Who Hit Poland

In 1939, on September 1st, Germany invaded Poland. The unleashing of terror came in the form of an intense air offensive, as the Luftwaffe quickly occupied key locations by dominating the airspace. A plethora of booming explosions reverberated throughout the skies, as German bombers removed the immediacy of the early morning sun with their own creations of darkness. The world recoiled in shock as one of the most devastating battles of World War II began.

Building upon the developments of air supremacy, Germany had planned a two-pronged ground attack. The northward advance was led by the German army group called ‘A’, whose main objective was the destruction of Poland’s main fortress, the Brest-Litovsk fort. The second wave, the ‘B’ army group, planned to take a southern route and deliver the fatal blow to the Polish capital, Warsaw. With their sophisticated tanks, advanced weaponry, and overwhelming forces, the Germans had superior military advantages over the Poles.

The first wave of the attack began on September 9th, 1939 and caught the Poles by surprise. The Germans had a plan and executed it perfectly, as they quickly overcame the heavy resistance that the desperate Poles braved. Nationalistic feelings wafted throughout the air, but the swelling of Polish pride was quickly extinguished as German forces swept the terrain like a plague. The cost of the Warsaw Uprising was too high, and the battle was over by September 10th.

The second wave of the Blitzkrieg began with an intense air offensive, as bombers flew over the area and dropped heavy payloads of explosives, causing immense death and destruction. By September 18th, Poland felt the full intensity of the German onslaught, as the Luftwaffe destroyed bridges, railways, and any key infrastructure in order to render the area immovable. On September 28th, the Soviet Union invaded from the east, and Germany received another grim reminder of their lack of progress when they failed to break the Polish forces at the Battle of Modlin on October 5th.

The former nation of Poland has since been divided among Nazi Germany, the USSR, and other countries. Poland was powerless against the strength of the German Wehrmacht and its allies, and in order to protect themselves, the Polish government was forced to capitulate to the Nazi’s demand and sign the German-Soviet Non-Agression pact of 1939. The invasion of Poland during World War II changed the course of history, marked with fear, destruction, and displaced people.

The Impact of the Invasion on Polands Economy

As a result of the invasion of Poland, the country endured immense economic damages due to its destruction of infrastructure, the total destruction of its stores, the disruption of production, and a devastation on its economy. The invasion of 1939 had an immediate and drastic impact on Poland’s industrial production, with output of iron and steel falling by 90%. Agricultural production fell significantly due to the destruction of land and tools, and the conscription of Poles into the military adversely affected production comparatively.

It is estimated that the total cost of the destruction caused to Poland during World War II amounted to 327 billion zlotys, in 1939 costs. This makes the cost of the Nazi invasion equal to 161 years of the country’s total GDP in 1939, and with an increase in the cost of living due to inflation, the cost of the invasion would be even greater today. The invasion also caused a major shortage in the country’s currency due to the looting of metal resources, increasing the price of goods sixfold and straining the population even further.

The economic cost of the invasion resulted in a calamitous fall in the quality of life of the Polish people; poverty rose significantly and the economy remained in a state of stagnation and instability until after the fall of communism in 1989. The destruction of the infrastructure had a devastating impact on the transportation network. Consequently, the country witnessed a drop in the number of road and rail networks by 55% as a result of the invasion, and the quality of those that survived were considerably impaired.

Effects on Polands Population

The effects of the invasion were not limited to the economic and transportation sectors. It had a disastrous effect on the population of Poland and the entire region. The invasion caused an estimated 5.8 million deaths in Poland alone, with 3 million Jews and 2.8 million non-Jews perishing during the remainder of the war. In addition, 4.9 million Poles were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to Germany, Russia and other parts of Europe.

The casualties of the war were disproportionately higher for Christians and Jews living in the country. The Jews were subjected to a campaign of systematic extermination by Nazi Germany, with an estimated 90–95 percent of them killed in Poland. The population growth was also drastically affected in the years following the invasion, with the Polish population dropping from 35 million before the war to only 23 million by 1961. It was not until decades after the invasion when the population growth began to pick up again.

The invasion also had social implications, with the destruction of families, and the division of the region after the war. Poland faced great adversity and turmoil during and after the war, and the invasion of Poland still serves as a reminder of the catastrophic events that can occur when nations become embroiled in conflict and violence.

The Recovery of Polands Economy After WWII

Poland emerged from the war a different state, with a new socio-economic order and institutions controlled by the Soviet Union. Poland’s economic recovery was largely a result of the influence of the communism of the Soviet Union, and the state-controlled economy that was introduced. Once inside the communist bloc, major changes were undertaken, and the Polish economy was re-structured.

The government began to implement centralized planning, with a focus on industrialization and nationalization of industries, and agricultural collectivization. This resulted in re-investment in infrastructure, the implementation of monetary reforms, and economic stability. Subsidies and tax breaks were given to certain industries in order to stimulate production, and the state provided support for certain vital businesses in the form of credits and discounts. Over time, these measures allowed for a slow but steady recovery of the country’s economy.

The invasion had a significant impact on the course of Poland’s development and the growth of its economy, resulting in the state’s prolonged economic recovery and relative economic stability. The war had taken the country’s most productive sector, and caused a significant decline in the country’s potential. The economy was in ruins and its population at an all-time low, but it was able to slowly and gradually get back on its feet.

The Fall of the Iron Curtain and Polands Return to the West

After six difficult decades under Soviet rule, the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 marked the beginning of a new era in Poland’s history. It was a time of hope and optimism, as the country began to break free from the oppressive rule of the Soviets. Poland experienced a period of great economic and political change that saw the country move towards democracy and capitalism.

The newly democratic government began to move away from the state-controlled economy of the past and embrace free market principles. Tax and interest rate reforms were made, import tariffs were eliminated, and certain regulations on businesses were relaxed. These measures allowed for a sharp rise in foreign investment, which played an important role in the country’s economic recovery.

The fall of the Iron Curtain and the move to a free market economy was not without its challenges, but it laid the foundation for the country’s turnaround. As a result of the reforms, and the strong growth in the economy, Poland was eventually able to join the European Union in 2004, and become an important member of the international community.

The Resilience of the Polish People

The invasion of Poland during World War II was a devastating event that changed the nation’s course and set it on a different path. It was a tragic event of immense sorrow and suffering, one that left a deep scar upon the heart of the Polish people. Despite this, the tenacity and resilience of the Polish people eventually enabled them to overcome the immense difficulties that they faced.

Throughout the war and long after, the Polish people fought for the freedom and independence that was taken away from them. It was an example of the power of the human spirit to never give up, and its ability to transcend the bonds of oppression. The Polish people demonstrated their willingness to move beyond their painful past, and to continue the struggle for a better life.

The long-term effects of the invasion can still be felt today, with the economic costs, social implications, and the difficult path to recovery. Yet, despite all of this, Poland has emerged as a strong and prosperous nation that is a testament to the courage and determination of its people. Even in the most difficult times, they refused to be cowed, and the strength of their spirit will remain an everlasting beacon of hope.

Lee Morgan

Lee J. Morgan is a journalist and writer with a particular focus on Polish history and culture. His work often focuses on the history and politics of Poland, and he is passionate about exploring the country's unique culture. He currently lives in Warsaw, where he continues to write and research about the fascinating country of Poland.

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