The Falaise Cauldron is closed. Corporal Grabowski of the 1st Armored Division shakes hands with Private Wellington of the 90th Infantry Division. In Poland, this photograph has become a must-see for all publications dedicated to the Battle of Falaise.
At a time when the Western media call Poland the Trojan donkey of America in Europe, and the Polish are trying with all their might to create a picture of the traditional brotherhood of arms between the armed forces of Poland and the United States, each anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy witnesses a conflict between American and Polish veterans and military historians.
This conflict began on August 19, 1944 in the small French town of Chambois and still cannot end with an ending that suits everyone. Quite the opposite - he is alive, like a blood feud, passed on to more and more generations of Poles. This conflict is a warning against chauvinism, nationalism and "jingoistic" propaganda. This is a warning to all military men who are thinking of publishing their memoirs in order to carefully weigh words and check facts together with historians. Finally, there is a conflict that affects Germans, Americans, Canadians and French; which surrealistically touched equally veterans and historians of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, the Polish People's Republic and modern, calling itself democratic Poland.
When US President Bill Clinton organized a meeting with American WWII veterans in the White House on July 3, 1997, with their help to promote the idea of NATO expansion to the East, he spoke long and warmly about the traditional brotherhood in arms between American and Polish soldiers. rooted in the battles in the fields of Normandy. The notorious American truth-lover, most likely, did not even think that a man was sitting next to him at that time, whose biography became a complete refutation of what was said. Laughlin Waters, retired lawyer and retired United States Army captain, former California deputy attorney general, and former federal judge, was not an ordinary person. He firmly and originally recorded not only in stories American justice, but also in American military history, and especially the final stage of the Battle of Normandy in the summer of 1944.
In August 1944, Captain Waters commanded a company in the US 90th Infantry Division. On the evening of August 19, on the ruins of the French town of Chambois, he shook hands with Major Vladislav Zgorzhelsky from the 1st Armored Division, General. Stanislava Machka. Thus, the Allies entering Chambois from both sides, after a bloody battle, closed the encirclement around the Falaise Cauldron and began to cut off the roads to retreat from Normandy to a 100-strong German group.
It would seem that the NATO lobby cannot find a better candidate for promoting the idea of Polish membership in the North Atlantic Pact. That the Poles, especially those who fought for the kind of Poland that they have now received, should cherish and cherish Judge-Captain Waters. But no - Waters enjoys neither love nor respect either in Poland or among the Polish emigration of the West and America. Quite the opposite - for them he is the number one enemy of the Polish people! What is the reason? Waters has repeatedly expressed his respect and sympathy for the Poles. But on his war memories of the Poles, an unhealing and aching scar was superimposed. A scar that haunted him until his death in 2002, and about which he wrote and spoke openly both in the United States and in Chambois, which Waters visited annually on the anniversary of the August 1944 battles.
Chambois, with its road and rail junction, became for five nations a symbol of one of the bloodiest nightmares of World War II - the Battle of Falaise in August 1944. Chambois, which was jointly taken by American and Polish soldiers, ran between them as a black cat, although their joint stay was limited to three days. But these three days left eight controversial questions in the history and memories of the veterans, the answers to which from the Polish and foreign sides diverge in exactly the opposite way, leaving no room for contact. And the dispute about these issues comes down not so much to the loss of truth as to the loss of conscience.
The historical science of the Polish People's Republic had its own favorite myths related to military history. She loved to bask in the glory of Poland's defenders in 1939; she did not disdain the actions of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, although it was in the western theater of military operations that most of the underwater rocks were hidden, which were not indicated on the maps of the propaganda department of the Central Committee. Debunking myth of the heroic defense of Westerplatte shocked public opinion, but after half a century of brainwashing in the spirit of "national-patriotism", how long will it take to bring the truth to the consciousness of the Poles? WITH the myth of Monte Cassino The Poles parted relatively painlessly - apparently, they got used to substituting a back seat for other people's interests. Submarine Epic Ogel known and interesting only to specialists and amateurs. But now it was Chambois' turn ...
The Battle of Falaise and the capture of Chambois, oddly enough, were overgrown with historical, journalistic and legal myths not only in Poland, but also among the emigre community. There is a widespread opinion among Poles ascribing the closure of the "boiler" to the Polish 1st Armored Division. They either do not mention anything about the Canadian 4th Armored and American 90th Infantry Divisions fighting in the same place, or write about them as losers, dullards and cowards who, for some unknown reason, ended up under Falaise and only got under the feet of the Poles. Never in Poland - neither in that communist, nor in the present, democratic, one publication did not give a word to the Canadian or American participants in the battle, who fought shoulder to shoulder with the Poles in the "Falaise Cauldron". In the meantime, they have something to say about the events of that time, and things that are diametrically opposed to Polish propaganda dogmas - albeit indestructible in the era of the People's Republic of China, but amenable to research at the present time.
Each of the parties to the conflict has its own authorities. There are several of them on the American side, but Captain Laughlin Waters is perhaps the most famous. On the Polish side, this is Colonel Franchiszek Skibinsky. Skibinsky was deputy commander of the 10th armored brigade of the 1st armored division during the battle for Chambois. After the war, he returned to Poland and, with his literary and oratorical talents, won a leading place among the popularizers of military-historical knowledge in general and about the combat path of Polish units on the Western Front in particular. Memories and studies of the battles of Falaise and Chambois can be found on the pages of Skibinsky's five books. On this he was given a kind of monopoly.
The problem, however, is that Skibinsky was not in Chambois - he fought elsewhere. But this circumstance did not prevent him from becoming the unquestioning authority in Poland on the history of the battle. For this, he used the archival materials available to him and the stories of colleagues. Skibinsky also shone on television. Even now, he remains an authority for many history buffs, although they cannot remember the programs with his participation, and the books of his authorship have become difficult to access. In People's Poland, Skibinsky became a general and head of the Historical Bureau of the Ministry of Defense. From the standpoint of authority and monopoly, for many years he "spoke" to the Poles things that American veterans disgustedly brushed aside.
On the other side of the conflict is the American captain Laughlin Waters - unlike Skibinsky, an eyewitness to the events in Chambois, including war crimes. A hereditary lawyer who was prevented by the war from defending his dissertation, Waters commanded the 7th Company of the 2nd Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division of the United States Army in the battles for Chambois. Wounded twice during the liberation of France, discharged from the army on disability, returned to America and completed his dissertation in 1946, after which he made a rapid career. Waters was an unwavering enemy of drug dealers and a defender of corporate-hit citizens. Replacing military courage with civil courage, Waters became famous for winning lawsuits against Los Angeles and Long Beach airports that violated the rights of local residents. Waters was sentenced to death three times by the American mafia.
The list of sins against the Americans Franchisk Skibiński, as well as other Poles who write about the events in Chambois, is unique even in our unprincipled times. Encyclopedic notes about Skibinsky certainly begin with the words: “General of the Polish Army Division, historian". How could a professional military and military historian write about his allies from Chambois that they were cowards and traitors ?! Who, if not a military man, knows better that there is no worse accusation for a soldier than accusation of cowardice and betrayal, and this is how Skibinsky vilifies the Americans who fought in Chambois in the pages of his works. In 1947-1951. Skibinsky was the head of the department of armored forces of the Academy of the General Staff, and in 1957-1964. - Head of the Historical Bureau of the Ministry of Defense. He had the opportunity to get complete information about the 90th Infantry Division and its combat path. It is not true that there were no corresponding publications in the NDP - all significant foreign works on the history of World War II were published in Polish translation. And even if something was not published, then the military attachés at the Polish People's Republic embassies abroad would get the required publications at the request of such a high-ranking official of the Ministry of Defense. Even émigré circles covertly collaborated with researchers in the field of military history.
The American 90th Infantry Division was formed specifically for the landing in France. It was an elite unit, staffed by veterans of amphibious operations in the Pacific Ocean and North Africa. The 90th Division has a wealth of documentation and historiography, as well as an active community of veterans and friends. Any information about her can be checked through the military attaché of the US Embassy in Warsaw, the Polish Institute. Sikorsky in London, Poland's military attaché in Washington, or fellow veterans who settled overseas. Instead, Skibinsky wrote all his life about the 90th Infantry Division, as well as the Canadian 4th Armored Division, in a manner that does no credit to a Polish officer and historian. The shame of his writings is not that it originated in Poland, but that it filled the heads of history buffs and even some veterans of the 1st Armored Division with rubbish. Relying on the isolation of Poland from the outside world, Skibiński (although he was not alone) fabricated a mountain of pseudo-facts on the subject of Chambois that went beyond common sense, legality, general knowledge of history that is now verifiable, the patience of Poland's American allies, and in the end, and ordinary human decency.
And so it continues to this day - the Polish People's Republic is in the past, but still it finds followers who are ready to go beyond the communist propagandists in lies on the subject of Chambois. And just as before, no one writing in Poland about the events of that time speaks to American witnesses of those events.
The Americans, who were the first to enter Chambois, fought in it and liberated most of the city, never took the title of "liberators of Chambois". Only Polish literature calls the Poles as such, although the Poles appeared in it on the evening of August 19, 1944, that is, by the end of the last day of fighting for the city. The release of Chambois is also readily admitted by Canadians, who were not there at all. But the reason for the serious enmity between the Poles and the Americans was not this, but the fate of the German prisoners of war.
The ending should ...