Poland in war and peacetime: What victories did Poland win?

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We’re on a treasure hunt! That’s a POSZUKIWANIE SKARBÓW in Polish.

We’re using Baron Grindwal’s map to learn more about POLSKA – or Poland as we call it in the UK.

Baron Grindwal was a riddler – and so to explore POLSKA, we’re going to have to solve some of his riddles.

In this episode, we’re going on a treasure hunt to discover the most famous Polish victories throughout history. The Polish word for victory is ZWYCIĘSTWO.

Poland has had to defend itself many times, but didn’t always have to go it alone…  So let’s get things underway with the first riddle.

Riddle 1: “Horses charge and cries resound, a battle fought on Polish ground”

The HUSSARS were highly skilled horseback soldiers whose armour was embellished with wings that fluttered behind their backs during the fights. They helped Poland achieve a very famous victory in 1683 – the Battle of Vienna.

The Ottoman Turks had been invading countries across Europe to grow their expanding empire, and were holding the city of Vienna under siege. They were close to breaching the city walls, when the Polish King JAN III SOBIESKI led a combined Polish and German army and defeated the Turks.

The Polish word for battle is BITWA, and this was a battle fought with horses…

Hmm, let’s find out more with our next riddle.  Riddle 2: “In the battle, courage shown, Poland did not fight alone”

Poland has fought with allies many times – and some of its greatest victories have been in the last century. Let’s go back to World War Two.

As well as joining forces with the RAF in the Battle of Britain – helping shoot down Nazi aircraft – Polish soldiers helped achieve a huge victory against the German army at the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.

But although Poland stood shoulder to shoulder with her allies, none of these battles were on Polish soil – Monte Cassino is a hill-top monastery in Italy.

World War Two came a long time after the Baron had made his map!

Let’s go back to riddles – there’s just one left!  Riddle 3: “The battle won, all was not lost – seek the place where two swords crossed”

The Polish word for sword is MIECZ. Look here – there are DWA MIECZE – two crossed swords by this small village called GRUNWALD. That’s the site of a VERY famous Polish victory. The battle of Grunwald!

When Poland’s neighbour – the State of the Teutonic Order – invaded from the north, KING WŁADYSLAW JAGIEŁŁO decided enough was enough.

King Władysław had come from LITWA – that’s Lithuania – where his cousin who ruled that country faced similar problems. Together they went to war and defeated the Teutonic Knights near the village of Grunwald.

Poland and Lithuania formed a commonwealth of countries which stretched a thousand miles from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

Such was the rich culture, religious freedom and democracy that they offered, people from around the world flocked to the region, and the country of Poland peacefully grew and prospered for many years.

So, to return to the riddle. In Lithuania, we certainly have an ally for Poland – at the Battle of Grunwald and beyond.

And Grunwald was a battle fought on Polish soil – the village of Grunwald is near to Gdansk in northern Poland. This is looking good.

Brilliant! We’ve solved the riddle of a famous Polish victory!

Next time we’ll take a closer look at the treasures inside this amazing country – POLSKA!

Click here to learn more Polish!

Related Polish words and phrases:

BITWA POD… – battle of…
ZBROJA – armour
SKRZYDŁA – wings
DRUGA – second
WOJNA – war
ŚWIATOWA – world (adj.)
BITWA O ANGLIĘ – Battle of Britain
KLASZTOR – monastery
ARMIA – army
ZWYCIĘSTWO – victory
MIECZ – sword
DWA MIECZE – two swords
KONIE – horses
KRZYŻACY – Teutonic Knights
DEMOKRACJA – democracy
SPRZYMIERZENIEC – ally

More to click…

Click to find out more about the Teutonic Knights

Click to find out more about the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Click to find out more about the Battle of Monte Cassino

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