One of the most unknown yet consequential short wars of the 20th century was the conflict between the newly-reborn Republic of Poland and Russia’s Bolshevik regime. Reaching a boiling point during the summer of 1920, the Polish-Bolshevik War defined the European order for two decades to come. The decisive skirmish of the war came in mid-August 1920, when the two armies clashed in the Battle of Warsaw. In those frantic summer days, the Red Army became outwitted and outflanked and thus, was forced to what amounted to a general retreat. Militarily, the sudden counterattack by which Marshal Józef Piłsudski – Chief of State and Supreme Commander – and his lieutenants split and routed the Bolshevik forces deserves a place among the tactical masterpieces of history. As assessed by historians and military analysts, the Polish victory brought an end to a Russian efforts that could have given the Bolsheviks unfettered access to central Europe and, therefore, easily thrown the torch of revolution into the West.
Not surprisingly, it is the 15th of August when Poles celebrate their Armed Forces Day. The day’s festivities traditionally includes military parades, picnics and live music, that attract whole families who rejoice in the country’s independence being symbolized so powerfully by the uniforms of Polish soldiers.