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Poland was one of Germany's first conquests at the beginning of World War II in 1939. The Nazi's chose to locate some of their most horrific concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Treblinka, in Poland. By 1944, encouraged by German losses in the East, the Polish resistance felt that the time was right to reclaim control of Warsaw.

For the first time in nearly five years, parts of Warsaw were free. But when news of the uprising reached Hitler, he ordered Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, to destroy Warsaw and all of its residents.

The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U. S. President Roosevelt appealed to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to provide supplies to Warsaw, or at least allow U.S. and British to airdrop supplies to Warsaw. At both requests, Stalin refused - until it was too late. On October 2, 1944, the Polish Home Army surrendered to Germany.

In August 1944, five years after the start of World War II, the people of Warsaw, armed with just a few guns and gasoline bombs, rose up against the German occupation of their city. The uprising was meant to last just 48 hours. Instead, it went on for two months. A quarter of a million people were killed and the Polish capital was razed to the ground. It was one of the great tragedies of World War II, and yet it is rarely talked about outside Poland. This site tells the story of the Warsaw Uprising from the point of view of those who were there.

Listen to the hour-long documentary or read the transcript.

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Credits


Photos courtesy of Studium Polski Podziemnej


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