Paper Title

[2.3] A Flame of Resistance: Polish Partisans in the Second World War

Location

IB 1019

Start Date

January 2020

End Date

January 2020

Disciplines

European History | History

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The Second World War was catastrophic on an unmatched scale, amassing death and destruction onto millions of people. The totality of the war meant that soldiers and civilians alike were subject to unimaginable and inescapable horrors. While the military prowess of all the nations involved is nothing to be ignored, often overlooked are the unsung heroes of the war: partisan resistance fighters. Partisans played a crucial role in the war, whether it be through intelligence gathering, sabotage, insurrection, or simply a refusal to cooperate with occupying powers. These actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, held great significance, both in terms of the outcome of the war, and in upholding the spirit of the people. This was especially true for the resistance in Poland. Suffering a swift and brutal double-occupation from both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, Polish civilians immediately began to organize against their occupiers, and maintained a resilient spirit until the end of the war. This paper outlines the formation, key moments, and complexities of major Polish partisan movements through the course of the war, and seeks to illustrate their significance through victories and losses alike. It explores the enormity of the contributions of civilian movements, both on a grander international scale, and perhaps most importantly, for the Polish people themselves. The paper argues that despite the Poles failing to achieve the liberty they fought so hard for, the efforts of partisans were by no means wasted.

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Jan 18th, 1:00 PM Jan 18th, 2:15 PM

[2.3] A Flame of Resistance: Polish Partisans in the Second World War

IB 1019

The Second World War was catastrophic on an unmatched scale, amassing death and destruction onto millions of people. The totality of the war meant that soldiers and civilians alike were subject to unimaginable and inescapable horrors. While the military prowess of all the nations involved is nothing to be ignored, often overlooked are the unsung heroes of the war: partisan resistance fighters. Partisans played a crucial role in the war, whether it be through intelligence gathering, sabotage, insurrection, or simply a refusal to cooperate with occupying powers. These actions, no matter how seemingly insignificant, held great significance, both in terms of the outcome of the war, and in upholding the spirit of the people. This was especially true for the resistance in Poland. Suffering a swift and brutal double-occupation from both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, Polish civilians immediately began to organize against their occupiers, and maintained a resilient spirit until the end of the war. This paper outlines the formation, key moments, and complexities of major Polish partisan movements through the course of the war, and seeks to illustrate their significance through victories and losses alike. It explores the enormity of the contributions of civilian movements, both on a grander international scale, and perhaps most importantly, for the Polish people themselves. The paper argues that despite the Poles failing to achieve the liberty they fought so hard for, the efforts of partisans were by no means wasted.