Song of a Citizen Historical Context

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Poland has long been a country caught between hostile larger powers. For much of the nineteenth century, Poland was ruled by Russia, but in 1915, during World War I, Germany occupied the capital city of Warsaw, ending a century of Russian dominance. After World War I, Poland enjoyed over twenty years of independence, but this came to an end when Germany invaded the country on September 1, 1939. The Poles resisted, but after a three-week siege, Warsaw, a city of nearly 1,300,000 people, was captured. The Germans began a reign of terror that was to continue until early 1945. There were mass arrests, brutality, public executions, and forced deportations.

The Poles formed an underground resistance movement that carried out acts of sabotage against the Germans, who responded with bloody reprisals.

The city's 400,000 Jews suffered badly under the German occupation. They were herded into a walled ghetto, from which...

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This section contains 822 words
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Poetry for Students
Song of a Citizen from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.