Warsaw Uprising Monument (Polish: Pomnik Powstania Warszawskiego) is a monument in Warsaw, Poland, dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Unveiled in 1989, it was sculpted by Wincenty Kućma and the architect was Jacek Budyn. It is located on the southern side of Krasiński Square.
The monument has been described as “the most important monument of post-war Warsaw.” Gazeta Wyborcza reported in 2012 that it is one of the most visited landmarks for foreign tourists.
The Warsaw Uprising, which broke out on 1 August 1944 and lasted until 2 October 1944, was one of the most important and devastating events in the history of Warsaw and Poland. Up to 90% of Warsaw’s buildings were destroyed during the hostilities and the systematic destruction of the city carried out by the Germans after the uprising.
However, it was also an event that the communist authorities of the post-war People’s Republic of Poland found highly controversial, as it was organised by the Polish resistance movement which had fought for Poland’s independence during World War 2 – principally the Home Army, the remnants of which were brutally suppressed by the post-war Stalinist regime. In addition, Joseph Stalin had purposefully stopped the Soviet advance through Polish territory just short of Warsaw immediately after the outbreak of the uprising, and not only refused to aid the insurgents, but also refused to allow planes of the western allies to land and refuel on Soviet-held territory, to ensure that only very limited supplies could be delivered to Warsaw from the outside. As a result, the uprising was brutally crushed by the Germans over a period of 63 days while the Soviets watched on (even after finally resuming their offensive and capturing the right bank the River Vistula in mid-September 1944). After the uprising the Germans expelled the entire population from the city and spent the whole of October, November and December 1944 looting Warsaw and destroying whatever was still standing, while the Soviets continued to do nothing to intervene (they finally entered the ruins of the abandoned city in January 1945 after waiting for the Germans to leave).
As a result of these “controversies”, the significance of the uprising was downplayed for many years after the Second World War, while the Home Army and wartime Polish government were condemned by communist propaganda. These political factors made official memorialisation of the Warsaw Uprising impossible for decades, and subsequent debates about the form and location of the monument further delayed the project.
Main section of the monument
Poland’s communist government finally gave permission to construct the monument on 12 April 1988. It was unveiled on 1 August 1989, the 45th anniversary of the Uprising.
“It is not an honor for the Warsaw Uprising insurgents to stand next to the military guard. It is the honor for the military…” Piotr Kraśko