Sheffield author Andrew Rawson's book traces century of Polish struggles

A Sheffield-based military historian has written a book on a century of conflict and change in Poland during the 20th century.

Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 3:47 pm
Updated Friday, 16th August 2019, 2:16 pm
Sheffield author Andrew Rawson with his latest military history book, Poland's Struggle
Sheffield author Andrew Rawson with his latest military history book, Poland's Struggle

Freelance writer Andrew Rawson has written more than 40 books on various aspects of military history.

He said the book came about as a result of other research.

“I first became aware of Poland’s story in the 20th century while working on a book covering Krakow’s experiences during World War Two.

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“Several Polish friends had also asked me, as an author of many military history books, what I knew about their nation’s story.

“It made me realise that few people in Britain know much beyond a few basic facts and a search for literature confirmed why.

“So, I started to research Poland’s struggle, before, during and after World War Two, which resulted in this book.”

The book is called Poland's Struggle Before, During and After the Second World War and is published by Barnsley-based Pen & Sword Books.

Andrew's book recounts how Poland was re-created as an independent nation at the end of the First World War.

However, it soon faced problems as Nazi Germany set about expanding its control on Europe.

The Wehrmacht’s attack on September 1, 1939 was followed by a Red Army invasion two weeks later.

The people of Poland were then subjected to a terrifying campaign of murder, imprisonment and enslavement which only increased as the war dragged on.

Polish Catholics faced violence and deportation as they adapted to the draconian laws implemented by the German authorities.

Meanwhile, the Polish Jews were forced into ghettos while the murderous plans for the Final Solution were implemented.

They then faced annihilation in the Holocaust, codenamed Operation Reinhard.

Despite the dangers, many Poles joined the underground war against their oppressors, while those who escaped sought to carry on the fight for their nation’s freedom from abroad.

They sent intelligence to the west, attacked German installations, carried out assassinations and rose up to confront their enemy, all against impossible odds.

The advance of the Red Army brought new problems, as the Soviet's dreaded NKVD secret police introduced its own form of terror, hunting down anyone who fought for an independent nation.

The story concludes with Poland’s experience behind the Iron Curtain, ending with the return of democracy by 1991.

Andrew's extemsive list of publications includes eight Pen and Sword Battleground Europe travel books and three History Press Handbook reference books.

He also edited Eyes Only: The Top Secret Correspondence between Marshall and Eisenhower and Organizing Victory: The War Conferences 1941–1945.

He has written two books covering Auschwitz extermination camp, part of the Nazi’s Final Solution, and wartime Krakow, as well as a 10-part series on the British Army’s campaigns in the First world War from 1914-18.

He has a master’s degree with Birmingham University’s history department.

The hardback edition of Andrew's new book is currently on sale for £15.99 on the publisher’s website,