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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 6, No. 5. May 5, 1943



The Polish Government in London has withdrawn its request for a Red Cross investigation of the charges levelled against the Soviet Government regarding the alleged atrocities in the Smolensk area. It would have been better had the request never been made.

The question that is exercising our minds is that it is essential for the United Nations to remain united now. Division spells disaster. The future frontiers of Poland are under discussion, and to view these as from 1939 is superficial. It is a problem going back hundreds of years, past wars of conquest and liberation. The present boundaries of Poland represent the spoils of war won in 1920 by the "hero" Pilsudaki. Russians liberated from "Bolshevik" rule were valuable as a cheap labour supply to Polish employers, and Poles "colonised" predominantly Russian areas. All national minorities received grossly unfair treatment at the hands of an ultra-conservative government. This government was an oligarchy which had seized power at the end of the Great War. It has been said that that "life in pre-war Poland was quite tolerable providing you were not a socialist, a [unclear: communist], a Jew, a Russian, a trade unionist, or a man with humane and progressive ideals." Politically pro-Hitler, the government was willing in 1938 to have a share in the partition of Czechoslovakia. Racial minorities, whether Czech or Slav, are unlikely to welcome the return of a regime which was uniformly repressive and intolerant.

The attitude of the free Polish Government to the Soviet Union, both of whom are our Allies, is serious, especially as the Smolensk allegations were first made over the German radio by Goebbels. This should serve to remind us that every man of the United Nations, high and low, is not necessarily fighting for us with the same wholeheartedness as we know the soldiers of New Zealand, England, Russia, America and China are fighting today.

We can help by watching ourselves and our country to make sure that we will not act as unwitting agents of Hitler and his Pacific friend Tojo.