The Katyn Forest Massacre

The Katyn Forest Massacre was one of many great atrocities carried out during World War II. Shortly after Poland had be divided between the Soviets and the Nazi’s, in 1939, the mass executions of over 4,000 Polish officers was carried out in 1940. This massacre was carried out in the Katyn Forest, hence the name, near Smolensk, just across the boarder in neighboring Russia. These mass graves were discovered by the Nazi’s in 1943 after the invasion of the USSR which had began in June of 1941. The Soviet vehemently denied any such occurrence of this massacre until under president Gorbachev admitted of the massacres ordered under Stalin and carried out by the NKVD. Official documents released to the Polish government from Russia in 1992 have given us the number of 4,443 officers that were murdered in the Katyn Forest Massacre.

While this was an absolutely disgusting act it helped solidify the Western portion of Poland to be under Soviet control. Under the Soviet leadership another 16,000 total were also executed in various other sites. By doing this it crippled an polish military remnants and rendering military resistance against the Soviets to virtually none. By doing this the protective barrier against the Nazi’s was established, although it wouldn’t last for long.

For further pictures from the Nazi’s when the sites were discovered check here.

For the trailer to the movie Katyn, a Polish movie based off the massacre, check here.

 

Sources:

Image: “Enlargement of Nazi Photographs 1-8.” Enlargements of Nazi Photos 1-9. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://www.katyn.org.au/n1.html.

Photo Database: “Katyn Forest Massacre.” Nazi Photos of the 1943 Exhumations in Katyn Forest. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://www.katyn.org.au/naziphotos.html.

“Katyn Forest Massacre.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. June 18, 2017. Accessed March 25, 2018. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1943-2/katyn-forest-massacre/.

Movie Trailer: “Katyn Trailer.” YouTube. June 15, 2009. Accessed March 25, 2018. https://youtu.be/zlzH43yPO6A.

11 thoughts on “The Katyn Forest Massacre

    1. I also had never heard of this before I first read about it for this blog post. It is amazing that so many terrible things occurred over this time period that things like this are still relatively unknown about for most people.

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  1. I also did the Katyn Forest Massacre! It is an interesting topic and I like how you focused on how this move helped Soviet Russia hold control in Poland because you are right it is moves like this kind of brutality that gave Soviet Russia such a strong foothold in places like Poland. It also makes you wonder what else the Soviet Union covered up.

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  2. Thanks to you (and Diana) for writing about the Katyn massacre. It is such a tragic and controversial chapter of the war on the Eastern Front. And one that kept generating controversy and grief even after the truth came out in the early 90s. Did you know about the crash of a plane carrying Polish government officials to a memorial for the 70th anniversary of the massacre in 2010? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Polish_Air_Force_Tu-154_crash )?

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    1. This was something very interesting to read. While its hard to stop the gears of conspiracy from spinning it is incredibly tragic that something like that would occur on the anniversary of this tragic event.

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  3. When learning about Poland being separated into thirds after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, I only learned about the atrocities committed by the Nazis. It definitely seems like the atrocities committed by Russians were covered up because of the “Holocaust by Bullets”. The majority of these massacres took place in Soviet controlled territory and were carried out by the Einzengruppen. However, the deaths of 4,000+ Polish officers should not have been overshadowed.

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    1. I am in the same boat as you. While the Nazi’s led one of, it not the most, horrific massacres during WWII there are numerous others that are over shadowed. This doesn’t mean that they are any less heartbreaking and terrible though. I was glad to be able to read and learn about this tragedy although I know there are likely more that I and many other people do not know about.

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  4. James, this was really interesting to read about. I was unaware of this massacre prior to reading your post. It really does show how far the Soviets were willing to go in order to try to protect themselves. Their barbarism in this massacre, and other atrocities during WWII, is often overlooked in favor of focus on Nazi atrocities, unfortunately. Both sides committed horrible acts and students of history should know the scope of what the Soviets did as well.

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  5. I am glad people are choosing to write about the Katyn Forest Massacre, it is a little know atrocity that should not be overlooked. Why do you think it took until Gorbachev to release this information when Krushchev already denounced murders under Stalin?

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    1. I believe this was done because while Khrushchev was announcing atrocities done internally to the Soviet Union this one was external. Done to a different countries citizenship rather than their own.

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  6. Overall, this is a nicely constructed post that features a lot of different aspects pertaining to Soviet success. I really liked the research that you conducted as well as the various examples you have. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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