Wednesday, June 20, 2018


For a state so allegedly if somewhat selectively obsessed with its rich history it is the things that are forgotten that occasionally still have the power to surprise us. I was talking a few years ago to a family friend, who had served in North Africa and Italy during the Second World War, he was shocked to discover that the Poles were excluded from the 1946 Allied victory parade in 1946.

The 4th June 2018 was the 72nd anniversary of the great victory parade, which was held in London to commemorate the victory over fascism. It was held on June 4th 1946 by the then Labour Government, who staged an elaborate victory parade in London. 

Representatives from over 30 Allied nations gathered to celebrate the Allies collective victory over fascism. Some 134 different nationalities actually took part in the victory parade:  Czechs, Dutch, Iranian, Sikh, Norwegian, Canadian, South African, Arab, Belgians and Australians and many others marched (or flew over) through the streets of London. 

Absent were the Poles, who in probably one of the most despicable (even with the benefit of hindsight) gutless acts of any Westminster government, were excluded due to pressure from Stalin. The Poles, who had given so much for allied victory in almost every campaign and had done the ground work which broke the enigma codes, were perceived as a problem post war.  

Attlee's government had previously pressured the Poles to return to Soviet occupied Poland, before reluctantly granting them asylum. They were specifically and perhaps deliberately excluded - perhaps due to a combination for pressure from and a fear of offending Stalin. 

To their credit, the RAF, had consistently refused to harass the Poles to return to Soviet dominated Poland from the start, and they gave the Polish airman who had fought so valiantly in the Battle of Britain in 1940 the option to fly but they chose not to fly in the aerial victory parade in an act of solidarity with their excluded comrades on the ground.

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