Reflections on life, meaning and purpose

The Communist Bayonet

Mary Against the Marxists, part I

This series is about perhaps the most historically consequential Marian apparition that is very little known. It illustrates how the power of faith and prayers of a nation helps to combat Marxism. The following is a description of the event and a comprehensive yet concise overview of its historical and political context.

On November 11, 1918, Europe lay in ashes after the Great War. Germany was in ruins and was socially and politically unstable with fighting between the Communists and nationalists. Poland had regained her independence after 123 years of not being on the map. This was done with the help of Pope Benedict XV who, throughout the war, helped bring to the world’s attention the persecution of Catholic Poles divided under the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian empires.[1]

But something terrible had happened in Russia, something history has never witnessed. Russia in the east was gripped in civil war between the rising Bolsheviks (Red Russians) and the nationalists (White Russians). The Bolsheviks under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin (a 31st degree freemason) and Leon Trotsky removed the House of Romanov from the Russian throne and, under Lenin’s orders, the former Tsar Nikolas II of Russia and his family were shot and bayoneted to death in July 1918.[2] A week after the end of the war, Leon Trotsky unveiled a plan to export the Bolshevik revolution to the capitalist west.[3] The dawn of hell was rising on earth.

It was precisely about these “errors of Russia” that the Blessed Virgin Mary warned the world at Fatima a year earlier in 1917 when she appeared to three children and then publicly to up to 70,000 people.

After gaining independence, Poland was without clear and defined borders. All that was clear was that it was to exist. Just before its independence, Pope Benedict XV sent a papal nuncio to Warsaw in May, 1918. He was Archbishop Achille Rattiego, the future Pope Pius XI.[4] Marshall Josef Piłsudski, having gained the trust and power over the military, became the de facto President of the new Second Republic of Poland. His ambition was to restore the borders of Poland as they were with the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth before the first partition of Poland in 1772. This was the same commonwealth that was responsible for saving Europe from the Islamic invasion at the battle of Vienna under King Jan Sobieski. Along with this he wanted to create a federation of states with Poland as the leader (called Intermarium) in order to ensure security and strength between imperialist Russia in the east and Germany in the west.

The lack of a defined border created a virtual no man’s land on Poland’s eastern border. This vacuum was quickly filled when the Bolsheviks marched in and took Vilnius in January, 1919 and then Minsk in February. Piłsudski recruited and sent expedited formations of the new Polish army towards the invading Bolsheviks and so begun the Polish-Bolshevik wars, which were more of a series of territorial battles than an all-out war. The Poles retook Vilnius in April, 1919 after three days of street fighting. The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919 establishing Poland’s western boundary. However, the question of the eastern boundary remained open. Piłsudski’s army then took Minsk in August. The new young army using equipment leftover from the First World War achieved several sweeping victories on the battlefield to help secure the new Poland’s eastern border. [5] After retaking all of the Bolshevik-occupied cities, Piłsudski moved his forces to take Kiev in Ukraine on May 1920 in order to keep Ukraine free from Bolshevik control and ensure its place in the federation.

At this point, everything seemed to be going well. Key areas of the eastern border of Poland had been secured from Bolshevik control and the capital of the Ukraine was secured and ready for a Polish-friendly government to take control. Of course, it is easy to forget that during this whole time the Bolsheviks were also continuously fighting an internal civil war against the White Russians. However, the taking of Kiev by Polish forces was a major blow to the Bolsheviks. The beast of the Antichrist was raging mad and ready to go in for an all-out assault. Lenin and Trotsky quickly gathered additional volunteers and directed resources towards the western front against Poland and initiated total war. It was this decision by the Bolsheviks that turned the tide of war and fate. The Poles were pushed out of Kiev the following month (June) and retreated as quickly as they attacked. Piłsudski launched counterattacks but the Polish Army was unsuccessful. Then everything started go downhill from there. Poland as an independent nation was marked for extinction and bolshevization after less than two years of existence. On the brink of social unrest, it was clear that Poland needed to mobilize all material and moral forces of the entire nation in order to avert irreversible destruction.

Polish Bishops turned to Pope Benedict XV to pray for Poland as they faced the enemy that threatened the whole world.[6]  The Polish episcopate also appealed to bishops around the world and received replies from bishops in countries including Italy, Belgium, France and the United States pledging prayers.[7]

On June 19th, 1920, Polish Church Hierarchy, with the attendance of the highest ranking government officials, publicly consecrated the new sovereign Polish fatherland to the heart of Jesus.[8]

Three days later, the Polish Bishops called upon the nation to mobilize, not only in prayers but also in defense of the fatherland and condemned any deserters. The bishop Antoni Julian Nowowiejski wrote to priests:

During danger, services must continue as scheduled, sacraments must be administered and the faithful within and outside of church must be able to rely on God’s help. Neither in times of pandemics or war can priests abandon their duties. In such times it is necessary to be a hero!

Following the appeals of bishops, three thousand Parish Committees of national defense were formed.

All of Europe was in an unstable state and it was clear that the Bolsheviks were going to invade Europe with Marxism. Vladimir Lenin saw Germany as a ripe ground to spread the Communist revolution to the west and throughout the world. There stood but one obstacle in the way: Catholic, nationalist and “bourgeois” Poland, a country that wasn’t even on the map a few years before. The objective was to “liberate” humanity from the natural order and laws of God in order to become slaves of the ideology of the fallen one, Lucifer.

Command of the Bolshevik western front was given to Mikhail Tukhachevski who on July 2nd 1920 gave the famous orders to his solders:

Soldiers of the workers’ revolution – turn your eyes to the west. The fate of world revolution is being decided in the west. Over the corpse of White Poland lies the road to worldwide conflagration. On our bayonets we will carry happiness and peace to working humanity. To the west, to decisive battles, to great victories! Form your ranks, the hour of the offensive to Vilnius, Minsk, and Warsaw has struck. Forward!

Two days later on July 4th the Bolshevik army commenced an attack on Belarus.

In order to help Poland during the war with the Bolsheviks, France and the United States sent military aid to Poland. However, the delivery of this military equipment was sabotaged by socialist railway and port workers in Germany and Czechoslovakia who were looking forward to being “liberated” by the Bolsheviks. The governments of both states silently supported the Bolsheviks. As a matter of fact, from May 1920, Austria, Belgium and Germany had all joined together to prevent transportation of goods to Poland with Belgium even preventing the transport of food.[9] Masonic influence made the western countries reluctant to get involved in the Polish-Bolshevik conflict, especially to the benefit a Catholic nationalist country which stood in the way of the ambitions of a transnational European union.[10] The League of Nations (a predecessor of the United Nations) officially supported acts of sabotage in the shipments of aid to Poland. Western countries naïvely thought that the Bolsheviks would stop at Poland and believed Lenin when he said that Socialism was about peace and that Poland was the imperialist aggressor.[11] Poland was left virtually on its own against the army of Lucifer destroying everything in its path.

From Lord D’Abernon:

Among the erroneous ideas entertained by the Western Powers none was more dangerous than their belief that peace was possible with the Soviet. [12]

However, the Prime Minister of Hungary, Pál Teleki, realized the danger of the Bolsheviks and ordered all stocks of ammunition and all production output to be sent to Poland. Due to the blockade by Czechoslovakia, the shipments were sent through Romania.

Right after the Bolshevik army initiated their attack, Piłsudski called for international help but to no avail due to the shipment blockade.[13] Soon after Poland implemented universal conscription from the ages of 17 to 48 years and reserve officers up to 50. For a country of 15 million there was an army of 1 million soldiers mostly consisting of conscripts and supplemented by the 5th Army which was some 105,741 volunteers. This army was led by General Haller and was comprised of volunteers from villages, Polish students, intellectual elite, citizens of foreign countries such as France, Belgium and America (generally of Polish descent) and women from the Polish League of Women. However, the Bolsheviks still had an advantage. The 5th army of General Haller, in the opinion of the Bolshevik general Tuchaczewski, was:

The weakest in the composition of units and the weakest in spirit. This is hardly surprising – sixteen and seventeen-year-old junior high school students and scouts joined its ranks straight from their school desks.

July 11th, 1920: The Bolsheviks retook Minsk. The same day the British Prime Minister Lloyd George asked the Soviets for an armistice.[14] They rejected this request a week later.

July 14th, 1920: Bolsheviks retook Vilnius after 2 days of battle.

July 19th, 1920: Grodno taken.

The Bolsheviks marched virtually unhindered on their way to Warsaw, leaving devastation on their path. They displaced families, tortured and killed women in their own homes. They especially sought out police, jail wardens and military officers whom they skinned and buried alive.[15] They burned churches and anything to do with Christianity, but left synagogues alone because most officers in the red army were Jewish.[16] The Bolsheviks robbed stores yet sought from the locals the distance to Warsaw.  They asked which are the best stores in Warsaw and their addresses.[17]

July 22nd: the Hungarian Prime Minister Teleki appealed to all of Europe to support Poland in the war against the Bolsheviks.

Three days later, Białystok was taken and the Bolshevik front was only 100 miles from Warsaw. The government of Germany officially banned the transportation of arms and ammunition destined to Poland through its territory. On the same day, an Anglo-French Mission composed of diplomatic and military elements arrived in Warsaw to assist and advise the Polish Government in diplomacy and conducting war. The French military mission was led by seasoned general Maxime Weygand. Among the officers was Charles de Gaulle who served as an instructor of Poland’s infantry and later became the president of France. The diplomatic lead from the British was diplomat Lord Edgar D’Abernon who recalled the following after arriving in Warsaw:

Driving through the town from the station to the British Legation my first impression was that of surprise at the normal aspect of the population. In the streets there was no sign of alarm or panic; no indication that the manhood of the country had been called upon for a supreme effort and was absent on military service. The proportion of the sexes appeared quite normal. The only abnormal feature was the extreme frequency of religious processions. We were held up by these at every street corner.[18]

French General Maxime Weygand wrote:

I admired, in that August 1920, with what zeal the Polish nation fell to its knees in churches and walked in processions along the streets of Warsaw. I have never seen prayer like that in Warsaw in my life.[19]

Weygand was expecting to be given command of the Polish army given his battlefield experience. These expectations were shattered on his first meeting with Piłsudski who asked “How many divisions do you bring?” Weygand had none to offer. Piłsudski rejected the need for military advice from Weygand because “warfare in the East is different from warfare in Flanders.”[20] Lord Edgar d’Abernon described Piłsudski as follows:

The dominant per­sonality here is unquestionably Marshal Pilsudski, Head of the State and Commander-in-Chief of the Army. An astounding career: seven years in Siberia, and a good many months on other occasions in various Russian prisons. An ardent patriot and a man of immense courage and force of character. A pronounced sceptic about orthodox methods, whether applied to military affairs or politics; he loves danger, his pulse only beating at a normal rate when he is in imminent personal peril – at other times at forty to the minute. In appearance so striking as to be almost theatrical. None of the usual amenities of civilised intercourse but all the apparatus of sombre genius. He claims that in actual fighting his methods, though unusual and not in conformity with textbook practice, have invariably proved successful.[21]

After much struggle, Weygand was finally given an official advisory position. It was clear that if an armistice was not achieved within a few days then the government would have to relocate from Warsaw. The challenges were clear to the advising French and British mission. Aside from the clear divisions and animosities within the Polish Army between the former Austrian, Russian, German schools of thought there was the international political and social climate as described by Lord D’Abernon:

The question of how to get munitions of war through to Poland from the west is one of immense difficulty. On the ground or on the pretext that they must maintain strict neutrality, Austria, Czecho­slovakia and Germany have refused to allow trains laden with munitions to come through. This has been done partly because the workers themselves are of Communistic tendency and might refuse to allow the traffic to pass even if ordered to do so by their Governments. No one who has not been here can realise the extent to which sympathy with Bolsheviks dominates the working-classes in Central Europe. This sympathy is almost more religious than political.[22]

July 27th: as supplies dwindled, the situation became even more desperate and it was clear that Poland could not count on human assistance so the Bishops appealed for a storm of prayers to heaven.[23]

July 30th: Marching towards Warsaw, one of the Bolshevik leaders, Jozef Unszlicht, a Jew raised in Poland, said to the Bolshevik soldiers:

The capture of Warsaw is not the end goal, but only the starting point for the right, great goal: the European Revolution, the World Revolution! Comrades! I wish you good luck in this greatest march towards freedom and peace in the world in human history![24]

The Anglo-French Mission was very concerned about having plans to evacuate and relocate the Polish Government once Warsaw fell. No definite location had been decided but many different options were being considered, though the Poles did not take these plans seriously. As the Soviet troops were advancing rapidly, Pope Benedict XV, wrote in a letter of the 5th of August:

Currently, not only Poland’s national existence is in danger, but also all of Europe is threatened with the atrocities of a new war.

To be continued tomorrow. 


Photo: Infantry of the Polish Army during Battle of Warsaw August 1920. Public Domain.

[1] Ewa J.P. Storożyńska and Józef M. Bartnik ,SJ., Matka Boża Łaskawa A Cud Nad Wisłą (Krakow: Wydawnictwo AA, 2020), 171-172.

[2] Zarute żródło, praca zbiorowa pod re. T. Kiersztyna, Krakow, 2010, s.22.

[3] Storożyńska and Bartnik, op. cit., 175.

[4] Ibid., 171-172.

[5] Ibid., 176.

[6] Ibid., 197.

[7] Ibid., 198.

[8] Ibid., 199.

[9] Ibid., 181-182.

[10] Ibid., 179.

[11] Ibid., 180.

[12] Viscount D’Abernon, The Eighteenth Decisive Battle of the World: Warsaw 1920 (London: Hyperion Press, 1977), 27.

[13] Storożyńska and Bartnik, op. cit., 190.

[14] D’Abernon, 103.

[15] Storożyńska and Bartnik, 35.

[16] Ibid., 74.

[17] Ibid., 46.

[18] D’Abernon, op. cit., 22.

[19] Storożyńska and Bartnik, op. cit., 215.

[20] D’Abernon, 34.

[21] Ibid., 38-39.

[22] Ibid., 50, 48.

[23] Storożyńska and Bartnik, 203.

[24] Ibid., 193.

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