Poland on edge 75 years after Hitler and Stalin carved it up

Warsaw residents pay tribute in front of a monument to the Poles who fought Nazi occupation troops in 1944, on August 1, 2014Poland marks the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II Monday with one eye on Russia, which invaded it during the war and is now throwing its weight around in neighbouring Ukraine. From the very first German shells fired at a Polish fort in Gdansk in the early hours of September 1, 1939, to the final days in 1945, Poland suffered some of the worst horrors of the war, chief among them the extermination of most of its Jewish population by the Nazis. Memories of the era have been bubbling to the surface since Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March, and a fierce conflict began in the country’s east. “To use military force against one’s neighbours, to annex their territory, to prevent them from freely choosing their place in the world — this provides a worrying reminder of the dark chapters of Europe’s 20th-century history,” Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said in a newspaper opinion piece ahead of the anniversary.

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