Seweryn Szwarocki Ekonomista, Menadżer, Analityk

Those Who Cannot Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

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„Historia magistra vitae est”

History is the teacher of life

These two quotes, repeated on various occasions, celebrations and remembrance days are supposed to remind us to learn from the past and avoid the mistakes our ancestors made.

When one picks up a history book and tries to analyse the causal relationship behind the outbreak of wars throughout the centuries, it’s hard not to wonder why the key players of those events did not notice them at the time. After all, for a reader armed with the benefit of hindsight and knowledge of the final course of events, they often seem all too obvious.

Why wasn’t Hitler stopped when there was still time, allowing for an unprecedented extermination of civilians in concentration camps? Why did the politicians of the early XXth century did not realise the unavoidable consequences of their actions (or lack thereof), why were they seemingly so naïve?

Looking at the dynamics of events in Ukraine and the world’s response over the course of the recent weeks, we often reflect on what tomorrow brings. In the information chaos and in the face of what Dr. Jacek Bartosiak calls “fog of war”, it is often difficult to say what the reality looks like.

Some claim that Russia grossly overestimated its chances for a quick success, it is surprised by the resistance of the Ukrainians and the harsh reaction of the West, it is practically broken economically and at this point, mostly hoping for “saving face” through peace talks. Others are waiting for (imminent and inevitable in their eyes) full Russian occupation of Ukraine, and yet others are afraid of the possible escalation of the conflict and the spark that will start a World War III.

I decided to conduct an experiment and examine how the events of the first days of World War II were commented in the press. I compared the headlines of polish newspapers from 1939 with the headlines of news websites from 2022. It is not my intention to make any assertions, jump to conclusions or doomsday announcements that World War III has just begun. I think that there are certainly many possible scenarios ahead, but in order to avoid the most terrible ones, we have to take them into account and truly understand how to counteract them.

I leave what I found below, and invite you all to take a minute and reflect on those striking comparisons.

This article is a translation of the Polish version of the article so that it is possible to send the message to English-speaking people.

Many thanks to Ms Aleksandra Cywińska for the initiative and preparation of the translation!

POLISH VERSION OF THE ARTICLE <<<

UNACCEPTABLE DEMANDS

Source: Gazeta Wileńska, 1.09.1939
Source: dw.com, 23.02.2022

WAR PREPARATION – NEGOTIATION BLUFF

Source: Goniec Warszawski, 28.08.1939
Source: abc.net.au, 22.02 2022 
Source: foreignpolicy.com, 22.02 2022 

THE US ANNOUCNES: THE WAR WILL START

Source: CZAS, 31.08.1939
Source: cnn.com, 24.02.2022

A LUNATIC HAD STARTED THE WAR

Source: Nasz Przegląd, 4 .09.1939
Source: theguardian.com, 24.02.2022
Source: Dziennik Polski , 20 .09.1939
Source: dailymail.co.uk, 24.02.2022

BRUTAL AND CYNICAL AGGRESSION

Source: Nasz Przegląd, 1 .09.1939
Source: gbnews.uk, 25.02.2022

BARBARIC METHODS CAUSE OUTRAGE IN THE WORLD

Source: Goniec Warszawski, 5 .09.1939
Source: tvp.info.com, 24.02.2022

THE WHOLE WORLD AGAINST THE AGGRESSOR

Source: Goniec Warszawski
Source: time.com, 28.02.2022
Source: Goniec Warszawski, 4 .09.1939
Source: voanews.com, 03.03.2022

WE’RE WITH YOU!

Source: theguardian.com, 16.03.2022
Source: Kurier codzienny, 20 .09.1939
Source: www.defense.gov, 01.03.2022

THE POPE APPEALS TO THE “SIDES OF THE CONFLICT”

Source: Dobry Wieczór! Kurier Czerwony , 6.09.1939
Source: bdnews24.com, 18.03.2022

THE AGGRESSOR ENCOUNTERS DIFFICULTIES

Source: Kurjer Warszawski, 14.09.1939
Source: businessinsider.com, 20.03.2022
Source: forbes.com, 16.03.2022

THE LEADER WON’T BACK DOWN – LET’S CONVINCE THE NATION INSTEAD

Source: Kurier Warszawski, 5 .09.1939
Source: theguardian.com, 17.03.2022

FAMOUS PEOPLE APPEAL

Source: Gazeta Wileńska, 03.09.1939
Source: chemistryworld, 25.02.2022

THE NATION IS BEING LIED TO – LET’S TELL THEM THE TRUTH

Source: Polska Zbrojna, 5.09.1939
Source: komando.com, 18.03.2022

PROTEST INSIDE THE AGGRESSOR’S COUNTRY

Source: Kurier poranny, 12.09.1939
Source: Dziennik Polski, 19.09.1939
Source: rferl.org, 28.02.2022
Source: newyorker.com, 28.03.2022

LET’S HIT THE ECONOMY

Source: Kurjer Warszawski, 5.09.1939
Source: indiatimes.com, 14.03.2022
Source: Nasz Przegląd, 18.09.1939
Source: politico.eu, 27.02.2022
Source: Kurjer codzienny, 15.09.1939
Source: rferl.org, 01.03.2022

AGGRESSOR’S ECONOMY IN RUINS

Source: Kurjer Warszawski, 15.09.1939
Source: ft.com, 07.03.2022
Źródło: Kurjer codzienny, 14.09.1939
Źródło: brinknews.com, 15.03.2022
Źródło: Kurjer poranny, 11 września 1939
Source: theguardian.com, 11.03.2022

Source: Kurjer poranny, 14.09.1939
Source: npr.org, 08.03.2022

AGGRESSOR MISCALCULATED

Źródło: Kurjer warszawski, 13.09.1939
Source: apnews.com, 09.03.2022

HUGE LOSSES ON THE OCCUPANT’S SIDE

Source: Kurier Codzienny, 16.09.1939
Source: rmf24.pl, 14.03.2022
Source: Kurier Codzienny, 16.09.1939
Source: Nasz Przegląd, 18.09.1939
Source: hindustannewshub.com, 17.03.2022
Source: Kurier Codzienny, 15.09.1939
Source: dw.com, 19.03.2022

OCCUPIER’S ARMY IS FALLING APART

Source: Dobry Wieczór! Kurier Czerwony, 12.09.1939
Source: newsweek.com, 01.03.2022
Source: Robotnik, 13.09.1939
Source: indiatimes.com, 03.03.2022

FUEL IS LACKING

Source: Kurier Poranny, 14.09.1939
Source: Warszawski Dziennik Narodowy, 14.09.1939
Source: stripes.com, 17.03.2022

WOMEN ARE ALSO FIGHTING THE OPPRESSOR

Source: stripes.com, 17.03.2022

THE ENEMY IS LOSING

Source: Kurier Codzienny, 20.09.39
Source: vix.com, 18.03.2022
Source: Kurier Poranny, 12.09.1939
Source: apnews.com, 01.03.2022
Source: Express Poranny, 19.09.1939
Source: aljazeera.com, 26.02.2022

POSSIBLE COUP?

Source: Kurier Codzienny, 15.09.1939
Source: newsnationnow.com, 09.03.2022

HEROIC DEFENCE OF THE CAPITAL

Source: Dobry Wieczór! Kurier Czerwony, 19.09.1939
Source: cnn.com, 08.03.2022
Source: Dobry Wieczór! Kurier Czerwony, 19.09.1939
Source: onet.pl. 13.03.2022

PEACE IS CLOSE

Source: Dziennik Kujawski, 1.09.1939
Source: arabnews.com, 28.02.2022
Source: Kurier Warszawski, 15.09.1939
Source: Polska Zbrojna, 12.09.1939
Source: Express Poranny, 9.09.1939
Source: politico.eu, 28.02.2022

WE ARE STAYING OUT OF IT

Source: Dobry Wieczór! Kurier Czerwony, 1.09.1939
Source: rp.pl, 17.03.2022
Source: Kurier Codzienny, 16.09.1939
Source: radio.lublin,pl, 09.03.2022
Source: Polska Zbrojna, 3.09.1939

ONE SCENARIO HAS ALREADY BEEN WRITTEN TO THE END. THE SECOND IS WRITTEN ON OUR EYES.

DO NOT BE INDIFFERENT.



This article uses headings and fragments of articles from the collection “September 1939” made available by the National Library. The “September 1939” collection is available to Internet users at the POLONA Digital National Library at www.polona.pl.

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