Last survivor of Polish-Soviet War dies at 113

Polish Uhlans

Among the multitude of conflicts that erupted during 20th century, the Polish-Soviet War is all but forgotten.

The 1919-1921 confrontation featured the newly formed Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine against the Poland and the Ukrainian People’s Republic.

Poland, which had just been re-established by the Treaty of Versailles after spending nearly 125 years under the rule of various other countries, including Russia, wanted to secure its borders and independence.

Soviet forces were seeking to spread revolution into other parts of Europe.

Ultimately, the Soviets were defeated, but Polish efforts at an eastward invasion of Ukraine and Belarus were equally unsuccessful.

“The Polish-Soviet conflict is famous for decisively thwarting a Russian advance into the West and Central Europe following the Polish victory at the Battle of Warsaw (Vistula River) in August of 1920,” according to the Warfare History Blog.

The war resulted in the deaths of approximately 110,000 soldiers, according to historians.

Although the conflict ended 93 years ago – fighting concluded in October 1920 but a peace treaty wasn’t signed until March 1921 – its final survivor died only last week.

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Franz Ferdinand assassination relic displayed

franz ferdinand austria hungary

The shirt Archduke Franz Ferdinand was wearing when he and his wife were shot in the streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, sparking the fuse that  led to World War I, is on display in Vienna.

The blood-splattered garment, once white but now stained a dark brown, is being exhibited in a glass display case at the Austrian Military Museum.

The museum contains more artifacts related to the assassination of the man who was heir to the crown of Austria-Hungary than any other location, according to the Guardian.

The shirt was in the possession of the Jesuit religious order until 2004 when it was found in their archives and passed to the Austrian Military Museum on permanent loan.

Because of its delicate condition it is only rarely put on public display, according to the publication.

This time it will be viewable through the middle of next week in a dimly lit room.

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Wikipedia: where free time goes to die

Personally, I would have inserted “Austro-Hungarian Empire” for “Soviet Union,” but that’s just me.

Point is, for all Wikipedia’s occasional flaws with self-sourcing and people trying to disseminate inaccurate or deliberately misleading information, there may be no better website for knowledge junkies.

Imagine if the average person substituted a half an hour of television viewing each day for a 30 minutes of Wikipedia. (Provided, of course, they didn’t spend that half hour on Wikipedia reading about the show they were no longer watching.)

Sure, we’d likely have some folks spouting off a lot of useless trivia, but at least they wouldn’t be talking about worthless network programing.