R. Moorhouse flew the Polish flag on VE Day to remind of the Polish contribution to the WW2 effort

May 10, 2020

Roger Moorhouse decided to fly the Polish flag outside his house in Hertfordshire to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day – Allied victory in Europe.

Roger Moorhouse is a British historian and author specialising in history of Nazi Germany, Poland and World War II in Europe. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London, the Pilecki Institute in Warsaw, a book reviewer for the national and specialist history press and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Warsaw.

Right after the event, Roger Moorhouse told the British Poles portal more about the reasons for his act: “I wanted to remind people, first of all, that victory in WW2 was an international collective effort, and secondly to make the point that, for some countries, even for some of our closest allies – such as Poland – that victory was a mutilated one; it didn’t bring freedom, it brought a new totalitarian occupation. So, amid the self-congratulation of VE-Day, I wanted to provoke a discussion about these deeper nuances, and I hope I did that”.

Moorhouse is the author of a number of books including “Berlin at War” (2010), “The Devils’ Alliance: Hitler’s Pact with Stalin 1939-1941” (2014) and the recent “First to Fight: The Polish War 1939”, which was published in the UK in September 2019 (Polish title: „Polska 1939. Pierwsi przeciwko Hitlerowi“). The UK book launch took place at the Polish Embassy on September 5th 2019.

Book launch at the Polish Embassy in London, September 5th 2019. From left: Wojciech Kozłowski, Richard Overy, Paul Lay and Richard Moorhouse. Photo: British Poles

“First to Fight” is the first detailed history of the Polish war for almost half a century. The Polish campaign is, according to Roger Moorhouse, the forgotten story of the Second World War and it has been greatly understated in Britain. Poland was the first country to fight the German aggressor in 1939. When the Red Army invaded from the east – as agreed in the pact Hitler had concluded with Stalin – the country’s fate was sealed. Polish forces put up a spirited defence, in the expectation that they would be assisted by their British and French allies. That assistance never came.

You can read more about the book in the article “Filling a huge gap in the literature. Roger Moorhouse on First to fight”. 

In February the book  has been shortlisted for the British Army Military Book of the Year.

The contest will be completed by September 2020 and the winner will be announced in October 2020. Many amongst the Polish community in the UK express their hopes on the social media for Moorhouse to win the prestigious award.

Thank you Roger for flying the Polish flag on VE Day as a lovely gesture of friendship!


Maria Byczynski

Picture: British Poles

You can order your own copy of the book “First to Fight” in English here and in Polish tutaj.



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