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 Aug 15 2020

A Centennial of the Polish Armed Forces Day

On 13 August, Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast (HQ MNC NE) celebrated the Polish Armed Forces Day. This national holiday is traditionally held on 15 August to commemorate one of the most spectacular victories of the Polish Armed Forces – the Battle of Warsaw, the grand culmination of the Polish-Russian War in 1920.

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.

The Battle of Warsaw has shown to the reborn Republic of Poland that reliable alliances matter, this fact was highlighted in Lieutenant General Sławomir Wojciechowski, Commander MNC NE official address – “The best friends indeed, are the friends you have with you, when you charge into the thick of the fray, unto the breach.”

As emphasized by General Wojciechowski – “Like 100 years ago, the free world of today is also confronted with competing powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interest (…) to meet the new forms of aggression (…) we must look at the gallant deeds from the past and adapt ourselves” because “The relative peace, that we enjoy together, as allies and partners does not simply mean no more sacrifice.”

The scale of the centennial anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw and the 2020 Armed Forces Day had to be capped due to the COVID19 pandemic. Yet in a safe manner like many other institutions and organizations around Poland, Headquarters Multinational Corps Northeast honoured those who have served and fought on the battlefields across the globe under the Polish flag and congratulated those who have been identified for distinguished achievements.

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office

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