On 1 September, in 1939, without a declaration of war a German battleship opened fire on a Polish garrison.
President Joachim Gauck of Germany and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland commemorate the start of World War Two
© Reuters/Scanpix

It marked the start of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland and the launch of the Second World War.

Now some 75 years later, the Presidents of Poland and Germany stand side by side. In the shadows of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski, speaks of learning from the past.

"History gives a lesson," he says. "It gives a lesson and it compels to draw conclusions from painful experiences, history tells us that there is still need for courage and determination in defying those who threaten the international order, peace and freedom. That there is still need for efforts for reconciliation and integration. That we need to support those who aim towards a world where a neighbour does not need to be afraid of their neighbour."

Polish forces were overwhelmed by German superiority in numbers and firepower. Among the German staff watching the siege of the capital was Adolph Hitler himself who had flown in from Berlin.

After Russia annexed Crimea, amid fears of Moscow's ambitions in Ukraine German President Joachim Gauck issues a warning:

"We will oppose those who break international law, annex foreign territory and give military support for the separation of other countries. That is why we stand by those values to which we owe our free and peaceful coexistence. We will adjust our politics, economy and the preparedness to adjust to the new circumstances."

The Second World War lasted nearly six years. More than 45 million people perished, with some putting the death toll as high as 60 million.

Reuters
Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

Poland thanks Lithuania for naming Vilnius street after Kaczynski

Poland on Friday thanked Lithuania for naming a street in its capital Vilnius after late Polish...

Georgia to continue to seek integration with West after election - formin in Vilnius

Tbilisi will continue to seek integration into the West regardless of who wins next Sunday's...

Lithuanian-Polish interparlt assembly might take place this year, MP says

The Lithuanian-Polish interparliamentary assembly might gather as early as this year, Arvydas...

Polish ForMin urges Lithuania to scrap election threshold for ethnic minorities - Interview (1)

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has called on Lithuania to amend its legislation so that...

Russian-language TV channel Current Time to be launched in Lithuania

The Vilnius TV Tower is starting on Friday to re transmit Current Time , a US-funded Russian-language...