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Destruction of Kalisz 1914


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#76 Jan Szkudlinski

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 10:09 AM

Dear Jan;

First of all, welcome to the Forum.

Your post was very interesting, informative, and very useful to the unraveling of this story and puzzle. I have to run, so I cannot comment in any detail now, but will want to.

There is a young German university student (perhaps he has graduated; he was still in school a few years ago) who sells many regimental histories on CDs or DVDs for 5 Euros, generally, and I have bought a copy of IR 155 from him several years ago, for 5 Euros and modest postage. At the time he could send three for the postage of a single. These histories are scarce and expensive so this is a great service to the student of WK I. (I am not sure if I should mention his name, as it might seem commercial.)

IR 155 was a first-rate unit and included many ethnic Poles, as you can see from the death roll of the regiment. The other German units involved were inferior in several senses.

If you don't or can't get the CD I can probably transfer the relevant pages to you, but I will have to experiment a bit with the technology.

My Forum mailbox is probably full, but I could PM you my e-address.

Bob


Dear Bob,

I would be very interested in your detailed comments about the affair.

To add to my previous remarks, I have to say that my argument does not exclude the possibility that there indeed were some francs-tirerurs or hidden Russian soldiers in the town, but there is no proof save for the German records of troops being fired on. However, if there really were Russians attacking, what would be the point of such an attack? As the reminiscences of Boris Shaposhnikov [future Marshal of the Soviet Union, who then was an cavalry officer, 7th Cav Div, IIRC] say, the Russians were concerned with evacuating the draftees from the area and were giving the entire Vistula Curve up as planned (for years the Army was opposed to building roads and railroads in the are in order to make the Vistula Curve a good buffer zone).
The only reason of such an action one might think of is to provoke a retaliation on civilians and gain the propaganda profit. But who could really forsee that the Germans would indeed react with violent retaliation, with shooting hostages and shelling towns? And if it indeed was a planned provocation, why did it happen only in two places and only at the very beginnig of the war? if there really were some Russian "agents-provocateurs", the events in Kalisz would be a proof that it really works. So why there were no more such events? It's not that the Germans have become more lenient - in each captured place they were routinely issuing proclamations that any hostilities agains the German military would be dealt with severely, including capital punishment.


The troops of the IR 155 were indeed first rate, yet it has to be remembered that even the best peacetime training cannot substitute for the real thing, cannot train people to overcome fear and to distinguish between a stray shot somewhere and a fussilade aimed directly at them.

All the above convinces me that the reason of the Kalisz event was the lack of combat experience of the troops resulted in "trigger happines" and "friendly fire". Coupled with the pre-war fears of armed "francs-tirreurs" the results were gruesome. However, I would gladly change my opinion, should any historian come up with new evidence (which, if exists, IMHO could be found only in Russian archives).


This discussion has inspired me to think about writing an article in English about the whole affair and publish it somewhere. "War in History", perhaps?

The collection of the German student is known to me, but when I ordered a large amount of regimental histories, I did not include the IR 155; I do not remember why. Either I wanted to cut back on costs, or it might have not been in his collection yet. Is he still selling them?

Your mailbox seems indeed full, so if you wiuld be so kind as to sending me your e-mail, I would be grateful.

Best regards,

Jan Szkudlinski

#77 Paul Hederer

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 03:08 PM

155's setting up a registration point in Kalisch


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Are they registering the inhabitants or validating parking for their cars they've parked in the regimental transport park in the background? :lol:

Paul

#78 egbert

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 03:19 PM

Paul, your picture was manipulated - the original does not show any vehicles? I really do not understand what is going on there in Kalisch. Here the 155's are messing around with KuK troops and a very strange time-warped car from the regimental transport unit

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#79 Paul Hederer

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 03:24 PM

Paul, I really do not understand what is going on there in Kalisch. Here the 155's are messing around with KuK troops and a very strange time-warped car from the regimental transport unit



I think they came over to see if the Piefkes have any beer to trade for Sachertorte! :devilgrin:

#80 John Gilinsky

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 12:37 AM

The official Commission of Inquiry established in 1915 by the Tsar and chaired by a Russian Senator to investigate Central Powers atrocities and crimes of war (allegedly)included a chapter or section just on this Russo-Polish city and what the Germans did there in 1914. The Library of Congress in Washington has several publications from this official Russian body from WWI.
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#81 egbert

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 09:55 AM

John, the validity of such an inquiry in 1915 is the same as if Iran establishes a national commission in 2011 to prove they do not work manufacturing a nuclear bomb.

#82 John Gilinsky

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 08:30 PM

John, the validity of such an inquiry in 1915 is the same as if Iran establishes a national commission in 2011 to prove they do not work manufacturing a nuclear bomb.


Egbert with all due respect: can't see the forest for the trees? To dismiss historical facts due to their origin and WHO and WHAT we presume their origin and/or use or misuse at the time to have been is manifest of administrative or instiuttional bias and is unfair overall to the historical record.
No doubt you would also dismiss the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau archives and "historical facts" due to their Nazi origins and supervision of World War Two etc....(officially organized by Nazis to investigate Allied war crimes especially but also war crimes occasionally committed by Wehrmacht troops during ww2).
John

#83 bob lembke

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:53 AM

Egbert with all due respect: can't see the forest for the trees? To dismiss historical facts due to their origin and WHO and WHAT we presume their origin and/or use or misuse at the time to have been is manifest of administrative or instiuttional bias and is unfair overall to the historical record.
No doubt you would also dismiss the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau archives and "historical facts" due to their Nazi origins and supervision of World War Two etc....(officially organized by Nazis to investigate Allied war crimes especially but also war crimes occasionally committed by Wehrmacht troops during ww2).
John


John, with all due respect, Egbert has made a very good point, despite his attempt at a bit of levity. I am sure that there are many belevable Russian war-time sources, but the sort of one you cite is perhaps the least believable of all, if you are trying to get at the historical truth. The Allies, during WW I, mounted what seems to be the biggest organized program of falsification of history that has ever been attempted in the history of history. (Now, wasn't that a mouthful?) The sort of inquiry that you cited, mounted in 1915, was very unlikely to been very interested in an objective pursuit of historical truth. I approach any source with some caution, but that sort of source, such an effort, mounted at that point of time, is almost impossibly suspect.

I also do not think that it is useful or fair to venture into WW II to try to prove a point, and I suspect that it is against the rules of the Forum. If we want to go off in that direction, I will be happy to post some rather nasty material of my own from that era.

Bob Lembke

PS: However, I might mention that I study the Iranian situation rather closely, perhaps two hours a day, and have done so for some time, and in my opinion they are surprisingly candid, and might even, on balance, put out a bit less "disinformation" (to use a KGB term) than the various western entities "on their case". But that is certainly getting a bit OT.

#84 John Gilinsky

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:40 PM

This commission was established in 1915 and worked right through till the end of 1916 and probably right even into 1917. Its major 2 volume list and descriptions of atrocities is specifically factually based with full names, ranks, units, locations of incidents AND the actual sources that the commission used in publishing its findings which in the main are contemporary Russian war diaries, journals kept by the units themselves (many of which still survive). Cavalierly dismissing such a source as ONLY propaganda or tainted by its clear admittedly one-sidedness does a dishonour
to the hard work and historical value of ascertaining how Russian Petrograd based in particualr parliamentarians (read Duman and Senate members) viewed such accounts.
John

#85 egbert

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:05 PM

Cavalierly dismissing such a source as ONLY propaganda or tainted by its clear admittedly one-sidedness does a dishonour
to the hard work and historical value of ascertaining how Russian Petrograd based in particualr parliamentarians (read Duman and Senate members) viewed such accounts.
John


Russian commissions have a history of falsifying Polish/Russian historical facts. The blood spur did not stop in the woods of Katyn

#86 John Gilinsky

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 05:49 PM

Russo-Polish factual distortions on ALL sides occurred for obvious political and propaganda reasons. However I should add that the Commission did indeed look at in detail and specifically covers Kalisz's destruction in 1914 and that overall there was no wilfull attempt by the Commission to either downplay, exaggerate or distort what happened overall in Russian Poland between 1914 to 1915 and interestingly enough not much material covers the German occupation between 1915 to 1917 simply because of a) other more direct incidents and interests and B) the fundamental reliance by the commission on Russian contemporary military sources. The reference perhaps as a final toss to Katyn which is notoriously infamous as part of the Stalinist distortion and propagandizing of history (that is committing the crime knowingly, keeping it as secret as possible from your own people and the vicitims and their relatives long after the actual murders and war, blaming a war time adversary and continuing to do so long after the war) is hardly an appropriate analogy to general war time propaganda which all sides engaged in and which usually had some validity or at least factual basis as indeed the 1914 Kalisz incident does.
John



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