went off nearby. The soldiers began to scramble for cover, ducking into a nearby cafe. Klaus was too disoriented by the panicked crowds. Men fired blindly at where they thought the gun went off, bringing down civilians in the crossfire.
Klaus' body became leaden and he toppled slowly to the ground. Dust floated slowly around him as he looked upward at the patches of sky between the crowd. For Klaus at least, the war was over.
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