Poles were war he­roes

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

Grow­ing up, I heard many so­called “Po­lak jokes.” They mostly de­picted Pol­ish peo­ple as mo­ronic or slow-witted at the least. Well, the Poles were any­thing but that.

Prior to World War II, the Ger­mans had in­vented an en­cod­ing ma­chine they called Enigma, an ex­tremely com­pli­cated ma­chine us­ing a su­per­flu­ous method of en­cryp­tion for their mil­i­tary mes­sages. Just be­fore the in­va­sion of Poland by the Nazis, Pol­ish pa­tri­ots du­pli­cated an ex­act copy of Enigma which was shipped to Lon­don. In ad­di­tion, they were able to break the codes used, an al­most im­pos­si­ble task from the Ger­man view­point. They had bro­ken the ci­phers even be­fore Bletch­ley Park, staffed by such no­ta­bles as Alan Tur­ing, the in­ven­tor of the mod­ern com­puter.

As hos­til­i­ties fur­ther com­menced, Poles formed an elab­o­rate un­der­ground which ha­rassed the Nazis on all fronts. They, more than any other na­tion on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent, re­sisted the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion, pro­vid­ing Lon­don with in­valu­able in­tel­li­gence.

Dur­ing the Bat­tle of Bri­tain, the Pol­ish 303 Squadron in the Royal Air Force dis­tin­guished it­self by shoot­ing down more Ger­man planes than any other RAF squadron. Win­ston Churchill ac­knowl­edged that they were in­dis­pens­able in de­fend­ing Eng­land dur­ing its “finest hour.”

Later, in the as­sault on Monte Cassino in Italy, af­ter many failed at­tempts by Al­lied forces to take it, the Poles were the ones to fi­nally take it from the Ger­mans.

Their con­tri­bu­tion to the suc­cess of the Al­lied vic­tory was ex­em­pli­fied by their never-end­ing ded­i­ca­tion to the cause of free­dom.

LES BLEDSOE North Lit­tle Rock

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