Define and justifythe proposed research:The proposedresearch of this project is the Battle of Warsaw 1920. This battle refers tothe decisive Polish victory in the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) over SovietRussia. During this, Poland which was on the brink of total defeat, repulsedand defeated the invading Red Army. The Polish army, led by Józef Pi?sudski,battled with the Red Army, commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky, in Poland’scapital. As Poland aimed to preserve its newly regained independence that waslost in the 1785 partitions of Poland and carve out the borders of a newmultinational federation, the Bolsheviks gained the upper hand in the RussianCivil War.
Vladimir Lenin saw Poland as a bridge to bring communism to Centraland Western Europe. A victory in Warsaw for the Soviets would lead to thedeliverance of communism into Western Europe by Vladimir Lenin but due to theirdefeat the spread of communism was temporally halted.Identify the aims of your research:1. Iplan to research and learn about the main events of the battle such as the 1stcavalry breakthrough of Polish lines in June 1920 and the Polish counterattackfrom the south in Warsaw and the nearby Modlin Fortress.2. To investigate the different types ofwarfare (eg.
weapons, tactics, etc.) used at the Battle, and the impact thatthese had on the outcome of the battle for all.3. To investigate the consequences of thedeliverance of communism into Western Europe by Vladimir Lenin and therelationship between Soviet Russia and Poland prior to the Polish-Soviet war.4. I also plan to improve on my analyticalskills throughout this project. Intended approach:I plan on ordering a copy of Norman Davies’,’White Eagle, Red Star’, off Amazon.co.
uk to use as my main source. Historiansclaim this book to be one of the best English-language monographs on thePolish-Soviet war. I also intend to order a copy of Isaac Babel’s, ‘RedCavalry’.
This book focuses on the 1st Cavalry army of Soviet Russiain the Polish-Soviet war in which I previously stated as one of my aims toinvestigate in this project. I plan to take notes using these sources and throughthese notes write a brief synopsis on the main events that transpired duringthe Battle. I will also be using the2011 film ‘The Battle of Warsaw 1920’, as my third source. I hope that thissource will make the battle itself easier to visualise, and thus provide mewith stronger grounds for writing my extended essay. I will then use thesenotes to write up my essay. Once this is done I will consult with my historyteacher and re-draft if necessary. Sources: ‘White Eagle, Red Star: the polish-soviet war, 1919-20’- NormanDavies, published by Macdonald publishing, United States, 1972.
‘RedCavalry’- Isaac Babel, published by W.W Norton Company, United States, 2003.’The battleof Warsaw 1920′- directed by Jerzy Hoffman, Forum Film Poland, released 2011. Evaluation ofSourcesSource 1: White Eagle, Red Star NormanDavies’ novel is a secondary source as it was first published in 1972.
I foundit to be an excellent source as the book disproves the widely-held belief that Polandstarted the war by attacking Soviet Russia which, in my opinion, provides me totrust that this book is fair and unbiased, while also being incredibly detailed.It also revealed the Bolshevik’s plans for spreading their revolution toGermany and beyond – which was one of my aims to investigate. The book presentsan extremely detailed description of the Polish invasion of Ukraine, the Sovietmilitary operations against Poland, the historical Battle of Warsaw and thechanging fortunes of war in Galicia. It contains brilliantly written sketchesof leading figures of the battle such as Tukhachevsky and Budyonny and humanisesthe dreary story of the war by quotations from letters of simple participants. Conveniently,this book contained a bibliography which allowed me to do further in-depthresearch on this topic and related topics.Source 2: 1st CavalryArmyIsaac Babel’snovel is a secondary source as it was first published in 2003.
This bookincluded all the necessary facts about the battle, although ‘White eagle, redstar’, provided me with a broad visualisation of the whole battle whereas thisbook dealt with a particular area of the battle. Nonetheless, the specificity ofthis book provided me with an extremely detailed insight to MikhailTukhachevsky’s plans to capture Warsaw and, also, the life of an exhaustedRussian Red Army soldier during the battle. I did, however, find it difficult tounderstand the language at times. This book provided me with trust that it waswritten fairly and unbiased as the author himself was part of the 1stCavalry army during the battle of Warsaw. However, the book did not contain abibliography which was one of its main inconveniences.Source 3: The Battle of Warsaw1920This movieis also a secondary source as it was first released in 2011. I found the film very useful to watch after readingmy other two sources as it helped me to picture the battle more easily afterseeing an adaptation with my own eyes. This movie, in my opinion, is a wellstructured and composed insight into how the Poles bravely stood before theadvancing Red Army and their plans to plans to deliver communism into WesternEurope.
I found that the numerous musical scenes contributed greatly to theatmosphere of war along with an in-depth visualisation of the battle itself. I alsofelt that some scenes that are set in the halls of the Kremlin, which involveconversations between Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin greatly add to the purityand attention to detail of the movie in the eyes of the audience. The Polish general Józef Pi?sudski is portrayed as a real person,rather than a heroic personification of his erstwhile legend, and in doing so,allows us to reconstruct the legend for ourselves. Extended Essay:The Battle of Warsaw took place in Warsaw,Poland, and the nearby Modlin Fortress from the 13th to the 25thof August 1920. The battle was fought between the Polish army commanded by JózefPi?sudski and the Soviet Red Army commanded byMikhail Tukhachevsky.
Earlier in 1919 and 1920, after World War 1, Polandfought to preserve their newly regained independence, which were lost in the1795 partitions of Poland. At the same time, Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Leninhad gained the upper hand in the Polish civil war. Communism was growingrapidly, and Vladimir Lenin saw Poland as bridge to delivering communism to centraland western Europe. Lenin saw the Polish-Soviet war as the perfect opportunityto fulfil his wish of communism in Europe. When the Polish army leader, JózefPi?sudski, formed an alliance with Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petlyura,and their combined forces pushed into Ukraine, liberating Kiev on May 7,conflicts began to rise between Poland and Russia. As Lenin wished to delivercommunism to Europe, he saw Warsaw as the easiest route to central Europe,especially Berlin. The Red Army called for a mass push towards the Polishcapital, Warsaw. Lenin saw the capture of Warsaw to have an extremely positiveeffect on communist propaganda as it would not only undermine the morals of thePoles, but it would ignite an international series of communist uprisings andprovide a clear path for the Soviets to join the German Revolution.
In earlyJune 1920, the Russian 1st Cavalry army, under Seymon Budyonny brokethrough Polish lines, resulting in a collapse of all Polish fronts. On July 4,1920, Mikhail Tukhachevsky’s front began an all-out attack in Belarus from theBerezina River, forcing Polish defences to retreat. On July 19, the Red Armyseized Grodno, and on July 28 they reached Bia?ystok, which is the largest cityin North-East Poland. On July 22, the Brze?? fortress was captured.
Mikhail Tukhachevsky had planned tosurround and encircle the capital city of Warsaw by crossing the Vistula.Tukhachevsky aimed to attack from the northwest of Warsaw. Tukhachevsky wishedto imitate the classic manoeuvre of Ivan Paskevich who, in 1831, crossed theVistula and reached Warsaw unopposed, crushing the November uprising of 1831.Tukhachevsky had 24 divisions in four armies immobilised and under his command.The red army pushed forward as Gayk Bzhishkyan’s cavalry corps along with the 4tharmy, crossed the Wkra river and advanced towards the town of W?oc?awek. The 3rd and 15th armies approachedModlin Fortress and the 16th moved towards Warsaw. The final Russianassault on Warsaw began on august 12th.
The soviet 16tharmy attacked the the town of Radzymin, which is 23 kilometres east of Warsaw.The Red army were successful in capturing the town of Radzymin, which prompted Józef Pi?sudski to move uphis plans by 24 hours.The first phase of the battle commenced on august12th, with a red army frontal assault on the Praga Bridgehead. Onaugust 14th, Radzymin fell to the red army. Also, the lines of W?adys?aw Eugeniusz Sikorski’s polish 5tharmy were broken. It was a tough, enduring battle for the 5th armyas they held off the 3rd, 4th and 15th sovietarmies until dawn of the 15th of August. The Modlin sector wasreinforced with the Siberian Brigade and General Franciszek Krajowski 18thinfantry. The situation was rectified when the 203rd Uhlan regimentmanaged to break through the red army lines and attack a soviet command post,which resulted in a destruction of a radio station of A.
D Shuvayev’s Sovietarmy. This attack was particularly significant and is sometimes referred to as’The miracle of Ciechanów. At the same time, the polish 1st Armyunder General Franciszek Latinik resisted a direct Red Army assault on Warsawby six rifle divisions. The struggle for Radzymin forced Joseph Haller,commander of the polish Northern Front, to start the 5th army’scounterattack earlier than planned. The second phase of the battlecommenced when the 27th Russian infantry had surprisingly reachedthe village of Izabe?in, 13 kilometres northwest of Warsaw. However, this wasthe closest that Russian forces would come to the capital.
Tukhachevsky, whowas certain that he would be victorious, was falling into Pilsudski’s trap. Forthe Red Army, there were only token Polish resistance in the path of the main Russianadvance north and across the Vistula, on the right flank of the battle. At thesame time, south of Warsaw, on the battle’s left front, the vital link betweenthe North-Western and Southwestern Fronts was much more vulnerable, protectedby the Mozyr Group, a small Soviet force. Meanwhile, Seymon Budyonny, leader ofthe 1st Cavalry Army, a unit much feared by Pilsudski and otherPolish commanders, had disobeyed orders by the Soviet High Command, which atTukhachevsky’s insistence, ordered him to attack Warsaw from the south.
Budyonny blatantly disobeyed this order. Influenced by a grudge betweenTukhachevsky and another commanding general, Alexander Ilyich Yegorov. Thepolitical games of Josef Stalin who, at the time, was the Chief PoliticalCommissar of the south-western front, also influenced the decisions of Budyonnyto disobey his orders. Stalin, in the hope of achieving personal glory, aimedto capture the besieged Lwów, which was an area of industrial importance.Ultimately, Budyonny’s forces marched to Lwów, instead of Warsaw, and thusmissed the battle.
The Polish 5th army thencounterattacked on August 14th, crossing the Wkra. They were facedwith the combined forces of the Soviet 3rd and 15tharmies who were both numerically and technically superior, providing them witha daunting task of battling the Red Army. The struggle at Nasie?k lasted untilAugust 15th and resulted in near complete destruction of the town.However, Soviet forces were halted as they proceeded to advance towards Modlinand Warsaw on the same day that they had captured Nasie?sk. The Polish forcesrecaptured Radzymin, which greatly boosted Polish Morale.
From this moment on, Sikorski’s 5tharmy pushed exhausted Soviet units away from Warsaw, in a Blitzkrieg-likeoperation. Sikorski’s units were given the support of almost all of the smallnumber of mechanised units – armoured cars and tanks – that the Polish armyhad, as well as that of the two Polish armoured trains. The trains were able toadvance rapidly at a speed of 30 kilometres a day, disrupting the Soviet’enveloping’ northern manoeuvre.The battle’s 3rd and final phase ofthe battle commenced with the Polish assault group, commanded by Pilsudskimarching north towards the Wieprz river on August 16th. The small soviet group,The Mozyr, stood in Pilsudski’s way. During the battle, the Mozyr had lost manyof its troops and had been reduced to only one or two divisions covering a 150kilometres front line on the left flank of the soviet 16th army.
Onthe first day of the counteroffensive, only one of the five Polish divisionsreported any type of opposition, while the remaining four, supported by thecavalry brigade, managed to advance 45 kilometres without any Russian troopengagement. By the evening of the 16th of August, the town of W?odawa had been liberated and Soviet Unioncommunication and supply lines had been cut. Pilsudski was extremely surprisedby the extent of these early successes. Pilsudski’s assault groups had managedto cover 70km unopposed in 36 hours. The Mozyr Soviet group had been defeatedwithin the first day of the Polish counterattack. The Polish army realised thatthey had found a huge opening between the Soviet fronts.
They proceeded toexploit it ruthlessly, continuing their northward offensive with two armiesfollowing and falling on the confused enemy.On the 18th of August, in hisheadquarters in Minsk, Tukhachevsky, about 300 miles east of Warsaw realisedthe extent of his defeat and ordered his soldiers to regroup and retreat. Hewished to straighten the front line and improve his logistics in order toregain initiative and push the Poles back, but the situation was well beyondsalvaging. The Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division, in order to cutthe enemy’s retreat, carried out a forced march, going on the move for up to 21hours a day, from Lubartów to Bialystok – covering 262 kilometres in just sixdays. Throughout the march, the Polish army encountered the Russian forcestwice. The Polish forces’ rapid advance allowed them to cut off the Soviet’s 16tharmy, forcing most of its troops to surrender.The Soviet forces in the centre of the front fellinto complete chaos. Although some Russian forces continued to fight their waytowards Warsaw, most troops retreated, lost their cohesion and panicked.
TheSoviet troops has lost contact with Mikhail Tukhachevsky and Soviet plans werethrown into disorder. Only the 15th Russian army remained anorganised force as they attempted to obey Tukhachevsky’s orders. However, itwas defeated twice on the 19th and 20th of August.
Tukhachevsky had no choice but to order a full retreat towards the western Bugriver. By August 21st, all organised resistance ceased to exist andby August 31st, the Soviet southwestern front was entirely routed.