Thursday, March 1, 2018

Polacks and Planes

I was watching a documentary about the Polish pilots who managed to join up with the RAF to help fight the Battle of Britain.  They were extraordinary, one night downing over 140 German aircraft to their none.  In fact, the Polish pilots were far superior to the British, and I think that may have
caused some tensions in the group.  At first, officers didn't believe the number of Germans downed by the Polish.  Then it was confirmed.  Their squadron leader received some hoity-toity medal.

After the war, Poland was given to the Soviets, just like my parents' home country, Latvia, and the other 2 Baltic States: Lithuanians and Estonia.  At the start of the war, the Germans invaded and took over the Baltic States.  As the war ground on, the Soviets eventually "freed" the Baltic States, but like the Germans before them, they had no intention of leaving.  The Baltic States were consumed by the USSR.  It is right at this point that my parents decide to leave their homeland.  They didn't like it under German or Soviet rule.  They wanted freedom.  The Soviets would maintain an official presence in the Baltic States until the break-up of the Soviet Union in the 1990's.  Even though the Soviet military left, all the people who moved there after the war, stayed.  It was done.  My homeland was permanently polluted by the Soviets.

Churchill and Roosevelt agreed to giving such territories to the Soviets after the war.  Poland was given to them, too.  My father hated "those bastards, Churchill and Stalin."  As one of the Polish fighters pointed out to the British after the war, "All of the Allies have won back their homelands.  Except Poland." [And the Baltic States.]

These guys were shit on time after time by the British pilots, but they were inspired by a hatred for their homeland's invader.  Of course, no Polish troops were invited by Churchill to the big military celebratory parade.after the war.  Still plenty of prejudice left in the military.

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