September 11, 2012

US 'hushed up Katyn massacre'

The files released by the US National Archive appear to confirm long-standing suspicions that the Americans knew that Stalin bore responsibility for the massacre of some 22,000 Poles in and around the Katyn Forest in 1940 despite Soviet claims that German forces had killed the Poles.


In one case dating from 1943, the files revealed how American POWs managed to send a coded message reporting how they had seen corpses in an advanced state of decay in the Katyn Forest. Apparent evidence that the victims had died long before Hitler's armies rolled across the Soviet Union during their 1941 invasion.

Although reaching Washington the POWs evidence disappeared, indicating that Roosevelt had them buried to ensure anger over the massacre would not upset a relationship with the Soviet Union that the Western allies put above all else, and well before the interests of fellow ally Poland.

Even after the war the Katyn evidence was kept under wraps in order not to exacerbate tensions between the US and the Soviet Union. The reports failed to appear during a 1951-52 Congressional hearing into the massacre, as did a report by Britain's ambassador to Poland's government exile, Owen O'Malley, which spoke of "serious doubts" over Soviet claims of innocence.

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