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All quiet on the eastern front / The New Statesman



The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War – review.


Halik Kochanski
Allen Lane, 768pp, £30

It is a fact occasionally acknowledged that British schoolchildren spend too much time studying the Second World War. That they do, however, is hardly surprising. Britain’s war record can be summarised in half a dozen words – started nobly; continued pluckily; ended victoriously – which makes life nice and easy for teachers.

While reading The Eagle Unbowed, Halik Kochanski’s history of the war in Poland, I tried to create a similar summary for the Poles. Poland’s war started badly with the German invasion. It got worse when the Soviet Union joined in. It got even worse when Britain and France stood by and watched while their ally got dismembered. Then it got worse still.





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