The first main section of my father’s diary is headed “Przygotowania wojenne” (Preparations for war). It covers a period from September 1938 to 31st August 1939.
On that memorable September day in 1938 when the fate of Czechoslovakia hung in the balance, when diplomats’ planes repeatedly flew across the borders of other countries, when the Sudetenland was sacrificed and the first German troops occupied the wounded Czechoslovakian territory, and when our troops stood beyond the eastern border, I received my call up for the army. I was to appear in Warsaw on 30th September at Górnośląskiej Street at the Central Health Training School, in order to begin serving my time with the Officer Cadet Health Reserves.
At this time there were some who warned that Poland was under the control of Berlin; they claimed that by agreeing to Germany’s seizure of Czechoslovakia they weakened their position and their own already exposed borders. However those who saw the enthusiasm of the crowds assembled around the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, those who watched the blimpish Mr. Beck*, his chest decorated with the ribbon of the White Eagle, did not believe these warnings.
But we had an army! This army was met with hearty enthusiasm across the nation through parades and march-pasts during the occupation of Załozie. And I believed firmly in this army!
*Minister of Foreign Affairs 1932-1939, this is a reference to Colonel Blimp of David Low’s 1930s cartoons.