By Jon E. Lewis (editor)

ISBN-10: 184901003X

ISBN-13: 9781849010030

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Additional resources for World War II: The Autobiography

Sample text

Karol, Polish Army Karol was a fifteen-year-old schoolboy undergoing a compulsory military course when Germany attacked Poland. The camp’s commander . . announced that the war would be a long one and that we would have a chance to fight when we reached eighteen or even twenty-one years of age. For now, however, he wanted some volunteers to protect public buildings, perhaps in Warsaw, thereby freeing a company of the regular army for duty on the front. Every one of us a patriot, we all took a step forward.

We marched around in circles for one week more. Warsaw surrendered on September 27, but we continued our march until October 5, when we found ourselves encircled, along with some detachments of the regular army, by the Germans, near the village of Krzywda (Injustice). The Wehrmacht, for its own amusement or to encourage us to lay down our arms more quickly, sprayed us copiously with bursts of machine-gun fire and bombarded us with grenades. I caught something in the eye almost without noticing it, and without feeling any pain.

Not yet sated, the Soviet Union determined upon invasion of Finland, sending a million men into the “The Winter War”. For three months 170,000 Finnish soldiers resisted the Bear before Finland sued for peace. Their losses were 25,000 dead; the Soviet Union’s 200,000. Aside from some skirmishing on the Franco-German border, elsewhere in Europe the war slipped into quiescence. People talked of the “Phoney War” and more propaganda leaflets were dropped than bombs. British troops sang a hit song, “We’re gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried line”.

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World War II: The Autobiography by Jon E. Lewis (editor)

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