“An especially warm tribute of applause was forthcoming from the crowds all along the Victory Parade route
as the troops of our Allies marched by: and as they passed the saluting base, the war leaders grouped
there beside the royal dais made grateful acknowledgement to the flags of countries whose men had fought
side by side with our men. Headed by the Guards band the representatives of Allied forces were led by the
United States, whose contingent included the Marine Corps. After the American contingent came the troops
of China, occupying the place in the procession originally reserved for USSR, and behind them came
contingents with a bewildered variety of flags and uniforms - France, Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia,
Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Luxembourg, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Transjordan.
Apart from the USSR, only Poland and Yugoslavia were not represented among our Allies......"
June 15, 1946 The Illustrated London News
Poland, the 4th largest and most loyal of Allies was not invited to march in the Victory Parade. It was a
deliberate act on the part of Great Britain so as not to offend Russia. Not even the fly past over the
parade included the Polish pilots who fought so bravely with the British in the Battle of Britain. Though
the British Royal Air Force invited the Polish Air Force to attend, the Polish pilots refused unless all
Polish armed forces were invited. They were not. The British government was immutable. Some Polish
soldiers were present, but they were dressed in civilian clothes, and stood amidst the spectators on the
sidelines. Their grief was overwhelming. It was a tragedy to have fought for the freedom of the entire
world, and to end up losing one's own country.
Poland's fate was sealed in the historic agreement by Churchill and Stalin at the Yalta Conference. As a result,
Poland languished under totalitarian oppression for more than fifty years. It was indeed a victory for Great Britain,
the United States and the Western world, but a bitter defeat (and betrayal) to the Poles.
To add insult to injury, the Poles were treated as pariahs by the British public. After the war, they were not willing to
repatriate, knowing all too well the fate that awaited them if they returned to Poland - arrest, torture, imprisonment,
and execution. Thousands of Poles who did return, (they constituted only about 20% of the entire Polish Armed
Forces) met with just that fate. Those who remained in England were subjected to the most vicious of British
propaganda. Polish expatriots were shouted at, "Poles Go Home! We don't want you here!” There was no end to
the slew of hateful diatribes.
The praise the British had once lavished upon the Poles after the victory of the Battle of Britain was all but