As we approach the sixth anniversary of the attack on America, I would like to devote this pastor’s column and next week’s to a consideration of Poland’s role in the defense of freedom. It was in September 324 years ago that Poland defended Europe against a powerful invader. It is important to note that Poland is strongly Catholic. By an act of their Parliament, the Mother of God was declared the Queen of Poland. The faith teaches us to do that which is right—to defend and help our neighbors.
I am taking the following excerpt, and next week’s continuation of the same, from a blog by Daniel Cassidy (sunlituplands.blogspot.com/2007/07).
It is appropriate to launch this blog with a superb article by Ralph Peters entitled Shafting the Poles, and published in the New York Post on December 23, 2003. The war against Islamic fascism is an old war. The Poles played a decisive role in the past and are no less likely to do so in the future.
The decisive turning point in the West's long struggle against Islamic conquerors came on the afternoon of Sept. 12, 1683, during the last Turkish siege of Vienna. Severely outnumbered Polish hussars—the finest cavalry Europe ever produced—charged into the massed Ottoman ranks with lowered lances and a wild battle cry.
Led by the valiant King Jan Sobieski, the Poles had marched to save Vienna while other Europeans looked away. The French—surprise!—had cut a deal with the sultan. (To Louis XIV, humbling the rival Habsburgs trumped the fate of Western civilization.)
The odds were grim. Many of King Jan's nobles feared disaster. But Sobieski risked his kingdom—actually a rough-and-tumble democracy—to save a continent.
On that fateful afternoon, the Polish cavalry struck the Turkish lines with such force that 2,000 lances shattered. The charge stunned the Ottoman army. A hundred thousand Turks ran for the Danube.
No army from the Islamic world ever posed such a threat to the West again.
Poland's thanks for its courage? In the next century, the country was sliced up like a pie by the ungrateful Habsburgs, along with the Romanovs of Russia and the Prussian Hohenzollerns. It was the most cynical action in European history until the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Poland again in 1939.
But the Poles never gave up their belief in their country—or in freedom. During our own revolution, our first allies were Polish freedom fighters such as Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kosciusko. (Paris only joined the fight when it looked like we might win. And France intervened to spite Britain, not to help us.)
By Daniel J. Cassidy (sunlituplands.blogspot.com/2007/07):
To be concluded next week