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"Rising '44" is a brilliant narrative account of one of the most dramatic episodes in 20th century history, drawing on Davies' unique understanding of the issues and characters involved. In August 1944, Warsaw offered the Wehrmacht the last line of defence against the Red Army's march from Moscow to Berlin. When the Red Army reached the river Vistula, the people of Warsaw believed that liberation had come. The Resistance took to the streets in celebration, but the Soviets remained where they were, allowing the Wehrmacht time to regroup and Hitler to order that the city of Warsaw be razed to the ground. For 63 days, the Resistance fought on in the cellars and the sewers. Defenceless citizens were slaughtered in their tens of thousands. One by one the City's monuments were reduced to rubble, watched by Soviet troops on the other bank of the river. The Allies expressed regret but decided that there was nothing to be done, Poland would not be allowed to be governed by Poles. The sacrifice was in vain and the Soviet tanks rolled in to the flattened city. It is a hugely dramatic story, vividly and authoritatively told by one of our greatest historians.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780330488631
ISBN-10: 0330488635
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 58mm)
Pages: 784
Imprint: Pan Books
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publish Date: 4-Jun-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » A thorough recounting of what the author considers to be "one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century"-and surely one of the most shameful betrayals in the world annals. By Davies's (History/London Univ.; The Isles, 2000, etc.) account, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 has been all but buried in Western and Russian history books as a source of deep embarrassment. It is not to be confused, he hastens to add, with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of the previous year, an attempt by Jewish partisans to break the Nazi stranglehold on the city. This uprising, equally heroic, involved elements of the underground Polish Home Army, working in collaboration with resistance units and commandos. They aimed to open a great battle within the Polish capital of Warsaw in support of the advancing Red Army, which by August of 1944 was nearing the banks of the Vistula River. They did so: 40,000 Polish fighters went up against a vastly larger German force. The occupiers were not exactly prepared for the uprising, though, as Davies notes, "Capital cities awaiting liberation were dangerous places. Everyone knew that something could erupt at any moment." Astonishingly, the Red Army halted its advance, allowing the Germans to regroup and stop the uprising. Davies charts the course of that great betrayal, which he considers a deliberate effort on the part of the Soviets to crush the non-Communist Polish resistance-which had been highly effective against the Nazi enemy, responsible for the assassination of "a whole grisly gallery of SS and Gestapo men" as well as the deaths of hundreds of ordinary German soldiers. But he also implicates the other Allies; even though Churchill had proposed sending Stalin a message saying, "Our sympathies are aroused for these almost unarmed people whose special faith has led them to attack German tanks, guns, and planes," in the end the West did nothing to save the Home Army. "Every single member of the Allied community [holds] a share of the responsibility" for the betrayal, Davies insists. And here he issues a resounding indictment. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Norman Davies

Norman Davies is a highly esteemed historian, Supernumary Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford and is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Historical Society and Professor Emeritus of London University. He is also the author of several books, including the bestselling Europe: A History and The Isles.

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