Poland celebrated Armed Forces Day on Monday, with commemorations around the country attended by top officials, including President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydło.
The celebrations in the Polish capital, Warsaw, included a military parade with the participation of the president, who is also the head of the armed forces.
“Poland defended its statehood, it defended its rebirth as a nation,” Duda said. “Today, Poland also has its army and soldiers, all of whom we are proud of. […]. Today, we are a member of the community, a large, international security community,” the president added, referring to NATO.
“Thank you for the Warsaw NATO Summit and the World Youth Day. The world saw that Poland is beautiful and strong.”
Monday marked the 96th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw in the Polish-Soviet War of 1920.
It is believed that the battle, often described as the “Miracle of the Vistula”, saved Poland’s independence, recently gained after the end of World War I, and prevented the Bolshevik revolution from spreading into western Europe.
The battle was fought from 12 to 25 August 1920 as Red Army forces commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky approached the Polish capital. Polish forces under the command of Marshal Jozef Piłsudski counterattacked, forcing the Soviets to withdraw.
Around 4,500 Polish soldiers were killed, 10,000 went missing and 22,000 were wounded, compared with estimated Russian losses of 10,000 killed, 500 missing, 30,000 wounded and 66,000 taken prisoner.
The Battle of Warsaw in 1920 is listed among the 18 most important battles that decided the fate of the world.