Battle of Warsaw fully deserves its place in history: Roger Moorhouse

The 1920 Battle of Warsaw fully deserves its place in history and to be commemorated and remembered, said Roger Moorhouse, the British author, historian and WWII expert.

In a video for the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) called “The Significance of the Battle of Warsaw 1920”, the historian argued that the battle has been “one of the most significant and least known battles in Europe's turbulent 20th century history”.

On August 14, Poland’s armed forces launched a counterattack to the northwest of Warsaw, inflicting a crushing defeat on the Soviet Red Army forces. The encirclement of the capital city was thus broken. The subsequent successes of the Polish troops forced the Soviet headquarters to order a full retreat from the territory of Poland.

Mr Moorhouse stated that with the fall of Warsaw, the Soviet Union would have had the opportunity “to export its brand of revolutionary communism to the West, most notably to Germany, which was then in political turmoil and seemingly ripe for Bolshevism”.

However, despite its significance, the battle has been largely forgotten worldwide. Mr Moorhouse pointed out that 20th century events in Eastern Europe are often overlooked in the Western narrative which strongly concentrates on two world wars.

“The battle had some profound consequences. Not only did it secure Poland’s existence, it also provided a twenty-year check on the revolutionary expansionist ambitions of the Soviet Union, stopping the Red Army in its tracks from exporting communism on the points of their bayonets,” Mr Moorhouse said.

“It was for this reason that a British diplomat at the time described the Battle of Warsaw as one of the most important battles in the world’s history”, he added.

Roger Moorhouse is a graduate of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies of the University of London. He holds a Master of Arts degree in history and politics. Mr Moorhouse specialises in modern history, mainly in the German Third Reich, and most of his books touch on topics related to the times of the Nazi regime.