Did you know that you can thank Poland that Soviet communism did not sweep over Europe immediately following World War I? The little known Polish-Soviet War of 1920 (many date it from 1919 to 1921) was a short but bloody engagement that saw the re-emergence of Poland as a sovereign nation, capable of stopping tyranny cold.

Russia was in a civil war from 1917-1921, in which royalist forces (“the Whites”) who supported the Czar fought against the Bolsheviks (the Communists…or “Reds”). While Russia was embroiled in this internal conflict, Polish patriots saw this as the moment to extend their borders eastward and unite with Ukrainians who wanted to be free of Russian (and communist) oppression. At first the Polish invasion of Ukraine in 1920 was unopposed by weaker Russian forces.

However, in June of 1920, Soviet General Tikhachevsky launched a major counterattack that sent the Polish arming reeling. Russian troops rolled right up into Warsaw. While the Poles were hanging on for dear life, Western powers such as Britain and France wondered what to do. They had been bled white by World War 1 and were in no condition to send armies to Poland. Germany was already in chaos and was wide open for invasion. There really was nothing that could stop the Communists from getting all the way to the gates of Paris.

Then, the “Miracle on the Vistula” happened. General Józef Piłsudski of the Polish army launched his counterattack to the south of Warsaw, almost obliterating the Russian-Soviet forces that had been so confident of victory.

The communist armies were totally defeated and sent packing…all the way back to Russia. Poland, and most of Europe, was safe…but only for a while…from collectivism and gulags.

You don’t read about this in the history books, do you? Why is that?