Yes, in September 2009, at an occasion to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, then-President Lech Kaczyński gave the following speech:
Two generations have passed but the Second World War still requires
reflection; Poland’s participation in the reduction of territory of
Czechoslovakia was not only a mistake – it was a sin, and Poland can
admit as much. I am as certain of this statement as I am of the fact
that the order established by the Treaty of Versailles was the first
attempt at maintaining peace both in Europe and in the world, even if
it did not last.
The Treaty of Versailles, signed after the First World War confirmed
the independence of Poland and countries such as Finland, Estonia,
Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, also acknowledging the
independence of nations and the rights of minorities.
The order established by the Treaty proved to be impermanent for
numerous complex reasons. The first reason was the emergence of
totalitarian political systems and, most importantly, the rise of the
Third Reich which propagated an aggressive and vengeful ideology,
opposing the achievements of European civilisation with its Nazism.
Poland proposed, as early as in autumn 1933, that a preventive war be
started but this was to no avail. The situation being as it was, we
concluded a non-aggression pact with Germany and then also with the
A policy of concession eventually led to the Anschluss and then to
the Munich Agreement.
Winston Churchill was right in saying that a choice was made in Munich
between war and dishonour; dishonour was chosen but there was war
anyway. A question of the role of our country appears here. We were
not present in Munich but the Agreement resulted in the violation of
the territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia – and such a thing is
Totalitarianism is not the problem here – the problem lies in all
imperialistic and neo-imperialistic tendencies. We have learnt that
Taking part in the partition of Czechoslovakia, in reducing its
territory, was not only a mistake – it was a sin. We, Poles, can admit
that and we seek no excuses to justify it, even if there were any such
excuses to be found. We must not yield to imperialism.
As well as this, however, Kaczyński also drew attention to events such as the Katyń massacre, a series of mass executions of Poles carried out by the Soviet Union:
The war which started in 1939, in his opinion, was disastrous for our
country. “Five and a half million Polish and Jewish people, even up to
5 million 800 thousand, perished in the war,” Lech Kaczyński reminded,
drawing the attention of the audience to the Holocaust. He remarked
that the citizens of Poland who perished were only a part of the 50
million victims of the war worldwide.
“But,” he emphasised, “there were also ‘other crimes’ committed before
the war between Russia and Germany began. We must devote a moment’s
reflection to Katyń – not only because of the facts, with which we are
familiar today, but also because of the causes. Why did several
thousands of Polish policemen, soldiers and border guards suffer such
fate?” the President asked.
In his opinion, it was because of revenge. “This was a revenge for the
year 1920, for the fact that Poland managed to repulse the aggression
then,” he said. In his opinion, it was “not communism but chauvinism,”
which, at that time, “was a characteristic feature of this political