Saturday, July 5, 2014

Chapter 6 - Germany Must Be Beaten: Part 2 - Premature Evacuation

Korzybski: A Biography (Free Online Edition)
Copyright © 2014 (2011) by Bruce I. Kodish 
All rights reserved. Copyright material may be quoted verbatim without need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder, provided that attribution is clearly given and that the material quoted is reasonably brief in extent.

In the first days of August 1914, Korzybski saw corroborating evidence of the undermining effect of German influence on the Russians.  German propaganda had insinuated that the Poles of Russian Poland would murder their Russian overseers after the declaration of war by the Tsar. Having apparently accepted this German scenario, much of the Russian general staff and civil administration (including police) fled east of the Vistula River from Warsaw when war was declared, thus effectively abandoning Russian Poland’s major city. Korzybski witnessed "the flight of [the] Russian army and the whole officialdom. They left everything. They ran away, just wife, children and suitcases, to safety—means the other side of the Vistula which is a minor part of Poland.”(5)
Russia World War I Propaganda Poster
The people of Russian Poland reacted swiftly. As Korzybski noted, in a day or two citizens formed committees to take over the civil administration, some for example tying white handkerchiefs on their arms to act as policemen, e.g., directing traffic, etc. Poles, including Korzybski, also approached fleeing Russians to reassure them they would not be murdered. Grand Duke Nicholas—Commander-in-Chief of the Army General Staff, uncle of Tsar Nicholas II, and probably the only Romanoff that Korzybski respected—had already headquartered east of the Vistula at Baranovichi, 220 miles from Warsaw. According to Korzybski, Grand Duke Nicholas soon realized the Poles were not behaving as expected and reacted quickly when he realized the danger resulting from Russia’s premature evacuation:
[Russian] officers were drunk in the hotels of Warsaw celebrating the departure. The [few Russian] patrols [still remaining on the fringes of Warsaw] suddenly discovered that small detachments of German cavalry were already on the outskirts of Warsaw. It was the very first days of the war. German cavalry, small detachments of no importance already penetrated the outskirts of Warsaw. Can you imagine that? And then the drunken officers to put up some sort of defense against those little patrols...The Grand Duke Nicholas, on the other side of the Vistula [was] immediately informed. So immediately infantry and cavalry were pouring down and those little patrols, German, were dispersed or retreated, I don’t know which. And then the whole might of the Russian army came back and they marched directly to the German frontier. (6)
Indeed some of these troops, patrols from the Second Army, briefly crossed over into Germany, the furthest the Russians would ever get in the war. And on the way to the frontier, Poles welcomed the Grand Duke with flowers. (7)

With the Russians returned, the danger had passed of an immediate capitulation of Russian Poland to Germany. Korzybski remained convinced that this early failure of Germany's psychological campaign to capture Poland without a fight, sealed the outcome of World War I:
The direct result, tragic this all was—that at this time Germany already lost the war. That one psychological issue lost the war for Germany because they did not get what they planned, undevastated Poland. They got only devastation after Poland became a battlefield...the Allies were saved. (8)

You may download a pdf of all of the book's reference notes (including a note on primary source material and abbreviations used) from the link labeled Notes on the Contents page. The pdf of the Bibliography, linked on the Contents page contains full information on referenced books and articles. 
5. Korzybski 1947, pp. 75–76.

6. Ibid., p. 76. 

7. Korzybski 1947, p. 75. 

8. Ibid., pp. 76–77. 

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