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Monday, August 15, 2005

A good day for anniversaries, part 2

The Battle of Warsaw

The Battle of Warsaw (sometimes referred to as the Miracle at the Vistula, Polish Cud nad Wisłą) was the decisive battle of the Polish-Bolshevik War (also known as the Polish-Soviet War), the war that began soon after the end of World War I in 1918 and lasted until the Treaty of Riga in 1921.

The Battle of Warsaw was fought between 13 and 25 August, 1920, as Red Army forces commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevski approached the Polish capital of Warsaw and the nearby Modlin Fortress. On August 16 Polish forces commanded by Józef Piłsudski counter-attacked from the south, forcing the Russian forces into a disorganised withdrawal east, behind the Niemen River. Estimated Bolshevik losses were 10,000 killed, 500 missing and 10,000 wounded and 66,000 taken prisoner, compared to Polish losses of approximately 4,500 killed, 10,000 missing and 22,000 wounded.

Before the Miracle at the Vistula, both the Bolsheviks and the majority of foreign experts considered Poland to be on the verge of defeat. The stunning and unexpected Polish victory in the Battle of Warsaw crippled the Bolshevik forces. Over the coming months, several more Polish victories would secure Polish independence and eastern borders.


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