Published: Mon, September 02, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Poland Marks 80th Anniversary of Most Devastating War in Human History

Poland Marks 80th Anniversary of Most Devastating War in Human History

Parallel events, attended by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and European Commission deputy chief Frans Timmermans, were held in the coastal city of Gdansk, site of one of the first battles of the war. Polish president Andrzej Duda and German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, alongside local officials and residents, including survivors of the bombings, observed a minute of silence in memory of an estimated 2,000 victims. Nazi Germany conscripted a slave labor force of about 12 million civilians from German occupied countries who were used in German industry, agriculture and the war economy.

"Wielun was to show what kind of war it would be, that it would be a total war, a war without rules, a destructive war", he said.

Two weeks after the German invasion, the Soviet army invaded Poland from the east, putting the country under a dual occupation that came with atrocities committed by two invaders.

Britain gave Germany, then led by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, an ultimatum to cease military operations in the country.

Poland's prime minister spoke of the need for redress during observances of the start of World War II as he talked about the losses that Poland suffered during nearly six years of Nazi German occupation.

U.S. vice president Mike Pence, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and delegations from up to 40 other countries will attend a sombre remembrance service in Warsaw today, after London mayor Sadiq Khan attended a dawn service near the Westerplatte memorial in Gdansk, marking the place where Nazi and Polish forces first clashed.

A parliamentary commission is now working on a new analysis of the extent of Poland's wartime human and material losses.

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He said that "For this reason we should talk about these losses, we should. demand redress".

Under a policy it calls energy dominance, the administration of President Donald Trump, who cancelled his trip to Warsaw earlier this week, is seeking to slash domestic regulations on energy production to boost oil and gas exports to allies and trade partners.

Also not attending are French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while Russian President Vladimir Putin was not invited - unlike 10 years ago - because of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

When it comes to reparations, however, Berlin believes the case is closed.

A 2020 Trump campaign banner hung on a security barrier at the far perimeter of the square, behind which more than a dozen crowd-goers wearing red "Poland Stands with USA" T-shirts gathered well before the ceremony began.

The Polish presidency had said the commemorations would be attended by around 40 foreign delegations, a few of them led by heads of state.

Before Trump canceled his visit, it was expected he and Duda, the Polish president, would disclose more details of an agreement reached between Washington and Warsaw in June to send an additional 1,000 USA troops to Poland.

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