scroll to top arrow or icon

{{ subpage.title }}

A tank with a Polish flag.

Annie Gugliotta

Poland bulks up to defeat history

There’s a story that people sometimes still tell about the Polish military. It’s the one where the cavalry makes a suicidal charge against Nazi tanks in September of 1939 and gets cut to pieces.

Although that version of the Battle of Krojanty isn’t quite true – in reality the Poles did better than it sounds – the romantic version of it, fueled by an overzealous Italian journalist’s account, has stuck for decades. Some see it as a tale of heroism, others as a proverb of recklessness, but in either telling, Poland’s basic problem is the same: They didn’t have enough weapons to fend off the Nazi onslaught.

Eighty years later, Poland is on a mission to ensure that myths of this kind are never created again. The country is in the middle of what its leaders have called an “unprecedented” military build-up that, if successful, would make it the largest land army in the European Union.

Read moreShow less

Subscribe to our free newsletter, GZERO Daily