A QUESTION OF HONOR by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud

A QUESTION OF HONOR by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud contains a subtitle; The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II. The book itself is more than raising the reader’s consciousness as to the heroic work of Polish pilots during the war. It is a wonderful narrative that encompasses the plight of Poland that historically has been in the crosshairs of Germany and Russia resulting in its disappearance as a nation in 1795, only to reappear after World War I. The authors develop the poignant story of the Polish flyers in the context of Polish history. They tell the personal stories of these men and their role in saving the British during the Battle of Britain. They emerge as heroes until Poland became an obstacle of “Big Three” diplomacy during the war and its conclusion. There is really nothing new in terms of the duplicitous and disingenuous behavior of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the war as he tried to implement his vision of a postwar Europe by playing into the hands of Joseph Stalin. Winston Churchill emerges as a willing, if at times, reluctant cohort in FDR’s game. All the familiar topics are discussed in detail including the murder of Polish officers by the Soviet Union at the Katyn forest, the failure to assist the Polish Home Army in its attempt to throw off the Nazi yoke in Warsaw in 1944, and the failure of the British to honor and support those who had assisted them when they were in dire straits in 1940. The book is well researched and brings to its pages a story that during the war and well into the Cold War was buried for fear of upsetting the Soviet Union. This is a story that needs to be told and the truth about the plight of Poland during and after the Second World War provides insights into the behavior of the major personalities who were responsible for events.

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