August 1 - 1944 - The Warsaw Uprising Begins
The Warsaw uprising was supposed to happen in coordination with the advance of the Soviet Union's Red Army. The idea was that Polish resistance fighters known as the Home Army, helped by the Polish Government in Exile, would create chaos in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, then with the German Army struggling, the Red Army could easily take the city. That was not how the Warsaw uprising actually went, however. With the Germans losing on both fronts and the Soviet Union making remarkable gains on German-held territory, the summer of 1944 looked to be perfect timing. And after the start of the uprising, it looked like the Home Army would force the Germans to retreat. The problem with the uprising began to be seen as the Soviet Union refused to attack. It is not clear why, although it was speculated at the time that Joseph Stalin wanted to be sure he could install a Soviet-friendly government. After two months of fighting, the resistance fighters negotiated a treaty. They asked to be treated as Prisoners of War according to international conventions. Instead, the Germans moved out almost a million people from Warsaw to concentration camps and then destroyed 90% of the buildings in the city.