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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers the Katyn Forest Massacre (Poland~1940) - October 13th, 2003
see educational sources | various compiled

Posted on 10/13/2003 4:15:26 AM PDT by snippy_about_it



Lord,

Keep our Troops forever in Your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.
.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.



...................................................................................... ...........................................

U.S. Military History, Current Events and Veterans Issues

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KATYN FOREST MASSACRE



Polish deaths at Soviet hands

Katyn Forest is a wooded area near Gneizdovo village, a short distance from Smolensk in Russia where, in 1940 on Stalin's orders, the NKVD shot and buried over 4000 Polish service personnel that had been taken prisoner when the Soviet Union invaded Poland in September 1939 in WW2 in support of the Nazis.


Memorandum on NKVD letterhead from L. Beria to "Comrade Stalin" proposing to execute captured Polish officers, soldiers, and other prisoners by shooting. Stalin's handwritten signature appears on top, followed by signatures of Politburo members K. Voroshilov, V. Molotov, and A. Mikoyan. Signatures in left margin are M. Kalinin and L. Kaganovich, both favoring execution.


In 1940 over 4,000 prisoners of war were taken out into a forest in small groups where they were methodically murdered.


The victims, encumbered in greatcoats and with their hands tied behind their backs, were forced face down onto the fresh corpses of their comrades, to be likewise shot through the back of the head.


A younger few who attempted to resist had self-strangulation knots tied from their hands to their necks.


Sawdust was rammed down the gullets of those who screamed and struggled, or their overcoats were tied down around their heads. The small groups became vast, neat stacks of human refuse. At the time, these men and 11,000 others who suffered the same fate at similar killing sites were only known to be missing.


The victims were Polish officers and cadets, about half of whom were reservists from key civilian professions: doctors, lawyers, teachers, clergymen, and the like. They represented the leading, educated elements--"the best and the brightest"--of Polish society. The place and time of their slaughter was the Russian forest village of Katyn near Smolensk in the Spring of 1940.


At that time, their families' contact with them (by mail, to the Soviet internment camps where they were being detained) ceased with no explanation. They simply disappeared, until their mass graves were discovered and publicized by the Nazi government, whose troops occupied the area in April 1943.

Documents found in 1992, have certified the identity of those who ordered the Katyn Massacre of April-May 1940. They point the finger of guilt to the collective membership of the Soviet Politburo, dominated by Communist dictator Iosif Vissarianovich Stalin. The killings resulted from the recommendation of Politburo member Lavrenti Beria, the dreaded chief of the Soviet secret police, the NKVD.

There were a number of motives for the killings. Foremost was the "liquidation"--the Communist euphemism for extermination--of the social and intellectual leadership elites of Poland, as the initial step to eliminating that independent, anti-Soviet (and, historically, frequently anti-Russian) nation, permanently.

In 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov had gloated, "One swift blow to Poland, first by the German Army and then by the Red Army, and nothing was left of this bastard of the Versailles Treaty."


Specifically, Beria suggested to the Soviet Politburo that the Polish officers be exterminated, since they were ". . . involved in anti-Soviet propaganda. Each of them is only waiting for his release from imprisonment in order to enter into a struggle against Soviet power."

Indeed, the Poles were hardly model prisoners and imprudently ridiculed their Soviet guards and indoctrination cadre members to their faces. Their attitude now seems incredibly naive--even arrogantly stupid, considering that the Bolsheviks' record of atrocities was well known to them.

Yet, the Poles apparently believed that the West--specifically, the British and French--were actively concerned about them, being interested in their future usefulness, and would not abandon them.


A "white paper" submitted to the 1952 U.S. Congressional hearings on Katyn by the Polish Government-in-Exile describes this misassumption:

With a few exceptions, the morale of the prisoners at Kozielsk appeared to be good. Firmly believing in the ultimate victory of justice and trusting implicitly in Poland's Western Allies, the prisoners hoped for a quick release from Soviet captivity and the granting of facilities either to return to Poland or to make their way through a neutral state to join the forces fighting in the West.


A rumour circulated in the camp that General Zarubin himself had said to one of the prisoners. "You have too many protectors, so you cannot go". The prisoners interpreted this remark as meaning that Britain and France did not want them to be returned to German-occupied Poland, as they were anxious to get them to the West.

It was even said that Britain had asked the Soviets to send the Poles to the West and had offered to pay the expenses of their detention in Russia and that the Soviets were bargaining over the price. Rumours of this kind, which made the prisoners feel that they were an object of concern to the outside world helped considerably to keep up morale in the camp.


Their faith in the West proved to be pathetically ill-advised. Although the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941--"Operation Barbarossa"--forced Stalin to obtain material assistance from the West and concede the reestablishment of a postwar Poland independent in name (if not in fact), the extermination of the Polish intelligentsia facilitated another motive for the Soviet crime, the intended (and eventual) Soviet subjugation of Poland.

As former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in 1960, "The Nazi and Soviet extermination policies, which had decimated the Polish intelligentsia, the usual source of the political elite, had badly weakened the nation as a whole, decreasing its capacity for resistance."

Stalin himself had a deep grudge against Poland and its intelligentsia. It stemmed in part from that nation's military victories over Bolshevik armies, to which Stalin was attached as a political commissar, in the Russo-Polish War of 1919-20.


Another motive for the extermination of the Polish officers was Stalin's effort to appease his Nazi ally, Hitler. The second, secret protocol of the Hitler-Stalin Nonaggression Pact of 23 August 1939 had provided for the fourth partition of Poland, dividing it between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. While the Germans invaded Poland, in defiance of the British and French, and effectively began the Second World War on 1 September 1939, the Soviets did not attack the Poles until 6:00 AM, 17 September 1939.

Although the Poles were by then already collapsing under the weight of the German onslaught, Polish Army units in the East fought, and in a few cases won, some pitched battles with the Red Army units advancing from the East. Against such overwhelming military odds, though, there obviously could be only one result, and Poland surrendered on 27 September 1939.

The Katyn Massacre occurred in the context of a Polish holocaust on a par with the Jewish Holocaust. It is estimated that 5,384,000 Poles, including Polish Jews, died during the German occupation through slave labor exhaustion, disease and starvation, repression of resistance, or outright extermination.

The first victims of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp were Polish. The first gassing at Auschwitz was performed upon 300 Polish and 700 Soviet prisoners of war. An estimated total of 6,028,000 Poles--22 percent of Poland's population--died in the Second World War. Half of the victims were Jewish.


The Nazis launched a calculated campaign to exterminate the educated elite of Polish society and racially undesirable elements. The German Army perpetrated this massacre, as well as the more intently genocidal Nazi SS. There were plans to exterminate the Poles entirely, after they had outlived their usefulness and the Jews had already been annihilated.

Polish children were not allowed to go to high school or college. The Catholic Church in Poland was suppressed. Ironically, though, many of the Polish officers who were Jewish did avoid the Holocaust and survive the war, having been in the custody of the regular German Army Wehrmacht, rather than that of the Nazi SS.


The method of capture, detention, and extermination of Poles by the Soviets is also important to consider. These victims were not just Polish officers and cadets who had surrendered to the Red Army in the field. They also included reservists and other officials who had been arrested in their homes in the Soviet-occupied zone of Poland.

As it was, many Polish officers had been murdered immediately upon their capture, in spite of Soviet assurances of good treatment, particularly when their units had successfully battled against the Soviet invasion. Polish civilians suffered many Red Army atrocities as well.


Conditions in the Soviet-held territories were so ghastly that some resident Jews actually petitioned--a few successfully, tragically--to be transferred to the German-occupied zone. In the Ukraine during the confusion of the changeover, Ukrainian nationalists occasionally took revenge on the ethnic Poles in their region.

In time, these killings were investigated and punished by the Soviets who had as little use for Ukrainian nationalists as for Poles. Later, during the German occupation, the Ukrainians and Poles fought pitched battles against each other.

There were approximately 15,000 Polish officers and cadets captured by the Soviets in September-October 1939. Many of them were reservists who in civilian life were professionals such as doctors, lawyers, college professors, etc. They were incarcerated in three internment camps: Kozielsk (southwest of Moscow), Ostashkov (between Moscow and Leningrad), and Starobielsk (southeast of Kharkov). At the Kozielsk camp there were 262 Poles of Jewish descent. There was also one woman, Polish aviatrix Janina Lewandowski.


Of the captive Poles, only 448 seemed to the Soviets to be receptive to political collaboration. Initially, and during the winter (of 1939/40), the NKVD appeared to be trying to convert the Poles to Stalinist Communism. However, the interrogation and indoctrination sessions were too crude, dogmatic, and alien for most of the loyal, sophisticated Poles to accept.

Eventually, the NKVD separated the potential collaborators from the thousands of loyal Poles. Then, in April-May 1940, having been given food and assurances that they were to be repatriated home, the Poles were shipped out by train, in groups of a hundred or so at a time.

The destinations of most of these prisoners were three separate killing sites. Katyn was the terminus for the Kozielsk inmates. The other points were similarly railheads, near Kalinin for the Ostashkov prisoners and near Kharkov for the Starobielsk captives. Only recently have the locations of these other mass graves been verified. The 448 potential collaborators were transported by train to Pawlishtchev Bor, located between Kozielsk and Smolensk.


The NKVD executioners were brutally efficient, having refined their methods on many thousands of Russian social, political, and military purge victims in the previous decades. It was simply an occupational routine for the killers, and some wore special attire, similar to that of butchers. Apparently, there were also a few especially vicious or fanatical thugs who took delight in sadistically abusing these members of the Polish elite, as they murdered them.


Until Spring 1940, some of these officers' families had been corresponding with them. Thereafter, the families' mail was returned as undeliverable. Inquiries about the missing officer prisoners from the Polish Government-in-Exile, in London, and from the British government went unanswered by the Soviet government. In December 1940 (after the German overrunning of France in the Summer of 1940) at a reception for the leaders of the pro-Soviet Polish officers, NKVD chief Beria and his deputy, Vsevolod N. Merkulov, both enigmatically admitted that a "great mistake" had been made in the case of the other Polish officers.

There had been meetings in March 1940, during which the Soviet NKVD shared its well-practiced terror and extermination technology with the Nazi SS. (The only Nazi "improvement" over Soviet extermination methods was the use of poison gas.) Professor George Watson has concluded that the fate of the interned Polish officers may have been decided at this conference, which according to him was held in Cracow.

In his 1991 book, Stalin: Breaker of Nations, historian Robert Conquest stated that the conference had taken place at Zakopane in the Winter of 1939/40.


According to Watson, the fate of the Polish officers in Soviet custody was probably discussed during the conference. This would have been a significant factor in Stalin's decision to exterminate them, considering how slavishly he adhered to his pact with Hitler. (In spite of warnings from the British and Americans of imminent Nazi attack, trainloads of Russian raw materials were being faithfully sent to the Germans, right until the very moment of Hitler's 22 June 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. The NKVD even turned over, to the German Gestapo, German Communists who had been living in the Soviet Union.)


However, considering Stalin's predilection for mass murder as a political tool and his hatred of the Poles, he certainly would have had no hesitation about annihilating them, anyway. Even Stalin's daughter, Svetlana, noted his peculiar obsession with a much earlier forest death of Polish officers in the Russian folk opera, "Ivan Susanin."

From Soviet-occupied Poland, Poles considered potentially subversive--including women and children--were shipped off in the 1940-41 period to live in primitive camps in the Soviet Union. According to Polish sources, these captives numbered over a million. The categories of Poles considered potentially subversive even included stamp collectors and Esperantists. Two or three-hundred-thousand Poles, an estimated quarter of the number exiled to the Soviet Union, perished in the Soviet Union.

Epilogue


According to data in the possession of the Polish government-in-exile, in early 1940 the Soviet Union held as many as 15,000 Polish prisoners of war, of whom 8,300 were officers. Taken prisoner by the Red Army in the second half of September 1939, they were interned in three camps: Kozelsk, Starobelsk, and Ostaszkow. Late that year, there were reports that the three camps had been disbanded. In 1941 and 1942, the Polish government-in-exile repeatedly asked the Soviet Union for information on the prisoners’ fate, but to no avail.

On April 13, 1943, the Germans announced that mass graves had been discovered in the Katyn Forest, in their area of occupation, containing the bodies of thousands of Polish officers who had been shot in the back of the head. The Germans charged the Soviet authorities with the murder and appointed a multinational medical commission to probe the matter. The Nazis exhumed the Polish dead and blamed the Soviets.


In May 1943, the commission reported that the graves contained the bodies of 4,143 officers, of whom 2,914 were identified by documents in their uniforms. It was the commission’s opinion that the men had been shot to death in the spring of 1940. The Soviet authorities flatly rejected the accusations of the German-appointed commission, arguing that the Germans themselves had committed the deed when they had occupied the area in July 1941.

In mid-April 1943, when the Polish government-in-exile demanded that an investigation of the Katyn killings be made by the International Red Cross, the Soviet Union reacted on April 25 by severing relations with the government-in-exile. This step would have far-reaching effects on relations between the Soviet Union and Poland.

In November of that year, several months after the Red Army had liberated the area, the Soviet Union appointed a commission of inquiry of its own, which blamed the Germans for the Katyn murders. A United States congressional inquiry in the early 1950s found the NKVD (the Soviet secret police) responsible, and most Western historians now believe that the massacre was committed at the behest of the Soviet authorities.

In 1944, having retaken the Katyn area from the Nazis, the Soviets exhumed the Polish dead again and blamed the Nazis. The rest of the world took its usual sides in such arguments.


On March 8, 1989, the Polish government officially accused the NKVD of perpetrating the slaughter.

In 1989, with the collapse of Soviet Power, Gorbachev finally admitted that the Soviet NKVD had executed the Poles, and confirmed two other burial sites similar to the site at Katyn. Stalin's order of March 1940 to execute by shooting some 25,700 Poles, including those found at the three sites, was also disclosed with the collapse of Soviet Power. Following Michael Gorbochov’s Glasnost policy, the Soviet Union released documents indicating that it was responsible for the massacre at Katyn.

This particular second world war slaughter of Poles is often referred to as the "Katyn Massacre" or the "Katyn Forest Massacre".




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TOPICS: VetsCoR
KEYWORDS: army; beria; civilians; communism; communists; freeperfoxhole; germany; katyn; katynmassacre; massacre; michaeldobbs; nkvd; poland; russia; samsdayoff; ss; stalin; ussr; veterans
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THE HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF KATYN


For the West, the Katyn Massacre was a signal, inceptive incident in the wartime doubt in Western minds about the motives and methods of the Soviet Union. The visualized image of prisoners-of-war, bound and gagged, being forced down onto stacks of fresh corpses of their murdered friends--heaped like so much garbage--then to be shot through the back of their heads was a specter which could not be comfortably or completely ignored and forgotten.


Such wartime disturbance and distrust served as a foundation for the postwar East-West antagonism which became known as "the cold war." Katyn was also important for its subsequent, periodic use as a compelling example of Marxist-Leninism's threat to liberal, Western society and institutions.



History

Under the German-Soviet pact Poland was divided; the Soviets took, and absorbed into the Soviet Union, the eastern half (Byelorussia and the West Ukraine), the Germans incorporated Pomerania, Posnania and Silesia into the Reich whilst the rest was designated as the General- Government (a colony ruled from Krakow by Hitler's friend, Hans Frank).



In the Soviet zone 1.5 million Poles (including women and children) were transported to labour camps in Siberia and other areas. Many thousands of captured Polish officers were shot at several secret forest sites; the first to be discovered being Katyn, near Smolensk.

The Germans declared their intention of eliminating the Polish race (a task to be completed by 1975) alongside the Jews. This process of elimination, the "Holocaust", was carried out systematically. All members of the "intelligentsia" were hunted down in order to destroy Polish culture and leadership (many were originally exterminated at Oswiencim - better known by its German name, Auschwitz).



Secret universities and schools, a "Cultural Underground", were formed (the penalty for belonging to one was death). In the General Government there were about 100,000 secondary school pupils and over 10,000 university students involved in secret education.

The Polish Jews were herded into Ghettos where they were slowly starved and cruelly offered hopes of survival but, in fact, ended up being shot or gassed. In the end they were transported, alongside non-Jewish Poles, Gypsies and Soviet POWs, to extermination camps such as Auschwitz and Treblinka; at Auschwitz over 4 million were exterminated. 2000 concentration camps were built in Poland, which became the major site of the extermination programme, since this was where most of the intended victims lived.


Many non-Jewish Poles were either transported to Germany and used as slave labour or simply executed. In the cities the Germans would round-up and kill indiscriminately as a punishment for any underground or anti-German or pro-Jewish activity. In the countryside they kept prominent citizens as hostages who would be executed if necessary. Sometimes they liquidated whole villages; at least 300 villages were destroyed. Hans Frank said, "If I wanted to put up a poster for every seven Poles shot, the forests of Poland would not suffice to produce the paper for such posters."


Despite such horror the Poles refused to give in or cooperate (there were no Polish collaborators as in other occupied countries). The Polish Underground or AK (Armia Krajowa or Home Army) was the largest in Europe with 400,000 men.

Long Live Poland!


The Jewish resistance movement was set up separately because of the problem of being imprisoned within the ghettos. Both these organisations caused great damage to the Nazi military machine. Many non-Jewish Poles saved the lives of thousands of Jews despite the fact that the penalty, if caught, was death (in fact, Poland was the only occupied nation where aiding Jews was punishable by death).




Monument at Katyn


Katyn Forest Mass Graves

Clic on the map graphic above to reach a clickable interactive map (once there, use scroll bars) with further details on the mass killings at Katyn




Katyn Monument in New Jersey
The bronze soldier, bayoneted rifle sprung from his back, stands atop a granite base which holds Katyn soil. The statue's effect is as its creator wished it to be: "Like an explosion."



Today's Educational Sources and suggestions for further reading:

http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/wwii
http://archives.ubalt.edu
http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/publications/
http://www.battlefield.ru/library/archives/
http://www.katyn.org.au/n1.html

1 posted on 10/13/2003 4:15:27 AM PDT by snippy_about_it
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: SAMWolf; Matthew Paul


Katyn cannot sleep
hear the lamenting of the slaughtered masses
never forget what happened here

the soul of the Polish nation
was poured out on this forest soil
but it did not die here

you cannot kill the spirit of freedom
or the pride of a nation that desires it


sai


3 posted on 10/13/2003 4:16:49 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: All

4 posted on 10/13/2003 4:17:19 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Matthew Paul; mark502inf; Skylight; The Mayor; Prof Engineer; PsyOp; Samwise; comitatus; ...
.......FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

.......Good Monday Morning Everyone!


If you would like added to our ping list let us know.
5 posted on 10/13/2003 4:18:25 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper Foxhole. How's it going?
6 posted on 10/13/2003 4:30:04 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it
speechless
7 posted on 10/13/2003 4:51:06 AM PDT by Samwise (There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
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To: A. Pole
bump
8 posted on 10/13/2003 4:53:35 AM PDT by snopercod (He not busy being born is busy dying...)
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To: E.G.C.
Good morning EGC.

It's a good morning, no work for me today.
9 posted on 10/13/2003 4:54:50 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Samwise
Good Morning Samwise.

This was a tough one.
10 posted on 10/13/2003 4:57:02 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Bump
11 posted on 10/13/2003 4:58:37 AM PDT by A. Pole
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf
Morning.
Hadn't heard this before.
Did know that the NKVD (later KGB) executed prisoners, but hadn't heard about Katyn.
12 posted on 10/13/2003 4:59:18 AM PDT by Darksheare (Good, Bad, I'm the guy with the Nun.)
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To: snippy_about_it
I'm sure it was difficult to work on. Thank you for doing so. It is just so difficult to realize that such evil exists.

Thank you to everyone in the armed forces for keeping us free.
13 posted on 10/13/2003 5:05:28 AM PDT by Samwise (There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Our nation will prosper or decline in direct proportion
 to our selection of leaders who are guided by the 
Holy Spirit. If we fail to select Godly leaders our destiny will surely be as that of the Roman Empire.
14 posted on 10/13/2003 5:09:22 AM PDT by The Mayor (I asked God for a friend, He gave me all of YOU...)
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To: Samwise; SAMWolf; Matthew Paul
SAM and I have been having conversations with MatthewPaul our FReeper friend in Poland and this came up in conversation.

Of course with Mat still there and SAM's father growing up there during these times it makes it even more poignant for the Foxhole.

I think it's a story we can all consider when we think of our "greatest generation" fighting against this evil like they did. And they are to be honored for it.

The sadder part is that the World Powers left Poland behind after the war was won and Poland had to continue to fight for their own liberation from communism through the 1980's.
15 posted on 10/13/2003 5:20:59 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: A. Pole
Good Morning and thank you for stopping in for today's Foxhole.
16 posted on 10/13/2003 5:21:43 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it

Today's classic warship, USS Alabama (BB-8)

Illinois class battleship
displacement. 11,565 tons
length. 374'10"
beam. 72'5"
draft. 25'0"
speed. 16 k.
complement. 536
armament. 4 13", 14 6", 16 6-pdrs., 4 1-pdrs., 4 .30-cal. mg., 4 18" tt.

The USS Alabama (Battleship No. 8) was laid down on 1 December 1896 at Philadelphia, Pa., by the William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Co.; launched on 18 May 1898; sponsored by Miss Mary Morgan, daughter of the Honorable John T. Morgan, United States Senator from Georgia; and commissioned on 16 October 1900, Capt. Willard H. Brownson in command.

Though assigned to the North Atlantic Station, Alabama did not begin operations with that unit until early the following year. The warship remained at Philadelphia until 13 December when she got underway for the brief trip to New York. She stayed at New York through the New Year and until the latter part of January 1901. Finally, on 27 January, the battleship headed south for winter exercises with the Fleet at the drill grounds in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Fla. Alabama's Navy career began in earnest with her arrival in the gulf early in February. With a single exception in 1904, each year from 1901 to 1907, she conducted Fleet exercises and gunnery drills in the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies in the wintertime before returning north for repairs and operations off the northeastern coast during the summer and autumn. The exception came in the spring of 1904 after the conclusion of winter maneuvers when she departed Pensacola in company with Kearsarge (Battleship No. 5), Maine(Battleship No. 10), Iowa (Battleship No. 4), Olympia (Cruiser No. 6), Baltimore (Cruiser No. 3), and Cleveland (Cruiser No. 19) on a voyage to Portugal and the Mediterranean. After a ceremonial visit to Lisbon honoring the entrance of the Infante into the Portuguese naval school, Alabama and the other three battleships cruised the Mediterranean until mid-August. Returning by way of the Azores, she and her traveling companions arrived in Newport, R. I., on 29 August. Late in September, the warship entered the League Island Navy Yard for repairs. Early in December, Alabama left the yard and resumed cruising with the North Atlantic Fleet.

Near the end of 1907, the battleship set out upon a special mission. On 16 December 1907, she stood out of Hampton Roads in company with what became known as the Great White Fleet. Alabama accompanied the Fleet on its voyage around the South American continent as far as San Francisco. On 18 May 1908 when the bulk of the Fleet headed north to visit the Pacific northwest, she remained at San Francisco for repair at the Mare Island Navy Yard. As a consequence, the warship did not participate in the celebrated visit to Japan. Instead, Alabama and Maine departed San Francisco on 8 June to complete their own, more direct, circumnavigation of the globe. Steaming by way of Honolulu and Guam, the two battleships arrived at Manila in the Philippines on 20 July. In August, they visited Singapore and Colombo on the island of Ceylon. From Colombo, the two battleships made their way, via Aden on the Arabian Peninsula, to the Suez Canal. Through the canal early in September, Alabama and Maine made an expeditious transit of the Mediterranean Sea, pausing only at Naples at mid-month. Following a port call at Gibraltar, they embarked upon the Atlantic passage on 4 October. They made one stop, in the Azores, on their way across the Atlantic. On 19 October as they neared the end of their long voyage, the two battleships parted company. Maine headed for Portsmouth, N.H.; and Alabama steered for New York. Both reached their destinations on the 20th.

Alabama was placed in reserve at New York on 3 November 1908. Though she remained inactive at New York, the battleship was not decommissioned until 17 August 1909. The warship underwent an extensive overhaul that lasted until the early part of 1912. On 17 April 1912, she was placed in commission, second reserve, at New York, Comdr. Charles F. Preston in command. At that point, she became an element of the newly established Atlantic Reserve Fleet. According to that concept, the Navy organized a unit that comprised nine of the older battleships as well as Brooklyn (Armored Cruiser No. 3), Columbia (Cruiser No. 12), and Minneapolis (Cruiser No. 13) for the purpose of keeping those ships constantly ready for active service using the fiscal expedient of severely reduced complements that could be filled out rapidly by naval militiamen and volunteers in an emergency. The unit as a whole possessed enough officers and men to take two or three of the ships to sea on a rotating basis to test their material readiness and to exercise the sailors at drill.

Alabama was placed in full commission on 25 July 1912 and operated with the Atlantic Fleet off the New England coast through the summer. She was returned to reserve status-in commission, first reserve-at New York on 10 September 1912. Late in the spring of 1913, the Navy added a new dimension to the concept of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet by having the warships of that unit embark detachments of the various state naval militias for training afloat in a manner similar in many respects to the contemporary Navy's selected reserve program. During the summer of 1913, Alabama cruised along the east coast and made two round-trip voyages to Bermuda to train naval militiamen from Maryland, the District of Columbia, New York, Rhode Island, Maine, North Carolina, and Indiana. She ended her last training cruise of the year at Philadelphia on 2 September. The battleship was placed in ordinary on 31 October 1913 and in reserve on 1 July 1914.

Though still in commission, she passed the next 30 months in relative inactivity with the Reserve Force, Atlantic Fleet, at Philadelphia. America's shift toward belligerency in World War I, however, brought Alabama out of the doldrums of the peace-time reserve at the beginning of 1917. On 22 January, she became receiving ship at Philadelphia, embarking drafts of recruits for training. In mid-March, the battleship moved south to the lower reaches of the Chesapeake Bay and began transforming landsmen into sailors. She took a brief respite from her rigorous training schedule on 6 April 1917 for the announcement of the United States declaration of war on the Central Powers. Two days later, Alabama became flagship of Division 1, Atlantic Fleet. For the remainder of World War 1, the warship conducted recruit training missions in the lower Chesapeake Bay and in the coastal waters of the Atlantic seaboard, though she made one visit to the Gulf of Mexico in late June and early July of 1918.

After the armistice on 11 November 1918, her recruit training duties continued but began to diminish somewhat in intensity. During February and March of 1919, the battleship steamed south to the West Indies for winter maneuvers. She returned to Philad elphia in mid-April for routine repairs before heading for Annapolis to embark Naval Academy midshipmen for their summer training cruise. On 28 and 29 May, Alabama made the short trip from Philadelphia to Annapolis. She left Annapolis on 9 June with 184 midshipmen embarked. During the first part of the cruise, Alabama visited the West Indies and made a trip through the Panama Canal and back. In mid-July, she voyaged to New York and the New England coast. August saw her return south or maneuvers at the drill grounds. Alabama disembarked the midshipmen at Annapolis at the end of August and returned to Philadelphia.

After more than nine months at Philadelphia lingering in a sort of naval purgatory, the battleship was finally decommissioned on 7 May 1920. On 15 September 1921, Alabama was transferred to the War Department to be used as a target, and her name was struck from the Navy list. Subjected to aerial bombing tests in Chesapeake Bay by planes of the Army Air Service, the former warship sank in shallow water on 27 September 1921. On 19 March 1924, her sunken hulk was sold for scrap.


17 posted on 10/13/2003 5:21:59 AM PDT by aomagrat (IYAOYAS)
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To: Darksheare
Morning Darksheare.

I hadn't heard of Katyn either, not specifically anyway. It's not spoken of or written about much.
18 posted on 10/13/2003 5:25:22 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: The Mayor
Good Morning Mayor.
19 posted on 10/13/2003 5:25:41 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: aomagrat
Good morning aomagrat. Good photo of the phosphorus bomb.
20 posted on 10/13/2003 5:27:08 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
The NKVD was famous for shootng Germans who were captured, or surrendered, to them.
That I was aware of.
Had also heard it stated that Stalin had thousands executed, but not like this.
Thankfully, he died of a stroke or such.
Alittle too late to help the Poles, but it at least saved others.
21 posted on 10/13/2003 5:28:28 AM PDT by Darksheare (Good, Bad, I'm the guy with the Nun.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Present!
22 posted on 10/13/2003 5:29:50 AM PDT by manna
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To: manna
Good morning manna.
23 posted on 10/13/2003 5:35:53 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Mornin' Snippy!!
24 posted on 10/13/2003 6:03:12 AM PDT by SCDogPapa (In Dixie Land I'll take my stand to live and die in Dixie)
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To: Darksheare
There is much talk about the evil of Hitler but we can't forget Stalin and hopefully this thread points that out.
25 posted on 10/13/2003 6:08:08 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SCDogPapa
Good morning SCDogPapa, good to see you "fall in" to the Foxhole.
26 posted on 10/13/2003 6:08:35 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: Darksheare; snippy_about_it; Samwise; SAMWolf; Matthew Paul
There had been meetings in March 1940, during which the Soviet NKVD shared its well-practiced terror and extermination technology with the Nazi SS. (The only Nazi "improvement" over Soviet extermination methods was the use of poison gas.)

These sentences jumped out at me, since we have the spector of Nazi name calling fresh on the front page. In reality, there was little difference between the Nazi approach and the Soviet approach to conquered people.

Politics being what it is, history reviles the Nazi movement, but winks at the communist trail of tears. Occasionally you will hear a mention of some forgotten purge from the Soviet Union or Red China.

In reality, Stalin and Mao have both killed more innocent civilians than Hitler. When Saddam was looking for a leader to emulate, he chose Stalin and the NKVD. More brutal, almost as efficient as the Nazis.

"Never Forget" should be applied to the true history of Communism and its offspring. Great job!

27 posted on 10/13/2003 6:08:41 AM PDT by texas booster (What is the over/under on how many days before the election is certified?)
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To: snippy_about_it
On This Day In History


Birthdates which occurred on October 13:
1537 Jane Grey, Queen of England for 9 days
1754 Mary Ludwig Hayes American Revolutionary War heroine Molly Pitcher.
1769 Horace H Hayden cofounded 1st dental college
1853 Lillie Langtry [Jersey Lily], vaudevillian actress
1885 Harry Hershfield Cedar Rapids Iowa, cartoonist (Can You Top This?)
1889 Douglass Dumbrille Hamilton Ont, actor (Mr Deeds Goes to Town)
1890 Conrad Richter writer (The Light in the Forest)
1891 Irene Rich Buffalo NY, actress (Beau Brummell, Champ)
1902 Arna Bontemps Louisiana, black author (100 years of negro freedom)
1902 Franco Giorgetti Italy, cyclist (Olympic-gold-1920)
1909 Herblock (Herbert L Block) political cartoonist
1911 Ticker Freeman Paterson NJ, pianist (Dinah Shore Show)
1912 Hugo Weisgall Ivancice Moravia, composer (4 Impressions)
1915 Cornel Wilde actor (High Sierra, 5th Musketeer)
1917 Burr Tillstrom Chic Ill, puppeteer (Kukla, Fran & Ollie)
1917 Laraine Day Roosevelt Utah, actress (Dr Kildare, I've Got a Secret)
1920 Albert Hague Berlin Germany, actor (Mr Shorofsky-Fame)
1920 Nipsey Russell Atlanta Ga, comedian (Car 54, Barefoot in the Park)
1921 Harper MacKay Boston Mass, orch leader (NBC Follies)
1921 Yves Montand France, actor/singer (Z, Napoleon, Grand Prix)
1922 Alan Scott Haddonfield NJ, TV host/songwriter (Spin the Picture)
1924 Terry Gibbs Brooklyn NY, orch leader (Steve Allen Comedy Hour)
1925 Frank Gilroy American writer (Subject Was Roses)
1925 Lenny Bruce comedian, arrested on obscenity charges
1925 Margaret Thatcher (Tory) British PM (1979-90) Iron Lady
1927 Anita Kerr Memphis TN, singer (Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour)
1931 Ed Matthews Hall of Famer/Milwaukee Brave/HR hitter (512)
1936 Cliff Gorman Jamaica NY, actor (Boys in the Band, Angel)
1938 Jim McMullan Long Beach NY, actor (Dr McDaniel-Ben Casey)
1939 Melinda Dillon Hope Ark, actress (Close Encounters, Slap Shot)
1942 Pamela Tiffin Oklahoma City, actress (Viva Max!)
1942 Paul Simon Newark NJ, singer/actor (Kodachrome, 1 Trick Pony)
1946 Demond Wilson Valdosta Ga, actor (Sanford & Son, Baby I'm Back)
1946 Lacy J Dalton country singer (Blue Eyed Blues)
1948 Leona Mitchell Enid Okla, soprano (Musetta-La Boh‚me)
1949 Sammy Hagar singer-musician (Van Halen-Jump)
1959 Marie Osmond Ogden Ut, singer/actress (Paper Roses, Goin' Coconuts)
1961 Jerry Rice NFL receiver (SF 49ers) (Super Bowl XXIII, XXIV, XXIX); NFL individual record: touchdown receptions: career [131], season [22]; Super Bowl records: career: yards gained [215], points scored: [42], touchdowns scored [7], TDs in one game [3]...and counting
1962 Kelly Preston Hawaii, actress (Mischief, Twins, A Tigers Tale)
1965 Cherelle rocker (Affair-First Bite)
1969 Cady McClain Burbank Calif, actress (Dixie Martin-All My Children)



Deaths which occurred on October 13:
54 Claudius Roman Emperor, dies
1601 Tycho Brahe greatest naked-eye observer, dies in Prague
1795 William Prescott American Revolutionary soldier, dies
1974 Ed Sullivan TV host (Ed Sullivan Show), dies at 73
1979 Clarence Muse actor (Sam-Casablanca), dies at 90
1988 Mike Venezia jockey, dies in 5th-race fall at Belmont Race Track, NY
1989 Jay Ward animator (Rocky & His Friends), dies at 69 of cancer



Reported: MISSING in ACTION

1966 BORDEN MURRAY L.---GOLDSBORO NC.
1966 MEADOWS EUGENE T.---HIDDENITE NC.
[REMAINS RETURNED 11/94]
1967 MILLER EDISON WAINRIGHT---CLINTON IA.
[02/12/73 RELEASED BY DRV INJURED]
1967 WARNER JAMES H.---YPSILANTI MI.
[03/73 RELEASED BY DRV "ALIVE IN 98 "HONORABLE JAMES WARNER"]
1968 HUNT JAMES D.---MISSOULA MT.
1968 MASTERSON MICHAEL J.---EPHRAYA WA.
1968 ORELL QUINLEN R.---BARNESVILLE OH.
1969 GETCHELL PAUL E.---PORTLAND ME.
1970 CHESTNUT JOSEPH L.---MURFREESBORO TN.
[REMAINS RETURNED/IDENTIFIED 07/25/95]

POW / MIA Data & Bios supplied by
the P.O.W. NETWORK. Skidmore, MO. USA.


On this day...
1307 French king Philip IV convicts Knights Templar of heresy
1399 Henry IV of England is crowned
1483 Rabbi Issac Abarbanel starts his exegesis on the Bible
1629 Dutch West Indies Co grants religious freedom in West Indies
1775 Continental Congress orders construction of a naval fleet
1792 Washington lays cornerstone of the Executive Mansion (White House)
1812 Battle of Queenston Heights
1843 B'nai B'rith founded in NY
1845 Texas ratifies a state constitution
1860 1st aerial photo taken in US (from a balloon), Boston
1864 Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby robs train near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
1903 Pirates beats Pilgrims (Red Sox) 5 games to 3 in 1st World Series
1914 Boston Braves sweep Phila A's, 1st sweep in World Series history (World Series #11)
1915 Boston Red Sox beat Phila Phillies, 4 games to 1 in 12th World Series
1919 Race riot at Elaine Arkansas
1921 NY Giants beat NY Yankees, 5 games to 3 in 18th World Series
1941 Nazis kill 11,000 Jewish children/old people
1943 Italy declares war on former ally Germany
1944 US 1st army begins battle of Aachen
1947 "Kukla, Fran & Ollie" premieres
1947 NHL All Star Game - All Stars beat Toronto Maple Leafs
1953 Burglar alarm-ultrasonic or radio waves-patented-Samuel Bagno
1957 German Dem Rep recalls the East Mark & issues new currency
1960 3rd presidential debate with Nixon in Hollywood & Kennedy in NY
1960 Pirate's Mazeroski's bottom of 9th lead off HR beats NY Yankees 10-9 in game 7 of 57th World Series
1960 Opponents of Fidel Castro executed in Cuba
1962 "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" opens on Broadway, with Uta Hagen
1963 "Beatlemania" is coined after the Beatles appear at the Palladium
1964 Voskhod 1 crew returns
1969 Soyuz 8 is launched
1970 Angela Davis arrested in NYC
1971 1st world series night game (Pittsburgh 4-Baltimore 3) (World Series #68)
1972 Aeroflot Il-62 crashes in large pond outside Moscow, 176 die
1972 Uruguay to Chile plane crashes in Andes Mountain, (12/23 rescue)
1973 Teri Garr appears on Bob Newhart Show in "Emily in for Carol"
1978 James Earl Ray, assassin of Martin Luther King weds Anna Sandhu
1978 Tiros N, US's 1st 3rd generation weather satellite, is launched
1978 Graig Nettles at 3rd makes many spectactular plays in WS game 3 as Guidry beats Dodgers, after trailing 2 games to 0 Yanks win next 4
1980 Unprovoked slayings of 6 blacks in Buffalo, NY
1981 Vice President Hosni Mubarak elected president of Egypt
1982 IOC restores 2 gold medals from 1912 Olympics to Jim Thorpe
1982 NJ Devils 1st short handed goal-Don Lever
1984 Blackhawk Bill Gardner scores on 10th penalty shot against Islanders
1984 John Henry becomes 1st thoroughbred to win $6 million
1984 STS 41-G mission; lands at Kennedy Space Center
1986 25th NY, NL appearance in World Series (Mets vs A's) (World Series #83)
1987 1st military use of trained dolphins (US Navy in Persian Gulf)
1987 Costa Rican Pres Oscar Arias wins Nobel Peace Prize
1988 Concert at Masada ends Israel's 40th-anniversary fest
1989 Dow Jones down 190.58 points
1990 1st Russian Orthodox service in 70 yrs held in St Basil's Cathedral
1991 Blue Jay Cito Gaston is 1st manager ejected in a playoff game



Holidays
Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

Burundi : Hero of the Nation Day
Western Samoa : White Sunday (2nd Sunday) (Sunday)
Canada : Thanksgiving Day (Monday)
Florida : Farmers' Day (1915) (Monday)
Hawaii : Discoverer's Day (Monday)
US : Columbus Day (1492) (Monday)
Virgin Is & Puerto Rico : Friendship Day (Monday)
US : Sweetest Week (Day 2)
Home-Based Business Week Begins
Polish-American Heritage Month
Spinal Health Month



Religious Observances
Ang, RC : Commem of St Edward the Confessor, king of England (1042-66)



Religious History
539 (BC) The Persian armies of Cyrus the Great captured Babylon. (Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar, was the former military scourge which had taken Judah into exile in 586 BC (see 2 Kings 25).
1670 In Virginia, slavery was banned for Negroes who arrived in the American colonies as Christians. (The law was repealed in 1682.)
1843 B'nai B'rith ("Sons of the Covenant") was established in New York City by a group of German Jews. It is both the oldest and the largest of the Jewish fraternal organizations.
1917 The Virgin Mary last appeared to three shepherd children near Fatima, Portugal. Six visions had occurred between May and October, each on the 13th of the month. (This last vision was attended by over 50,000 pilgrims.)
1988 The Bishop of Turin, Italy announced that the Shroud of Turin, long believed to be Christ's burial sheet, did not withstand scientific testing. It dated back only to 1280, and not to the time of Jesus' crucifixion (ca. AD 30-33).

Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.


Thought for the day :
"He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet."


You Might Be a Redneck if...
You think a woman who is "out of your league" bowls on a different night


Murphys Law of the day...
Never stand between a fire hydrant and a dog.


Astounding fact #79,037...
Tennessee is bordered by more states than any other.
The eight states are Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
28 posted on 10/13/2003 6:11:57 AM PDT by Valin (I have my own little world, but it's okay - they know me here.)
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To: Valin
Good morning Valin.

Thought for the day :
"He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet."

Good one.

29 posted on 10/13/2003 6:15:17 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: texas booster
..history reviles the Nazi movement, but winks at the communist trail of tears.

Well said texas booster, we don't hear enough about the evil of communism. The uneducated in our own country need to learn this lesson more than the rest of the world.

30 posted on 10/13/2003 6:18:29 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning

Given that it IS monday I'd prefer to hold off a bit before making any judgements.
31 posted on 10/13/2003 6:27:51 AM PDT by Valin (I have my own little world, but it's okay - they know me here.)
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To: texas booster
You got to remember Pol Pot from Cambodia, one of Jane Fonda's heros.
32 posted on 10/13/2003 7:05:02 AM PDT by U S Army EOD (Nuke the gay,black, feminist, whales for Jesus)
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To: Valin
Where is your optimism? You got out of bed right? It's a good day. :)
33 posted on 10/13/2003 7:10:50 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: msdrby
ping
34 posted on 10/13/2003 7:14:31 AM PDT by Prof Engineer (Always use the word Impossible with the greatest caution ~ Werner Von Braun___ 5/14/04 Baby Moot '04)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good Morning Snippy.

Excellent job on the Katyn Massacre. Beautiful Poem.

I heard about Katyn, the Uprising and the Soviet occupation from my Dad as a child when I was old enough to ask why he hated the Russians so much.
35 posted on 10/13/2003 7:30:50 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf
Good morning, all ..

A grim thread this morning but I hope you are enjoying your holiday. I'm supposed to have one but am here at the office instead. It's also moving week so there are millions of things to do and not much time in which to do them!

36 posted on 10/13/2003 7:33:03 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg ("I like a man who grins when he fights." - Sir Winston Churchill)
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To: snippy_about_it
Ouch...what a depressing, heart-rending topic to research and report on.

Those of us who studied the Russians/Soviets have always known the depths of depravity to which they could sink. That a Katyn Massacre could and did happen did not surprise us. And yet, it did. Each time I learned something new about them, my stomach would do flip-flops.

This may be one of the things that has fueled my desire to see freedom and liberty flourish world-wide, and why I am so in favor of freeing opressed peoples everywhere...why the pictures of happy people coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan make me feel so good...

It's fitting that Poland was the first Soviet satellite to throw off the chains of opression.

37 posted on 10/13/2003 7:34:47 AM PDT by HiJinx (If you're not making waves, you're not kicking hard enough.)
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To: snippy_about_it; Darksheare
And the thing that makes it relevant today?

Stalin is/was an admired role model for one Saddam Hussein.
38 posted on 10/13/2003 7:37:38 AM PDT by HiJinx (If you're not making waves, you're not kicking hard enough.)
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To: texas booster
When Saddam was looking for a leader to emulate, he chose Stalin and the NKVD. More brutal, almost as efficient as the Nazis.

You beat me to making the connection!

39 posted on 10/13/2003 7:38:55 AM PDT by HiJinx (If you're not making waves, you're not kicking hard enough.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Remembering Katyn

In Soviet documents recently obtained by the Hoover Institution, the details of one of the bloodiest crimes of Stalin's reign of terror have come to light.

For those who lived through World War II, and for many who did not, the Katyn Massacre carries a sinister resonance. The most notorious of Stalin's wartime atrocities, the massacre was falsely attributed to Hitler through a scarcely credible but widely believed piece of Soviet disinformation.

In April 1940, nearly twenty-two thousand Polish prisoners were rounded up, transported to Katyn and various other sites, and executed. They included army officers, civil servants, landowners, policemen, ordinary soldiers, and prison officers. They were lined up, made to dig their own mass graves, and shot in the back of the neck. The victims were never tried or presented with any charges. The executions were ordered personally by Stalin in a memorandum dated March 5, 1940, to Lavrenti Beria, the head of the NKVD (predecessor of the KGB). Per Stalin's instructions, the prisoners were to receive the "supreme measure of punishment—shooting."


The full facts became widely accessible to researchers with the acquisition of millions of sheets of Soviet secret documents by the Hoover Institution, known as Fond 89. Many of these documents were made available to me while I was at work on The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire. The full story is worth telling.

The mass grave in Katyn Forest was discovered by the occupying Nazi forces in 1943. The disinterment of more than four thousand corpses was an unexpected gift to Goebbels's propaganda machine, which broadcast the story to the outside world—to the embarrassment not only of Stalin but of his wartime allies Roosevelt and Churchill. Roosevelt dismissed the Nazi claims as "German propaganda and a German plot." Churchill was less explicit: "The less said about that the better."

There the matter lay—until March 3, 1959, when Aleksandr Shelepin, then head of the KGB, gave full details in a secret memo to Krushchev of the numbers executed. The total was 21,857 killed:

4,421 in the Katyn Forest (Smolensk region)
3,820 in the Starobelsk camp (near Kharkov)
6,311 in the Ostashkovo camp (Kalinin region)
7,305 in other camps and prisons in western Ukraine and western Belorussia

A curious but related episode deserves notice. In 1972, a private group in London resolved to build a monument to the victims of Katyn. The original plan was to place the monument in Kensington, one of London's best-known tourist areas. At first, the Council of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea gave permission for the plan to go ahead. Permission was withdrawn, however, under pressure from the Foreign Office.

It is now known, through the Hoover Institution's Soviet archives, that the Foreign Office pressure was itself the outcome of pressure from Moscow. There was an exchange of telegrams on September 7, 1972, between the Soviet Politburo and the Soviet ambassador in London. The Kremlin's message started as follows:

Reactionary circles in England are again undertaking attempts for anti-Soviet purposes to stir up the so-called "Katyn Affair." To this end the campaign to collect funds for the construction of a "Memorial to the Victims of Katyn" in London is being made use of.
In his reply, the Soviet ambassador stated that the attention of the British government had already been drawn to attempts to whip up an anti-Soviet campaign based on "the inventions—long ago exposed—of the Goebbels propaganda machine concerning the so-called 'Katyn affair.'"



Stalin's orders were unambiguous. The Polish prisoners were to receive the "supreme measure of punishment—shooting."




On September 8 the Politburo drafted a further statement, which contained the following passage:

The above-mentioned anti-Soviet campaign cannot but arouse justified feelings of profound indignation in the Soviet Union, whose people made enormous sacrifices for the sake of saving Europe from fascist enslavement.
Foreign Office pressure on the borough resulted and permission was withdrawn. Four years later—in 1976—the Katyn memorial was in fact built, in the cemetery at Gunnersbury on the outskirts of London. The project was supervised by the National Association for Freedom (later, the Freedom Association). Presumably under pressure from the Foreign Office, the British Defense Ministry forbade former members of the British armed forces to don their uniforms for the launching ceremony. This negative order was ignored by several ex-servicemen, without further consequences.

On April 13, 1990, the Soviet authorities at last admitted responsibility for the massacres at Katyn and elsewhere, although the figure cited in the relevant statement—"around 15,000"—fell short of the real total by more than 6,000. The admission came in a statement by the Tass news agency, with the personal authority of then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The statement referred to only three of the prison camps involved: Smolensk, Voroshilovgrad, and Kalinin. It claimed that the authorities had knowledge of the killings through "recently discovered documents." "Direct responsibility for the crime" was ascribed to Beria. The statement ended "The Soviet side, expressing profound regret over the Katyn tragedy, declares that this was one of the gravest crimes of Stalinism."

At a meeting in Moscow that day, Gorbachev presented Polish president General Wojciech Jaruzelski with copies of the NKVD's lists of names of Polish internees in the three camps mentioned. The Polish government issued a statement declaring that the question of responsibility for the massacre had "weighed particularly painfully" on Polish-Soviet relations and that the "long-awaited" Soviet admission made possible a relationship based on "partnership and true friendship." The statement went on: "Reconciliation can only be built on truth." It is surely fair to add that the Tass statement—although useful for relations between the ailing Soviet Union and its Polish satellite—was true but not the whole truth. Only three of the localities involved were named, and the total given fell short of the true figure.



In 1990, fifty years after the fact, the Kremlin finally admitted Soviet complicity in the killings in the Katyn Forest.




The Polish statement was striking not only for its content but because it had been drafted under the authority of Jaruzelski—a communist leader installed under Soviet protection. In September of that year, he was forced to resign and in December he was replaced as president by the elected anticommunist leader Lech Walesa.

Postscript

In his 1959 memo to Krushchev, KGB head Shelepin noted that Soviet propaganda efforts to blame the Katyn massacre on the Germans had "taken firm root in international public opinion." To keep the truth from coming out, Shelepin recommended that all records pertaining to the murdered Poles be destroyed. In other words, "We did it, but the world believes the Germans did. Therefore, leave the story as its stands." Thankfully, the documents were not destroyed and we now know the truth about Katyn.

Brian Crozier
40 posted on 10/13/2003 7:41:51 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: E.G.C.
Morning E.G.C. More rain for today.
41 posted on 10/13/2003 7:42:42 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: Samwise; snippy_about_it
Morning Samwise.

Snippy had a tough time working on this thread. It's not an easy subject to research and not be affected by it emotionally.
42 posted on 10/13/2003 7:46:07 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: snopercod
Morning Snopercod. Thanks for the bump
43 posted on 10/13/2003 7:47:27 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: Darksheare
Mornig Darksheare. The NKVD and the Communists in general were mastere at mass murder. They could outdo the Nazi's at it.
44 posted on 10/13/2003 7:49:09 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: The Mayor
Morning Mayor. Thinnk I'll grab a double dose this morning.
45 posted on 10/13/2003 7:49:51 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: SAMWolf
I heard about Katyn, the Uprising and the Soviet occupation from my Dad...

...and thank you SAM for sharing it with me. I learn a lot, not just from the Foxhole but from time spent in conversation with you and I value that education greatly.

46 posted on 10/13/2003 7:50:30 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: aomagrat
Morning aomagrat.

Nice touch with the "hugh" ALABAMA over the bridge. What was with that?
47 posted on 10/13/2003 7:52:45 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: manna
Hi Manna!


48 posted on 10/13/2003 7:54:05 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg; SAMWolf
Thank you Colonel, yes it's a grim thread but many of ours are. You can't tell the story of sacrifices for freedom without some sadness.

On a lighter note:
Any day off work is a good one. Sorry you have to work today but glad to see moving week has finally arrived.

btw-I received a "marginal defeat" yesterday after a gruelling (for the Japanese) 8 hours of battle at Wake Island. Not too shabby for a beginner. I'm having a great time even when I lose!! :)
49 posted on 10/13/2003 7:56:56 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SCDogPapa
Morning SCDogPapa
50 posted on 10/13/2003 7:57:14 AM PDT by SAMWolf (Friction is a drag.)
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